Nida Plateau

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Psiloritis Range, Crete

Nida Plateau in snow

Nida Plateau - High in the mountains of Crete in Greece, this valley is found in the mountain range known as Psiloritis, this spot is located is 1500 meters from sea level and has a place in Greek mythology.

Located 60 km south west from Heraklion, visitors can stop or stay at the notorious mountain village of Anogia to get the flavour of these wild mountains.

24 km higher up in the mountains from Anogia and totally unpopulated, this is a high grazing ground for sheep in spring. At many times of the year it is cut off; completely snow-bound.

Mount Ida (image by Dimitris Pachakis)

The highest peak in Crete is Mount Ida (above). The nick-name for this mountain is Psiloritis, meaning ‘tall one’. See more about the Psiloritis range.

These days a paved road leads all the way to the plateau, and it is a short walk to the most famous of all Cretan caves, the Ideon Andron. For more about the cave, please see our other page Zeus Cave.

Mythology tells us that Zeus was raised in this cave. For the full myth see our mythology pages. This is a bit of a debate because many people say that Zeus was raised in the Dikteon cave in Lasithi. Perhaps he was born in one and raised in another? Either way Kriti has been woven into the mythology to give safe haven to this powerful God.

Mount Ida (image by Dimitris Pachakis)

Shepherds in these hills have built stone huts, for there is very little else in these forbidding hills. One hut is called a mitato Μιτάτο, plural is mitata, as seen below.

Mitato stone hut built by shepherds (photo by Nat Pikozh)
Mitata are built from local stones

Nida Plateau - Zeus Cave

Garden of the chapel with lawn

There is a little chapel on a hill overlooking the Nida Plateau with its back to Zeus Cave. It has a lovely garden ideal for a picnic and some oak trees. Otherwise it is just the mountain range, the sky, cliffs and mountain air. We found complete and utter peace on the plateau. The air is clear, our breath sharp and crisp.


We wandered as if we were the only ones ever to discover this lush hidden plateau. It is so refreshing to see so little development of such a famous place. Apparently the cave is now being restored and further archaeological digs are underway, so it is temporarily inaccessible for visitors.

Of course walkers come here very often as it is part of the E4 European walking path. Also there is one small building which houses a ski shop and a café in season.

The only company we had was this sad donkey who seemed to be on his last legs.

Sad Donkey

Crete Travel Guide
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Crete to Santorini