Nida Plateau

The Nida Plateau in Rethymno prefecture  is a verdant valley that lies in the center of the mountain range of Psiloritis , approximately 22 km far from Anogia  and 78 km from Rethymno .

The name of the Nida Plateau comes from the combination of the words “stin Ida” (=on Ida) and today the plateau thrives with plants, such as Pοlygonum idaeum (known to locals as “chrysochorto”), Calicotome villosa, Genista acanthoclada, aromatic herbs, Cistus crericus, Sarcopoterium spinosum, Euphorbia acanthothamnos, Asphodelus aestivus, cyclamens, Dragon plants (Arum italicum), orchids and some smaller endemic plants, such as Chionodoxa lochiae. It is not only the flora that make this area so unique, but also the wild fauna with raptors and Cretan wildcat.

The Nida Plateau is a place where the myths and the traditions have been surviving through the centuries. Here, the goddess Demetra fell in love with a mortal Iasonas, here, the Renaissance hero, Charidimos, used to hunt, during Cretan Revolts, the residents of the nearby villages sought refuge here. At time of the German occupation the Resistance headquarters were also here.

At an altitude of 1.400 m, Nida Plateau is used as a summer pasture and is considered excellent for livestock farming with its characteristic “mitata”, shepherds’ vaulted stone structures that were built with raw rocks without using any binder to hold the rocks.

In recent decades there has been an effort to put the area to a worthwhile use by developing alternative forms of tourism due to the many attractions, such as Ideon Andron , the cave where Zeus was raised by the Curetes and Amalthea, hidden from his father Cronus, who swallowed his children considering them a threat. For winter sports lovers there is a ski center on Psiloritis, while for those, who want to gaze at the stars, to the east of the plateau there is a, unique in Crete, Skinakas Observatory .

The peaks of Psiloritis and the church of Timios Stavros  (Holy Cross) can be easily accessed from Nida Plateau by the most common and well-marked route E4 that starts there. The hiking will take you approximately 5 hours.