Monastery Panagia Kera Kardiotissa, Greece

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Monastery Panagia Kera Kardiotissa, Greece: Our most recommended tours and activities

Crete: Monastery, Lasithi Plateau & Dictaean Cave Day Trip

1. Crete: Monastery, Lasithi Plateau & Dictaean Cave Day Trip

Visit an Orthodox nunnery, the village of Psychrom the Dictaean Cave, and see a local potter at work in his workshop. Explore the Lasithi Plateau, and make a stop for lunch while learning about the Plateau's history. Visit a small traditional village on the slope of Selena Mountain, and enjoy beautiful views of Crete on this interesting and unique day tour. Visit the Monastery of Kera Kardiotissa, an Orthodox nunnery dedicated to the Virgin Mary, situated near the village of Kera at an altitude of 650m. See the nunnery, famous for the icon of Mary believed to be miraculous, the nunnery's fortified walls, and its 14th and 15th-century murals. Stop next at the village of Psychro, and walk to reach the Dictaean Cave, just above the village of Psychro. See the cave, considered a sacred place of cult worship, and according to Greek mythology, it is believed to be the place where Zeus, the father of Greek gods, was kept and fed from Amalthia. See the most impressive sight is the lake at the lowest point, surrounded by massive stalactites and stalagmites, before moving on to the village of Psychro, where a local potter displays the steps of ceramic art at his ceramic workshop, where anyone interested may give pottery a try. Reach the northern entrance of the Lasithi Plateau, and stop at Seli Ambelou for a lunch break. Take in a panoramic view of the plateau, where in the 1950s and 1960s, was one of Europe's first wind farms. Stop in Krasi, a small traditional village set on the slope of Selena Mountain, and see its huge ancient plane tree, where the leaves and the branches of the tree provide shade all over the square in a unique and unspoiled environment. Finish the tour at Krasi, and return to your hotel.

Crete: Lasithi Plateau Off-Road Land Rover Safari with Lunch

2. Crete: Lasithi Plateau Off-Road Land Rover Safari with Lunch

Experience being driven off-road in a Land Rover through traditional mountain villages and historic landmarks on this Lasithi Plateau safari with lunch. Visit the Cave of Psychro, see the Roman aqueduct, and more. Admire the view from Afentis to the north, south, and west side of the island. The day starts in Hersonissos (Chersonisos). After the necessary briefing from the driver, head south towards the Lasithi Plateau. The road soon leads to the Aposelemis Dam. There you can see the abandoned village of Sfendili, which, depending on the water level, is visible or not. Continue driving on the provincial road among the olive groves to the picturesque village of Amariano. Here you can have a drink and see the remains of the Roman aqueduct. Then, the off-road driving begins. The landscape becomes wilder and the altitude increasing quickly. If you’re lucky, spot the vultures that fly in the area. The road ends at the fertile Lasithi Plateau where there were once more than 1000 windmills, which pumped groundwater to irrigate the fields. Next, stop at the impressive Cave of Psychro (Dikteon Cave) at an altitude of 1025 m. There, according to mythology, Zeus was born. The cave is considered an archeological site and can be visited for a surcharge. To reach the cave, follow a beautiful and short uphill path. If you do not want to walk, there are donkeys that take visitors to the cave for a fee. Right after your visit to the cave, get the opportunity to taste traditional Cretan cuisine in a local restaurant. After your meal, start your return. Travel through the col, where the windmills that the locals used to grind their flour are still standing. A few kilometers later, visit Keras Monastery (Monastery Panagia Kera Kardiotissa), one of the most important religious monuments in Crete. Due to its central location between Heraklion and the Lasithi Plateau, the monastery was used as a shelter for Cretan freedom fighters. Within a few months, between October 1866 and June 1867, Panagia Kera was burned twice by Omer Pasha's army. On the way back, make a final stop in the village of Mohos for a drink of raki (alcoholic drink). The view from the road to the Cretan Sea, Mallia, and Hersonissos as the sun sets is a perfect way to end the day.

Crete: Lasithi Plateau and Knossos Palace Day Tour

3. Crete: Lasithi Plateau and Knossos Palace Day Tour

Visit the monastery of Kera Kardiotissa and the Dictaean Cave then meet a potter at work on this exciting day trip. You’ll see panoramic views of the Lasithi Plateau and discover the epic Minoan Palace of Knossos. Your first stop is the Monastery of Kera Kardiotissa, an Orthodox nunnery dedicated to the Virgin Mary, situated near the village of Kera. Famous for the icon of Mary, believed to be miraculous, it’s surrounded by fortified walls and the church features murals dating back to the 14th century. The next stop is the village of Psychro, where you’ll take a walk to reach the Dictaean Cave, found above the village of Psychro at 1025 meters altitude. According to Greek mythology, it’s believed to be the place where Zeus, the father of Greek gods, was kept and fed from Amalthia, a goat, in secret to be protected from his father.  A most impressive sight is the lake at the lowest point, surrounded by massive stalactites and stalagmites. In the village of Psychro, a local potter will show the process of making his art at his ceramic workshop, following centuries-old traditions. A great opportunity to try it for yourself!  The next stop is Seli Ambelou for lunch with a panoramic view of the Lassithi Plateau.  It’s then time for the final destination, a visit to Knossos Palace, the capital of Minoan civilization. You’ll walk through the ancient site and learn how the citizens, believed to be the first Europeans in an organized community, lived 4,000 years ago. You’ll explore the palace and learn about the throne room, the frescoes, and the Minoan columns. 

Other Sightseeing Options in Monastery Panagia Kera Kardiotissa, Greece

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