Omalos



As you leave behind the village Lakki , you drive on to the South and the famous Omalos Plateau which lies at an altitude of 1050 m. As you drive along , you leave the village Karanou on our right with the magnificent view extending over the whole Keritis Valley and reaching to the coast of Hania. You follow a route of approximately 15 kms., one of exceptional natural beauty, on which you come across two traditional tavernas where you can enjoy coffee or food and such a view that it’s difficult to set out again and continue for Omalos.
However, the route continues to be equally spectacular: the same rough scenery fills you with awe and admiration for the Creator of such beauty in the inland of the Municipality of Platanias. After a while the road is no longer upwards but it slopes downwards. You have reached the point which leads into the Plateau , which the locals call “Neratzoporta” or “Neratzopora” . On reaching the end of the downhill road, to your right, you can see a small path leading to the entrance of a famous vertical cave- in fact a vertical gorge- called “the Cave of Tzanis”. With a drop of 241 m. and a total length of 2.5 kms. it was named after a local chieftain, Markos Tzanis, the mere mention of whose name brought terror to the Turks! On the other side of the road, perched on the top of the hill, lies the church of Agios Pandeleimonas and the Tower and Grave of the renowned Hatzi Mihalis Gianaris, the historic Chieftain and local Rebel from the village of Lakki who, due to his patriotism , unconquerable spirit and brave fighting against the Turks, was called “the Demigod of the White Mountains”. Sit outside the little church dedicated to his memory, take in the scenery as well as the tranquility of the landscape, breathe in the aromas carried by the refreshing breeze gently blowing from the surrounding mountains.
Then walk downhill again to the main road and move to the South . In a minute you find yourselves in the heart of the Plateau, in the traditional welcoming taverns under the tall poplar trees. You can’t find words suitable enough to describe the delicacies and the specimens of the local Cretan cuisine which you can taste here- tastes which will remain unforgettable due to pure ingredients produced right on the Plateau!
If you wish to continue your way southwards for another 2 kms.-either by car or on foot- you go all the way across the Plateau and come to “Xyloskalo” where, at an altitude of 1250m., lies the entrance of the world renowned “Samaria Gorge”. About 1 km. before reaching “Xyloskalo”, at a spot called “Machi”,the road forks off to the left and leads- by 4 wheel drive or hiking- to the Mountain Shelter of “Kallergis”used by the members of the Greek Hiking Association and overlooking the Samaria Gorge thus offering a spectacular view!
At the same spot ,“Machi, on the main road as you move towards “Xyloskalo” you come across a residential complex “Agriorodo”- a residential complex of stone houses guaranteeing a very pleasant stay for visitors. Both this complex as well as the Restaurant and the Refreshment Hall at the entrance of the Gorge belong to the local Development Association for Lakki and Omalos- known as EALO from the Greek initials. There are numerous trails and paths for nature lovers all over the Omalos Plateau on which you come across amazing specimens of local flora and fauna .