Katharo plateau sits at 1100 m; to its southwest rear the high peaks of the Lassithi mountains. It is linked geomorphologically and hydraulically with the main and lower Lassithi plain through the Havga gorge which for most of the time runs as a torrent. In effect, the Havga waters (with those of the River Xenikos) drain the Katharo, down through the Havga gorge and onto Lassithi. On the banks of the two watercourses is a wealth of riparian vegetation.
Sinkholes and caves exist. At the perimeter of the plain are small and dispersed settlements with small vineyards and some crops.
In the Pleistocene period the plain was a lake, which supported a peculiar fauna, including dwarf elephants and hippopotamoi.
Some seasonal tavernas operate – spring to autumn and the occasional winter weekend.
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