Niato Plateau

Niato Plateau

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Niatos is a small plateau at an altitude of 1,200 meters and is a polje, like most of the plateaus of Crete.

It has never been inhabited or cultivated but is used exclusively for livestock use. The E4 European long-distance trail crosses through the plateau connecting it to the White Mountains or Lefka Ori.

The Niatos plateau belongs to the regional unit of Chania; it is an isolated region accessible by car or on foot. On one side, it is framed by the majestic White Mountains and on the other side, the forest of Asfendou. This is a stunning part of the E4 trail to explore, however, the path is often poorly marked so a lot of care should be taken. If you are driving from Chania, the distance is just over 60 km and will take you through the village of Askifou and up towards the mountains.

Niato Plateau

Going from the village to the plateau has the added difficulty of the steep incline but the beautiful landscape views are worth the hard work. Thyme and oak trees complete the scenery and of course, plenty of goats can be seen grazing. The path from Niatos Plateau to Askifou continues to the peak of the White Mountains (Lefka Ori) towards the peak of Kastro (2,218 m). From Askifou you can also move south towards Imbros gorge and find yourself in the village of Komitades. Alternatively, there is the “Askifou – Impros – Kallikratis” route towards the east and the abandoned settlement of Asfendou and Kallikratis plateau. In the village of Askifou, it is worth stopping by the War Museum of Georgios Hatzidakis, a personal collection of World War II weapons, and other personal items.

On a small hill, at the eastern exit of the Plateau, we find one of the newest mountain shelters in the region. The Tavri Shelter was built in 1992 and is 7.5 km from Ammoudari settlement. It can accommodate up to 42 climbers. The ascent from the old path has a total length of about 3 km and takes about 2 hours. The area of ​​Tavris and Niatos is one of the first areas developed by the Mountaineering Association of Chania.