All year round rural activities
Live like a shepherd for a day on a visit to the highland pastures of Psiloritis!
Experience the convenience of the stone-built shepherd shelters (mitata), made to house the local families and their rural activities. Distinct Cretan traditions and lifestyle, cheesemaking, raki distillation, local recipes, as well as wild life and lots of walking paths constitute a unique experience for every visitor.
The shepherds’ way of life – close to the earth – is one that we can learn from. Where the best of the old combines with the best of the new: The flocks are still being cared for on the highland pastures and the cheese is being made in the traditional way. It’s worth preserving (even if not without change).
The cheese produced here is bought by Venetians, and other merchants, and is transported to France, Italy, Zakynthos etc. It is the best cheese made in the South …
written by the English traveler Βernard Randolph in 1687
Cheese making for the shepherds is not so much a way of making a living, it is a way of life they want to preserve. Tradition is not about preserving the ashes of the past, but about passing the fire on to future generations. The shepherd puts the fresh sheep’s milk over a wood fire. In the course of an hour, an age – old alchemy transforms the liquid into cheese: First the Graviera and then the Ricotta-like Myzithra, served warm with honey.
The cheese house (tyrokeli) is a dry stone dome secured by a thick steel door behind, where the aging cheeses are locked: Serried ranks of cheeses on parade in the dark for at least 3 months before consuming.
The wild landscape, covered by oaks, cypresses, maples and rare endemic plants, constitutes a refuge for a variety of mammals, reptiles and birds.
The high limestone cliffs are home to big birds of prey, such the bearded and griffon vultures, as well as golden and Bonelli’ s eagles.
The Cretan wildcat is a mysterious animal that also inhabits the area.
Within the approximately 1700 species and subspecies found on Crete, 40% of the endemics grow on Psiloritis.