“ Address: St. George / Lasithi Plateau / Lasithi Mesa / Crete 70013 / Greece „
I will say at the outset that I was prompted to write this review largely in protest over how utterly rubbish Lasinthos EcoPark is.
The word 'ecopark' clearly means different things in different parts of Europe. In Britain, for example, you might be looking at an area of natural landscape with ecosystems, habitats and wildlife intact; in Germany, perhaps a sustainable development of housing, with facilities for waste and water recycling, etc.
In Crete 'Ecopark' apparently refers to a small collection of tourist shops that YOU (ie. the customer) have to PAY to gain access to. 4 Euros per adult to get in, so it's not hugely expensive, but still a concerted kick in the teeth once you see the paucity of actual ecological substance contained inside. The 'park' consists of a shop selling weavings handmade by Cretan women, with one little old lady in residence at a loom to show you how it's done, a shop selling pottery made by an on-site Cretan potter, a woodwork shop selling woodwork with resident carpenter, and....that's about it. There may be a blacksmith and a beekeeper (since they sell honey also) and, if the contents of the 'main shop' are anything to go by (while you are able to buy from each of these outlets separately, all their wares are consolidated in one larger uber-shop right next door) presumably an on-site ponorgrapher, for in the main shop they sell the most hideously disgusting playing card sets, each card of which features a different picture of an ancient Greek fornicating with another of his or her peers. Admittedly these horrible 'souviners' are freely available all over Crete but in Lasithi Eco Park, the collection is placed not on the top shelf in the adult section enclosed inside a black carrier bag, as one might expect, but at kids' head hight, in a little basket down by the tills. I didn't quite know how to answer my little daughter, when she asked what 'that stick was' (it was a playing card box picture of an Ancient Greek's erect member) and not wanting to make too of a fuss, or to permanently traumatize the child by shrieking in disgust and flinging the offending playing card to the four winds, we swiftly made our excuses and left.
Outside, the 'Ecopark's' 'farm park and zoo' consists of the kind of shabby menagerie (goats, a donkey and various types of poultry) that one would in any other country expect to see exhibited for free alongside another business, say, a modest-sized garden centre (and not necessarily even a particularly good garden centre, at that.)
Lasinthos EcoPark is signposted with brown tourist boards for miles and miles around; curiosity might prompt you try and visit but it's really, really not worth it. The setting is nice as it's on the Lasithi Platea, and the buildings - it's set in a collection of older Cretan buildings around a main square - are quite picturesque. The short trail you go along to go and see the goats is all right, but certainly not worth 4 Euros to walk along; there are ones like it all over Crete. Merchandise in the main shop is also, based on our experience, significantly more expensive than you'd find elsewhere: the book on Cretan herbs that we bought for 13 Euros there was selling everywhere else for 9.
Lasinthos EcoPark was all so rubbish that words cannot express how poor this 'attraction' really was.
Get in touch with nature and see how the land is cultivated, learn the secrets of the Cretan cuisine and how to construct pottery. There are a wide range of farming and sport activities and we provide tours to old churches and archeological sites.