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The Guide Through the Beautiful Mountains in Crete

by Crete Locals

  • Posted 2 weeks ago

The Mountains in Crete include stunning mountain ranges and gorges. The mountainous island of Crete is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece. And it’s no wonder, as the island is home to some of the most beautiful mountains in the country. The White Mountains, or Lefka Ori, dominate the landscape of central Crete. These snow-capped peaks are a sight to behold, and they offer visitors the opportunity to enjoy a variety of winter sports.

Further south, Mount Ida is the tallest mountain on the island and is considered sacred by many Greeks. This mystical mountain is home to the legendary cave where Zeus was born, and it offers hikers stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Whether you’re looking for a challenging hike or a relaxing day in nature, Crete’s mountains are sure to please.

white mountains in Crete
Mountains in Crete: The White Mountains in Crete, or Lefka Ori, dominate the landscape of central Crete

The White Mountains are a popular destination for hikers and climbers from all over the world. The White Mountains are covered in snow until late spring, hence their name. They’re made of limestone, and during the summer, when the sun beats down on the summits, they take on a white colour from the reflection. The highest summit is Pachnes (2453 m) and there are over 30 summits higher than 2000 m.

The White Mountains in Crete is home to some of the most challenging trails in the country. For those looking for an unforgettable hike, the Samaria gorge is an excellent option. With its gentle slopes and idyllic setting, the Samaria gorge is one of the most popular hiking trails in Europe. It is also home to a variety of wildlife, including wild goats, owls, hawks and ravens. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a first-time visitor, the White Mountains are sure to offer an unforgettable experience.

From Chania: Full-Day Samaria Gorge Trek Excursion

2. Mount Ida: the Highest Mountain in Crete Island

Psiloritis or Mount Ida mountains in crete
Mountains in Crete: Mount Ida – the highest mountain on the Crete island

Ida, also known as Psiloritis or Mount Ida, is a mountain located on the island of Crete. Its highest peak, Timios Stavros, is the highest point in all of Crete. The Ida mountains are located in the prefecture of Rethymnon. On its slopes lies the cave Idaion Andron, in which, according to legend, Zeus was born. Today, Mount Ida is a popular tourist destination, offering visitors stunning views of the surrounding countryside. hikers and climbers can also enjoy its many trails and pathways. Whether you’re looking for a challenge or just a place to relax and take in the scenery, Mount Ida is sure to please.

3. Dikti Mountains: The Most Dominant Mountain Range in the Lassithi Region

Dikti Mountains in crete
Mountains in Crete: Dikti Mountains

The Dikti mountain range is the largest and most dominant mountain range in the prefecture of Lassithi. Its highest peaks, Mt Spathi, Mt Afentis Christos, and Mt Lazaros, soar to over 2,000 meters above sea level. The range dominates the Lassithi plateau, which at 850 meters above sea level is the largest plateau on the island of Crete.

The Dikti mountains are home to several gorges, including the Havgas at Katharo and Kalamafka gorges, as well as numerous other canyons such as Sarakina, Adrianos, Ambelos, Roza, and Kritsa. The mountains are also a major source of freshwater for the plateau, with several rivers and streams originating in the range. In addition to its natural beauty, the Dikti mountain range is an important part of the local economy, with tourism being a major industry in the area.

4. Asterousia Mountains: The Most Southern Range in Crete

Tripiti Gorge crete
Mountains in Crete: Asterousia Mountains in Crete – Tripiti Gorge

The Asterousia Mountains are the most southern range in Crete and even of Greece. They run parallel to the south coast of Heraklion Prefecture, forming a natural wall between the Libyan Sea and the Mesara plain. The highest peak in the Asterousia Mountains is Mt Kofinas (1231 m.) which was during the Minoan time an important peak sanctuary. The average altitude is very high, but access is quite tough because the terrain is very rugged, with many gorges and canyons. Asterousia’s main features are warm temperatures, rare rainfalls and very low vegetation. The bare mountains with sharp rocks and steep cliffs give a very special character to this region!

These mountains get their name from the local king Asterion, who married Princess Europa at the command of her lover, Zeus. Because of its unique geography and history, the Asterousia Mountains are a popular destination for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world.

Despite its difficult accessibility, the Asterousia Mountains are definitely worth visiting -whether for their natural beauty, their historical significance or simply for the unique experience of being in one of Greece’s most remote and unspoiled locations.

5. Thripti Mountains: The Fifth Highest Mountain Range of Crete

Mountains in Crete Lake of Skafi
Mountains in Crete: Lake of Skafi on the mountain of Thripti at spring, Crete, Greece.

Thripti Range is the fifth-highest mountain range of Crete, also called Aori. The Thripti Mountain Range is located in the Lassithi prefecture in East Crete. The range stretches for approximately 25 kilometres, with the highest peak, Stavromenos, reaching a height of 1476 meters. The mountains are covered in beautiful pine forests and are known for some very wild and inaccessible gorges, such as the gorge of Ha and Mesonas Gorge.

In the Kavousi village, visitors can find the huge olive tree of Azorias, as well as some interesting Minoan excavations. Many beautiful ancient donkey trails wind through the mountains, providing stunning views of the landscape. Whether you’re looking to explore prehistoric ruins or simply take in the natural beauty of Crete, the Thripti Mountain Range is sure to impress.

Mountains in Crete: Ideal for Ski Mountaineering During The Wintertime

Mountains in Crete | Photo: Pierracreta/ Facebook

Ski mountaineering in Crete is a popular activity among locals and tourists alike. The massif of Psiloritis, with its higher peak Timios Stavros (2456m) is situated in the centre of Crete between the prefectures of Rethymnon and Heraklion, offers a variety of ski trails to suit all levels of experience, and the stunning scenery is an added bonus. The best time to go ski mountaineering in Crete is from mid-January to mid-April when the snow conditions are at their best. There are a number of refuges dotted around the mountain, which provide shelter for those undertaking multi-day routes. With its diverse landscape and abundance of snow, Crete is the perfect place to enjoy this exhilarating sport.

Summits of Crete higher than 2000 meters

The Mountains in Crete are not just scenic wonders but also a paradise for hikers and climbers worldwide. As the island boasts some of Greece’s most stunning peaks, choosing the perfect trail can be a delightful challenge. We’re curious – what’s your favorite hiking trail in the Mountains in Crete? Share your top picks in the comments below!

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