Cretan Mountains & Gorges

The Tough Rugged Heart of Kriti

Cretan Mountains - the Lefka Ori (image by xamogelo)

The Cretan Mountains - images and video, adventures all over this magnificent Greek island.

Here we feature mountains, plateaux and gorges, from west to east.

Lefka Ori, White Mountains Crete (image by Aori Walks)

The Lefka Ori - The White Mountains in the west of Crete.

Agia Irini Gorge - wild tree growing out of rock wall (image by Ania Mendrek)

Agia Irini Gorge - in the west of Crete, 7 km, a beautiful walk.

Omalos Plateau

Omalos Plateau - high in the White Mountains of Crete.

Samaria Gorge - view from the entrance (image by Atli Hardarson)

Samaria Gorge - one of the most popular walks in the west of Crete.

Samaria Gorge Crete

Tell us your Samaria Gorge story...

Askifou Plateau

Askifou Plateau - in the White Mountains of Crete.

Samaria Gorge, Sfakia (image by Sanderovski)

Sfakia - a mountainous region of Chania, Crete.

Psiloritis Mountain (image by Sarah Murray)

Psiloritis - the highest peak in Crete, located in central Crete.

Zeus Cave, near Psiloritis

Zeus Cave - in central Crete.

Nida Plateau

Nida Plateau - in central Crete.

Psychro Cave, Dikti (image by Shadowgate)

Dikti Mountains - in eastern Crete.

Lasithi Plateau (image by Eric Dieudonne)

Lasithi Plateau - in eastern Crete.

Zakros Gorge (image by Ted Bassman)

Zakros Gorge - in eastern Crete.

E4 Yellow and Black Marker

E4 European Walking Path - across the whole of Crete.

The Cretan Mountains - Explore

Samaria Tree (Image by Sanderovski & Linda)

The Cretan mountains stay in our hearts, with their unpredictable beauty and sudden changes of mood. Kriti's character is created by her mountains and gorges with fertile plateaux.

In the west are the Lefka Ori or White Mountains, Omalos Plateau and a range full of high peaks including Pachnes at 2453m above sea level. In these inaccessible areas are many rare species and a unique mountain ecology protected by conservation.

This range is named for its white snow-topped peaks in winter and its white limestone which shines in summer.

Bearded Vultures, Griffon Vultures and Peregrine Falcons (see below) are amongst the birds found here. The summits of the Lefka Ori peaks are very bare and known as a high desert.

Peregrin Falcon

In the west is Agia Irini Gorge a 7 km gorge starting at the village of Agia Irini and ending close to the seaside town of Sougia, on the south coast of Crete. This rocky terrain of the Cretan mountains makes for wonderful hiking and walking.

Samaria Gorge National Park

Also in Chania is Samaria Gorge. The Samaria National Park boasts stunning mountain country, unique flora and fauna and one of the longest gorges in Europe. This is one of the most visited attractions on the island and can be very busy in summer. It is a striking deep gorge with cyprus pines, sage, marjoram, thyme, wild orchids and lillies, and rocks, rocks and more rocks.

The trek to Agia Roumeli takes all day, with a boat the only way out. This is the wild mountain region known as Sfakiaheartland of Crete.

Central Cretan Mountains

Mt Ida or Psiloritis (image by Dimitris Pachakis)

In the centre proud Mount Ida or Psiloritis sits looking down over all of Crete. The highest mountain on the island at 2456m, this mountain is the great overseer of Kriti, abode to heroic adartes, and inspiration to many mantinades and songs.

Amongst the Psiloritis range are caves, gorges and plateaux including Nida Plateau and the intriguing Ideon Andron or Zeus Cave. What is it that touches this cave with magic?

The mountain villages such as Zaros retain the traditional Cretan way of life. It is here that you may discover peace and the real essence of Kriti.

Eastern Crete

E4 Walking Path - Black and Yellow Marker sign

In the east are the Dikti Mountains. The highest peak, Mt Spathi is 2148 metres above sea level. Located in the Lasithi prefecture, these mountains abound with history, agriculture in lush plateaus, striking scenery in the gorges, and beautiful churches. Hiking, rockclimbing and caving are popular here.

The E4 European Walking Path passes through the Cretan mountains, taking in some of the most beautiful scenery in Kriti. A total of 320 km, it runs from Kastelli-Kissamos in the west to Kato Zakros in the east.

Lasithi Plateau in the east is a fertile agricultural centre dotted with striking white-sailed windmills.

Ruppells Warbler - Sylvia rueppelli

These wild areas abound with nature because of the unique ecology of the island of Crete. Click on the falcon or the warbler to visit our nature pages.

Gorge walks, hiking, caving and natural history tours are all popular in Kriti. One of the most unusual gorges in eastern Crete, known as the Valley of the Dead, is Zakros Gorge.

Nida Plateau in the Snow
Psiloritis from Agia Triada

Psiloritis (Image by Sarah Murray)

Samaria Tree (Image by Sanderovski)


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