Cretan Mountains & Gorges

The Tough Rugged Heart of Kriti

Crete Mountains by xamogelo

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

Mountains, plateaux and gorges, from west to east:

Lefka Ori, White Mountains Crete, by Aori Walks

Lefka Ori The White Mountains in the west of Crete.
Agia Irini Gorge, West Crete

Agia Irini Gorge in the west of Crete.

Omalos Plateau high in the White Mountains of Crete.
Samaria Gorge, Crete by Atli Hardarson

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

Tell us your Samaria Gorge story...

Askifou Plateau in the White Mountains of Crete.
Samaria by Sanderovski

Sfakia a mountainous region of Chania, Crete.
Psiloritis, Crete by Sarah Murray

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

Zeus Cave, Crete

Zeus Cave in central Crete.
Nida Plateau, Crete, by Pikozh

Nida Plateau in central Crete.
Dikti Mountains, Crete

Dikti Mountains in eastern Crete.
Lasithi Plateau, Crete by Eric Dieudonne

Lasithi Plateau in eastern Crete.
Zakros Gorge, Crete

Zakros Gorge in eastern Crete.
E4 European Walking Path, Crete

E4 European Walking Path across the whole of Crete.

Cretan Mountains - Psiloritis 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, Crete Mountains

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.


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 Sfakia, a heartland of Crete.

Central Cretan Mountains

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 plateaus 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

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 kms, 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.

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.

Ruppells Warbler - Sylvia rueppelli - Crete Kriti

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.

Cretan Mountains - Nida Plateau in the Snow
Cretan Mountains - Psiloritis (Image by Sarah Murray)
Cretan Mountains - Psiloritis from Agia Triada
Cretan Mountains - Samaria Gorge (Image by Atli Hardarson)
Cretan Mountains - Samaria Tree (Image by Sanderovski)


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