Crete Mountains

Exploring the High Life

Crete Mountains - on this large island 260 x 60 km in the south of Greece, there are major mountain ranges and plenty of high country, rocky rough terrain and gorges to explore. Many of the mountain areas are inaccessible and difficult. Snow falls in winter and the mountains are cold and dangerous to pass.

Crete Mountains - this is Psiloritis (image by Dimitris Pachakis)Psiloritis or Mt Ida - the highest mountain in Crete


The mountainous regions from west to east are:

The White Mountains

The Idi Range

Mount Kedros

The Dikti Range

Mount Thripti

The White Mountains or Lefka Ori are formidable mountains in the west of Crete. Due to lack of vegetation, they are a ‘high desert’ and gleam white because of the reflection of sun on the white rocky mountainsides. In winter they are covered in snow and present a stunning scenic backdrop to life in the western side of Crete.

Samaria Gorge National Park is located here, with the large north-south running gorge drawing walkers from all over the world.


Video of the White Mountains




Dimos Chania video of Lefka Ori



Hiking in the high terrain (photo by Pezopori Club)The 'High Desert'
Lefka Ori in the snow (photo by xamogelo)

Entrance to gorge in Sfakia

Above is the entrance to a steep rocky gorge in Sfakia, in the west of Crete. Many gorges make excellent walking, and can be walked from north to south, concluding on the inaccessible south coast of Crete.

See more about the Gorges of Crete here...


Nida Plateau with Mitata (photo by Nat Pikozh)Shepherds make these huts - mitata - from local stones using dry stone methods

Crete Mountains

In the central Crete mountains is the Nida Plateau in the Ida Range, in central Crete, which sits just below Mount Ida or Psiloritis (the tall one), the highest mountain in Crete. In these forbidding lands the shepherds construct small huts for shelter, made from the local rock, the huts are named mitata (see above).


In spring, (photo by goforchris)

Lasithi Plateau (photo by Ken Curtis)

Above is the Lasithi Plateau as seen from the Dikti Mountains in the east of Crete. This lush plateau is perfect for sight-seeing, with caves, historical sites and good tavernas.


Dikti (by Thomas Kohler)

Plakias Bay (photo by rgfotos)

The sparkling Bay of Plakias in the south of Crete is ringed by mountains, the drive takes the visitor through wonderful scenery in the narrow gorge country, the rewards are crystal clear waters and this beautiful wide bay on the Libyan Sea.


Near Thripti in Lasithi - brown roadside sign showing historic sites





Near Thripti in Lasithi you can find walking trails with gorges, narrow mountain paths, rivers, an 3500-year-old olive tree now a living monument, a castle, many miles of tracks to follow and explore, with beautiful mountain flora to discover. Only 50 km from Agios Nikolaos in the east of Crete, Thripti Gorge and its mountains are virtually unknown and locals enjoy its diversity.




One of the Oldest Olive Trees in Greece - a living monument in Lasithi, The Olive Tree of Azorias

The Olive Tree of Azorias - this very old olive tree is located near the village of Kavoussi and the ancient site of Azorias in eastern Crete, in Lasithi. This 3500-year-old tree is preserved as a national monument and leaves from it were used in ceremonies of the Greek Olympic Games in 2004. The diameter is said to be nearly 5 m.




Canyoning in Crete

In the mountains of Dikti in Lasithi and there are many places to go canyoning, and in loads of gorges all over Crete.

There are a couple of people you can contact, it would be best to contact them directly to ensure they are running a trip.

Giannis at Evergreen Tours

Lior at Cretan Outdoor Adventures

See video on canyoning in Crete here:



Cretan Outdoor Adventures video here:




Mountain Villages

Kritza Village

Many of the most fascinating villages in Crete are located high up in the tough country, where villagers have stories to tell, fresh goat's cheese to serve and a tradition of welcoming strangers.

In the foothills of the Psiloritis range you will find Zaros Village, with organic food at the taverna and mountain fish farms ready to serve fish caught just 2 metres away.

In Lasithi Plateau in the east of Crete is Tzermiado, where local fresh food is top of the menu, because many vegetables are grown locally.

Also in the east is Kritsa village, known for its picture postcard architecture and great scenery.



More Flora of Crete...

Wild Carrot - Daucus carota by flora photographer Andreas Loukakis

The endless variety of flora in Crete will stop you in your tracks as you hike in the Crete mountains and gorges. This is Daucus carota or Wild Carrot which is endemic to Crete.


Scutellaria hirta

This is Scutellaria hirta, a small plant covered with velvety down which is also endemic to Crete and found in rock crevices, rubble and screes. Thanks to Andreas Loukakis of the walking club 'Pezoporia' for sharing his wonderful flora photos.








More on the Mountains and Gorges of Crete...

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