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The Dikti Mountains in Lasithi in the east of Crete in Greece, are 40 km from Agios Nikolaos.
The highest peak is Mt Spathi at 2148 m. This range is rugged and rocky, with snow and cold conditions in winter.
Fertile plateaux are dotted amongst the peaks, such as Limnakaro, Lasithi, Katharo and Omalos Viannou.
The most famous of these is Lasithi Plateau (above).
This plateau is roughly 11 km by 6 km and is a lush farming centre. All sorts of vegetables are grown here, including potatoes.
The villages of Tzermiado, Agios Giorgos, Psychro, Marmaketo, Agios Konstatinos, and Avrakodes are agricultural villages of the Lasithi Plateau.
Greek mythology tells us that Zeus was born or raised in a cave here, called the Dikti Cave, it is near the village of Psychró.
There is plenty to explore. Rock climbing, hiking, caving and horse riding are all popular, and in spring the mountains burst with wildflowers.
Nature lovers, botanists and members of local hiking clubs walk through the steep slopes. Bird watchers are rewarded with rare bird sightings. The rugged crags have a character of their own.
Nature abounds in the remote and unique ecology of the mountains. The mountain area, and the Selakano Valley, are forested with cypresses, pines, Kermes Oaks, Holm Oaks and Cretan Maples.
Canyoning is poplular, a mixture between hiking, rock climbing, falling, abseiling, swimming and just plain craziness, see the video below for a taste of canyoning in Crete...
The Selakano Forest is a place of ecological diversity and natural beauty dominated by pine pinus brutia and again oaks, maples and plane trees. the village of the same name sits to the north.
Below is a lovely video showing the forest and the Dikti Mountains by the local hillside accommodation of Pezoulia. The complex of traditional hostels and residences is located in the village of Selakano , very close to the forest at an altitude of 930 metres. It makes an ideal base for day trips into the picturesque mountain region.
Beautiful birds to spy include the Golden Eagle and Bonelli's Eagle, the Griffon Vulture and the Bearded Vulture, as well as falcons, ravens, alpine choughs, hoopoes and swifts.
There are small mammals such as the Cretan marten and badger, and weasels, voles, hares and hedgehogs. Reptiles such as snakes and lizards, and ever present scorpions hiding under the rocks.
The E4 European Walking Path passes through these mountains. This path is 320 km long in Crete and winds from the west to the east taking in the breathtaking scenery and high mountains in Kriti.
It is best to climb with locals in these mountains. To access the E4 path in this region, drive to Lasithi Plateau and to the village of Agios Giorgos, commencing your walk in a S-SE direction you will take approximately 2 hours to get to Limnaka Plateau and a further 2 hours to walk to Limnakaro Plateau.
With plenty of history, high in the mountains 1100m behind Tzermiado lie the ruins of Karfi, where the Minoans lived around 1000 BC. To walk here takes around 1 hour and 20 minutes, it is a 3.5 km path. Start at the side of the road between Lagou and Tzermiado.
Another way to ascend is to take a mountain bike. Cycling Creta organise cycling tours in the Dikti Mountains and Katharo Plateau...
Another interesting mountain village is Kritsá, with good walking available through the Kritsa Gorge (pictured above).
Beautiful images of the mountains here by Cretan photographer Andreas Loukakis...
Dikti Mountains, Crete by Andreas Loukakis
Το όρος Δίκτη, Crete by Andreas Loukakis