Explore the Cretan

Mountains

Heavenly ascents

Soak up majestic mountain scenery through
rugged slopes, beautiful woods and snowed peaks.

Activities | Mountaineering Shelters | Ida Range | White Mountains | Dikti Range | Asterousia Range| Thripti Range

Ascent to 2456m

Timios Stavros Peak

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the E4 path

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Winter

Snow Sports

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Crete’s most distinctive feature is its large mountain ranges which are home to a number of peaks. Cretan mountains are mainly grouped into three ranges: the Dikti range in Lassithi, the Ida (Psiloritis) range in central Crete and the White Mountains (Lefka Ori) in Chania.

The highest summit is Timios Stavros on the Psiloritis range (2.456 m), however the largest area is spanned by the White Mountains, the highest peak of which is Pahnes (2.453 m). The highest summit of the Dikti range is Spathi (2.148 m).

There are several more important mountains in Crete: the Asterousia range, the southernmost range in Greece; Mount Yiouchtas, the sacred mountain of the Minoans; Mount Kedros by Spili, the rugged mountain of the 100 springs; the Talean range, the towering mountain where the mythical robot Talos stopped to rest; Mount Orno in Sitia area and the pine-covered Thripti by Ierapetra.

The White Mountains
The White Mountains, or Lefka Ori, is the largest massif on the island and its highest summit is Pahnes (2.453 m). The heart of this imposing range includes the Mountain Desert, where more than fifty peaks named Sori (piles), reminding of cones, exceed the altitude of 2.000 m. Dolines, reminding of upturned cones are formed at the foot of Sori peaks. This creepy and haunting landscape is a unique geological formation in the entire northern hemisphere.Hiking in the White...
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Ida Range (Psiloritis)
The mountains of Ida, better known as Psiloritis, are located in the center of Crete and cover a large part of Heraklion and Rethymnon Prefectures. Among its many peaks and the offshoots of the main massif, the five highest peaks are the most dominant: Holy Cross (2456m), Agathias (2424m), Stolistra (2325m), Voulomenou (2267m) and Kousakas (2209m). Indeed the peak of the Holy Cross is just 3m higher than of the highest peak of the White Mountains (called Pahnes), being the highest point of...
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Dikti Range
This range lies between Heraklion and Lassithi. Its highest summit is Spathi (2.148 m) and there are two more peaks at an altitude of more than 2000m. Lassithi Plateau, the largest in Crete, lies at the heart of the range at an altitude of 850 m. It is surrounded by a series of smaller plateaus such as Katharo, Limnakaro, Mari, Lapathos, Omalos, Erganos and Nisimos. There is a mountain shelter at Limnakaro from where hikers ascend to Spathi. Several gorges are found in the...
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The Asterousia range
Asterousia Mountains are the southernmost range in Greece, located on the south side of Heraklion Prefecture. It is a narrow range, shaped between Messara plain and the Libyan Sea. Starting on the east from Anapodaris river, it ends in the tip of Messara, Lithino Cape. The average altitude of Asteroussia is not very high (<1250m), but access is quite tough because the terrain is very rugged, with many gorges and canyons. Asterousia main features are the warm temperatures, rare...
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Jiouchtas Mount
Jiouchtas is located west of Archanes, about 10km south of Heraklion. It's a small lonely mountain with a maximum height of 811m, but it occupies a special position in the heart of the Cretans and that’s why we mention it here. Located in a unique landscape with vineyards and olive groves, it is bounded by fertile valleys on the north, the green Sylamiano Gorge on the east and the valley of the River Giofiros on the west. In the ancient times it was considered a sacred mountain,...
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Kedros Mount
Mount Kedros is located southwest of Psiloritis Range, with the valley of Amari shaped between them. The highest peak reaches 1777m. From afar it seems to have a conical shape (kentri), after which it takes its name. The mountains are mostly rocky, with bare rocks and wild gorges. At first glance one might say that the vegetation is very poor. However, Kedros has been included in the Natura 2000 network because of its exceptional biodiversity. Vegetation although limited in bushes...
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Thripti Range
Thripti Range is the fifth largest mountain range of Crete, also called Aori. The highest peak of Thripti mountains is called Stavromenos (1476m). The mountains of Thripti are covered by a beautiful pine forest, which has unfortunately shrunk due to human presence and fires. Moreover, near the Plateau of Thripti start the imposing wild gorges of Ha and Mesonas. On the southern slopes of these mountains there are some of the most scenic villages in Crete, such as the lush Orino...
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Talean Mounts (Kouloukonas)
The Talean Mountains are located in northern Crete and are essentially an extension of Psiloritis Range to the north. They are separated from main range of Psiloritis from the fertile valley of Mylopotamos to the south. The highest peak is Kouloukonas with an altitude of 1076 m. The rocks consist primarily of platy limestone and vegetation is low and hard to walk. Despite the relatively low altitude of the mountains, the rocky slopes are extremely steep and climbing in any of the peaks is...
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Mount Krioneritis
Mount Kryoneritis (meaning Cold Water) rises in south Rethymno and is quite steep, reaching the highest peak at an altitude of 1310m. The rocky grounds are rough limestone and the few trees are mostly limited to maples and hollies. The mountain is crossed by the European Hiking trail E4 that connects Rodakino with Alones. Another vertical trail also climbs to the peak, a few meters above the temple of the Holy Spirit (Agip Pnevma) with the water spring that gives the name Kryoneritis...
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Kouroupa Range
The mountainous area of the White Mountains extends to the east of Sfakia, south of the prefecture of Rethymnon, creating a small mountain range parallel to the coastal zone of the prefecture, including the main peaks of Kryoneritis and Kouroupa. Mount Kouroupa is the geological continuation of the White Mountains with the highest peak reaching 1,001m. (984m according to the Army Geographical Service). Other peaks are Korakias at 736m that was a Minoan place of worship since...
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Mountain Shelters
Mountaineering clubs of Crete manage shelters on all mountain ranges of Crete. Travellers who want to stay in them should contact these clubs prior to their visit. The most popular mountain shelter is Kallergis, east of Omalos plateau in the White Mountains, built at one of the more breathtaking spots on Crete, at an altitude of 1.680 m. Other shelters of the White Mountains include Tavri (1.210 m), Houliopoulos at Svourichti (1.980 m) and Volikas at Keramia (1.450 m)....
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