The road to Psiloritis

 
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Welcome to Cretan Mars

The tallest plateau in Crete, a mythical and holy mountain, a symbol of the struggle for the Cretan independence and kingdom of raki (in modern times), is the place where shooting traces and falling stars coincide, as well as jagged peaks tower over pristine beaches.

 

Perched at the threshold of the sky, Psiloritis (aka Mount Ida) sits of 2,456 meters above sea level and embraces the spirit of ancient Greek Gods - as it is the place where Zeus was raised by the legendary Curetes and the goat Amalthea, being hidden from his father Cronus, who swallowed his children considering them a threat to him.

 
 
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peak bagging in crete

Hiking-adventurers and thrill-seekers have been getting a new perspective on one of the greatest mountainous pursuits in the island of Crete (where a series of sacred hills of the Minoan period are paired with magnificent natural splendor) by walking up to the summit of Psiloritis every summer (late July). The trail starts from Lygeros refuge (at an altitude of 1,670 meters high) and traverses a loopy uphill path (part of the E4) that eventually leads to the summit. A lavish one-of-a-kind experience (also known as "Strata tou Psiloriti"), during which the partakers have to literally crisscross 12 kilometers in total, weave in hours of high-altitude exploration.

Those who ‘ve climbed all the way up, have an opportunity to take in views that only a few lucky people will ever enjoy.

A staggering scenery, which allows you to see the infinity of the sky at your feet.

Restored sense of sanity at the top of the island.

Restored sense of sanity at the top of the island.

MAXING OUT PSILORITIS

Why keep climbing? To take Instagrams from the top, place religious offerings, cross your very own boundaries; it doesn’t really matter...the mountain is so indifferent, it calls upon every type of escalader.


Side notes:

While an exhilarating wanderlust experience, exploring the high altitudes of Crete make sure you’re physically able and understand the weather challenges before planning any climb to the summit. Psiloritis, finally, is carpeted in snow from mid-December until early spring.

Also, don't forget to bring windjackets, sticks or a pair of tide mountain shoes with you (apart from not getting your eyes above on the way, to avoid the risk of serious injuries).

Tips:

Why not spend the night on top of Psiloritis, with the company of chilling winds and falling stars?!

Normally, this kind of ritualistic walk is followed by a feast of Cretan fares, organized the local authorities.


 
You see things more clearly with your head above the clouds...
 

 

 
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The sun and the fog, a forbidden path. Sometimes not stopping though at any "danger" signs, might leads you to magic places - like this.

 

Psiloritis

A National Park,

part of the European Geopark Network (EGN) and a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site, wrapped in a veil of long-lasting traditions.


  • Psiloritis, translates to the “High Mountain”, in Greek.

  • Being the tallest massif of Crete, Psiloritis has five peaks, accessible by several paths, which also define its climate. Carpeted in snow from mid-December until early spring, the Mount is offering year-round wildlife viewing opportunities and unforgettable experiences.

  • Geographically, Psiloritis has the privilege of seeing the sun before sunrise.

  • Christians, built Timios Stavro’s stone chapel (Holy Cross, celebrated on 14 September) on top of Psiloritis, resembling a livestock shelter, («mitato» in Greek), in which apart from shepherds, pilgrims can stay overnight.

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Those who reach Crete's highest peak are not leaving without taking pictures in front of the Greek fluttering flag; waving with  gestures to inspire others.

 
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