Few people know about the varied and extensive mountain regions of Greece. Apart from Mt.Olympus at 2917m, Greece has more than 30 mountain peaks above 2000m. Gifted with mild Mediterranean weather and sunshine, landscapes with amazing sea views, ragged gorges, crystal clear rivers, Greek mountains are a hidden paradise for trekking enthusiasts. All trekking tours can be combined with cultural visits in archaeological sites, stays in authentic mountain villages, fitness and wellness.
The most significant Greek mountain axis is the Pindus Mountain range, forming the “backbone” of Mainland Greece, which extends naturally to the mountains in the Peloponnese and Crete. In addition, the majority of the islands are in fact the mountain peaks of the now submerged landmass of Aegeis, which at one time linked Mainland Greece with Asia Minor.
The highest mountain in the country is Mount Olympus in Macedonia -known from Greek mythology as the home of the gods- reaching a height of 2,917 m (Mytikas peak), while about 40 mountain ranges throughout the country exceed elevations of 2,000 m. The Greek mountains are characterized by their diversity, rare scenery and unique forests, some of which rank among the oldest natural wooded lands in Europe. Due to the unsurpassable rich flora and fauna, many are protected as National Parks, while at the same time the infrastructure that was developed over the last few decades has created ideal destinations for those daring tourists who want to enjoy winter and mountain activities.
Gorges of the Island of Crete
The place with the largest number of gorges is Crete island. In fact, the island of Crete has more than 250 small or large gorges. Some are crossed by rivers, some are totally inaccessible, while others are crossed by motor roads. The largest canyon in Crete is Samaria Gorge that needs about 6 to 7 hours to cross it from one /crete/chania/chania-excursions/samaria-gorge.htmside to the other. Other large gorges in Crete are the Gorge of Ha, the Gorge of the Dead, Preveli Gorge, Aradena Gorge which is the highest bungee jumping site in Greece, Myli Gorge, Kourtaliotiko Gorge and many others.
Birthplace of Zeus and the cradle of Europe’s earliest civilization, Crete is justifiably known as the “Great Island”. Fabulous beaches and crystalline seas are just the beginning of the story. The mountains, which dominate the view as you approach, consist of dozens of peaks over 2000m of altitude and present a stunning scenic backdrop to life on the western side of Crete. There are few places in the world where high mountains so close to the sea are combined with an often perfect climate.
The White Mountains or Lefka Ori occupy a good part of the centre of West Crete and are the main feature of the region. They are made of limestone and called White Mountains because they are covered in snow until late in the spring. In the summer, the sun reflected on the limestone summits makes them appear white as well.
The highest summit is Pachnes (2453m) and there are over 30 summits that are higher than 2000m. The White Mountains also have about 50 gorges, the most famous being the gorge of Samaria. Another characteristic of the mountains are the high plateaux in the centre of the mountains. The best known is the plateau of Omalos which is a round plain surrounded by mountains, at an altitude of 1100m.
There are only a few roads leading into the White Mountains: the road to Omalos and the entrance of the Samaria gorge and the road to Chora Sfakion through the plateau of Askifou. There are also a few dirt roads leading to a higher altitude but if you really want to experience the mountains you will need to walk.
The centre and southern part of the White Mountains lying at an altitude of 1800m and above are a moon landscape technically called a high desert and unique in the northern hemisphere.
- Wander around the historical city of Chania, one of the longest continuously inhabited city sites in the world
- Walk through Samaria, Europe’s longest gorge and Crete’s ‘must-do’ experience
- Climb Mt. Gigilos the legendary peak overlooking Samaria with its 2080m high summit
- Enjoy awe-inspiring views of the dramatic, rocky seascape while breathing in the fresh, salty air of remote and unspoiled beaches
Vikos Gorge Crossing
Vikos Gorge, with a length of 20 km, walls that range from 450m to 1,600 m deep, and a width from 400 m to some meters at its narrowest part, is listed by the Guiness Book of Records as the deepest canyon in the world in proportion to its width. This follows a somewhat arbitrary definition of a gorge that excludes deeper features such as Colca Canyon because of their greater width to depth ratio. The landscape of the 20 km long gorge, 12 km οf which belong to the Vikos – Aoos National Park’s core zοne, presents a diverse relief and is characterized by abrupt altitudinal changes. Steep slopes and precipitous rocky cliffs dominate in the middle and higher zones respectively. The gorge has been carved over millions of years by the Voidomatis River, a tributary of the Aoos.
Enjoy a fascinating trek in one of the most beautiful gorges of Europe. The crossing lasts between 5-7 hours, whilst you walk along the riverbanks and sometimes inside the crystal clear waters of Vikos.The trek starts at the village of Monodendri and ater 45 minutes you enter the gorge. You will need approximately 4 hours until you reach the springs of Voidomatis and another hour until you reach the village of Vikos.
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