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Hiking in Psiloritis- Giristi summit 1779m

Hiking in Psiloritis- Giristi summit 1779m

Product Code : 5147

About The Place

Psiloritis Mountain: A Majestic Cretan Peak and its Enigmatic Surroundings

In the heart of the captivating island of Crete, Greece, the imposing silhouette of Psiloritis Mountain stands as a testament to both natural grandeur and cultural significance. Rising to an elevation of 2,456 meters (8,058 feet), Psiloritis, also known as Mount Ida, serves as the highest peak in Crete, commanding attention with its rugged slopes and storied history.

The Grandeur of Psiloritis

Psiloritis emerges as a dominant force in the Cretan landscape, its craggy peaks reaching towards the heavens. Its name, Psiloritis, translates to “the high one,” a fitting epithet for a mountain that presides over the island with a regal demeanor. The snow-capped summit during winter provides a stunning contrast against the deep blue Cretan sky, creating a spectacle that captures the imagination of those who behold it.

Cultural and Mythological Significance

Psiloritis is not merely a geographical landmark; it is deeply embedded in the mythological tapestry of Greece. According to Greek mythology, it is on these slopes that the god Zeus was raised, hidden from his father, Cronus. The Ideon Cave, nestled within the mountain’s embrace, is said to be the birthplace of Zeus. Pilgrims and travelers are drawn to this sacred site, feeling the resonance of ancient legends in the whispering winds that sweep through the mountainous landscape.

Flora and Fauna: A Natural Sanctuary

The slopes of Psiloritis are adorned with a rich tapestry of flora and fauna, creating a haven for biodiversity. Pine forests cloak the lower reaches, while alpine meadows burst into a riot of colors during the spring and summer months. Rare species of flora find refuge in the rocky crevices, and the mountain serves as a sanctuary for the elusive wild goat, the Cretan ibex, which gracefully navigates the steep cliffs.

The Enigmatic Plateau of Nida

Nestled beneath the craggy peaks of Psiloritis is the enchanting Plateau of Nida. This high-altitude plateau, situated at an elevation of around 1,400 meters, serves as a surreal setting that contrasts sharply with the more rugged terrains of the surrounding slopes. Nida is known for its serene beauty and its historical significance as an assembly point for shepherds who would gather here during the summer months. The panoramic views from Nida stretch across the Cretan landscape, offering a mesmerizing panorama that encompasses both land and sea.

Exploring the Samaria Gorge: Nature’s Masterpiece

As Psiloritis extends its influence, it gives rise to one of the most famous natural wonders in Crete—the Samaria Gorge. This spectacular gorge, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, slices through the White Mountains, leading to the Libyan Sea. Hikers and nature enthusiasts traverse its rocky paths, passing through dramatic landscapes, steep cliffs, and rare flora. The journey through the Samaria Gorge is a pilgrimage of sorts, allowing visitors to connect intimately with the raw beauty of Cretan nature.

Cretan Villages: Timeless Hospitality

The villages that dot the foothills of Psiloritis exude an air of timelessness. Steeped in tradition, these settlements are characterized by stone houses, winding alleyways, and welcoming tavernas. Here, the warmth of Cretan hospitality is palpable, and visitors have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the authentic rhythms of village life, savoring local cuisine and partaking in cultural festivities.

In conclusion, Psiloritis Mountain and its surrounding areas offer a multifaceted experience that seamlessly weaves together natural wonders, mythological allure, and cultural richness. Whether exploring its lofty peaks, wandering through the Plateau of Nida, or traversing the majestic Samaria Gorge, those who venture into the realm of Psiloritis are rewarded with a profound connection to the soul-stirring landscapes and timeless traditions of Crete.

Total Duration

  • ~8 Hours

Full description

Embark on an exhilarating hiking adventure in the eastern side of Mount Psiloritis or Mount Ida, particularly to the summit of Gurisi. This challenging hike begins at an altitude of 400 meters and ascends to the impressive summit at 1779 meters, covering a total elevation gain of 1379 meters in a single day. Undertaking this hike requires excellent fitness levels. The view from the summit offers breathtaking panoramas, showcasing some of the most stunning landscapes in Crete.

The journey commences from the village of Ano Asites, a mere half-hour drive from the city of Heraklion. Starting at Ano Asites, the group follows an off-road trail for approximately 1.5 kilometers before transitioning to a rocky path that continues all the way to the base of Giristi summit. Along the way, a rest stop is made at the Prinos refuge (1100 m), which may be open, providing an opportunity to enjoy a refreshing cold or hot beverage, depending on the season.

A portion of the route follows the E4 path, which is part of the European long-distance network. The E4 path spans several countries, including Greece, visiting the island of Crete and eventually concluding in Cyprus.

It is important to note that this hike is challenging and not suitable for everyone. Participants must be in excellent physical condition, capable of carrying at least 2-3 liters of water (during summer months), and able to walk for a minimum of 8 hours in a day. The length of the route can be adjusted for those seeking a shorter hike. In such cases, instead of reaching Giristi summit, the goal may be to reach Piramida, reducing the total walking time by approximately 3 hours (resulting in a total of 5-6 hours).

We provide complimentary pick-up service from Heraklion for our clients. On occasion, we may be able to arrange pick-ups from other locations along our route to the starting point. If you require transportation and are unsure, please contact us. Kindly remember to provide us with the exact location of your hotel, not just the name, ideally including a Google Maps link.

What to Bring

  • Daypack (approx. 25-35lt), trekking shoes, fleece jacket, windproof jacket, water bottle (at least 2.5lt of water during the summer), hat, sun cream, sun glasses and ice axe/crampons if you choose this hike during the winter.

  • For a winter ascent you need to have excellent skills in using crampons and ice axe.


  • Minimum 3 Participants


  • Starting Time 10:00
  • EndingTime 18:00

Meeting point

Ano Asites village (or meet us in Heraklion)

Cancellation Policy - Flexible

  • Whenever you cancel 4 days or earlier than the confirmed activity starting date, your fee will be refunded for the entire activity charge.
  • In case of cancellation within 48 and 96 hours before the scheduled activity starting date, you'll get 50% reimbursed.
  • Those who cancel 48 hours or beyond are considered last-minute cancellations. There will be no refunds

Select participants and date

Sold By: Enjoy-Crete


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