Off road Trip to Giouhtas – The Holy Mountain
About The Place
Heraklion Prefecture, located on the mesmerizing island of Crete in Greece, is a region that seamlessly weaves together a rich tapestry of history, breathtaking landscapes, geological wonders, diverse fauna, vibrant culture, charming villages, and towering mountains. This area is a microcosm of Crete’s allure, offering visitors a multifaceted experience that spans millennia.
History: Heraklion, the capital city of the prefecture, boasts a history that dates back to ancient times. The ruins of the ancient Minoan civilization, particularly the legendary Palace of Knossos, are scattered throughout the region, offering glimpses into Europe’s oldest advanced civilization. The area also reflects the influences of Byzantine, Venetian, and Ottoman rule, with historical landmarks such as the Koules Fortress and the Venetian Walls standing as testament to this rich past.
Landscape and Geological Formations: The landscape of Heraklion Prefecture is diverse and captivating. Sandy beaches stretch along the northern coast, while rugged mountains dominate the southern part. The Samaria Gorge, one of the longest in Europe, cuts through the White Mountains, creating a stunning geological formation. The Lasithi Plateau, known for its windmills and fertile plains, provides a contrasting view, and the Dikteon Cave, believed to be the birthplace of Zeus, adds a mythical touch to the geological wonders.
Fauna: The region is home to a variety of fauna, both terrestrial and marine. In the coastal areas, loggerhead sea turtles nest on sandy beaches, and the Cretan ibex, a symbol of the island, roams the mountainous terrain. The surrounding seas are teeming with marine life, making it an ideal destination for diving enthusiasts.
Culture: Heraklion Prefecture is a living testament to Cretan culture. Traditional music and dance are integral parts of local celebrations, and festivals like the Feast of Saint Titus showcase the vibrant spirit of the community. The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion houses an impressive collection of artifacts, providing a comprehensive journey through the island’s history.
Villages: Charming villages dot the countryside, each with its unique character. Archanes, for example, is renowned for its vineyards and traditional architecture, while Anogeia, perched on the slopes of Mount Psiloritis, has a rich cultural heritage.
Mountains: The towering mountains in Heraklion Prefecture, including Mount Psiloritis and the White Mountains, not only provide a scenic backdrop but also serve as hubs for outdoor activities. Hiking trails crisscross the landscape, offering adventurers breathtaking views of the surrounding areas.
In conclusion, Heraklion Prefecture is a microcosm of Crete’s diverse and enchanting offerings. Its history, landscapes, geological formations, fauna, culture, villages, and mountains create a harmonious blend that beckons visitors to explore and immerse themselves in the captivating essence of this Greek gem.
The visit to the Holy Temple of Christ the Lord on the top of Giouhta
The view from the top of the mountain
The drive through vineyards and olive groves in Syllamos
- 6 Hours
Embark on an extraordinary off-road journey that blurs the boundaries between myth and reality, delving into the enchanting realm of Mountain Giouhtas. Situated approximately 10km south of Heraklion, west of Archanes, this mountain may not reach towering heights (maximum altitude of 811m), but its significance in mythology and the hearts of the Cretans is unparalleled. Nestled within a unique landscape adorned with vineyards and olive groves, it carries a sacred allure that captivated the ancient Minoans, who revered it as a divine mountaintop.
Its distinct shape, resembling a human face gazing at the sky from the northwest, further solidifies its mythological connection. As legend has it, Zeus himself rests in eternal slumber within its depths, lending credence to the mountain’s name, Giouhtas, derived from the Latin Jupiter, the almighty Zeus.
After acquainting yourself with your knowledgeable guide and receiving a concise briefing, our off-road expedition commences, leading us towards the summit of Giouhtas. Following a scenic dirt road that winds through a picturesque pine forest on the mountain’s eastern side, we reach the exquisite Church of Christ the Lord, constructed in 1443.
From this vantage point, an awe-inspiring panorama unfolds, showcasing the sprawling vineyard-clad Archanes Valley, the majestic Psiloritis and Dikti mountains, and the vibrant city of Heraklion. Take this opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty of the surroundings, search for aromatic herbs, and marvel at the graceful flight of the majestic vultures, finding solace on the rugged cliffs.
Our journey continues as we venture towards the winery, where an exceptional wine tasting experience awaits at the Fabrika Wine Experience. Delve into the intricate process of winemaking, from grape to bottle, while gaining insight into traditional winemaking techniques and tools, including the grand cement tanks used during the fermentation period. Indulge your senses as you savor the flavors of meticulously crafted Cretan wines, a true delight for wine enthusiasts.
Concluding our exploration, we traverse the remarkable Archaniotiko Gorge, immersing ourselves in a fairy-tale-like landscape that sets the stage for a culinary feast in the idyllic village of Syllamos. Indulge in the excellence of Cretan cuisine, embracing the flavors and aromas of this gastronomic paradise.
The return journey to Heraklion follows the charming old road of Archanes-Heraklion, meandering amidst vineyards and olive groves. Along the way, we pause for a brief stop, allowing you to capture the timeless beauty of the Venetian aqueduct constructed in 1628 by Morozini. Immerse yourself in its architectural splendor and appreciate its grandeur through the lens of your camera.
- Personal expenses, including coffees and alcoholic drinks
- Anything not mentioned in the “Includes” list
What to Bring
Walking shoes or sandals
Hat – Sunglasses
Free transport from/to your hotel. (as long as you are within the predefined pick-up area)
Land Rover Discovery 3 – Fuels
Lunch (wine, soft drinks, water)
Two Bottles of water and one juice box per person
Binoculars (2 pairs per car)
- Minimum of 3 participants
- Starting Time 08:00
- Ending Time 16:00
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