Crete has quickly become my favorite island yet. Nothing beats the incredible mountain views, spectacular beaches, good food, and welcoming people. Since arriving in Crete I’ve wanted to hike to the summit of Psiloritis mountain and I’ve made that happen. Please keep reading on how to choose the best trail to Psiloritis mountain in Crete.
First, I want to point out that there are many peaks to hike, but Psiloritis is the highest one on the island with an altitude of 2456 meters. I’ve wanted to challenge myself and just went for it.
Preparations before the hike
- Check the weather
If you are deciding to hike during winter, I went in December, then you might want to check the weather first. Make sure there is a clear sky and if it rained the night before allow one, or two days for the soil to dry up a bit. The winter of 2022 was warm with some rain here and there. The temperature in the evening/night was around 10+ °C (50 °F) but never went below.
- Have hiking boots
The terrain is rough with big rocks and spiky bushes and you want to have your feet protected at all times. I bought some hiking boots the day before the hike and by the end of the day, I could not walk. They felt heavy and uncomfortable after a while. So, the suggestion is to wear some shoes that you’ve worn before on a trail for many hours and you know that they are comfortable.
- Water + food
Have at least 3 liters of water per person. I only took with me 1.5 liters and I wish I had more. You will sweat a lot and you need to put that water back in. I also took 2 bananas with me, 2 croissants, and polenta with mushrooms.
For the most part of the journey, there is no shade, and no trees and you have to protect your face from getting sunburned. I always opt for natural sunscreen. I love the Cretan Bee natural cosmetic company based in Crete. They have an all-natural sunscreen with SPF 30. It blends well into the skin and doesn’t leave a white cast. My philosophy is to always search for local companies to buy from when I am moving to a new area/country. Like this, your products will arrive fast and you can find some really good products that you will love. Ditch the chemicals and go natural.
- Power bank
If you will take a lot of pictures and videos, make sure to have a power bank with you. Or you could bring a small solar panel to charge your phone straight from the sun. I got a Xiaomi 2000mah and it charges the phone up to 4 times. It’s great and I can use my phone as much as I want.
The day of the hike
I woke up at 5 AM and my boyfriend drove me around 40 minutes from Moires where we were living to Lochria. He was working and could not come with me and even if he wasn’t working, hiking is not his forte. He would complain all the time about how tired he is and I’d decided that I will go alone. There was nobody to go with and I am not someone that waits. I get things done by myself. During the summer once the tourists flood in, there are many safaris and organized trips all over the island, including Psiloritis. During the winter months, everyone is busy collecting the olives.
My hike started at the foothills of Lochria village. A tiny village with just around 300 inhabitants. I decided to start my hike from here as it was the closest starting point to where I was living. Google Maps was pointless in this hike because it doesn’t even show the path that I took. I was guiding myself following the cursor to make sure I am walking toward the point that I want to reach. There are signs along the way and you will not get lost. The issue with Google Maps is that you don’t get an estimate of the route and you don’t know how much time it will take. Google Maps shows only 1 route but there are at least 3 if not more trails.
- Getting harder
The first part of the hike went great. Was enjoying the view, took pictures, and videos, and stopped under a tree to eat and enjoy the peacefulness. At some point, I deviated from the route which was not taking me to the summit. Went off the beaten path where surprisingly I came across the E4 European walking path. I then knew that I’m going the right way. At some point, I could not see any markers and was left again hanging but after some reorientation, I found it again.
Not gonna lie, the hike was really difficult. In particular, the last part where I was going higher and higher in altitude. I’ve outdone myself testing my physical and mental strength to the maximum. Was determined to not let the day go to waste without reaching as high as possible. I kept pushing myself and every time I came across an elevation marker I was closer to my goal. Around 3 PM, I reached 2300 m where is the Agkathias summit and that’s when I found snow. Here I saw other people on the other side of the peak. It was already too late in the day and had to return to my starting point. But, I was so close to the maximum altitude of 2456m. See the video below of the snow.
My feet were really tired and the hiking boots were hurting my legs. It got dark until I arrived back at Lochria village. It was such a crazy journey and it was the hardest hike. I walked 26 km in total and by the end of the day I could not walk and it took several days for all the pain in my legs to go away. I know it was maybe extreme, but when I set my mind to something I do it no matter what.
My recommendation to you is to take a route from Heraklion through any of the villages, like Livadia for example cause I think the view is much better from the other side. Nevertheless, it’s an amazing hike with splendid scenery. Next time, I will take another route.
The bottom line is that the best trail to Psiloritis is the one that fits your situation. From whichever side you will go the hike is worth it, just the views are going to be different. Check my other adventure in
Zaros village, another gem of Crete.