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 made that happen. So please keep reading on choosing 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 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 hike during winter, you might want to check the weather first. I went in December. 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. 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 you’ve worn before on a trail for many hours, and you know 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 must put that water back in. I also took two bananas, two croissants, and polenta with mushrooms.
For most of the journey, there is no shade or trees, and you must protect your face from sunburn. Therefore, I always opt for a natural sunscreen. I love the Cretan Bee, a genuine cosmetic company based in Crete. They have an all-natural sunscreen with SPF 30 that smells like roses. It also blends well into the skin and doesn’t leave a white cast. My philosophy is always to search for local companies to buy from when moving to a new area/country. Like this, your products will arrive fast, and you can find some excellent products 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 that charges the phone up to 4 times. It’s excellent, and I can use my phone all day.
On 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 was not his forte. He constantly complained about his tiredness, and I’d decided to 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 town with just around 300 inhabitants. I decided to start my walk from here as it was the closest starting point to where I lived. Google Maps was pointless in this hike because it didn’t even show the path that I took. I guided myself, following the cursor to ensure I was walking toward the point I wanted 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 don’t know how long it will take. Google Maps shows only one way, but there are at least 3, if not more, trails.
- Getting harder
The first part of the hike went great. I enjoyed 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. I went off the beaten path, where surprisingly, I came across the E4 European walking path. I then knew that I was going the right way. At some point, I could not see any markers and was left hanging again, but after some reorientation, I found it again.
I am not going to lie. The hike was challenging. 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. I was determined not to 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 I 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 tired, and the hiking boots hurt my legs even more. By the time I reached Lochria village, it got dark. It was such a crazy journey, and it was the most challenging 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. This was indeed extreme, but when I set my mind to something, I do it no matter what.
I recommend taking 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 a fantastic 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. The hike is worth it from whichever side you go; the views will differ. Check my other adventure in
Zaros village, another gem of Crete.