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Hike | Climbing Mount Psilaritis: The summit of Crete!

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

When I thought of Crete, the first images that came to mind were its beautiful beaches, feta cheese, and ancient ruins. I didn't expect such varied and contrasting landscapes. Crete is a very mountainous island, especially towards the centre, and to our delight, this meant that there were some great hikes ahead of us! I often say it but in my opinion, the best way to discover a place is through walking. It allows us to see and discover in slow motion, to take our time, and to feel a real connection with our surroundings. The walk to the top of Psiloritis, the highest point of Crete at 2445m, is one of those hikes that allow you to experience the island in a different way. If you want to have a breathtaking 360° view of the sea then this hike is for you!

We wanted to do this climb since our arrival in Crete and we chose to do it on the last day, to finish our trip with a bang. From the refuge, the hike doesn't present any particular difficulty, the path is well marked and there is even a good paved part. As with most long walks, I recommend getting there early, and we started the ascent at 7.50 am in June. The weather was good and the temperature was ideal.

How to get to the starting point :

There are several versions of this hike, more or less long, we chose the one starting from the Mygerou refuge. The road to get there is mountainous so it has a few bends but it is tarmac and not particularly difficult. At the end of the road, there is a large free car park.

The climb :

The hike starts on a well-marked path that climbs southeast. The slope is a bit steep and the path winds through fairly low vegetation. You will probably come across flocks of sheep grazing peacefully and the odd wild goat here and there.

As you get higher, the path becomes paved with flat stones that sometimes form steps (very practical!).

After a few meters, the path becomes rocky again but slightly less steep. The track is well marked and logical so there is little risk of getting lost (except in bad weather, in which case I strongly advise against doing it).

Although this hike does not present any particular difficulties, you should nevertheless be very careful with the wind. The last 15 minutes along the ridge were very challenging, with strong gusts of wind blowing in all directions and making it difficult to keep our balance. We had to walk with our heads facing the wind so that we could breathe and cover our ears. I'm not going to lie to you, I was a bit scared because I had never faced such a situation but as were a few minutes from the summit I didn't want to turn back. We persisted to the end where fortunately there was a shelter that allowed us to hide from the wind and admire the view, which was really magnificent.

After a few photos and videos and a few minutes to recover, it was time to face the power of mother nature once again. We didn't stay very long at the top because we could see clouds coming and we didn't want to risk getting lost in such conditions. We took all our courage and went on our way. In short, we ran haha.

Once past the wind barrier, the descent is quick and easy. What a pleasure to be able to walk straight!

We did the return journey in 3 hours (including the break at the top) instead of the 5 hours announced for an 800m ascent/descent. Note that we are experienced walkers and that we did not take any breaks except at the summit. The sheep were very nice.

⚠ Important notes

  • Always check the weather before a hike

  • Wear proper walking shoes

  • Bring water, sunscreen, and a hat

  • Make sure you have some snacks

  • Make sure your phone is charged

  • Bring a sweatshirt or warm piece of clothing even when it's hot (it was 14°C at the summit and there was even a little snow).

Disclaimer: Always be careful and plan ahead when hiking. The author of this article cannot be held responsible for any accident or inconvenience that may occur on this route.

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