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Dikti Mountains – Psari Madara

One of the most amazing places I’ve been in Lasithi is on top of the mountains, 2000 meters high, from where you can see the whole East side of Crete. Going up there is an adventure in itself, and once there you can only be in awe of the views on all sides.

When I go there, I start very early in the morning, even before the sun is up, as it takes a while to get all the way up there and to see the sun rise over the mountains is magical! You can go up Dikti either from Selakano or from the village of Kato Symi on the south side of the mountain range. Kato Symi lies in a mountainous verdant area, one of the most wooded areas of Crete. Just after the village lies the ancient sanctuary of Hermes and Aphrodite, dated from the middle Minoan period and been used for worship more than 1000 years. If you follow the road up you can go left towards the Omalos Plateau, or take a small, steep dirt road to the right. From there you can hike up the mountain. There are no paths, only rocks and stones, and small shrubs, so you need good shoes and go slowly, and know where you are going. My advice is to only go to places like this with someone who knows the area very well.

Climbing up to 2000 meters you’ll be rewarded with awesome views in the early morning light. Down on one side you can see Selakano and Ierapetra, and towards the other side the rugged mountain area. Here you don’t meet anyone (or anything), except the occasional vulture flying overhead. After a couple of hours walking and climbing it’s always nice to have a littl a picnic with coffee, sitting on a rock in the sun, taking everything in. Walking up there in the silence, staring at the views…nothing better to clear your head! In winter it is maybe even more amazing, as there is snow, and even clearer air. Hiking a bit further west, you can see down to the Omalos Plateau and the sea in the distance, and in the afternoon the light changes again, and from above the clouds the colors change between green, blue, pink, orange and violet. I could stay up there for days…

The Dikti range is the highest mountain range of east Crete with several peaks higher than 2000m. The center of Dikti range has the largest plateau of Crete, Lasithi Plateau, at an altitude of 850m. There are also some smaller plateaus such as Katharo, Limnakaro, Lapathos, Omalos near Viannos, Erganos and Nisimos.

Mountains in this area:

  • Pratolitsa: 2009m
  • Afendis: 1577m
  • Selena: 1558m
  • Tzivi: 1663m
  • Lazaros: 2084m
  • Afendis Christos: 2140m
  • Spathi: 2147m
  • Skafidaras: 1673m

From December untll April there is snow above 1800m. The E4-path (European long distance path from Spain to Greece) passes right through the middle from Lasithi Plateau to Selakano.

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