Forests of East Crete
Thrypti pine woods
The road to the village and plateau of Thrypti leads through a pine forest, the only one in the Sitian mountains. The pine trees used to cover much of Crete. Besides the pine trees, there are walnut, almond and fruit trees on the plateau. The plateau of Thrypti lies at an altitude of 880 metres and it is the highest area where vineyards exist in Crete. Today not many people live in Thrypti anymore, most only come in the weekends. Nice little village to walk around in and have a coffee at the local kafenion.
The E4-path passes Thrypti on 3 different trails:
the trail from Vasiliki to Thrypti, the trail from Kavousi to Thrypti and the trail from Thrypti to Orinó.
Selakano Forest is one of the most beautiful and most important surviving ecosystems of the island, and a major pine forest for the entire Mediterranean Sea. The pine forest is the most productive apiculture (beekeeping) spot in Crete. Other trees include kermes oaks, plane trees, maples, cypresses and cultivated fruit trees. The forest has many paths for excellent hiking in any season. The famous E4-path goes through the valley. When you follow it westwards it heads up the Dikti mountains to Varsami (2,5 hours), and east you can walk up to the Katharo plateau (1,5 hours) or down to Males and, further on to Prina (5,5 hours).
Kato Symi woods
Part of the largest pine forest on Crete is the forested area around Kato Symi. Besides pine trees, there are platans (plane trees), walnut and cherry trees. The road that goes to Omalos Plateau goes through the pine forest. The area has many water springs coming from Dikti mountains.
Southwest of Neapoli lies the grove of Paschaligo on the slope of a mountain. There are platans, oaks, cypresses, olive trees, fruit trees, many shrubs and other plants. The forest lies in an otherwise dry area, but grew here because a Venetian feudal lord, Pasqualigo, that lived there built water mills and irrigation to supply the area with water.
The cypress woods of Kritsá
Also worth mentioning is the cypress woods of Kritsá, it is one of the last forested areas on the island. It’s about half an hour from the road that goes to Katharo, about 10kms west of Kritsá. Besides cypresses oak, maple, holly, wild olive and holm oak trees grow there. Together with two similar small forests of cypresses in western Crete, this is all that remains of what once was the hallmark tree of Crete. Beautiful area for hiking!
Prina Pine Woods
The hills around Prina are covered by pine trees.
There have been some fires unfortunately, but it’s still an important and beautiful forested area.
From there you also have great views down towards the sea.