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White mountains

The imposing massif of Lefka Ori has something unique: Most of the main massif summits are over 2000 meters. The visitor can explore this area in many different ways. The best one of course is trekking from one end to the other. The most common routes start from Omalos and end on the plateau of Askyfou (east to west) or start from the village of Kampoi and end in Anopolis (north to south).

On this page you can get information about the second route, which starts from the north and ends on the south coast by the village of Anopolis.

Trecking on White Mountains

The most suitable time to walk this route is from October to the beginning of December, as there is usually no snow and the temperature is not high. Before proceeding to the description it would be wise to mention some useful things that shouldn't be left out of your rucksack on this specific hike: plenty of water, a waterproof jacket and a small first aid kit for an injury or blisters from the boots due to the long walking.

On the whole you'll have to walk for about 20 hours until you reach Anopolis. The number of hours may increase substantially in case of bad weather or walking on fresh snow. Having with you a biwack sack could be useful just in case. Walking starts from the village of Kampoi in the county of Chania, which can be reached by public transport. We start walking from the village square heading South towards the hut of Volikas (see photo). A little further to the south of the village you'll find the path that leads there.

You'll need a total of 2.5-3.5 hours depending on the weather conditions and how fit you are. The hut will be open only in case there is a trip organized by the Alpine Club of Chania or any other Club, or if you have made prior arrangements for your stay there with the Alpine Club of Chania,as it isn't open all the time. From the hut continue southeast towards the peak of Spathi. In the beginning you can move on a well defined path but later on it disappears and there are some small stone cairns here and there. The peak comes to sight after having walked for about 1-1.5 hours from the hut.

White Mountains Trecking, Crete

It's also visible from the village of Kampoi- the pointed peak. From that point on you have to choose the easiest-looking way to the top, usually by walking up the NW ridge. In few words Spathi can be reached easily provided that the weather conditions in the area are good enough. Things can get complicated in case of fog or snow, so the use of a map with a compass or even better a GPS would be helpful. Up to Spathi it'll take 2.5-3.5 hours from the hut of Volikas. A characteristic feature of the top is the big cross up there (see photo).

From that point the route goes down until we reach a small plateau. To go there you have to follow the ridge to the east of the peak and then to head a little to the west until you reach the plateau. This specific part of the route is far from difficult. There is another shorter way; the most practical, however, in case of bad weather is the one already described. After having reached the small plateau you go on heading east and then southeast. After about 2 hours you'll find the E4 path, which you have to follow. The E4 will lead you to the very beautiful hut of Svourichti in the heart of the White Mountains.

The hut of Svourichti is built at 1970 meters and it is considered to be the most mountainous and remote hut in Crete, for some people even the most beautiful (see photo). This hut has a capacity for 25 trekkers but in case of really bad weather this number could double! In winter you can also spend the night some meters lower than the hut in a characteristic mitato -a stone hut- that is there. Due to its position -a pit- the cold is of course bitter there. But this specific point is protected from avalanches, which are not unusual in the White Mountains. Until the hut or the mitato the walking time is 9-10 hours and they are rather tiresome, as the route includes a lot of up and downhill walking.

White mountains

In the next morning, after having spent the night in the lodge or the mitato, you set off to Pachnes, the highest summit of the White Mountains at 2453 meters, where we get after about 3 hours. Climbing to the top is much easier than the previous day. There is a clear-sighted path until a bit before the top. Pachnes can be seen from the lodge, too (some meters before the top) but for your best orienteering you should see the relevant pictures.

After having enjoyed the view from Pachnes, depending on your physical fatigue or experience- especially in winter- you can continue your trekking using various routes. They are all beautiful but the one described here is surely the most attractive. It starts from the peak and follows a beautiful and well-preserved path, which can be easily seen to a side direction. There is no chance to get lost in summer, as the path is quite clear-sighted. Just before the end of it there is a fold on your right where there is a fountain of water, too.

The water there is quite good and you can freshen yourself up without any problem. In about 1.5 hours from Pachnes you will have reached an earth-road that leads to Anopolis. If you have a means of transport you can leave by road - 20 km- and in an hour enjoy swimming in the clear waters of the Libyan Sea. But this suggestion isn't really recommended because then you lose the best part of the route!

White Mountains, Crete

When you meet the road you walk on it for about 1.5-2 hours and then you follow the path that starts on your right. This path is relatively good and there is no chance to get lost; the only thing you have to do is to follow down the gorge and at its end you'll meet the road again. I must say this is going to take some time, as the gorge is rather long. You are going to need a total of 4-5 hours only for the gorge. This gorge starts at 1700 meters and ends at about 600 meters of altitude. Having found the road again the only thing you have to do is to follow it until you reach the village of Anopolis at 500 meters, which is your destination. That's the end of the trekking in the White Mountains and, believe me, you aren't going to forget it for a long time!

Posted on: 24/01/2011