Activities in the Mountains
Hiking, Cycling, Jeep Safari
With 65 summits over 2000 meters Crete has a lot to offer those who like hiking in the mountains. Walk through the impressive Samaria Gorge - the longest gorge in Europe - or go trekking the Psiloritis Mountains just south of Villa Talea.
They form one of the most mountainous areas not only of Crete but of all of Greece. Impressive peaks tower above a coastline of steep cliffs cut by deep ravines running down to the sea.
The Psiloritis Mountains
There are 5 summits in Psiloritis. Timios Stavros (Holy Cross) is the highest mountain on Crete with 2456m. Other summits are Agathias: 2424m, Stolistra: 2325m, Voulomenou: 2267m and Koussakas: 2209m. Here, until early June there will still be snow on the summit. You'll need plenty of water, a hat and sun lotion and good trekking boots. There are 4 or 5 different routes to Timios Stavros. The easier one departs from the Nida Plateau at 1412 m. Depending on how fit you are it will take between 3 to 6 hours to get there. perhaps a little less to get back again.
Drive to Anogia village and then to the Nida plateau. It takes about 1-1,5 hours from Villa Talea. Park your car at the restaurant. The only building on the plateau. Walk from here, along the dirt track leading to the Idaion Andron cave. The cave where Zeus is said to have been raised. Short before the cave there is a yellow post on your left. It is one of the posts marking the E4-Paneuropean path and you'll find such posts along the trail all the way to the top. The path is easy to see and there is no risk of getting lost during daytime. The first few hours you walk upwards then you descend to the Akollita Plateau and finally you ascend to the Timios Stavros summit.
Start walking early in the morning in case you get delayed by something. Also, it is less hot at that time. From the top you have the most magnificent view. On a clear day you can see Heraklion and Aegean Sea to the north, the White Mountains (Lefka Ori) to the west, the summit of Agathias to the east and the plain of Messara and the Libyan Sea to the south. You can stay overnight at the top, but then you'll need some warm clothes and a good sleeping-bag. The temperature at night is low and, if it is windy it can be freezing cold even in the summer.
Visit traditional mountain villages and beautiful countryside as you cross the Cretan heartland on bike. You can stay on the asphalt roads or you can choose the dirt roads and old trails taking you off the beaten track. Crete is a wild and beautiful island, and there is hardly any better better way to experience its splendor than on a bike. You can rent mountain bikes in Rethymnon at The Olympic Bike Travel where you can also join an organised tour. From comfortable downhill bike trekking tours for the whole family, up to programs for top-performance MTB athletes. Included in the rental price are: helmet, lock, repair kit, pump and map. On request they can mount kid seats, MTB SPD click pedals or arrange for delivery in Panormos or Bali close to Villa Talea.
Take a scenic off road trip in a 4x4 jeep through the forests and mountains of Crete. Driving in a a 4x4 jeep can take you to places that are hard to reach in an ordinary car. Discover deserted villages, breathtaking views and secluded beaches. The Safari Club takes you off the beaten track, up into the mountains and along the old trails. In Land Rover defenders, which hold no more than 9 passengers, you can explore the rugged mountains of Crete. Past historical archaeological monuments, taking you off road where no ordinary vehicles can travel, and giving you a taste of the traditions of Crete, its culture and its people. You will also see a variety of animals, and beautiful plants, which most visitors to Crete never see. The safari has many stops throughout the day and there are very good photographic opportunities. A B.B.Q. lunch is included in the excursion with unlimited wine and a good selection of local Cretan food.