The mountains of Crete are distinguished by the presence of impressive gorges and upland plateaux, the beauty and variety of the wildlife and the exceptional richness of the flora.
The mountainous portion of Crete is divisible into three main ranges, whichrise above 2000 m, and several smaller ones above 1000 m.
From west to east, the main ranges encountered in turn are the White Mountains near Chania, Ida or Psiloritis at the centre with the Asterousia Mountains at the centre south, Dicte at the borders of the Heraklion and Lassithi prefectures, and Thrypti to the very east.
These make up the most extensive range on the island, running from west to east for 40-45 km and from north to south 35 km. They have a large number of peaks (57) above 2000 m and almost as many (54) between 1500-2000 m.
West Crete, the Chania prefecture
The Ida range dominates the central portion of Crete, occupying a goodly part of the prefectures of Heraklion and Rethymnon, separating the West and East ends of the island. The highest peak is that of the Holy Cross (2456 m), where stands a small dry-stone church of that name.
Centre of Crete, Heraklion and Rethymnon prefectures
The Dicte massif (or the Lassithi range) takes up a good part of East Crete. Both spread out and massive, its steeper slopes are on the south, the other flanks are less precipitous. The gorges tend to be associated with the steep southern side.
East Crete, at the border of the Heraklion and Lassithi prefectures
This range is the southernmost in Greece: they stretch along the south coastline of the Heraklion prefecture, between the Messara plain at the north, and the Libyan sea to their south.
South side of the Heraklion prefecture
The province of Siteia is covered by the Siteia mountains – the highest of which are Thrypti/Afenti (1476 m) at the west and Ornos (1237 m) to the north. To the east the massif, occupying essentially the entire east portion of Crete, is compact and with low peaks that do not rise above 800 m in height.
East part of the Lassithi prefecture