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.
At its centre is the upland Lassithi plain – the largest on the island, around which are a large number of peaks between 1500 and 2148 m.
The southern section of Dicte merges with the Viannos region where there are some impressive geomorphological formations and the steepest slopes. One can single out the upland plain of Omalos at Viannos, the forests of Syme and Selakhanos to the east and the most impressive gorges that cut through the region. Further east again is the plateau of Lapathos from which runs the gorge of the same name – a most fitting destination for those keen on ‘canyoning’.
The east part of Dicte holds the Katharo plateau, around which rear the peaks of Lazaros (2066 m) and Tzibi, beneath which start the Gorge of Kritsas, which runs down to the traditional village of that name.
Kontilies, Idean Cave - Psarantonis
Most of these mountains have but sparse vegetation cover, chiefly of the phrygana sort (that is plant communities made up of undershrubs – aromatics and thorny species, unpalatable; called garigue elsewhere), with clumps of oaks. The region is covered with snow in winter. For mountaineering addicts, the mountains of Lassithi are the most attractive on the island; mountain trails are many, and of varying degrees of difficulty.
The E4 European Walking Trail descends from Lassithi, starting on its west flanks, goes through the Limnakaro plateau, up to the refuge hut (at 1350 m), and ascends the two highest peaks of Dicte – the Afendi (Lord/Master) and Spathi (Sword). The latter has climbing trails and also ones for ice-climbing.
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