Picturesque village

Skiing in the morning, lunch by the sea — Greek City Times

Although Crete is internationally known for summer and its famous beaches, especially Fragokastello, Elafonisi and Falassarna, the island also has mountains, picturesque villages and ski slopes.

Crete has three mountains that rise to over 2,000 meters, the Psiloritis mountain with its Timios Stavros at 2,456 meters, the White Mountains with the Pachnes peak at 2,454 meters and Dikti with the Spathi peak at 2,148 meters.

The island has a long history of mountaineering – the Greek Mountaineering Club of Hania has been around since the 1930s and there are mountaineering clubs all over the island.

However, ski mountaineering was almost unknown, it remained a bit of a secret among mountaineering enthusiasts.

A group of Cretan mountaineers did something that at first seemed futile, even crazy: they organized the first ski mountaineering race in Crete, known today as Pierra Creta, which became an event well established.

Indeed, in 2019 there were more than 50 participants from 11 different countries, while this year’s event – which took place on March 5 despite pandemic restrictions, welcomed skiers from France, Austria, from Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Italy and elsewhere.

Strange as it may seem, the ski area of ​​Crete is not small, while the snow season is long – it usually lasts until April, but can sometimes extend until the beginning of June.

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This makes it an ideal destination for spring skiing, while combining easily with walks on the beach.

For those who love skiing and mountaineering, put another pin in your map and climb the Psiloritis, where you can ski with your eyes glued to the blue Cretan sea.

The best known track is the one that descends from the top of Timios Stavros to the Migeros Pit.

The routes that start from the Toumbotos Prinos refuge and from the Stolistra peak are also good options.

You can also try your hand at slalom in the White Mountains, although bringing a guide is recommended as the mountain is difficult and you can easily get lost.

Consider that it has more than 50 peaks that exceed 2,000 meters.

Dikti in Lasithi is also a good option, but the snow doesn’t last long.

Deciding where to go skiing of course depends on the après-ski activities.

Imagine skiing the slopes of Ida in the morning and then having a coffee in the afternoon in the old Venetian port of Rethymno; tasting of excellent cheeses, honeys and wines in Livadia at 600 meters above sea level.

You can also stroll through the old village of Garazo with its cobbled streets, stone houses and the old Turkish prison; or stroll through the narrow streets of the charming Venetian village of Margarites.

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There is also Anogia, perhaps Rethymno’s most famous village with its exuberant traditional style and authentic Cretan cuisine.

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On the other side, behind the White Mountains, there are equally tempting options, such as the beautiful old town of Hania with its stylish bars, the seaside Sfakia and Loutro, the mountain village of Theriso for delicious cuisine and Omalos, gateway to Samaria. Throat.

In beautiful Lasithi in the shadow of Dikti there is the picturesque village of Kritsa with its cobbled streets, the village of Krousta with its whitewashed houses and streets full of mulberry trees and of course the town of Ierapetra with its countless dining options.

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And if you’re still not tired, on the way back you can stop for a swim at one of the island’s beautiful beaches.

Voula Akrivaki is a correspondent for Travel.

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