Few places in the world have the privilege to share high mountains so close to the sea like the island of Crete. Crete in winter is full of adventurous travelers’ delights like Omalos, the plateau and the high peaks of the White Mountains that are truly white and dominate the western region of Crete. You will be blown away by the beauty of this natural marvel as well as the friendly and family-run atmosphere of the growing local infrastructure that promise an alternative holiday experience in a rare and exciting location.
Omalos is located 38km south of Chania and is a round plain surrounded by high peaks lay after each other high up above the National Park of Samaria, covered in snow until late in the spring . Omalos is at an altitude ranging from 1,040 to 1,250 meters and you will find stone built guesthouses and taverns at the entrance. Apart from the feeling of Switzerland between the snowcapped peaks and the stone houses, most of the taverns share authentic atmosphere and excellent local food from fresh meat, cheeses and vegetables.
If you really want to experience the mountains of Crete you will need to walk through a network of ancient paths and shepherd trails. In this healthy haven, in the heart of the most mountainous area of Crete, the fruits and vegetable are of the highest quality and the water the purest treasure. For those who want to spend some quality time on their vacation and experience the majesty of the White Mountains, Omalos is particularly beautiful during the winter time, frequently dressed in white, but you can visit it the whole year, especially in spring and early summer if you are a flower enthusiast. A drive up to the northern hills of the White Mountains is also a great way to admire the heartland and the rocky mountains of western Crete (4x4 excursions to Omalos).
From Omalos you see both the North and the South coast of the island and from the tops some of the most beautiful gorges of the island, including the most famous one, Samaria that starts at Xiloskala location. The most known mounts are Volikas (alt. 1430 m.) and Gigilos (alt. 2.083 m.), while the mountain shelter Kallergi lays at 1600 meter over Xiloskala with a stunning view and hosts hikers and climbers from all around the world. The shelter belongs to the local mountain club and is open daily during the summer months (May- October) and at weekends in winter. From Kallergi one can walk on through the Lefka Ori, as many climbing routes towards Gigilos and Psilafi have been mapped out by Greek and foreign alpinists (E4 path).
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