The White Mountains or Lefka Ori occupy a good part of the centre
of West Crete and are the main feature of the region. They are made
of limestone and called White Mountains because they are covered
in snow until late in the spring. In the summer, the sun reflected
on the limestone summits makes them appear white as well.
The highest summit is Pachnes (2453m)
and there are over 30 summits that are higher than 2000m. The White Mountains
also have about 50 gorges, the most famous being the gorge
Another characteristic of the mountains are the high plateaux in the centre of
the mountains. The best known is the plateau of Omalos which is a round plain
surrounded by mountains, at an altitude of 1100m.
There are only a few roads leading into the White Mountains: the
road to Omalos and the entrance of the Samaria
gorge and the road to Chora Sfakion through the plateau of
Askifou. There are also a few dirt roads leading to a higher altitude
but if you really want to experience the mountains you will need
The centre and southern part of the White Mountains lying
at an altitude of 1800m and above are a moon landscape technically
called a high desert and unique in the northern hemisphere.