The White Mountains
The White Mountains or Lefka Ori cover a large part of the centre of Western Crete. They are the essential feature of the region. They take their name from the fact that snow covers them until the end of spring. In the summer, the summits appear white as rocks are mostly limestone.
The highest summit of the range is Pachnes at 2,453m (8,048ft). It is the 2nd-highest summit in Crete after Mount Ida, which is only 3m (10ft) higher.
More than 30 summits, called sori (amas), are over 2,000m (6,562ft). There are also some 50 gorges, the most famous one being Samaria.
The high plateaus in the middle of the mountains are a crucial characteristic of this range. The most popular one is the plateau of Omalos. It is a circular plain surrounded by mountains, at an altitude of 1,100m (3,609ft).
There are only a couple of routes up to the White Mountains: the road going towards Omalos and the one going towards Chora Sfakion through the plateau of Askifou.
There are also some dirt paths higher up in the mountains. The only way to have a real experience of this mountain range is by walking.
The central and southern parts of the mountain range are technically a desert. It creates a unique lunar-like landscape at 1,800m (5,906ft).