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Home / About Malia / Malia's Countryside / Natural Features
Natural Features

Natural Features of Crete in general

Approaching Crete from the sky you will notice some things that are quite typical of the island. Firstly – though not uncommon to islands – there are its mountains: Like Athena bursting fully armed from Zeus’ head, Crete’s mountains emerge from the sea, shooting up to heights of over 2,200m – the highest peak being Mt. Psiloritis at 2,456m – and covering two thirds of the island’s surface.

Four great mountain massifs slice through the island, each with a core of limestone, surrounded by lower mountains of phyllites and quartzites: the Lefka Ori (White Mountains) in the west, Psiloritis and Dhikti Mountains in central Crete and the Thripti Mountains in the east.

Their bold limestone cliffs and bare rock, with here and there cypress, pine and oak woods, contrast with the rounder, usually well vegetated outlines of the phyllites-quartzites hills.

Then there are the lower hills that flow over into the plains. These are the island’s cultivated lowlands, with olive and vine groves, with vegetable gardens of the villagers and greenhouses.

And last but not least: Crete’s coastline, surrounded by the azure-blue of the Cretan Sea. It is a highly diverse coastline, with sandy beaches, hidden lagoons and rocky cliffs.