Crete’s second highest mountain at 2,452m (short by only 2m!) Pachnes can be found in the white mountains, also known as Lefka Ori. Situated on the west of the island and is one of many peaks that can be found in this vast mountain range.
The moon on Earth
What makes Pachnes so interesting is the fact that it is completely devoid of vegetation and has a very other world feel to it unlike any other landscape you may have visited.
The easiest way to access this peak is from the south in Sfakia. If you have access to a 4×4 and feel comfortable driving on dirt roads with sheer drop offs then you can drive up as close as 3km from the peak.
Alternatively you can drive to Anopoli and pay the super friendly guys at Anopoli rooms to take you up in the back of one of their trucks. While it is only 3km it is still 450m of vertical climbing but with fairly good trail and a gradual climb with some steep sections. If you are looking for a more challenging route you can hike up the trail from Anopoli or further still from sea to summit and start your hike from Loutro!
My favourite way to experience Pachnes is on the full moon… and in fact especially at night time you feel like you are on the moon!! I like to make my way up there for sunset and then wait for the moon to rise and hike back down by to glow of moonlight without the need of a headlamp.