Giouchtas – Archanes
The Holy mountain of Giouchtas is the first thing you see once you reach the port of Heraklion. It looks like a leaning male head. Giouchtas is rich in ancient myths and according to legend it is the home of Zeus’ tomb. The ascent is relatively easy and short so it shouldn’t take very long to reach the top. The mountain path starts at Archanes and elevates through pine trees and cypresses, rocks and brush woods.
You’ll smell the aroma of oregano, thyme and sage. The view from the top certainly compensates for any slight loss of breath! There is a platform with a 360 degrees view called ‘tetraklitos’ Jesus. With a bit of luck you’ll see the vultures, eagles and falcons that nest here and proudly fly around. Beneath there are vineyards, fields and olive trees that form a colorful mosaic that reaches as far as Heraklion and the sea.
After a well deserved rest take the path that leads to the Minoan archaeological site (and to the ruins of the not so old TV station). You will pass through a small botanical garden where all the plants are labelled before reaching the top where there was once an ancient Minoan sanctuary. Wave to Zeus as you make the descent and breathe the fresh, clean air. Once you reach Archanes why not sip a local raki as a reward for your efforts!
Families should know
- Make sure you wear comfy shoes for climbing and take sun cream, a hat, water and maybe a snack
- Avoid the trip at noon time as it gets very hot in the summer
- Be really careful on the descent as the path can be slippery in places
- For the lazier ones who would still like to admire the view from the summit there is a dirt track that leads to the top and is relatively easy to ascend
- It takes approximately an hour to reach the top (excluding rest stops)
Best season to visit