Omalos is a village in the western of Crete, and it means plain, regular, or smooth, referring to its plateau. Omalos is located 38km south of Chania at an altitude ranging from 1040 to 1250 meters, surrounded by the high peaks of the White Mountains.
Apart from its great history, Omalos derives most of its importance from its connection with Samaria Gorge, since it is just few kilometers (5km) away from its entrance. Despite the gorge, Omalos is also related to two more mountain peaks, Gingilos (2080m) and Volakas (2116m).
At this point, it is useful to mention that the walk from Omalos to Gigilos is recommended, since the view from its peak is absolutely fantastic, especially when the sky is clear.
This route is not so difficult. Halfway to Gigigos, almost an hour from Xyloskalo, there is the spring of Linoseli (Seli of Hellenes) where the water at 1500m high is ice-cold during all seasons of the year. At ancient times there was a famous Oracle there. Just before that, there is the Demonospilio (cave of demons), which according to a tradition was the den of demons. In Gigilos there are many climbing routes that have been mapped out by Greek and foreign alpinists. More than 10 caves gulches tear rip down the surface of the mountain, the deepest of them with 115 meters vertical descent, found when climbing towards the peak.
Moreover, according to the local legend, Gigilos peak was also the throne of Zeus, the Father of the Olympian Gods. West of Gigilos, you will see the peaks of Agathopes (1768m) and Psilafi (1984m), where Zeus drove his beloved chariots. Indeed, the peak of Agathopi had previously hosted slalom ski races.
As far as the history of this place concerns, the plateau of Omalos was used by the people of the area as a refuge and base of the revolutionaries, during the Ottoman occupation and also during all other wars against invaders. Throughout the German occupation in the Second World War, a small airport was also operating in Omalos for a short time.
Description & Map of the Walk
The walk starts from the entrance of Agia Irini Gorge. After a few metres, you need to cross the stream, go towards the eastern slope, and start to walk an old Byzantine path, which leads to Omalos. This path has northeast direction.
The path winds up the ridge. We pass a small saddle and after 1.5 - 2km we enter a small flat area, where you will meet a stone made shepherd’s hut, and the ruins of another one.
We pass through the flat area and a small dry gully, and we continue on the uphill path, with a southeast direction, walking on the ridge below and parallel to the main road. 1.5km after the flat area, we ascend towards the main road, which we follow eastwards.
On the way, you will meet a crossroad that goes to Sougia via Koustogerakos, however you will keep walking eastwards, until you see the church of Agioi Theodoroi. From this point, you need to walk on the main asphalt road, until you reach the village of Omalos.
Having walked 1km from Agioi Theodoroi church, you will meet a crossroad, which you need to pick the left direction, which will lead you directly to the centre of the village.
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