The Asterousia Mountains are offering a world of unique charm, with the treeless landscape it seems barren, but the opposite is the case! Many animals are living and hiding in this exceptional area and a wide range of flowers and plant flourish here. 23 endemic species of plants, more than 90 species of bird, 24 reptiles and many more inhabit this jewel in the South of Crete.
Huge parts of the Asterousia Mountains remain untouched, since there is no seaside road - let's hope it will stay like this! Please take care, when you visit this sensitive ecosystem.
Kofinas is the highest peak of the Asterousia Mountains and gets its name from its shape resembling inverted basket (kofini in Greek).
First of all we would like to mention, that it is an advantage (or maybe even a must) to come with a 4x4! The roads are rocky and can be difficult, also walking in the trail is not recommended for those with fear of heights.
We started our trip from Sternes in direction Monastery Koudoumas, soon you will see the way to Mount Kofinas on the right. You can drive up, until you see the trail, which leads to the summit.
It is a short, but very steep ascent, it will take you about 20 minute to the Timios Stavros, the highest point (1231 m).
Once you are on the top feelings will overwhelm you - the endless view of the Libyan Sea from one side and the Cretan mainland from the other will take your breath!
I can be quite windy up there, better be prepared! Beside the small stone chapel, there is no place to hide.
Today there is a stone chapel on the mountain consecrated to "Timion Stavron", which means the "upright cross", and each year on 14 September mass is celebrated on the peak, and in recent years increasing numbers of locals from nearby villages have made a pilgrimage to this service, carrying basil and loaves of bread to the top of the mountain, where they are consecrated and then eaten.
The view from the peak is superb: deep below you can just make out the monastery Moni Koudouma, which is a very popular place of pilgrimage.