A good base for touring the Amári valley is Thrónos, a sizeable village at the valley’s northern end with an inviting place to stay, Rooms Aravanes. The proprietor here – Lambros Papoutsakis – is a keen walker and conducts guided treks to the peak of Mount Psilorítis, which at 2456m is Crete’s highest. Although he does guide groups up in the daytime, his preferred approach is during the full moons of June, July and August, which avoids the extreme summer temperatures. Phone in advance for details; it’s not a difficult climb, but you’ll need sturdy footwear and a sleeping bag. The summit is reached at around dawn, and the sunrise is always spectacular: on clear days the mountain offers a breathtaking view of the whole island and its four seas spreading in all directions.
Other hikes from Thrónos include a relatively easy path leading north through the foothills in a couple of hours to themonastery of Arkádhi, while south from Thrónos is an easy stroll on a paved road running back into the main valley via Kalóyerosa. A map detailing these walks is available from Rooms Aravanes.