Psiloritis UNESCO Global Geopark is located in the island of Crete and extends over an area of about 1200 km². It is allocated in two regional units, that of Heraklion and Rethimnon and within six municipalities. The Geopark was founded in 2001 by the developmental organization AKOMM – PSILORITIS DEVELOPMENT AGENCY S.A, ORGANIZATION OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT with the scientific support of the Natural History Museum of Crete. Due to its rich geodiversity, its picturesque scenery and its longlasting history and tradition, Psiloritis Geopark was included, from its early foundation, at the European Geoparks Network, and later at the Global Geoparks Network.
The Geopark includes the entire area of Mountain Idi (Psiloritis) which is the highest in Crete, reaching up to 2456 m. The surrounding Talaia Ori that extend till the northern coast and the valleys of Mylopotamos, Messara and Amari are all included within its boundaries. Without doubt the Geopark is characterized by its superb geology. This is reflected by the variety of rock formations that comprise all the rock types of Crete. The formations and the geotopes of Psiloritis are widespread throughout the area. Apart from unique rock formations, it includes fossil sites, spectacular landforms, caves and many other karstic structures, faults and folds in the rocks which are important sources of water for the natural environment, constituting elements of interaction between human, rocks and landscape. The amazing gorges, caves and mountainous regions of the Geopark host a diverse flora and fauna. Many herbs and endemic species grow mainly in this territory and rare animals live there. The combination of rocks with hundreds of plants and animals which grow or live exclusively in these mountains, explains Psiloritis UNESCO Global Geopark great biodiversity. Besides all that, it hosts shepherds’ houses, called "mitata" which are the landmarks of Psiloritis Mountains. They are made by local, platy, dry-stone material and are fully adapted to the landscape. Those houses are still used by local shepherds for cheese production. Many antiquities can be also found within the Geopark, such as the Minoan settlement of Zominthos (that was a laboratory closely connected to Knossos palace), the Ideon Antro Cave (where, according to Greek mythology, Zeus grew up) and the classical city of Eleytherna.
Today Psiloritis Natural Park plays an active role in the global efforts for the conservation and promotion of the environment, of the natural and cultural heritage, as well as of the sustainable local development through the geo-tourism and the other kinds of alternative tourism. The Geopark of Psiloritis is an excellent destination for ecotourists and provides opportunities for both recreation and education. The visitor has an extensive choice of activities ranging from sports to learning more about breathtaking science of geology, to observe birds, animals and plants, to visiting the archaeological sites and to tasting the traditional Cretan cuisine, renowned worldwide as among the healthiest in the world.