Trekking in Crete
Trekking in Crete: Adventures in one of the best places for trekking in Europe
Trekking in Crete is a fascinating experience that draws many people every year to this island in eastern Mediterranean. Crete, apart from great beaches and famous resorts, is an island with many mountains. Trekking is an excellent way to get to know the real soul of Crete, its small mountainous villages, its peaks and its gorges.
There are three big mountain ranges, ideal for trekking in Crete. In the west, there are the White Mountains, or Lefka Ori in Greek, with an altitude of 2453 metres. In the centre of the island, there is Mount Idi or Psiloritis, with an altitude of 2456 metres. And in the east there is Mount Dikti, with an altitude of 2148 metres. There are excellent trekking routes in each of these mountains.
Trekking in Crete – the E4 European path
The E4 European path goes all the way across Crete and ends in its east side. The E4 is a trekking path that starts from Portugal, goes through Spain, France, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, mainland Greece and ends in Crete. The E4 trekking path in Crete starts from Elafonisi in the west and ends in Kato Zakros in the east. The E4 path is marked with black and yellow signs.
When trekking in Crete across the E4 European path, keep in mind that there are parts of the path that are difficult, or even very difficult. As the terrain is rocky, you should have a good pair of trekking boots with good ankle support. Before starting out, you should carry supplies with you – especially enough drinking water, due to the hot climate of the island.
It’s also useful to know that there is the possibility some parts of the path to be blocked (e.g. by stones that were moved by the rain or the torrents). So, before starting trekking in Crete, it is a good idea, apart from having a good trekking map, to ask the locals regarding the present condition of the path.
Another thing to remember regarding the E4 European path is that it gets divided to two parallel paths in Sougia. The northern path is alpine and you need to have experience in alpine trekking in order to cross it. The southern path goes parallel to the south coast of the island and is one of the most picturesque trekking paths in Crete. However, this southern path is very difficult at some points, or even blocked, especially in the area between Sougia, Agia Roumeli and Chora Sfakion. The length of each path is about 320 kilometres.
Trekking in Crete – other trekking paths
The E4 European path is not the only path for trekking in Crete. In the island there are many other trekking paths, usually marked with red signs.
Some of the most picturesque paths are following the south coast. As many of these paths are easy to follow, they are the best option for trekking in Crete if you are not experienced.
There are also impressive paths all around the island that go through gorges. Crete is famous for its gorges, like the Samaria Gorge, the longest gorge in Europe. Crossing through Samaria Gorge, is one of the best trekking experiences in Crete.
When trekking in Crete, you will also find many caves, several of which are interesting. It is estimated that there are more than 3.500 caves in Crete. The most known cave is Ideo Antro in central Crete, which, according to ancient Greek mythology, is the birthplace of Zeus, the king of Gods.
Trekking in Crete is more than a sport. It is one of the best ways to learn the other, “secret” part of the island, which is hidden in its high mountains, cliffs and gorges. The vast variety of paths in all difficulty levels makes trekking in Crete an experience you should try when exploring this magnificent island.