Hiking in Crete is one of the best activities you can do during your stay! The island is a magical destination full of walking and hiking trails that thousands of people visit every year. One of the most rewarding ways to explore the outstanding beauty and nature of Crete. No matter the difficulty of the path, Crete is a paradise for those who love such experiences. Below you will find out about the most famous paths of Crete, as well as the necessary information for the adventure you are about to face.
To begin with, Crete is Greece’s largest island with unbelievable variation in trails and landscape diversity. Thanks to that, you can always find a route that suit all levels of fitness and experience. From mountains and gorges to coastal paths and waterfalls, this blessed island will offer you memorable moments. Whether you are planning a multi-day walk or even a stroll, the variety of hikes has got you covered. However, the first thing before starting your hike is to decide what type of hiking trail you want to enjoy. More specific, hiking and walking are two different things and Crete’s trails could be extremely dangerous. After that see if it suits you depending on your fitness level, the terrain, the trail condition as well as the weather conditions.
Samaria Gorge, the most famous hiking path in Crete
Hike through the most famous trekking gorges of Europe, the Samaria Gorge. Its length reaches up to 15km and takes from 4 to 7 hours depending on your speed and fitness level. Being protected by Natura 2000 program, the gorge includes a huge variety of flora and fauna and if you are lucky, you will meet the famous Cretan goat, Kri Kri. The diversity of the scenery is stunning, as through the way down you meet forest, springs, imposing rocks, plateaus and the village of Samaria. The gorge ends to the traditional village, Agia Roumeli, where you can rest at night and relax at the beach. Please note that the ways to return back to Chania or elsewhere, are by boat or by hiking the European E4 trail path.
Explore the coastal part of Crete by hiking E4 trail
One of the most magnificent hikes in Crete is the coastal path of the European trail. Discover breathtaking beaches through the hike while the amazing sceneries are changing before your eyes. Through this trip there are many places to spend your night, either in hotel or camping. The beaches in south Crete are truly stunning, secluded with turquoise crystal-clear waters. First of all, the path leads from Kissamow south through Elafonisi, Paleochora and then Sougia. After the village Sougia, it splits and the hikers can choose either the mountain or the coastal route. The mountain route leads through the impossing White Mountais and the refuges, while the coastal one continues along the southern coast of Chania. More specific, the journey continues to Agia Roumeli, Loutro and then to Chora Sfakion. An experience you should definitely enjoy as the view will stay forever in your mind.
The White Mountains – a mystical experience in the mountain desert
If you are a mountain lover, then this hike is for you. One of the most demanding paths of Crete and part of the European trail E4 is crossing the mountain desert of the White Mountains. The trail takes around 4 days by hiking an unforgettable route through an unprecedented scenery. You can spend the nights at the mountain shelters of Kallergi, Katsiveli and Tavri, as they are full equipped with beds and hot water. The view from the peak, Pachnes, will blow your mind as it feels like you are stepping on Mars planet. If the atmosphere is clear, you might see the continent Africa from one side and Peloponnese from the other. Hiking in the mountains of Crete requires experience, fitness and a good orientation. Along the hike, you will see many deep caves, as also a huge variety of flora and fauna which is endemic.
Hiking throught the steep gorge of Aradena, Crete
Aradena Gorge is the deepest and steepest gorge in Chania prefecture. Starting from the hills of the White Mountains, the gorge ends at the Libyan Sea. Its total length is 15 km and it is ideal for hiking and for extreme sports, such as bungee jumping. The bridge of Aradena is the second highest one in Europe. The trail is a bit steep with diversity to the landscape, while the endpoint is breathtaking. It ends up in the idyllic beach of Marmara and it is lapped by crystal clear waters and underwater caves.
Although its length is 15km, the hiking route is approximately 7 km and it takes around 3 hours. Into the gorge, there are few spots which are quite difficult to pass, specially if there was heavy rain during winter. Along the gorge, there are some abandoned villages on the sides. Last, when reaching the amazing beach of Marmara at the end of the gorge there are two choices:
- Return by boat – water taxi to Loutro and Chora Sfakion
- Continue the coastal hiking trail which was mentioned before
Go back in time at the most “haunting” gorge
The gorge of the Dead at Zakros is an exceptionally beautiful gorge with big caves on high walls. In fact, these caves are really interesting considering that they are tombs of the Minoan era and they have a significant archaeological value. This is the reason why its name is Gorge of the Dead. The gorge ends on the beach of Zakros where Minoans built a palace 3500 years ago.
These were just a few hiking paths in the island that could be at the top of the list. However, the paths are numerous. Hiking in Crete can be rewarding and lifechanging. The only thing you should do is to be prepared for it, as far as it concerns the clothing, the food etc and be knowledgeable with all the necessary information of the specific path. Crete is absolutely wonderful and waits for you to discover its beauties.
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