Arhanes - Mirtia - Agarathos monastery


Trail Arhanes - Mirtia - Agarathos
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This part of the E4 trail covers a long distance in Heraklion countryside, characterized by extended vineyards and olive groves. Hiking is very easy and most of it could be covered by car or bicycle. The route starts from Apano Arhanes village, which is one of the most picturesque settlements in Crete retaining its traditional architecture. We wander around the colorful alleys of the village and follow the main road to the village Kato Archanes.

It is suggested not to follow the road to Kato Arhanes directly, but to follow the subtrail to Fourni Wood and then descend to Kato Arhanes. Fourni hill housed one of the largest Minoan cemeteries in South Aegean and has nice views to the valley of Apano and Kato Archanes. From Fourni we descend to Kato Arhanes and follow the path to Kounavi.

Through a network of dirt roads and trail, we reach the stone bridge at the exit of Kounaviano gorge and then ascend to the village Mirtia, the homeland of the famous Cretan writer Nikos Kazantzakis (in the central square there a museum dedicated to him). From Mirtia we descend to Astraki arch bridge next to an abandoned water mill and enter the upper part of Astrakiano gorge. We ascend the gorge and finally meet the monastery of Agarathos, which is considered the oldest operating monastery in Crete.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Heraklion Prefecture
  • Type: E4 trail
  • Length (km): 18
  • Difficulty (0-10): 1
  • Hiking Hours: 6:00
  • Accessibility: Dirt track, Walking

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