The E4 European Long Distance Path encompasses a large network of trails with special cultural, natural and historical value. It is marked by the European Ramblers Association and crosses the island from Kissamos to Zakros, after crossing all major Mountain Ranges in Crete (White Mountains, Kedros, Ida Range, Dikti and Thripti). Hikers have the opportunity to explore a wide range of landscapes of great diversity. Apart from the E4, there are plenty of options of majestic mapped routes.
The colors of the E4 trail signing are yellow and black
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.
This part of the E4 is one of the easiest you can find in Crete as it is entirely through paved and dirt roads (in fair condition). As it is quite long, you can explore it by car, but we suggest to think of cycling. The route offers good views to the olive groves of Pediada province.
From Kastamonitsa, the E4 European trail heads to east and passes by Saint George at position Mesada. It continues to the east, near the ruins of the ancient aqueduct of Lyktos. It soon ascends to the Plateau Lassithi through the stunning Minoan path that winds up the steep slopes of Dikti. It comes by the position Tsouli Mnima, the village Kato Metohi and after crossing the plateau of Lassithi, it reaches the village of Agios Georgios.
From Tzermiado the E4 European Trail follows the road that climbs to the plateau Onisimos. We cross the small plateau, where the church of St. Ariadne is sited, follow the uphill path that passes from the ancient terraces used for cultivation and reach the ancient settlement of Karfi. The view from the top is breathtaking.
From Agios Georgios, the E4 European trail heads to the east, till the chapel of Agia Pelagia. From there we start ascending to Timios Stavros chapel (Holy Cross) and reach Katharo Plateau. This route can be combined with the parallel E4 part Agios Georgios - Havgas - Katharo and be circular.
This part of the E4 trail offers some excellent mountaineering experience with amazing scenery changes. The highlights of the route include the views to Lassithi Plateau and Selakano slopes. The route takes about 6 hours, so you could split it in two and stay overnight in Strovili shelter.
Through the gorge passes Havgas river that carries water from the plateau of Katharo to Lassithi. Then the water reaches Chonos (the hole from which waters of the Lassithi Plateau escape the plateau), comes out from Fleves and reaches Aposelemis dam. The river has water for several months a year. Thus, make sure you get properly informed about the weather because the canyon carries a lot of water during periods of rainfall.
This small part of the European E4 trail connects the plateau of Katharo to the beautiful forest of Selakano. The route is mainly through dirt road and is ideal for cycling. From the settlement of Katharo we follow the dirt road to Selakano. The last part of the route, after entering the amazing pine wood of Selakano is the highlight of the course.
From the gorgeous pine wood of Selakano, the E4 European trail follows the stream to the south of peak Koreli. Through this, we reach the settlement Rousoxyla and then Prina.
This part of the European E4 trail comes across the piney woods of Prina and Meseleri. It is entirely through dirt roads and it is an ideal option for cycling in Crete. Signing of the E4 (yellow -black marks) is quite adequate.
This E4 European trail part starts from Vassiliki, where there is a Minoan settlement, and heads east to the exit of the imposing gorge Ha, by the village of Monastiraki. From Monastiraki there is a dirt road and trail that climbs on the piney range of Thripti. From there we follow the old path of Kavousi.
The Gorge of Pefki (Pefki means Pines) is one of the most beautiful small gorges of Crete, with amazing rock formations shaped by the natural forces and with lush vegetation. The length of the gorge is 4.5 km and the elevation difference of the entering point and the exit reaches 300 meters.The gorge starts south of the village Pefki and ends in Aspros Potamos dorp, 2km north of Makrigialos.
This E4 part starts from the village Thrypti and heads southeastwards and through dirt roads finishes at Dafni village. The route is very easy, thus being ideal for cycling. The trail comes through the lush green village Orino, the starting point of Orino Gorge. The route continues to the east and crosses the village Hrissopigi, before ending at Dafni.
This is a very easy part of the E4 trail in Crete, mostly through dirt and paved road. From Dafni, we move to the east and through dirt roads and trails reach the secluded village Vori, where we should wander in the narrow alleys.
From Ziros, the E4 European trail heads northeastwards and soon enters a dirt road that leads to ruined historic settlement Skalia. From Skalia we walk north and east, we pass a small plateau and then descend to Ano Zakros springs.
The beautiful Gorge of Kato Zakros (or the gorge of the Dead) starts in a short distance from Ano Zakros, nearly 100km southeast of St. Nicholas, and ends at Kato Zakros. The beauty of the landscape, the historical importance of the gorge and its accessibility, attract many visitors every year.
This part of the E4 path offers nice seascapes and is not too hard. From the organized beach of Kato Zakros, the course runs northwards, alongside the rocky coast. It comes by the Cave of Pelekita and the ancient quarry of Pelekita, from where Zakros Palace material was extracted, and finally reaches the beautiful beach of Karoumes, at the exit of Chohlakies gorge.
The Gorge of Chochlakies or Karoumes is located in one of the most isolated areas of the island, near Kato Zakros. Easy hiking in the snakelike canyon with the sparse vegetation and the bare rocks, ends in the amazing beach of Karoumes, where being totally alone is the rule.