The E4 Path

The E4 Path offers lots of walking holiday opportunities on the Greek Island of Crete from gentle walks to very challenging hiking routes.

For those who like hiking, trekking, biking and walking and are up for a challenge then maybe the E4 European Long Distance Path, or at least part of it, will be right for you. If you want to hike the whole E4 trail allow yourself 3 - 4 weeks.

Although we've not walked the whole distance of the E4 Path in Crete, we have completed sections of it.

The E4 European Long Distance Path

The E4 European Long Distance Path begins in Spain and continues through France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece (including the length of Crete) and ends in Cyprus.

The whole E4 path is over 10,000 km long and was developed by the European Ramblers Association (ERA), which covers 55 rambler’s associations across Europe and was founded in 1969.

In Crete and throughout Greece the E4 path was founded and is maintained by the Hellenic Federation of Mountaineering and Climbing.

There is one large trekking or hiking route on the Greek Island of Crete, which is part of the E4 European Long Distance Path. The E4 trail covers the White Mountains (Lefki Ori), Mount Psiloritis (Mount Ida) and the Mount Dikti. The E4 Path is 320 km long.

It begins at Kastelli Kissamos in the west of Crete and crosses along the whole Island reaching Kato Zakros in the east where it ends. In Crete the E4 path is signposted by yellow markers and yellow and black arrows. 

You will need a good map of Crete if you want to take on walking the E4 European Path in Crete. You will also need to note that in Crete and the whole of Greece you may be a little confused by some of the different spellings of the village, town and place names you may come across on maps or road signs.

For example, for the capital of Crete, Heraklion, you may see it as Heraklio, Irakleion, Iraklion or Iraklio.

Chania, the former capital, can be spelt as Hania or sometimes Xania.

Quite regularly you’ll find the letter ‘G’ as an alternative to the letter ‘Y’ as in Agios Nikolaos or Ayios Nikolaos. Sometimes added to this is the letter 'H' making it Aghios Nikolaos! And very commonly words with one ‘S’ can be seen with two, as in Lasithi or Lassithi.It is best to ask the locals if you are unsure.

The E4 Path in Crete

The E4 Path route is quite varied and can range from what amounts to simple walking on smooth asphalt roads to some hefty hiking in rugged gorges, right up to some real mountain trekking.

In parts the E4 trail is very overgrown, difficult to follow, and often not marked at all.

At Sougia, a small resort on the south coast, the E4 Path forks into two tracks, one along the coast, which is very rough, and one through the mountains. The tracks converge on the south coast near Frangokastello, but immediately branch out again into two sections.

The following table contains a list of the different sections of the E4 European Long Distance Path in Crete.

Common Western Stages

Start End Length Note
Kissamos Sfinari 22k 10k on roads
Sfinari Chrissoskalitissa 32k All on roads
Chrissoskalitissa Paleochora 14½k All on roads
Paleochora Sougia 14½k Hiking Paths

Coastal Stages

Start End Length Note
Sougia Agia Roumeli 20k Rough hiking paths
Agia Roumeli Loutro 1 3k Hiking paths
Loutro Frangokastello 19½k 13k on roads

Alpine Branch

Start End Length Note
Sougia Omalos 24½k Two branches, one through Agia Irini, one through Livardes
Omalos Katzivelli 18k Marked mountain paths
Katzivelli Askifou 20k Mainly unmarked
Askifou Frangokastello 19k Via the Imbros Gorge

Northern Branch

Start End Length Note
Frangokastello Kato Rodakino 14k Mainly on roads
Kato Rodakino Agios Konstantinos 20½k Mainly hiking paths
Agios Konstantinos Armeni 15k Hiking paths close to roads
Armeni Arkadi 29k Field roads and tracks
Arkadi Garazo 32k Mix of roads and paths
Garazo Anogia 16k Half on roads
Anogia Nida Plateau 22k Half on roads

Common Eastern Stages

Start End Length Note
Nida Plateau Ano Zaros 25k Second half on roads
Nida Plateau (alternative) Ano Zaros 19k Sparsely marked footpaths
Ano Zaros Ano Asites 21½k Elevation gain(>1000m)
Ano Asites Ano Archanes 9k Mainly footpaths
Ano Archanes Kastelli 28½k Last section on roads
Kastelli Agios Georgios 20½k First section on roads
Agios Georgios Alm Selakano 17k Mountain paths through the Dikti range
Alm Selakano Prina 18k Dirt roads
Prina Vassiliki 19k Mountain roads
Vassiliki Ghryssopigi 18½k Footpaths
Ghryssopigi Ziros 17k Last section on roads
Ziros Kato Zakros 16½k Footpaths

Mountain Refuge Huts

Hikers and trekkers embarking upon the E4 trail need to think about pre-planning their accommodation. This applies in particular to the alpine leg of the E4 Path, when any proposed stay at a mountain refuge hut needs to be prearranged.

The mountaineering clubs of Chania, Rethymnon, Heraklion and Lassithi maintain the following huts:

Name Location EOS Altitude (m)
Kallergi Near the
Samaria Gorge
Chania 1600
Volika Volikas Keramion Chania 1260
Katsiveli Svourihtis Svourihtis foothills Chania 1970
Tavri Plateau of Askyfou Chania 1200
Toumbotos Prinos Mount Psiloritis Rethymnon 1551
Analipsis Near the Ideon Cave Iraklion 1420
Prinos Asites, East Psiloritis Iraklion 1100
Limnarkarou Lasithi Plateau Lasithi 1350

Here's some useful contact details:

The Mountaineering Club of Lasithi

The Mountaineering Club of Chania 

The Mountaineering Club of Rethymno

The Mountaineering Club of Heraklion 


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