Crete is an amazing destination for a vacation, and there are things to do to suit all tastes. The varied landscape and wonderful climate of this Greek island mean it is a fantastic place for exploring the outdoors, and one of the best ways of doing so is hiking. There are multiple hiking trails to enjoy around the island, and each offers something different in terms of both scenery and challenges. Here is a traveler's guide to hiking in Crete, Greece.
Samaria Gorge Trail
According to All Trails, Crete's best hiking trail is the Samaria Gorge Trail. If you only have time to walk one of the hiking trails on the island during your visit, then this is the one to choose. It is a lengthy trail of just over 11 miles, but it is possible to complete shorter sections of the walk. If you do complete the full course, then you can expect it to take approximately six hours. The walk is one of Crete's most popular activities, and many people visit the Greek island solely to hike this trail.
The RIchtis Gorge is a protected area that has a linear trail running through the gorge. However, there is also the option to walk a loop trail as there is a farm road that runs parallel to the track that you can use to return to your starting point. Although the trail is accessible throughout the year, the best time to hike the trail is between April and October. The trail is 5.6 miles long, and most people complete the hike in under three hours.
The Psiloritis trail is an out and back trail of a little over five miles long, and it takes approximately four hours to complete the hike. There is an elevation gain of roughly 2,920 feet, so it is a reasonably challenging hike that is best-suited to experienced hikers. Psiloritis is the Idi mountain chain, which incorporates the White Mountains and Mount Dikti.
Agios to Chora Sfakion, The E4 European Path
We Love Crete says that The E4 European path is a trail that runs through many European countries that is 6493 miles long. The path begins in Tarifa in Spain, and it ends in Cyprus, Greece. For many hikers, completing the whole trail is a lifelong ambition. The trail also runs through Crete, and the Agios to Chora Sfakon part covers the 13th and 14th sections of the track. If you complete both these sections, you will hike for almost 11 miles. It is a coastal trail with stunning views of the sea, and there are many rocky sections. You can expect it to take you around six hours to complete the trail.
Palaiochora to Lissos, The E4 European Path
The 7th section of The E4 European Path runs from Palaiochora to Lissos on the Greek island of Crete. It is just over 6.5 miles long and takes most people between three and four hours to complete. It is a coastal trail with outstanding views, and there is a campsite at the start of the trail for those who plan to stay in the area or to get a night's rest before beginning the trail.
Imbros Gorge Trail
Cretan Beaches hiking the Imbros Gorge Trail, and this is the third-most visited gorge in Crete after the Samaria Gorge and Agia Irini. The Imbros Gorge Trail is located in the Crete province of Sfakia, and the gorge is known for its breathtaking scenery. It is a good option for inexperienced hikers and families with children, as the hike is relatively easy. The trail is under seven miles, and it takes between two and three hours to complete. One of the best elements of this hike is the panoramic views of the mountains that you will enjoy along the way.
At 138-meters deep, the Aradena Gorge is the deepest gorge in the Chania region of Crete. Visitors to the gorge enjoy a variety of outdoor pursuits other than hiking, including rock climbing and bungee jumping. The gorge's majestic rock walls are a stunning sight as you make your way along the trail. You exit the gorge trail at Marmara Beach, where you can sit and relax after your exertions.
One of the most interesting hikes to complete in Crete is the Giouchtas Trail, as it offers such a varied experience. It takes you up the Giouchtas Mountain, which towers above the village of Archanes. At the beginning of the trail, you will see the archaeological site of Anemospilia. Although climbing a mountain may seem an arduous task, it is only a moderate trail, and the path is clearly marked. Reaching the summit gives you spectacular views across the surrounding area, including the north side of Heraklion city.
The Trail to Chania Lighthouse
If you want to include a visit to one of Crete's landmarks during a hike, then a good hiking trail to choose is the one that runs past the Chania Lighthouse. It is one of the most accessible hikes to complete, as it is only around a mile long, and the terrain is not challenging. Therefore, it is a good option for families that want to enjoy a short hike. If you want to extend your walk further, you can continue along the coastal path or explore the local area.
Agia Irini Gorge Trail
The Agia Irini Gorge is the second-most visited gorge in Crete due to the amazing scenery. You will find Agia Irini on the west side of the White Mountains. The trail begins at a village of the same name by the gorge and ends at a seaside village called Sougia. Although the trail is under five miles in length, there is some challenging terrain along the way. Therefore, you can expect the hike to take approximately three hours.
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Written by Dana Hanson
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