Hiking in Crete

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Hiking in Crete

Hiking and Trekking in the Mountains and Gorges of Crete

Hiking is a very good way to see Crete. It's the best way to see what this island really is. Crete is not just resorts and bars or a sunny place with pretty beaches.

Crete is a mountainous island and the island's history, as well as the personality of its inhabitants was greatly affected by these mountains.

In the west there are Lefka Ori (White Mountains): 2453m, in the center there is Mt Idi (Psiloritis): 2456m and in the east there is Mt Dikti: 2148m. Cretan mountains form a continuous chain from one end of the island to the other and they make Crete look much larger than it really is.

The final part of E4 ( 4th European) path is ending here.

E4 pan european hiking path

It is a path starting from Portugal, going through Spain, France, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece, ending in Crete; it is crossing Crete along its entire length from Elafonisi to Kato Zakros (** there are 2 different routes from Sougia to Asites). It is marked with black-and-yellow posts and signs.

In Crete there are many paths, not so well signed though; they usually are marked in red or (rarely) blue. The lack of detailed maps makes trekking in Crete a bit adventurous; in fact it is very easy to get lost. Another problem is summer's high temperatures; a hat, sun-screen and lots of water are essential in any trekking attempt, as well as a pair of good trekking boots with adequate ankle support, as the ground is usually rocky with sharp stones.

In winter the conditions are much different and there are areas where mountaineering experience is necessary.

Mt Idi in winter

Except mountain paths there are also many paths by the coast, as well as many gorges. A few of them are well-known, like Samaria Gorge or Rouvas Gorge while there are many unknown and really difficult to cross demanding special skills e.g. the gorge of Ha (close to Monastiraki in Thrypti Plateau ); so far it has been crossed by 10 people only.

There are also many caves; 3.500 are estimated to be in Crete. Many of them are still unexplored. Famous caves are Idaion Antro and Diktaion Antro, which is considered to be the birthplace of Dias (Zeus).

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