Friday, November 18, 2011


A few years ago David and a few of our friends took 2 weeks out to walk half of the E4 from the west of Crete to Heraklion. Next year I hope to join them when they complete the walk across the island from Fourfouras to Zakros. This is the route. So, depending on how fit we all are next September, we hope to cover a good portion of this route. Eric, how about house sitting our dogs while we hike up the mountains?

The E4-route through Crete
From Fourfouras the marked way to the refuge of EOS of Rethymno at the south slopes of Psilorotis to high 1400 m. The refuge is not always open. From Fourfouras until the refuge, the hike lasts 3,5 - 4 hours and the difference in altitude is approximately 1000 m.

From here the way leads north

Above the Nida plateau From here the way leads north through a rocky land steeply to the summit of Psiloritis -Timios Stavros (2454 m), reached in 3 to 3.30'. The area is arid and treeless. From the summit, one has a splendid view of the whole island. From the summit on a well stepped and marked path, one reaches & descends to the Nida plateau in 2,5 hours. Here the two branches meet again and proceed as a uniform path up to the east coast of the island. Above the Nida plateau is the Ida grotto (or Ideon cave), where Zeus was born by goat Amalthia according to the saga. 

Course of the southern branch

Course of the southern branch of the E4GR (traveling-part) from Rodakino to Nida. From Kato Rodakino north directly to the village of Agios Konstantinos (20,5 km - 7 to 8 hours). 3 km later the route bends to the alpine part of E4GR. Here Rooms, Motels.

From Agios Konstantinos

From Agios Konstantinos east to Kaloniktis, Ano Valsamonero, Armeni (15 km - 5 hours). Rooms - Motels. Graveyard dating from minoan age in the village.

From Armeni

From Armeni to the biggest part of forest-route - and field tracks through the village Selli (at the chapel Agia Fotini, where the route bends to Rethymno), Charkia and Kamvoussion to Arkadi (29 km - 9 to 10 hours). Motels, lodging in the monastery.

From Arkadi

From Arkadi through the villages Elefterna (Rooms, Motels), Kato Tripodio (lodging), Margariti (Rooms - Motels), Orthes (Motels), Kalantare, Kalamas, Passaline, Choumeri, Dafnedes, Episkopi, Garazo (32 km - 11 to 12 hours). Motels, shops.

From Garazo

From Garazo to Anogia through Moni Diakouriou (Diakouriou monastery), Zoniana, asphalted route to Anogia (16 km - 5 hours). Motels, lodging, Rooms.

From Anogia

From Anogia to Zomithos (11 km) and afterwards to Nida plateau (11 km), altogether 6 hours. The uniform long-distance-footpath E4GR here extends from the Nida plateau till the east coast. Despite its consistency, there are two branches at the start, from the village Kamares, where a grotto is situated, to the border.
Branch 1. From the plateau to the summit (approximately 1000 m), then south-east till a fork (ca. 2 km), where one must follow the branch eastward. After more than 5,5 km, the path reaches a forest, turns south, to chapel Ag. Ioannis, through Gafari canyon to the village Zaros (19 km - 5,30' hours). Hotel, Motels.
Branch 2. From the summit Timios Stavros, after approximately 5 km there is a marked forking of the path to Kamares (altitude 1900 m). To Kamares (9 km - 3 hours) - hotel, Motels, bus to Rethymno. From Kamares further to Vorizia (3,5 km - 0.50' hours), Zaros 9 km - 2.40' hours).

Zaros - church on the hill From Zaros

From Zaros (first branch) up to the chapel Ag. Ioannis (7 km - high 900 m), Gyristi (7,5 km - high 1700 M.), EOS refuge (3 km - high 1100 M.), Ano Asites (entire 21,5 km - 9 30' hours). Only coffee shops, bus to Iraklion.

From Ano Asites

From Ano Asites mainly on field and forest tracks, partially also on asphalted roads, hike to villages Kerassia (3,5 km), Veneraton (1,5 km), Kiparissi (7,7 km), Profitis Ilias (4 km). Motels, castle. Ano Archanes (9 km -3 hours), coffee shops, bus to Heraklion, Motels. Archaeological museum.

From Ano Archanes

From Ano Archanes to Kato Archanes (2 km), Myrtia (9,5 km), Astraki (1 km), Apostoli (11,5 km), Kastelli (4,5 km) (Motels, Bus to Heraklion), Xydas (3 km) (Motels, Bus - Archaeological area), Kastamonitsa (3,5 km), Kato Metochi (9,5 km), Psychron (3 km - hotel, Motels, grotto, archaeological museum. Metochi and Psychron lie on the plateau of Lassithi, 850 m high.

From Psychron

Lassithi plateau From Psychron through the Lassithi level to Agios Georgios (2,5 km), where there is also the refuge of the mountain climbers and skiers of Lassithi Club. The Vice president of the club is the priest of the village. Here, there is a hotel and Motels. From here the path goes south, one climbs to the saddle (1800 m) between the summits Dikti (2147 m) and Afendis Christos (2140 m). Before the saddle, the path bends east and proceeds descending to the Alm Salakano (17 km from Agios Georgios), where there is only a taverna.

From the Alm Salakano

From the Alm Salakano east to Prina (18 km-5 Stds - high 550 m), Masseleri (3,5 km), Vassiliki (15,5 km - high 100 m, deepest portion of the hike), crossing of the Ierapetra-Agios Nikolaos road to Monastiraki, again climbing the slopes of mountain Thripti to the village Thripti (high 880 m - 5 km-2 30' hours), further along the slopes of the mountain to Orino (high 650 m - 6,5 km), Ghryssopigi (6,5 km), Papagiannades (9 km), Chandras (4 km), Ziros (4 km), descending to Ano Zakros (250 m high- 11 km from Ziros), (rooms, motels) to Kato Zakros through the Valley of the Dead (5,5 km-7,50' hours). Rooms, motels. Places to visit: palace. Kato Zakros lies on the east coast of the island and is where the  the European long-distance-footpath E4GR of Crete finishes.

Well, that gives me something to get fit for!

It is Friday night, blowing a gale outside, and cold, but Dave and I are snug in our little Cretan house, the log fire burning away, the dogs asleep on the sofa, and tummies full of pork chops and chips. Tomorrow I will go to Agios Nikolaos to meet with my cello teacher and another student to celebrate the completion of 3 years music study. It does mean that I will have to miss my Greek lesson, however I have done my homework (and more) so hope I will be forgiven for not turning up.
I have dutifully done my 7 minute workout (don't laugh, it really is working) today, and looking forward to a lazy weekend.
Hope you have a good weekend too.
Love Jane x

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