Hiking the E4 path on Crete

Hiking the E4 trail on Crete Greece: Sfakia – Glyka Nera – Loutro – Phoenix – Aradena gorge – Marmara Beach – Agios Pavlos – Agia Roumeli – Hora Sfakion – Imbros gorge – Kokkini Hani – with an extra option to hike the Kavousi gorge or Psiloritis mountain. Of course you can also relax on the beach or explore the area. Besides the 4-day E4 walking trail, you can book an extra week at Zorbas Island in combination with hikes chosen from our extensive hiking menu.

Last update: 25.11.20: Hiking the E4 trail on Crete – Sfakia Crete Greece –  Glyka Nera – Loutro Crete – Aradena gorge Crete – Marmara Beach – Samaria gorge – E4 walking trail in Greece


01 Information: This hike on the E4 walking trail on Crete takes 4 days, including 3 overnight stays at different locations. The distance is 60 kilometres. By boat we sail back to the starting point of the hike. We also hike through the Aradena gorge and the eponymous village. There is the option to walk the last day through the Imbros gorge. With this E4 hiking tour we walk to accommodations at various locations.

Boats between Sfakia (Hora Sfakion) and Agia Roumeli: When during an E4 walk a hiker due to circumstances is unable to continue hiking, we can order a taxi boat at many locations. Most of the locations on the way can only be reached on foot or by boat.

E4 hiking days on Crete: An overview of the E4 hikes from day to day with all the options along the way.

Hiking the E4 path on Crete – First day of hiking in Southwest Crete

First E4 Hiking day on Crete (about 14-16 kilometres): The first day we depart close from Hora Sfakion (Sfakia). We walk the mountain path leading us to the beach of Glyka Nera. Today the walking trail goes from Southwest Crete to West Crete, so we keep the sun most of the time behind us. This is a beautiful hike along the Southwest coast of Crete. In the beginning we walk gradually down to Loutro. After a lunch in Loutro we walk around in Loutro and visit the fortress. Then following a walking path along the coast we end up in Phoenix.

Overnight stay day 1 and day 2: Around 15.00 hours we arrive in Phoenix. This is just an indication, because on the way we do not really check the time! In Phoenix we spend 2 nights. Phoenix: Our first night is in Phoenix apartments, a beautiful location that is only accessible by taxi boat or on foot. At the apartments is a lovely pebbled beach with crystal clear water. Here you can enjoy a moment of relaxing on the beach or go for swimming and snorkelling. Another idea is to go for canoeing. All apartments have a spectacular sea view. In the evening we enjoy together a meal in the tavern at the beach. Here you can eat traditional Greek dishes. Breakfast the next morning will be served in the same tavern.

Hiking the E4 path on Crete – The Aradena Gorge on the second hiking day

Second hiking day: Aradena gorge (about 15-17 kilometres): We eat breakfast together in Phoenix. After breakfast we will be picked up by the shepherd, who will bring us with his 4×4 pickup truck through the high mountains to Aradena (800 metres). It is also possible to hike this part. We start the hike in the area of the village of Anopoli, close to Aradena. The stunning bridge connects the old village Aradena with the outside world. In the old days the kalderimi (donkey path), which we walk later in the day, was the only connection road. The bridge of Aradena is also known for the spectacular bungee jumps you can do here, a jump with a free fall of 150 metres. Of course we are not here for bungee jumping, but should you be interested to do so, we can always get you all the information you need.

We walk across the bridge of Aradena to the ruins of the village Aradena. We walk through the beautiful old little streets of the village. On the background you can see the Lefka Ori: the white mountains of Crete. We start from the ancient village the descent of the Aradena gorge. We descend via the kalderimi (old donkey path) and not much later we walk under the spectacular bridge of Aradena. We follow the riverbed of the gorge. At a certain moment we have to make a decision: who is going to walk the 16 metres long ladder down or would you prefer the walking path on the side of the gorge? The ladder is not recommended for people who fear heights! Then we continue the hike through this capricious gorge to Marmara Beach.

Via Marmara Beach we walk back to Phoenix. Here you can take a moment to swim and relax after the spectacular gorge hike. In the evening we eat together in Phoenix.

The Aradena Gorge: The Aradena gorge is an impressive gorge, in between stunning rock formations. Between the rocks you have the most amazing views. Along the way you can see many natural caves. The gorge starts at a height of around 700 metres and has a length of 16-17 kilometres. At certain parts on the way you have to do quite some climbing and scrambling. You will see a lot of pine trees and oleanders. A beautiful nature with rocks containing metal and stalagmites along the cliffs and in the caves!

The village Aradena: Since 1947 nobody lives in Aradena anymore, but the recent years a house has been made habitable again! The village has been abandoned because of a vendetta. Two boys in the village got into a fight about a goat bell, which resulted into the death of almost all the villagers. The ones, who survived, moved to the nearby village Anopolis. When you walk through the ruins of the village, you can just image the remoteness of the village and the drama that happened here. The church and the small houses surrounding the church are open to visitors. At the edge of the village is a little kiosk, in case you want to bring something to drink into the gorge. Around the village you see many sheep and goats walking around and you can hear the tinkling sound of the sheep bells.

Hiking the E4 path on Crete – Third day of hiking

Third hiking day to Agia Roumeli (about 18-22 kilometres): After breakfast in Phoenix we leave to Agia Roumeli. Who wants to skip the first kilometres along a cliff, can go by taxi boat to Marmara Beach. There you can wait in the tavern for the other hikers and enjoy a cup of coffee in peace. From this tavern we walk to Agia Roumeli. This is a long hiking day along the Southwest coast of Crete. On the way you will be rewarded with stunning sea views. We also walk through some more green areas with lots of pine trees. There is an extra option to climb up to Agios Ioannis, but this is only suitable for the super fit hiker!

The E4 walking trail leads us to Agios Pavlos. In the distance we can see Agia Roumeli, but that still is a long walk away. After the pine tree forest with gorgeous sea views, we arrive at the beach of Agios Pavlos. This beautiful beach has a tavern and a taxi boat. The church at the beach is also called Agios Pavlos and was built the 11th century. Now we still have to walk 4 kilometres to Agia Roumeli. It is a long day with a very tiring part of walking on the beach, through gravelly sand and on many stones. In the evening we eat in the tavern in Agia Roumeli, where we also spend the night. Agia Roumeli is also the final destination of the Samaria gorge.

Agios Pavlos beach: Agios Pavlos Beach can only be reached on foot or by boat. It is a beautiful beach with gravelly sand and many stones. At the beach is an impressive little church built in the 11th century, entirely built with little pebbles. You can have a look inside the church. It almost looks like a church for the Greek god of the sea: Neptune! At the beach is also a tavern where you can eat or drink something. From here a taxi boat goes to Agia Roumeli.

Agia Roumeli: This is the final destination of the Samaria gorge. Most of the tourists take the boat from Agia Roumeli after finishing the Samaria gorge. In Agia Roumeli you can also have a look at the archaeological site. At the eastside of the river is the archaeological site “Tarra”. Tarra used to be centuries ago a village with its own currency. The coins had on one side a picture of a bee and on the other side a picture of a wild goat. You can still see interesting excavations from Tarra in the archaeological museum of Chania. Up from Agia Roumeli are two old Turkish fortresses, of which the first one is easy to visit. At the end of the Samaria gorge you see the old temple of Apollo Tharraeus.

The Samaria Gorge: The Samaria gorge is the most famous gorge of Crete. Every year many tourists walk through the Samaria gorge. The Samaria gorge is a National Park and only accessible from May till October. In winter the Samaria gorge has running water and is therefore not accessible for walkers. It is an impressive gorge with high cliffs on both sides of the gorge. The gorge hike starts at the Plateau of Omalos. The gorge is has a length of 18 kilometres in total and finishes in Agia Roumeli. You could stay here overnight or take the boat back to Paleochora.

Hiking the E4 path on Crete – On the fourth day to the Samaria gorge

Fourth hiking day: a part of the Samaria gorge – by boat back to Sfakia (Hora Sfakion) – walking the Imbros (6 or 14 kilometres). In Agia Roumeli we can walk early morning a part of the Samaria gorge, when there are not many people around yet. It is only a short distance to get to the Iron Gates of the Samaria gorge. This is the most beautiful passage in the Samaria gorge. We stop here to go back to Agia Roumeli, because we want to catch the morning boat to Sfakia. When we are sailing along the South coast of Crete, we can see the route we have walked. From Hora Sfakion we start our journey back to Zorbas Island or we walk another 8 kilometres through the Imbros gorge.

Imbros gorge: People say that the Imbros gorge is the easier version of the Samaria gorge. The Imbros gorge starts at Hora Sfakion and goes via a rocky path downwards. The Imbros gorge has at both sides stunning high cliffs, where even at one spot you can touch the rocks at both sides at the same time! From the tavern we arrange a ride by a 4×4 pickup truck to the starting point of the Imbros gorge. On the way you see many birds of prey high in the sky. The Imbros gorge is open all year round. Also for children the Imbros gorge is suitable; it is not really a difficult gorge walk. This gorge is the old connection road between the villages Imbros and Komitades at the South coast. In past times people coming from the region of Sfakia (South coast), could reach the rest of the island through the Imbros gorge.

Multi walking days on Crete: When you are staying at our accommodation for 2 weeks, you can come hiking with us for a week. But even if you stay only for a week, you can still do some hikes with us and have also relaxing time. Have a look at our menu with all the possible walking tours!

E4 walking path on Crete information: Various options for multi-day hikes on Crete. Here you find more information.

02 Hiking the E4 trail on Crete: Samaria – Agia Roumeli – Sougia – Agia Irini gorge – Lissos – Paleochora

03 Hiking the E4 trail on CreteSfakia (Hora Sfakion) – Samaria – Paleochora – Loutro – Phoenix – Aradena gorge – Marmara – Agia Roumeli – Samaria – Boat – Sougia – Lissos – Paleochora.

Hiking menu Crete: A page with an overview of all the possible hikes for a day on Crete – hiking E4 path on Crete.

Accommodation on Crete for hikers: A page with an overview for walking holidays to Crete. Excursion information of Crete with accommodation for walkers on Crete.

Hiking the E4 path on Crete