Hiking the E4 path on Crete – Sfakia – Samaria – Paleochora

Hiking the E4 path on Crete – Sfakia – Samaria – Paleochora – Loutro – Phoenix – Aradena gorge – Marmara – Agia Roumeli – Samaria – Boat – Sougia – Lissos – Paleochora with extra hiking options at various locations on Crete. Of course you can also have a relaxing day at 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 path on Crete – Sfakia – Samaria – Paleochora – Loutro Greece – Phoenix Crete – Agia Roumeli Crete – Lissos gorge on Crete 


03 Information:
This hike on the E4 walking trail on Crete takes 6 days and 5 nights. The distance is about 80-90 kilometres. This is a hike you really need to be trained for. Do not just go for it!

Boats between Sfakia and Paleochora: 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 – Sfakia – Samaria – Paleochora – Loutro and Phoenix

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 till 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 – Sfakia – Samaria – Paleochora – Aradena gorge

Second hiking day Aradena gorge (about 15-17 kilometres): We eat breakfast together in Phoenix. After breakfast the shepherds picks us up and he brings 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 anymore in Aradena, 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 – Sfakia – Samaria – Paleochora – Agia Roumeli

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. Agia Roumeli is also the final destination of the Samaria gorge. From Agia Roumeli we take the boat to Sougia to spend the night there. At the small boulevard in Sougia are nice taverns to go to for dinner.

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.

Overnight stay in Sougia day 3 and 4: We spend 2 nights in Sougia, because the second day we will walk through the Agia Irini gorge. We stay overnight in nice small accommodations in Sougia, with at the boulevard several lovely restaurants. After arriving in Sougia you can enjoy a moment of relaxing on the beach or go for swimming and snorkelling. The next day we wake up early for our hike through the Agia Irini gorge.

Hiking the E4 path on Crete – Sfakia – Samaria – Paleochora – Agia Irini gorge

Fourth hiking day Agia Irini gorge (about 14-17 kilometres): We eat breakfast on the way, because we leave early to the Agia Irini gorge. Coffee we bring along in our backpack! The Agia Irini gorge has an easier start compared to the Samaria gorge, you actually cannot compare the two. We start at the top of the Agia Irini gorge and walk back to Sougia. The Agia Irini gorge has stunning views and is breathtakingly beautiful. Along the riverbed we walk back to Sougia. In Sougia you will have time in the afternoon to go for swimming and snorkelling! We eat dinner in the evening in Sougia.

Agia Irini gorge on Crete: The Agia Irini gorge goes from the little village Agia Irini back to Sougia. It is a versatile gorge with gorgeous high rocks, pine trees, a riverbed with stones and impressive views. The Agia Irini gorge starts on an easy going path between large plane trees, cypresses and many flowers and herbs. The path goes gradually downwards in between high cliffs to the end of the gorge. On the way there are many resting places to enjoy the overwhelming nature. It is a very versatile gorge that through the riverbed brings you back to Sougia.

Information Agia Irini gorge on Crete: Total ascent 168 metres, total descent 732 metres. Max Pos. 1.7%, Max Neg. -20.8%.

Hiking the E4 path on Crete – Sfakia – Samaria – Paleochora – Lissos

Fifth hiking day Sougia – Lissos gorge and ancient city of Lissos – Paleochora (about 16-18 kilometres): After breakfast in Sougia we start walking from the little harbour of Sougia to the Lissos gorge. A beautiful gorge with nice rock walls in different colours. After the gorge we walk up to the plateau, where we soon have a view to the ancient city of Lissos. The path must be more than 2.000 years old; the traces of the past are still visible. In Lissos we prepare ourselves a small lunch. Lissos is only accessible on foot or by boat. Below you find a little bit more archaeological information about Lissos.

After a good visit to the archaeological site of Lissos we continue our tour to Paleochora. First we will have to climb quite a bit. On the other side of the mountain we can see Paleochora in the far distance, but we still have to hike a few hours along the beautiful South coast of Crete. You see great stone formations on the left in the sea and to your right mountains and rocks. It is a great walking path to Paleochora. We stay overnight in Paleochora. Paleochora has many taverns and restaurants to go to for dinner.

Information Lissos – Paleochora E4 route: The walking path from Lissos goes immediately upwards. Here you have to be careful because of loose stones. The average walking time is 6-8 hours and the hike is 16-18 kilometres. Total ascent 479 metres, total descent 478 metres, max pos. 18%, max neg. -23.0%.

Lissos: The archaeological site of Lissos: Lissos used to be an important city on Crete between the 4th century BC until the 7th and 9th century AC. Lissos was abandoned by its inhabitants after a heavy earthquake. When you come walking from the Lissos gorge, you get a good picture of how Lissos must have looked like centuries ago. There are still stone houses from the Roman era, where you can even walk around. These little stone houses are still intact. On the way to the beach are some archaeological sites, like a Roman cemetery and columns from Roman times. You can also visit the ancient temple of Asklipios, where people in earlier years used to come in large numbers because of the healing properties of the water. In the temple of Lissos they managed to preserve the mosaic floor. The Greek goddess Diktina was worshiped here.

Paleochora, Crete: A nice village in West Crete, with a great variety of accommodations. The village is situated on a small peninsula with on both sides the sea. The Westside of the village has the most beautiful sandy beaches. The village is a perfect base for many hikes. We give you an overview of the hikes that can be done in the area of Paleochora. In Paleochora you can buy boat tickets you need for some hikes on the E4, where you always walk back to Paleochora. Don’t be fooled by the distances!

In the evening in Paleochora cars are not allowed to drive through, so it is lovely to stroll around here. Have also a look at the beautiful little church in the centre of Paleochora. You can even visit the fortress of Paleochora, which is located up from the village. This Venetian fortress is just up from the church in Paleochora and from there the views are amazing.

Hiking the E4 path on Crete – Sfakia – Samaria – Paleochora – Topolia gorge and Potamida

Sixth hiking day Paleochora – Topolia gorge Crete – visit to Potamida: After having breakfast in Paleochora we go to the Topolia gorge. The gorge of Topolia is a beautiful hike and we can even continue walking to Potamida. Potamida is a geological miracle: amazing sandstone creatures in wonderful conical shapes. After visiting Potamida we go back to the accommodation.

The Topolia gorge is a very green gorge, where the Tiflos River flows through. In the gorge you can see many flowers, herbs, plants and wild olive trees. The cliffs have a height of about 300 metres. Through the gorge we continue to Potamida. In Potamida we visit the geological miracle Kolomitha. In the middle of the nature you see impressive formations of sandstone in wonderful conical shapes. These sandstone formations are close to the houses of the village and the river Tiflos.

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

01 Hiking the E4 path on Crete: Sfakia (Hora Sfakion) – Glyka Nera – Loutro – Phoenix – Aradena – Marmara – Agios Pavlos – Agia Roumeli – Imbros

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

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.

Hiking menu Crete: A page with an overview of all the possible hikes for a day 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 – Sfakia – Samaria – Paleochora