The village of Kefali is a small settlement on the west coast of the island of Crete on the road that leads towards the famous beach of Elafonissi. In addition to a few shops and basic amenities, the village has several notable Byzantine churches.
The route towards Chrysoskalitissa monastery is relatively short and easy to follow. From there, most visitors will want to carry on towards Elafonissi beach for a refreshing swim and a chance to see one of the most precious natural ecosystems in Crete and Greece in general.
The name of the monastery translates to “Golden Step” and is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. To get to it, you will need to walk 98 steps, and according to the stories, one of them is gold, hence the name. However, only true believers of God can see it. While we don’t know the exact date the monastery was founded, records indicate its presence since at least the 17th century, during the Venetian period. Situated high on top of a rock, the monastery feels more like a protected fortress and offers stunning panoramic views to everyone that climbs to the top.
The E4 route from Kefali to Chrysoskalitissa Monastery
Starting at the village of Kefali, we follow signs towards the monastery of Chrysoskalitissa. About 1 km after leaving the village, we come to a turn-off (1) to the right, which leads to the monastery. The road is now downhill.
After 2,5 km we arrive at the village of Vathi (2) and after another 1,5 km, we cross the small settlement of Plokamiana (3). We follow the west bank of the stream in the valley of Vathi and then walk downhill for 4 km until we reach the beach of Stomio (4). The beach is almost always uncrowded with cold water due to the springs nearby. About 3 km after Stomio, we reach the sparsely built settlement of Chrysoskalitissa (5) and can spot another sign pointing towards Elafonisi beach. To visit the monastery, we continue to the right for 500 m, until we reach the rocky hill on which it stands.
To be allowed entry to the monastery make sure you have brought appropriate clothing.
|Path Length||11.5 km|
|Hiking Duration||2 hour|
|When to hike||Spring, Autumn, Summer|