E4 European Path at Chania

E4 European Path at Chania

The E4 trail that crosses through the island of Crete starts in the prefecture of Chania at Kastelli Kissamos. It then travels from north to south to arrive at the Chrisoskalitissa Monastery and the stunning beach of Elafonisi before heading east towards Sougia. At this point, it splits into two. The southern branch follows the coastal path and crosses through various beaches, while some sections wander a little higher into the impressive mountain range, the south flanks of the White Mountains. The north section enters the massif of the White Mountains at two points – these both meet up at the Omalo plateau. Thereafter the E4 proceeds east through the White Mountains for many kilometres until it reaches the Askifou plateau. Here the trail goes south again; after the gorge of Imbros, it rejoins the southern branch at Komitades, close to Frangokastello. From Imbros gorge, another path goes on up through the east flanks of the White Mountains to Kallikratis and Asi Gonia, to arrive at Argyroupolis on the Rethymnon Prefecture border. This is a well-known village that visitors should aim to visit full of springs and waterfalls.

Anyone taking the north route in particular, but also parts of the southern, must be well prepared for the crossings at high altitude. This is a remote area, that spans many kilometres with no traces of infrastructure, or even shade in the summer. Nonetheless, the experience of crossing one of the most impressive mountain ranges in Europe is unique and offers a much different perspective from what most visitors have of Crete. The landscape is overgrown with vegetation, wild and often bare and austere. Over 50 peaks that exceed 2000m in altitude dominate the scenery here; in certain places, they literally fall into the sea and are cut through by impressive gorges. It is worth pointing out that the E4 traverses the longest and most spectacular gorge in Europe – the Samaria. Along the Chania section of the E4, you will have the chance to go through secluded mountain villages, visit important archaeological sites, beautiful beaches and landscapes of outstanding natural beauty.