The E4 trail that crosses through the island of Crete enters the Prefecture of Heraklion near the shelter of Timios Stavros (Holy Cross) on the peak of Psiloritis and travels down to the region of Akolyta – at which point it divides. The eastern branch follows the path to the Nida plateau and south to Kamares as it runs across the south and east flanks of Psiloritis into the hinterlands of the Prefecture. The natural environment varies, from the forest at Rouva, a rare sight, and the impressive gorge of Agios Nikolaos, to the olive groves and vineyards of the valley. The trail connects historic villages, old monasteries, unique natural landscapes and cultural points of interest that will excite any visitor. This region also has various gorges for enthusiastic hikers to explore, like the gorge of Rouva, also known as Agios Ioannis from the monastery nearby. The village of Rouvas nestled between Zaros and Gergeri has also given its name to the nearby forest of Rouvas. A very important ecosystem, with holly trees, pine, plane and cypresses on the south-eastern side of the Psiloritis range, the highest mountain on the island.
As the trail moves north, towards the fertile winemaking region of central Heraklion, it moves towards Ano Archanes, one of the most well-known villages in Heraklion and popular for weekends away and traditional tavernas. The village of Choudetsi is another popular attraction, home to the “Labyrinth”, a traditional musical workshop, and one of the most significant places for the preservation of traditional instruments. After completing the hike, you might want to reward yourself with a glass of homegrown Cretan wine from one of the best-regarded wineries on the island. Winemakers in Heraklion are organized in a network and have set up road signs advertising the “Wine Roads” in the region. Most wineries are located in the areas of Archanes, Peza and Dafnoneno.