The E4, starting from the Pyrenees through the Alps and crossing all of Greece, reaches Kasteli in Crete and ends in Zakros. Walkers who follow the E4 have the opportunity, crossing paths, climbing over rocks and crossing wild canyons and forgotten settlements, to discover hidden corners, enjoy nature in all its glory and experience customs and traditions close to authentic people. The routes cross almost the entire mountain range and offer the most beautiful views.
Recommended routes of the E4 are:
- 22.5 km, 6.5 hours, Spring – Autumn
- 32 km., Spring – Autumn
- 22 km, Spring – Autumn
- 14.5 km, Spring – Autumn
- 20 km, April – September
- 13 km, all year round
- 19.5 km, all year round
- 24.5 km, Spring – Autumn
- 15 km, May – September
- 18 km, May – October
Kalathas is characterized by low and easy rocks, while a challenge for climbers is the high and solid walls of the gorge in Therisos. but also the very large and flimsy walls of Gigilos.
Apart from Kalathas and Therisos, which were the first and most famous climbing routes of Chania Prefecture, many routes were also opened in Gigilos, while a completely new field with low rocks was created a short distance from the center of Chania, that of Monte Vardia . In addition to the well-known organized fields, there are routes in Aptera, Stavros, and Aradaina.
The rock is good quality limestone in most places and the sports routes in the county have been secured with 10mm plugs. In Gigilo, the use of physical safety is also necessary, as only in the Towers are there ready-made relays and intermediate safety devices.
The wider area of the plain of Chania is suitable, due to the relief with the small height differences, for cycling excursions. Especially in the spring, the smells from the blossoming orange trees and flowers in the yards and gardens accompany the cyclists in a unique way.
A. In the orange villages of the plain
The route we recommend starts from Chania passing by the road of Pelekapina, where the old Metochia, the estates of Manos with beautiful buildings, most of which were built during the Turkish period, are located. Continue over the highway bridge and at the fork that follows, go right. We soon find ourselves in the beautiful village of Perivolia where we follow the right fork to the settlement of Pyrgos. In the square we turn right again and after a while we are in the village of Lygides.
We continue west parallel to the main road to Agia. Whichever road we follow through the orange groves heading west, we will reach the settlements of Oasi and Marmaras. Here, we will pass on the main road in front of the historical prisons of Agia, place of martyrdom for many Greek patriots during the period of the German Occupation.
Continuing towards Agia we will see after the church on our right, a sign for the lake of Agia. This extraordinary lake is a habitat for hundreds of migratory bird species, but also a habitat for many endemic species. The area belongs to the protected areas of the European Protection Network NATURA 2000 and other treaties. After our stop here, we continue our journey towards Kyrtomados. After the last house of this picturesque village we continue always following the main road next to the river.
Nature generously gives us amazing images next to plane trees, dense vegetation, orange and lemon trees. On our way we will meet two beautiful churches, as well as an outdoor area for rest and a tavern. Continuing, we will reach the center of the village of Platanias. The return to Chania follows the main road from Agia Marina, Stalos, Kalamaki, where special care is required due to increased traffic during the summer months.
B. In Kantanou Gorge
The canyon of Kantanou covers an area of 5 square kilometers and develops in the northern part of the plateau of Kantanou and between the settlements of Spina, Pano Florio and the plain of Kantanou. It is crossed by the "Kukiza" or "Spinioti" stream and includes dozens of other smaller gorges and micro-canyons, which complete the wild geographical relief of the area.
Aromatic and healing plants, shrubs and trees thrive in the gorge. sage, marjoram, thrombi, koumaria, pinaria, plantains, pines, carobs and the rare type of shrub, mangrove of Crete.
Almost all the wild animals of Crete live there, badgers, ferrets, many species of reptiles and birds, predatory and not.
The gorge, due to its wildness and the intense natural outbursts that characterize it, was suitable since the time of the Turkish occupation for stealth warfare, ambushes and jurusia. It is a unique natural and historical monument.
It is traversed along a superb hand-built carriage road which is one of the last remaining examples of pre-industrial construction for the area. The construction of the road, 6,645 meters long, was done in the 1920s by men, women and children, hanging with ropes, on the cliffs of the canyon. The road today is preserved in excellent condition and is a unique challenge for walking and cycling, for all ages.
The route starts from Anavos. As we come to Kantano from Chania, immediately after the bypass for the settlement of Spina, on the left we meet the old country road. Here we can leave our car or ask the bus - coming from Chania - to stop.
After about 40 minutes of walking or cycling, we reach the small church of Agios Irenaios next to the Kukiza stream and the Spiniotiki Bridge. From here, if we wish, we can head on foot or by bike, when the weather is good, up through the Kantanou gorge towards Spina to admire its wild beauty. Then, we will return again to Agios Irenaios to continue the old country road which, after about 50 minutes of walking or cycling, will lead us to Kantano, about 500 meters before the village's Gymnasium-Lyceum.
Walking or cycling now on the main road of Chania-Kandano (be careful with cars), after 15 minutes, we reach the center of Kandano, where we can taste the excellent traditional sweets and excellent food from local products in the taverns accompanied by plenty of wine, Tsikoudia and Selinotian hospitality.
From Kantano we can again take the bus to Chania to return to Anavos to pick up our car, if we have left it there.
- N. Chora, 2 km from the center of Chania
- Omalou Plateau, 45 km from the city of Chania. Magnificent flight from Kallergi in a northwest-west direction over the Samaria Gorge and Gigilo
- Falassarna, above the ancient city in a western direction
- Askifou Plateau
- Unique flight over the lake of Kournas in a north-northeast direction
- Above Varipetro with a view of the White Mountains and Lake Agia
WALKING AROUND THE CITY OF CHANIA
EXCURSIONS AROUND CHANIA
The prefecture of Chania offers countless excursions and is probably the most picturesque of Crete. It is worth visiting the villages: Agios Apostoulos, Agia Marina and Platania, a few kilometers west of the city of Chania, characterized by the spotless beach and the good night life. East of Chania, lies the peninsula of Akrotiri. There you can see the monasteries of Agia Triada and Tzagarolo and swim in Stavros, Kalathas and Marathi. Even further east is the peninsula of Apokoronas, which is a beautiful mountainous area with the richest vegetation in Crete. Its view is unique and impressive. Continuing east you reach the famous Georgioupoli, one of the most famous resorts of the island which is characterized by hotel complexes. Going west, you will find the amazing beach of Balos with crystal clear waters on the peninsula of Gramvousa. In the northwestern part of the prefecture of Chania are Falasarna, one of the best beaches in the country. Elafonisi also has a special beauty, with its crystal clear waters. The largest tourist resort in Southwest Crete, however, is Paleochora, with more than ten beaches that give visitors the right to choose. To the south of the prefecture are Sougia and Sfakia which are definitely worth a visit. A special experience, if you can stand it, is the Samaria Gorge, which is also the largest in Europe. To cross it you will need several hours, but its incomparable beauty will reward you. Near Chora Sfakion you can visit Frangokastello and the coastal village of Loutro (by boat), which has crystal clear waters.
DISCOVER THE CANYONS OF CHANIA
Chania is a blessed and privileged place with a mild climate all year round, countless beauties and all kinds of interests. In addition to its five hundred villages, more than a hundred wonderful crystal clear beaches in the north and south, a hundred mountain peaks and 1,500 caves as well as the countless monuments, have the most incomparable in wildness and beauty gorges in Europe. In the Prefecture of Chania, there are more than sixty gorges, small or large, easy to pass or difficult to reach, that is why many call Chania the "Place of Gorges". These gorges, with their wild beauty and unspoiled environment, cause a special emotion, awe and admiration. Crossing one of them will offer you unforgettable experiences and will certainly make you want to cross another gorge the next time you are in Chania. But beyond the wildness and beauty, it also offers countless other interests: Legends about dragons and fairies, about good and bad spirits that have their lairs there. Spotless water springs or picturesque Byzantine churches in places where in ancient times there were famous Oracles or Sanctuaries. Heroic stories about the revolutionaries who started from them to drive out the conquerors from the Cretan land: Romans, Arabs, Venetians, Turks or Nazis. Dramatic stories, about battles and about thousands of women and children who found refuge in them to be saved from raiders. If you are observant, you will see the traces of the people who lived in them: Sheep and goat pens, water mills and water saws, kilns for lime or coal and even the meterizias that were erected to defend themselves from the various raids and a bunch of others. These canyons were created mainly in carbonate rocks, i.e. limestones, marbles and dolomites, as a result of deep rifting of the earth's solid crust and the corrosive action of river waters. They were formed about 14 million years ago at the end of the Miocene epoch of the Cenozoic century. Below you are provided with the necessary information in brief about 17 of these canyons without this to say that each of the rest does not have their own beauties and theirs of all kinds interesting. You can choose which canyon you have the time or the ability to visit and we wish you a GOOD HIKING.