Greece is one of the top European holiday destinations. The mother of modern civilization has numerous features that make an outstanding destination worth your next vacation. The best way that you can enjoy your trip to Greece is to see the natural landscape and join other tourists from different parts of the world who have come to enjoy their holiday in this amazing destination. Some of the fun outdoor activities that you can enjoy include trekking and hiking. Crete is a popular destination for hikers and you can explore the opportunity to know these areas as you get to enjoy your vacation. When looking for a hiking spot you need to evaluate the accessibility of the location, difficulty, and the distance that you are required to cover during your hike.
Crete is a well-known destination and there are folklore and Greek mythology that is based on this awesome island. According to history, Crete is the most vital component in the ancient Minoan civilizations. However, it does not stop there because the island has unique beaches, turquoise blue waters, and amazing surroundings where you can go and enjoy your hike. While exploring these areas you will discover some of the unique features of Crete. The gorgeous beaches and the scene surrounding makes Crete a perfect location for any hiker. You can get to know the locals and sample the local cuisine as you dive into the water for a refreshing swim after the hike.
What is the best time for hiking in Crete?
When it comes to hiking in Crete, the most fundamental aspect that you must know is that not all seasons are the same. During the summer period especially July and August, the temperatures can be quite high and this can be a challenging situation for your skin when traveling to the area. However, you can opt for the autumn or spring season when the weather is friendlier and you have other people hiking the trails.
During spring the season is usually covered with wildflowers and the picturesque is amazing as you can take pictures. You are likely to see orchids, colorful butterflies and get to smell unique herbs that only thrive during this season. During the summertime, the area is a little dry although there are torrential rains and this can be unpleasant to some people.
What is the difficulty level of Crete hiking trails?
When traveling to Greece there are important things that you should put into consideration and this is the difficulty level of the trails. The western part of Crete usually features easy to moderate hiking trails. You will find some paths that can get up to 500 meters in ascend. When hiking in these trails you should wear proper safety hiking boots because they are usually rocky and stony. The eastern part of Crete features more complex trails and you can trek them if you are an intermediate to an expert hiker. Doing some exercises before you travel to Greece for hiking can be a perfect way to know your muscle endurance.
How to get to Crete
There are different modes that you can use to access Crete. Here are some of the best options that you can use to get to the island.
Crete is a popular destination and currently, it has three airports. The Nikos Kazantzakis airport is the most popular and you can book flights from major European cities and Greece and arrive at the island safely.
Crete is a destination that is loved by many and throughout the year you can find one ship going to this destination. During the summer period, multiple voyages make a stop on the island. You can use boats or ferries to move from Crete to other Greek islands as well as the mainland.
When you are going on a hike in Crete Greece, you should be well prepared for the journey because this will determine your health and how your body will respond to the hiking trails. Here are some of the items that you should not miss during your visit to Greece.
- A hat to cover your face from the sun
- Walking poles
- Waterproof shoes
- Comfortable clothes both warm and light
- A camera
- GPS enabled device.
- Water and food.
If you want to enjoy your hike you must be well prepared to counter anything that might come on your way during your trip. This is the essence of having all the essential components we have mentioned. Your safety is a priority hence you should always be alert and stay safe.
Hiking trails in Crete
Psiloritis mountain hiking trail
This is a hiking trail that is located on the Psiloritis mountains and it is characterized as a difficult hiking trail. The hike will take you 6 to 7 hours to complete and you will gain an elevation of 900 meters while ascending and lose the same when descending. The hiking trail is ten kilometers long and you should be ready to tackle one of the most difficult trails in Crete. The Psiloritis mountain is the highest in Crete standing at an elevation of 2456 meters above sea level.
Further reading: Learn all about venomous snakes in Greece!
The hike begins at Lakkos as it heads to the mountain area. The climbing part of the hike is 5 kilometers long and the view from the top of the mountain is phenomenal. You will see a different perception of Crete while on the top. The hike then leads you down to the historic village of Anogia and this is a popular location where you will learn much about the Cretan people, their food such as freshly made cheese, lifestyle, clothing among others. You can end your hike by sampling the local delicacies and enjoying drinks with the local people.
The Minoan path is classified as a moderate hiking trail and it will take you 5 to 6 hours to complete it. This hiking trail covers 11 kilometers and you will gain an elevation of 500 meters. When exploring this hiking trail, you will begin your hike at Kastamonitsa which is a historic village that is on this amazing track. You will get to interact with the local people as well as other tourists who are exploring this awesome destination.
The trail will take you to Lassithi plateau, you can take a rest here before continuing with your journey to the range where you will see amazing fauna and flora. There is a local tavern in the end route where you can stop by and enjoy a meal. The tavern serves traditional Greek dishes as well as international cuisine. There is so much that you will see along the way including the cave where Zeus was born. The village is rich in World War two history and you can learn more about the war and the people of Greece by taking this hike.
Spathi mountain hiking trail
The Spathi mountain hiking trail is one of the best trails in Crete. This hiking trail is classified as difficult and it is 13 kilometers long with an elevation gain of 1154 meters. It will take you anything from 6 to 7 hours to complete your hike on the trail. The trail begins at the Limnakaros plateau which is located on the Lassithi plateau. This is the most demanding part of the trail because summing the mountain within two hours can be challenging as the mountain is 2148 meters high.
Once you are on top of the mountain you can enjoy the most exceptional views of the southern and northern Crete at the same time. The trail then takes you down. You will follow the well-marked path and it will take you to the plateau where you can find settlements and restaurants. You can have a taste of local meals in this area.
Lassithi -Karfi –Krasi hiking trail
This is a hiking trail that features a moderate level and it is seven kilometers long with an elevation gain of 300 meters. The hiking trail will take you 4 to 5 hours to complete. The hike begins at Nissimos Plateau thereafter you follow the path that takes you uphill in the ancient Minoan settlement called Karfi.
Once you are here you can enjoy the panoramic views of the surroundings as you check out the wildlife in the area. The trail then takes you downwards where you will find the oldest natural spring in the area and from here it is an easy trail as you get to see the vegetation and the animals around the region. The village of Krasi is at the end of the trail. There are plane trees and you can explore the area and chat with the locals in the area below.
This is a hiking trail that is characterized as easy to moderate in the level of difficulty. The trail is 9 kilometers long and it will take you 5 to 6 hours to complete it. The elevation gain of this trail is about 650 meters and you are sure to have amazing views once you are on top of the gorge. The hike begins in the eastern part of Crete in Kavousi village before heading uphill.
The ascending trail will take you to some of the most amazing points because you can view the magnificent mountain ranges and the surrounding areas. Once you are at the gorge you can move to the ancient settlement of Azoria before hiking down to the ancient tree that is believed to be there for over 3400 years.
There are local shops and cafeterias at the end of the trail and you can also get to walk on the beach and enjoy the surrounding environment as well.
The Samaria gorge is one of the most popular hiking trails in Europe and Greece. The trail is classified under the European E4 hiking trail. Annually the trial receives thousands of tourists from different parts of the world who want to enjoy the best views firsthand. Many of the visitors who come to this trail usually want to know more about Crete and its amazing history. The Samaria gorge hiking trail is 14.5 kilometers long and is classified as a moderate hiking trail. The trail will take you anything from five to seven hours to complete depending on your speed and experience.
The gorge is situated in the southern part of Chania prefecture and it is one of the most uninhabited areas in Europe and in between the range of Volakis and white mountains. Multiple gorges are in this area that remains unexploited because of the dangerous nature of their structure. There is a national park in the vicinity and you can combine your hike with nature fun activities that you can enjoy.
Trail Agios Georgios to Selakano hiking trail
This trail is featured in the E4 category and it features an amazing mountaineering experience with rapid scenery changes. Some of the best views that you can enjoy during your hike are on the Lassithi plateau. The trial will take you about six hours to complete and is categorized as medium to hard in the level of difficulty. You will move from Agios Georgios village before heading to Limnakaro plateau.
You will have the best views while on this plateau and you can visit the Byzantine church as well to get to know the history of the local people. You can take the route to Spathi or follow one which will take you to Varsami and the saddle. From the saddle, you will move south and continue downwards until you reach the large pine forest in Crete. Here you will find a settlement and you can have coffee or food.
Malia to Mohos to Stalis hiking trail
This is an easy hiking trail and it is perfect for beginners and people who just want to have fun hiking in Crete. The trail is seven kilometers long and it will take you about 4 to 5 hours to complete it depending on your speed of walking. The elevation gains in this hiking trail are 400 meters and you should be sure that you will have a time of your life enjoying the region because it is frequented by both the local people and the tourists.
The hike begins at Malia village situated in northern Crete and you will follow a well-marked path that will take you to Mohos village. Here you will have a chance to enjoy some of the best refreshments and wander in the beautiful alleys. From this region, you can take the downhill path that will take you to the Stalis. During this part of the hike, you can see the amazing views of the sea of Crete and the north Cretan. You can choose to end your hiking trail by sampling the amazing Cretan dishes on the end of the trail.
In conclusion, there are so many hiking trails in Crete and the most important thing that you can do is to be adventurous and explore the area. Always stay safe and have all your essentials while on the hike.