Five Great Hikes To Enjoy In Crete
Many people find themselves frequenting the island of Crete and there are certainly plenty of activities, locales and reasons to visit. What many fail to accomplish while here, however, is the feeling of successfully navigating one of the countless hiking trails that weave throughout the mountains of the island’s interior. For anyone who loves hiking, Crete is the ultimate experience and features a variety of trails that range in difficulty from beginner to extreme. Our guide will outline some of the most notorious hiking trails in Crete for you to explore at your leisure the next time you are on the island.
Reaching from the southern coast of Crete into the far inland mountains of the island, Samaria Gorge is one of the most famous and frequented hiking areas in all of Crete. Most hikers begin the trek at the Omalos Plateau in Xyloskalo and work their way down to the coastal town of Agia Roumeli. There are more than 400 unique plants in the area and also large amounts of the infamous wild goats that dot the countryside. This gorge is the longest one in all of Europe, measuring approximately 18 kilometers.
Beginning near the Kapsa Monastery near Makry Gialos, the Pervolakia Gorge is one of the rockiest gorges in the region but also one of the most beautiful. Although a relatively short trek – usually about two hours – the gorge is still difficult due to the terrain and may involve some climbing to successfully navigate its entirety. Once you reach the end of the gorge in Kato Pervolakia, you can arrange a taxi to return you to the original starting point for retrieval of your car or transportation.
Pefki Gorge is another opportunity, with its finish line located just a hop away from Pervolakia Gorge, making it a good first trek before heading down the Pervolakia. The gorge is approximately seven kilometers long and runs downhill to Makry Gialos; the trek can also be reversed for an uphill ascent if you are feeling especially athletic. Throughout the hike, you will be witness to a deluge of Cretan flora such as kermes oaks, olive trees as well as a series of residential greenhouses near the end of the hike.
Agia Eirini Gorge
This gorge is in an isolated area, taking almost an hour to reach by car off the main highways. Agia Eirini Gorge has a variety of sub-paths that you can take to work your way through the gorge, with each being roughly seven kilometers in length and taking about three hours to navigate. Surrounded by high mountains and vegetation, this walk is an experience you are not soon to forget. Ultimately, you will wind up on the southern coast in the town of Sougia, surrounded by blue water, resorts and taverns.
Also near Makry Gialos, Oreino Gorge (sometimes referred to as Koutsouras Gorge or the “Butterfly Gorge”) is a high-elevation path through two mountains that winds down to the village of Oreino. Although the name indicates there are butterflies, in recent years (after a devastating wildfire) the butterflies have only been present in the spring time. Have no fear, though: dense vegetation and wildlife have returned and dot the area, making for great photos and memories.