WALKING & HIKING ON CRETE

 

Walking on Crete, is not only a walker's paradise but a great way to see the beauty of this unique island. Spectacular views and hidden places are on pathways and tracks older than history itself. One of the attractions which brings the visitor back time and time again to Crete is its natural beauty and the contrasts it has from one part of the island to another. Its mountain ranges, plateaus, green valleys, sparse gorges, beautiful beaches and crystal blue sea all offer something for everyone. Small secluded bays and coves still provide an escape for those who like to get away from the crowds and noise of the busier resorts. Whether you want to discover the island, or simply explore the back streets of the more popular resorts. It is still nice to find those hidden treasures, often only known about by the locals. You can smell the fragrances of wild herbs and flowers, find orchids along with rare plants. You will see wildlife, large birds of prey, ravens, falcons, buzzards, owls, partridge, kingfisher, jays, ducks, swans and heron, also a mixture of small birds, reptiles and butterflies. Some might be lucky enough to see dolphins, turtles, seals and even whales. With all this and the friendliness of its inhabitants as well as the climate how could any of us not want to explore these fascinating visions and the best way to do this is of course by walking. The truly dedicated hikers can go to areas that are practically unknown and totally uninhabited, with undisturbed flora and fauna, be it in deep gorges or high up on the mountains.

 

The whole island is criss-crossed by trails, most of them now disused since roads have been built or used only by shepherds. It is possible to walk all day without meeting a soul and still reach a village where you can find food and a welcoming drink. Crete is a mountainous island and the island's history, as well as the personality of its inhabitants has been greatly affected by these mountains.

 

Cretan mountains form a continuous chain from one end of the island to the other and they make Crete look much larger than it really is, and it is here where the final part of the E4 European pathway ends. This route starts in Portugal, runs through Spain, France, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece, ending in Crete crossing the island's entire length from Elafonisi to Kato Zakros. It is marked with black and yellow posts and signs.

 

DAILY WALKS

The majority of people on holiday in Crete would choose a daily walk. Returning to their accommodation at night. Following coastal pathways and following well used routes. Try the Sunflower book series of Landscapes of Western Crete for instance. 

 

WALKING SAFELY

Crete is a wild island. This is what makes it so attractive for walkers and hikers but a good number of those totally underestimate how wild it can be and get themselves into situations which are potentially dangerous. People need to be rescued every year, people get hurt and some even die. Most of the time none of this would needed to happen if some basic safety and plain common sense, had been applied.

  • The ground and most pathways around the island are stony, very uneven, small and at time can look non-existent so care is essential. 

  • Good comfortable walking shoes are important albeit trainers are suitable for most of you that are not too adventurous. But most definitely not advisable are flip flops or sandals.

  • Take sufficient water, Small bottles are better than large for weight. But make sure you have enough just in case of emergencies. Spring water is not always available in the summer months.

  • Never walk on your own unless you know the route your taking well. Make sure you tell someone in which direction or route you are taking. With today's technology take a mobile phone with you and make sure you have the numbers require to inform someone if you do have a problem, remember they do not work so well in gorges where you are likely to be out of range. Never walk in a gorge in rain or after a shower. 

  • Sun protection is very necessary even on moderately sunny winter days. Not forgetting of course a hat or cap. Do not walk in the height of season as the sun and sea levels are very high.

  • Always carry a torch in case you get delayed as time has a habit of slipping away from the best of us.

  • The mountains of Crete are very remote and wild. In most areas you will find no human presence and it is very easy to get lost. Always take a compass with you and make sure you know how to use it properly. However, you must know what your doing and have an accurate map, unless you are a very experienced mountain hiker it is always advisable to take a good guide with you therefore it is advisable to go with an organised walk with someone reputable. They will always make sure there is back up in the form of emergency overnight equipment. They know what to do if the weather turns foggy and what to do in emergencies and they know exactly who to call for assistance. Do not forget in the winter and spring there is a lot of snow in the mountains. Always take warm clothes with you it can get cold even in the spring/summer in the clouds. Most of the pathways you see on some maps are hardly visible. Most of the old paths are easy for the shepherds and hunters of Crete but not for foreigners. 

 

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More pastimes pages
: Outdoor Activities : Cycling : Diving : Fishing : Camping :
: Walking & Hiking : E4 Hiking Route

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