Hikes and walks in Crete

crete_hikingHikes or walks in Crete, although they are accessible to all, are aimed at people with a certain habit and in good physical shape. The levels of difficulty as the durations indicated in the various online articles are completely subjective.

The local authorities invite you to show responsibility by choosing a route adapted to your knowledge of the environment, your experience and your state of health, but also to take into account the weather forecasts (strong winds, heavy rains, periods of heat waves, etc.) and fire risks when they reach levels 4 (very high) and 5 (alert state).

Some hikes taking place in little frequented areas, walking alone is to be avoided. It is also recommended that you inform someone (hotelier, friends, etc.) of your itinerary, destination and expected time of return.

Hikers are also advised to be wary of the aggressiveness of chained dogs controlling access to certain paths and stray animals often walking in packs.

hiking-in-crete In Crete, during the summer period, from May (considered a summer month) to September, it is advisable to walk early in the morning to avoid the peaks of heat. However, on certain days, when the Meltem (“Meltèmi” in Greek), a northerly wind, blows, a slight cooling in temperatures is felt on the northern coast, the heat becomes bearable and walking is quite possible.

Pleasant places for walks, the canyons and gorges retain a relative freshness, especially when the hike becomes aquatic. Places where it is necessary to be extra careful, especially out of season because the dangers of floods are still present.

Caves with a horizontal trend are also a place to be preferred. How good it is to cool down after an approach walk! However, it is advisable not to commit just anywhere and to respect a few elementary rules of caution: compose a group of at least 3 people and have some equipment (several lamps and adequate shoes).

Some visits to caves and hikes both in the gorges and on the plateaus have been the subject of adjustments. Developments certainly reassuring in the short term but which the visitor must approach with caution over time. Indeed, the lack of maintenance and monitoring means that some of these passages can become dangerous in the long run (rotten wooden stairs, unstable ramps, loose ladders, etc.).

Similarly, for the sake of information, many explanatory panels on the local sites to visit have been installed without however taking into account the elementary rules of caution. Thus the danger represented by the vertical parts requiring specific equipment or the risks of flooding at certain times in some gorges and caves have not been mentioned. We therefore urge our readers to be extremely vigilant.

cretan-hiking Keep in mind that the organization of search and rescue, particularly in dangerous environments, is certainly operational but does not always have the equipment and means for rapid intervention. Knowing the first aid gestures can be very useful! Finally, before leaving, it is essential to check your insurance guarantees for any rescue and rescue costs. Do not forget that an accident or an incident can always happen even to the most experienced.

At the material level, a small backpack is not superfluous to carry the snack, a good quantity of water, a first aid kit, sun protection cream and the essential swimsuit, the sea is never far away.
At the bottom of the bag, a small rope of about ten meters to use in the presence of delicate passages.
If you go up in altitude, remember to take woolen clothes and something to protect you from the wind. Remember that the evenings and nights can also be very cool even in summer.
Shoes that protect the ankles on stony ground offer better safety as soon as you leave well-marked tracks and paths.

The aggressiveness of the vegetation is also an element to take into account. In the phrygana “the Cretan scrubland”, covering arms and legs is sometimes necessary.
The hat is essential. You have to be extra careful in the summer on the days of Meltemi winds. With the sensation of a relative freshness, some tend to uncover themselves while the sun is still beating down very hard.

A pair of sunglasses avoids glare, especially in desert areas. Same precaution to take in spring, at altitude, because there is still snow.
The headlamp will save you a lot of trouble if you get caught out in the dark. It also allows you to illuminate the darkness of the rock churches and small cavities encountered on your route.

Don’t forget that a GPS and a mobile phone can be very useful. Here are some essential numbers to register: distress call (European number) 112.
medical emergencies 166; emergency police 100; firefighters 199.

The Greeks in general do not appreciate provocation and a shocking outfit. Visiting chapels, churches and monasteries requires a minimum of cover.Naturism is not very widespread: the Cretan mentality remains traditional, it is therefore necessary to take care not to offend and to stay in the places reserved for this practice. Also remember that all fires are prohibited in Greece between May 1 and October 31.

Discovering a country requires respect for nature and people. It is therefore also to appreciate the traditions and the Cretan hospitality: by eating the delicious specialties based on natural products in the taverns for a modest price; by staying with locals, in a family boarding house or in a small hotel run by locals.

For some years the Cretan cartography has been constantly improving. Detailed maps, compatible with GPS, have been published by Anavasi editions. You will find more specific references in the section: documents / maps. The double writing, Greek and Latin transcription provides valuable assistance.

The European trail E4 which crosses the island in its entire length also offers great alternatives for discovering wild Crete in its different portions. Unfortunately, it is poorly maintained in places and is often attacked by bulldozers preparing new accesses to the mountain. Moreover, the multiplication or the addition of variants such as those implemented within the framework of the tourist development of the regional unit of Lasithi can lead to many confusions. These markings which deviate from the original route are not necessarily included in the guides and on all the maps.


The rapid evolution of the places and the indications leave room for a certain interpretation of the descriptions: paths become tracks and tracks become roads, the panels are not always arranged judiciously and sometimes vandalized, the markings and markings sometimes leave something to be desired and when they exist are not necessarily easy to spot, the paths of the herds multiply the risks of getting lost… well, it’s adventure!