The beautiful and balmy Greek island of Crete is ideal for an active holiday. Many tourists flock here each year to relax on the beautiful beaches. But to see a different and somewhat quieter side to this holiday hotspot, why not consider a camping and hiking holiday on the island?
Hiking is the best way to find this rugged island. From mountain paths which take you up and over Crete’s rocky backbone, to gorge walks that will show you the scenic Samaria Gorge or Rouvas Gorge as well as many lesser known examples, a few of which are extremely tricky to cross. Up to now, it’s said that only ten people have managed to cross the nearly inaccessible Gorge of Ha. Don’t worry though, there are also many simpler coastal walks that the entire family will be able to enjoy.
Among Europe’s long-distance paths, E4, which comes all the way from Portugal, goes through Spain, France, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece before finishing in Crete. The route stretches from one end of the island, at Elafonisi, to Kato Zakros at the other, and is marked with black and yellow signs. Be warned however, not all of the walking routes on Crete are especially well signposted. It can be difficult to navigate on Crete due to the absence of detailed mapping. Standard orienteering skills and a compass are a must for any would-be adventurers that are wanting to explore the mountainous interior and dramatic gorges of the island. Keep in mind when hiking you will need sturdy trekking boots – the mountainous backbone of Crete has peaks of over 2000m and the terrain is steep and rocky in places. Also bear in mind that it may get hot – wear practical clothing to protect you from the sun and always make sure you carry enough water with you.
Hiking in one of the more accessible gorges of Crete is somewhat less challenging that ascending the hills. Why not visit the most popular Samaria Gorge? Because of this, do not expect to walk alone. However, notwithstanding the crowds, this is a breathtaking walk with stunning scenery, and a chance to see Cretan Rats in Attic.
If you’re going on vacation to Crete, consider leaving the stunning shores behind and heading inland, taking a walk to find out what this island is really all about. You are sure to be amazed and enthralled by the scenery and the timeless wonder of this island.