The beautiful and balmy Greek island of Crete is ideal for an active vacation. Many tourists flock here each year to unwind on the gorgeous beaches. But to see a different and somewhat quieter side to this holiday hotspot, why not consider a camping and trekking 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 spine, to gorge walks that will demonstrate the scenic Samaria Gorge or Rouvas Gorge as well as many lesser known examples, a few of which are very difficult to cross. Up to now, it’s said that only ten people have been able to cross the almost inaccessible Gorge of Ha. Don’t worry however, there are also many easier 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, Raccoon In Attic, 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 lack of detailed mapping. Basic orienteering skills and a compass are essential for any would-be adventurers that are wanting to explore the mountainous interior and dramatic gorges of the island. Bear 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 it may get hot – wear sensible clothing to protect you from sunlight and always make sure you carry enough water with you.
Hiking in among the more accessible gorges of Crete is somewhat less challenging that ascending the mountains. Why not go to the popular Samaria Gorge? It is the longest in Europe, 18km long, and is among the most famous tourist attractions in Crete. Because of this, do not expect to walk alone. However, notwithstanding the crowds, this is a stunning walk with dramatic scenery, and a chance to see Cretan wild goats.
If you are going on holiday 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’re sure to be amazed and enthralled by the scenery and the timeless wonder of this island.
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