Crete Hiking Route On E4 European Path: Sfakia – Agia Roumeli
Crete hiking is, undoubtedly, one of the top experiences you can experience during your holidays! South Crete, especially, offers the most impressive landscapes that a visitor can explore. Stunning beaches that are dominated by wild mountains and breathtaking gorges! Sfakia, located in South Crete, in the Libyan Sea, is among the areas that are crossed by a large part of the E4 path (European hiking path). So, we present to you one of the most famous Crete hiking routes of the E4 path: Sfakia – Agia Roumeli. It is the path that connects Sfakia with Agia Roumeli, starting about three kilometers outside the village.
Starting your Crete hiking route from Glyka Nera beach
In order for you to find the path, which is well marked throughout its length, just follow the paved road that crosses Sfakia towards “Kabia” village and “Agios Dimitrios”. For the first three kilometers, you walk on the street, until you meet the point where the path starts, on your left. The sign located there and a mark on the rocks, direct you to the starting point.
Glyka Nera Beach
You enter the path and begin to descend towards “Glyka Nera” beach (Sweet Waters). The landscape looks dry, but oleanders near the sea prove that there is fresh water flowing underground. If you dig the sand of the beach will find drinking water, which stems from the White Mountains. The phenomenon of the underground drainage of fresh water in the sea is observed all along your route. That explains why the waters near the shore are particularly cold. The small restaurant on the beach offers water and food.
Keep hiking towards Loutro and Finikas until you reach Marmara beach
While you keep hiking, you leave “Glyka Nera” behind and reach the picturesque village of Loutro, with many taverns and cafes. Keep in mind that, the route until Loutro does not offer many shaded points, so hat and sunscreen are really essential! Those, who do not wish to walk, can take the boat to Loutro from Sfakia or Agia Roumeli. After you enjoy swimming in the emerald waters of Loutro and fresh fish food in one of its taverns, you may head to the archaeological site of Finikas (Phoenix) to the left of the village. The beautiful church is an ideal location for one stop.
A little bit further, you will find the village of Phoenix. From here, start some paths towards the villages “Agios Dimitrios” and “Livaniana”, but you keep walking on the path which runs parallel to the coast. You will soon leave behind you “Lykos” village and get to Marmara beach, where a tavern operates. From the beach here, you can enter “Aradena” gorge. In case you don’t carry water with you, it would be good to take enough with you from the tavern, as the next one is located far enough.
Agios Pavlos beach, the last milestone of the E4 Crete hiking path: Sfakia – Agia Roumeli
Keep following the path towards the chapel of Agios Pavlos (St. Paul). The route is quite long and a bit tedious. You should also keep in mind that, if anything goes wrong, there is no road leading to a village. However, the frequent meeting with other hikers offers a sense of security.
Shortly before arriving in Agios Pavlos, the dry landscape begins to change and you will see some trees, as well as Agios Pavlos church. Next to the church is a tavern, from which you can get supplies. The beach of Agios Pavlos is one of the largest in the region and essentially forms the bay of Agia Roumeli. Here, there is also underground water flowing from the mountain, that keeps the sea cold even in the summer months. Right after Agios Pavlos, the path descends to the beach. Before you reach Agia Roumeli, you pass a rocky area and the entrance of Eligia canyon. At the end of the route, you see a small dirt road and a sheepfold, while visible is also the entrance of Samaria gorge.
Agios Pavlos Beach
The chapel on Agios Pavlos Beach
The route on the E4 hiking path: Sfakia-Agia Roumeli takes about seven and eight hours, depending on the walking pace. Although there is a lot of water flowing from the mountain to the sea, you will not find fountains. So, we recommend you to carry water with you. Regarding food or snacks, you don’t have to carry many of them with you, as there are enough taverns during the route.
Many hikers choose to visit the gorges they meet along the path, as well as the villages, experiencing a hiking adventure that last several days. An alternative Crete hiking route in the same area could be the following: You take the bus from Chania to Sfakia and start hiking. During the route, you cross Aradena gorge. Once you reach Agia Roumeli you enter Samaria, cross the gorge and, at the end, you take the bus to Chania. No matter which one you choose, it is sure that you will come across the most impressive, natural landscapes you have ever seen!
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