Hiking in Lasithi (Crete)

Lassithi is a wonderful nomos to be in, for those who like taking to their feet, either by walking or on pedal (see Cycling). Below are edited extracts of Stelios Jackson't walk through this region, trying to stick to the E4 (Pan-European Footpath No. 4) trail, but first let's allow ourselves to become familiar with some of eastern Crete's gorges.

 

Ha Gorge
Definitely one in the category "do not try alone", the Ha gorge is spectacularly set on the western side of Mt. Thripti, before depositing its walker east of the village of Vassiliki, Whilst only 1.5 Kms long, it is very narrow in places and has walls towering up to 300 metres above ones head.It is the perfect gorge for abseiling, but only the very experienced should try this, and even then, with a guide.

Hametoulo Gorge
A straightforward enough hike this, from the village of Hametoulo, to Xerokambos, on the south east coast. A number of gates have to passed through en-route (make sure you close them, as they're there to keep sheep in). When you arrive at Hametoulo, make sure you don't stray to far north or west of the village or the gorge, as the hill behind you is a military base.

Kapsa Gorge
This is a tough gorge to crack and should only be walked by experienced hikers, and never alone, as it can be dangerous in places. The waymarking is good, thankfully, but at one stage there's a 10 metre climb, over practically sheer rock, to negotiate, with the aid of a piece of rope, which should be checked before use. Alternatively one can scramble across the scree which covers the hill surrounding the drop. An alternative name for the gorge is Perivolakia, as this is where it ends, some three to four hours after setting off.

Kritsa Gorge
Kritsa is a beautiful village, located some 9 Kms west of Aghios Nikolaos. Also known as the "Havga" gorge, it stretches for 13 Kms before depositing walkers at the village of Tapes. The descent is some 300 metres.

 

Milonas Gorge
Seven Kilometres east of Ierapetra, the gorge of Milonas starts at an elevation of around 500 metres and ends on the south coast. Waterfalls form pools, along the gorge's course, enabling the hiker to become swimmer.

Pefki Gorge
A lovely place is Pefki, and its gorge compliments it perfectly. A walk of about a kilometre on a path from the village, brings one into the pine-strewn (pefki is the Greek word for pine) gorge itself. It's approximately six KMs from here to the coast, where the gorge deposits one at Makriyialos There are even a couple of stone benches en-route, for those who need a rest, or prefer just to savour the rarified atmosphere.

 

Zakros Gorge (The Valley of the Dead)
A wonderful, relatively easy, walking experience greets the hiker, which ever direction one chooses to walk the Zakros gorge. There are at least three entry/exit points, at, or close to the village of Ano (Upper) Zakros, and the route down is spectacular in the extreme, depositing one at Kato (Lower) Zakros,replete with its own Minoan "palace", lovely beaches, and accommodation aplenty. If one chooses to walk east to west, Ano Zakros has a nice, rather old-fashioned hotel, so there should be no problem with where to lay ones head for the evening, though in the height of summer, do book-up in advance. Interesting features along the gorge, include a Roman aqueduct, and if one looks up, caves where the bodies of humans dating back to Neolithic times were discovered.

The following is an edited version of Stelios Jackson's 'The E4 and other Mythical Trails', detailing his walk across Lassithi. 


Hiking tours of areas of Lassithi, such as the plateau and Thrypti range of mountains, are organised by 'Wild Nature'. Wild Nature Travel Agency Spilia 71500 Heraklion
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