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The European trails are a network of 11 long-distance hiking trails with a total length of 50,000 km. The trails go through many different European countries through diverse ecosystems and areas of special cultural interest. Generally, they make use of the paths that have already existed. The routes of these 11 paths cross Europe from one end to the other.

The E4 and E6 paths pass through Greece, and cover 3,000 kilometers and routes from the North to the South and from the East to the West. The E4 path, which starts in Spain, continues in France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and ends in Cyprus, is the only European trial on Crete.

The E4 crosses Crete from the West, Kissamos, to the East, in Kato Zakros. There are 26 routes in Chania, 19 in Rethymno, 11 in Heraklion and 22 in Lasithi. The routes pass through all the mountains of Crete, giving hikers the opportunity to explore the island.

A beautiful trail route E4 starts from Elafonissi, the beautiful beach with the pink sand, and ends after 25 kilometers in Paleochora. It passes by Kedrodasos beach, after 1.30 hours it climbs up the hill and the hikers can admire the view of the beaches, it continues to the East, it passes by the bay of Vienna, the long beach of Krios, Kountouras beach and continues to Palaiochora, the seaside town in the South. It is a very popular route as there are many beaches and hikers can enjoy the sea.

One of the most popular and best signposted E4 routes in Crete is the path that starts from the Nida plateau, in Psiloritis, 22 kilometers from Anogeia, and reaches the highest peak of Crete, Timios Stavros, at 2456 meters. If the atmosphere is clear, the view is amazing and you can see the whole of Crete. The landscape is barren and there is snow until the end of May. This route is particularly dear to the Cretans and many people arrive there on September 14th for the feast of the church of the Timios Stavros.

There are shorter routes, also ideal for cycling. One of them connects the Katharo plateau in Lasithi, at an altitude of 1200m., with the amazing Selakano pine forest. Many routes branch off. A route from Agios Georgios, in Lasithi, ends in Katharo, through the gorge of Havgas.

Well-known gorges, such as Samaria, Agia Irini, Imbros and Rouvas are parts of the E4. Hiking is the best way to get to know the island. The difficulty depends on each different section, as the trail passes through a wide variety of terrain, some sections can be a walk on smooth asphalt roads and others hikes in rough canyons.

Books such as The Cretan Way and apps such as Avenza pdf map and Anavasi mapp have maps and guides for crossing the E4, describing each section of path in great detail and giving alternative routes. They are useful for planning walking days, rest days and escape routes.

(More articles about Crete on www.gomega.gr)