Five Day Hikes in Crete Greece

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Hiking and Travel Tips

Want to hike on the biggest of the Greek Islands? Crete Greece is a canyon hiker’s paradise. With the E4 (European Long Distance) hiking trail running West to East across it, the longest gorge in Europe, and a plentiful amount of ocean, cave, and canyon hikes it’s a paradise for walking. In this article we share Five Day Hikes in Crete Greece!

Waterfall stop during the Richtis Gorge Day Hike in Crete Greece.
Swift Camp Creek Trail in Red River Gorge.

Crete is also home to outstanding local restaurants, hidden beach camping spots, incredible culture and hospitality, and even surfing. It’s relatively easy to get around on your own or you can hire a driver/go in a group to get to these Greece day hikes in Crete! We rented a camper van with LazySnail and it was a great option.

First things first…

It’s a privilege to go hiking on public lands. Especially while you are taking a trip, on vacation, or on a holiday somewhere you don’t live. Giving love and respect to the culture is vital and while we are at it…Leave No Trace and Pack Your 10 Essentials :)!

Now onto the fun stuff…

Five Day Hikes in Crete Greece.

  1. Richtis Gorge, Kavoussio, Crete.
  2. Samaria Gorge, Lakki, Crete.
  3. Balos Beach, Gramvoussa, Crete.
  4. Gorge of the Dead, Kato Zakros, Crete.
  5. Imbros Gorge, Ibros, Crete.

The Hiking Paradise that is Greece’s Largest Island.

These five day hikes are scattered throughout the island. Which to explore Crete extensively requires a minimum of two weeks. I actually stayed there twice. Once to begin my adventure on the Greek Islands and again to finish it.

Western Crete Greece Day Hikes:

Samaria Gorge is the one that gets all the pub and the crowds. And it’s well worth the hype. It’s the longest gorge on the continent of Europe and you can start in the mountains and end at the Libyan Sea, or vice versa. Honestly it was one of the best day hikes of my life.

The Balos Beach Hike can also be done by taking a boat there. I went and did this hike three days in a row. Once by boat and twice by my 4WD rental from Lazy Snail! You can couple this hike with a visit to Chania and some of the other outstanding beaches in Northwestern Crete.

Imbros Gorge gets much less notoriety than Samaria Gorge but stunning nonetheless. It’s a bit shorter but also somewhat easy to get to from Chania. So if you want to set up shop in Chania you could knock out three of these five day hikes and then stay east closer to Sitia for the other two!

Eastern Crete Greece Day Hikes:

Richtis Gorge is an outstanding but quicker and more accessible day hike in terms of its location. We did this hike when staying nearby in Sitia (a lovely town east of Heraklion the capital.)

The Gorge of the Dead hike is even further east in Crete than Sitia. The trail not only ends at the ocean but it is also the end of the E4 trail portion that goes West to East across the island. It begins in Tarifa Spain and ends in Cyprus.

Even if you weren’t planning to do much else on the island of Crete I would give yourself ten days to do these five day hikes plus drive times and staying in Heraklion before you fly out or after you arrive.

Hiking in Crete Greece Need to Know’s:

  1. It was still HOT there in October. These are fall, winter, and spring hikes if at all possible.
  2. Except for Samaria Gorge which for the most part is only open May 1st through October 31st.
  3. Some of these hikes have access to water, some do not. Bring your own with a filter if need be.
  4. Gorge of the Dead’s Trail is known to be hard to follow. Bringing a downloadable All Trails Map is smart.
  5. You will likely fly into Heraklion. Lazy Snail and the rental car companies are all right there. From there you will make the decision to head West or East first. Crete is wide and short and Heraklion is in the middle.
  6. There are PLENTY of other hikes on the island of Crete but these were some of my favorites when I looked up which ones to do! And they did not disappoint.
The day hike down to Balos in Crete Greece.
Balos Beach from the hike in, 4WD required to get to this trailhead or a dicey wager blowing a tire on your rental car!

Crete Camping

There’s a ton of great campsites to stay at in Crete. I stayed at a family run one near Heraklion on the beach, and others in Chania and Balos.

Crete also offers a wide range of other lodging options if you decide to not rent a camper van for your trip. Everything from hostels to high end resorts. What I noticed here though was a ton of affordable mid range options with character. That has fallen off in the US but is still around in Greece.

I’m a little hesitant to jump into eating at campgrounds in the US, but the food was fresh, homemade, and incredible here. Especially at Creta Camping by Dimitrious’s head chef (his sweet mother!)

Crete offers extraordinary adventures with centuries of epic food and culture.

I’d be hard pressed to pick a different place that offers this stunning of hiking options with the food, culture, and history scene that Crete Greece offers you. Couple in that it is affordable once you arrive and it’s hard to beat. The hikes of Crete are second to none and the people of Crete are just the same!

Thanks for reading and supporting Happy People Hike, comment below with any questions about a hiking adventure in Crete Greece!

Happy Hiking,
Mike R

Mike Rudd

Mike Rudd

Nomad, Dood Dad, Planet Lover. Hashtag59 & Happy People Hike Lead Intern. Freelance Writer and Content Creator. Health and Wellness Curator.

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