10 Best Hikes in Crete, Greece

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Crete is not just about beautiful beaches and ancient ruins. It’s also a paradise for hikers, with its rugged mountains, deep gorges, and scenic coastal paths.

In this blog post, we’re going to explore some of the best hikes in Crete, each offering a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and physical challenge. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a casual walker, there’s a trail for you on this diverse and enchanting island.

Table of contents:

Samaria Gorge

Samaria Gorge
Samaria Gorge

Length: 16 km

Estimated hiking time: 6-7 hours

Samaria Gorge, located in the heart of Crete, is a must-visit for any hiking enthusiast. This 16 km trek is not only the longest gorge in Crete, but it’s also one of the most beautiful. The trail takes you through a variety of landscapes, from rocky cliffs to lush forests, and offers breathtaking views at every turn.

The hike starts at the plateau of Omalos and descends through the gorge to the Libyan Sea at Agia Roumeli. The path is well-marked and maintained, but it can be challenging due to its length and rough terrain. Therefore, it’s recommended for hikers with a moderate level of fitness.

One of the highlights of the hike is the “Iron Gates”, the narrowest part of the gorge, where the walls are only 4 meters apart and rise up to 300 meters high. It’s a sight that will leave you in awe of nature’s grandeur.

If you’re not confident about hiking on your own, there are guided tours available that provide transportation, and a guide, and often include a boat trip from Agia Roumeli to the nearby village of Sfakia.

Remember, the gorge is a national park, so be respectful of the environment and follow the park’s rules.

Imbros Gorge

Imbros Gorge
Imbros Gorge

Length: 8 km

Estimated hiking time: 3-4 hours

Imbros Gorge is a popular hiking destination in Crete, known for its stunning natural beauty and less crowded paths compared to the more famous Samaria Gorge. The trail takes you through a narrow canyon with high walls, offering a unique and adventurous hiking experience.

The hike is generally considered to be of moderate difficulty, making it accessible for most hikers. The path is well-marked and the terrain is varied, with some steep sections and rocky areas.

One of the highlights of the hike is the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the sea in the distance. The gorge is also home to a variety of plant and animal species, adding to the overall experience.

Guided tours are available for those who prefer to hike with a group and learn more about the gorge’s history and ecology.

Remember to bring plenty of water, wear comfortable shoes, and respect the natural environment during your hike

Richtis Gorge

Richtis Gorge
Richtis Gorge

Length: 5 km

Estimated hiking time: 2 hours

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Richtis Gorge is a hidden gem nestled in the heart of Crete, offering an unforgettable hiking experience. The trail starts from the village of Exo Mouliana, located near Sitia, and ends at the secluded Richtis beach. This hike is a journey through a “jungle-like” path, featuring old bridges, ruins, and a breathtaking waterfall.

The trail is quite challenging, involving climbing over rocks and branches and crossing water bodies. The reward, however, is worth the effort. The waterfall, with its cold, refreshing water, is a sight to behold. The trail also leads to Richtis Beach, where you can relax and enjoy the pristine surroundings.

Sports shoes are essential for this hike, and it’s recommended to bring water and food for a picnic. The trail is almost completely unspoiled, with the only human interventions being for safety and accessibility purposes. This hike is not recommended for children due to its challenging nature.

Mount Ida

Mount Ida
Mount Ida

Length: 8,6 km (roundtrip)

Estimated hiking time: 5 hours

Mount Ida, also known as Psiloritis, is the highest mountain in Crete, standing tall at 2,456 meters. This majestic mountain offers a challenging yet rewarding hike that is a must-try for any adventure enthusiast visiting Crete.

The hike to the summit of Mount Ida is approximately 8 kilometers long and takes about 5 hours to complete at a normal pace. This includes time to reach the top, enjoy the breathtaking views, and descend. The trail is well-marked and can be navigated in regular sports sneakers, making it accessible for most hikers.

From the summit, hikers are treated to panoramic views of the surrounding sea and other mountains. The mountain also holds historical significance as it was believed to be the birthplace of Zeus, the king of the gods in Greek mythology.

Remember to pack essentials like sunscreen, a cap or scarf to protect from the sun, drinking water, snacks, and a windbreaker as it can get cold at the peak.

Preveli Beach

green-leaved trees beside river
Preveli Beach

Length: 4 km

Estimated hiking time: 2 hours

Preveli Beach is a unique destination in Crete, combining the beauty of a crystal clear sea with a river flowing into the beach, a rare sight for the island. This beach is not only for sunbathing and swimming but also offers a fantastic hiking opportunity.

The hike to Preveli Beach is approximately 4 kilometers long and takes about 2 hours to complete. The trail starts from the parking area and descends through a steep path to the beach. The path is well-marked and offers stunning views of the Libyan Sea.

Preveli Beach is famous for its palm forest, which is considered one of the most significant palm forests in Crete. The beach itself is a mix of sand and pebbles, and the water is clear and refreshing. The river that flows into the beach forms a small lagoon, adding to the exotic atmosphere of the place.

The hike is relatively easy, but the return can be a bit challenging due to the uphill climb. It’s recommended to wear comfortable shoes, bring water, and avoid the hottest hours of the day for the hike.

Agiofarago Gorge

Agiofarago Beach
Agiofarago Beach, source Depositphotos.com

Length: 7,9 km (roundtrip)

Estimated hiking time: 2 hours

Agiofarago Gorge is a hidden gem in southern Crete, offering a unique hiking experience that combines natural beauty with historical intrigue.

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The hike through Agiofarago Gorge is approximately 7,9 kilometers long and takes about 2 hours to complete. This includes time to explore the gorge, enjoy the stunning views, and get back to the parking.

The gorge is known for its towering rock walls, which provide a dramatic backdrop to the hike. The trail is well-marked and relatively easy, making it suitable for hikers of all levels.

At the end of the gorge, you’ll find a beautiful secluded beach with crystal clear waters, perfect for a refreshing swim after the hike.

The Agiofarago Gorge hike is a fantastic way to explore the less-touristy side of Crete, offering a combination of natural beauty, tranquility, and a touch of adventure.

Mili Gorge

crete greece valley of the forgotten mills mountain peak
Myli Gorge, source Depositphotos.com

Length: 4 km

Estimated hiking time: 2 hours

Mili Gorge is a captivating destination for hikers visiting Crete. The gorge is a verdant oasis, filled with the ruins of old mills, chapels, and houses, all surrounded by lush vegetation and a flowing stream.

The hike through Mili Gorge is approximately 4 kilometers long and takes about 2 hours to complete. This includes time to explore the gorge, enjoy the stunning views, and get back to the starting point.

The trail is well-marked and relatively easy, making it suitable for hikers of all levels. The gorge is home to a variety of plant species, and the sound of the flowing stream adds a tranquil ambiance to the hike.

One of the highlights of the hike is the abandoned village of Mili, which was deserted in the 1950s. The stone houses and chapels, now overgrown with vegetation, offer a glimpse into the past and add a touch of mystery to the hike.

While there are no guided tours specifically for Mili Gorge, there are many other exciting activities to explore in Crete. Check out this full-day boat cruise to Balos Lagoon and Gramvousa Island for a unique adventure.

Agia Irini Gorge

Length: 7 km

Estimated hiking time: 3 hours

Agia Irini Gorge is a less crowded but equally beautiful alternative to the famous Samaria Gorge in Crete. This gorge is a paradise for nature lovers, offering a peaceful hike through a landscape filled with diverse flora and fauna.

The hike through Agia Irini Gorge is approximately 7 kilometers long and takes about 3,5 hours to complete. This includes time to explore the gorge, enjoy the stunning views, and relax at the small café at the end of the trail.

The trail is well-marked and relatively easy, making it suitable for hikers of all levels. The gorge is home to a variety of plant species, and the sound of the flowing stream adds a tranquil ambiance to the hike.

One of the highlights of the hike is the beautiful forest of pine and plane trees, which provides a refreshing shade during the hike. The gorge is also home to a variety of bird species, making it a great spot for bird watching.

Aradena Gorge

View into the Aradena gorge from the Libyan Sea side (Crete).
Aradena Gorge, source Depositphotos.com

Length: 7 km (one-way)

Estimated hiking time: 3 hours

Aradena Gorge is a beautiful gem for hiking enthusiasts visiting Crete. This stunning gorge is a thrilling challenge for those seeking an adventurous hike.

The trail begins at the abandoned village of Aradena, which is a sight to behold in itself, with its stone houses and an ancient Byzantine church. From there, you’ll descend into the gorge, navigating rocky terrain and crossing a historic iron bridge. The middle of the bridge is used for bungee jumping on the summer weekends. The gorge is home to a variety of flora and fauna, and if you’re lucky, you might spot the rare Cretan wild goat, known as “Kri-Kri”.

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The hike is not for the faint-hearted, with some rocky and slippery sections, but the breathtaking views and the sense of tranquility make it all worthwhile. At the end of the trail, you’ll find the beautiful Marmara Beach, where you can take a refreshing dip in the sea.

Gorge of the Dead

Kato Zakros
Kato Zakros, source Depositphotos.com

Length: 11.9 km (roundtrip)

Estimated hiking time: 3,5 hours

Gorge of the Dead (Kato Zakros) is a must-visit for any hiking enthusiast exploring Crete. This unique trail is approximately 5 kilometers long and typically takes around 1,5 hours to complete one way, making it a perfect half-day adventure.

The trail gets its intriguing name from the Minoan burials found in the caves along the gorge’s cliffs. As you traverse the path, you’ll be walking in the footsteps of ancient history, adding an element of mystery to your hike.

The journey begins at the village of Kato Zakros, leading you through a landscape dotted with wildflowers, olive trees, and the occasional goat. The trail is relatively flat, making it accessible for hikers of all levels.

As you progress, the gorge narrows, and the towering cliffs provide a dramatic backdrop. The sound of birdsong echoes off the rock walls, creating a serene soundtrack for your hike.

Upon reaching the end of the trail, you’ll be rewarded with the sight of the beautiful Zakros beach, where you can take a refreshing dip in the sea.


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