European Path E4
The Ε4 is the European long distance Path. It starts from the Pyrenees Mountains in Spain, crosses the entire Alps mountain range and through former Yugoslavia countries, crosses the Bulgarian-Greek borders at Promahonas, where it intersects with the E6 Path and arrives in Greece at the outpost of Niki, north of Florinagoes along the road connecting Promahonas and Serres until the bridge of Strimonas River. It continues south passing through Vernon, Vermion, Pieria and Olympus mountains, south of Pindos mountain range, and the mountains of central Greece and it ends up at Delphi. Then, it passes near the Corinthian Gulf at Githeio, and from there virtually reaches Kasteli Kissamou in Crete. From this point the Cretan part of the E4 path begins, reaching Zakros in the east, where it ends.
In Sougia, the path forks in Northern and southern parts. The Northern part is purely alpine and requires alpine experience from the hikers. The southern part, on the south coast of the island, is very rough at many points, due to the rocks. At some locations, between Sougia and Chora Sfakion, the path is abandoned. (Neither branch of the path passes through the Samaria gorge). The length of each branch is approximately 320 km and one needs three weeks to travel it. The Ε4 path gives the chance to hikers to get acquainted with the unexplored Cretan nature, as it passes through old paths, settlements, monasteries and from the high mountains of Crete. The marking out and the signalling were under the initiative of the District of Crete, in collaboration with the communities of the regions that the Ε4 path crosses and all the mountaineering associations of Crete and, finally, goes to Pafos (Cyprus) and ends up at Larnaka.
It offers hikers or mountaineers the chance to get to know the whole variety of these landscapes and the richness of Greek and Cypriot nature. The E4 European Long Distance Path is a path that is under the surveillance of the European Ramblers’ Association (EWV) and the Hellenic Federation of Mountaineering and Climbing.
European Path E4 in Greece
The path in Greece is divided into 3 parts: The Northern, Middle and Southern part.
The Northern part goes as far as Meteora, the Middle one as far as Delphi and the Southern part goes through the Peloponnese and ends up at Githeio. The highest altitude in this route is at Skolio, the peak of Olympus Mountain (2911m). The climate is Mediterranean and there is significant drought in the summer with important temperature variations between day & night. Visitors can find snow on this route from November until June.
The route in the southern part of this path (the Peloponnese and Crete) is quite easier than the route in the northern part and, in its biggest part, it can be walked throughout the year, because the climate there is milder. The best period for one to walk the path in northern and central Greece is from May until middle October. In southern Greece, the best periods are spring and summer. In the Peloponnese, Crete and Cyprus, one can walk the path having in mind that mountains there will be covered with snow until the end of April.
The Hellenic Federation of Mountaineering and Climbing (HFMC) is a union of 75 associations of mountaineering and climbing that follow the marked routes. The HFMC has published a number of informative brochures about the E4 in three languages (English, French and German), as well as maps that describe the E4 and E6 paths in two languages (English and German). The federation also publishes a detailed guide about shelters located on the mountains, where visitors can stay free of charge. Moreover, there are several tourist guides about hiking in Greece (English and German). You can find maps of 1:50000 and 1:100000 climaxes from the Hellenic Association of Mountaineering.