Crete, the Largest of the Greek Islands:
a Paradise for Water Taxis… and Hikers
From Chora Sfakion to Sougia via Loutró
Located in the west of Crete, south of the Chania Prefecture, these villages (Loutró had 56 year-round residents at the last census) are connected by coastal paths that in some places follow the E4 long-distance hiking trail, the longest in Europe – more than 10,000 km from Cape St. Vincent (Portugal) or Tarifa (Spain) to the mountainous regions of Cyprus.
On The Coastal Paths
The smell of thyme and savory perfume from these rocky paths that offer panoramic breathtaking views of the Libyan Sea is something not easy to forget. Winding along the cliffs, they allow to admire in the background the White Mountains (Lefká Óri, Παχνές in modern Greek). The ascent to its highest point (Mount Pachnes, 2453 m) can be done from the village of Anopolis (about six hours with a difference in altitude: + 700m / – 700m). And in winter by ski touring, depending on the snow and the weather!
In some places, the trail plunges towards pebble or gravel beaches that crunch under the walking shoes: diaphanous sea on the left, cliff on the right. The hiker, vaccinated against vertigo, discovers himself as a deserted beaches lover.
Between the beaches of Agios Pavlos and Agia Roumeli, the path crosses a sumptuous forest of Aleppo pines (Pinus halepensis also called white pine of Provence), a Mediterranean coniferous tree. In Greece, its resin is used to perfume Retsina, a dry white or rosé wine produced for two millennia.
Gold digger of horizons
Deserted by tourists in June, the coves and bays that can only be reached on foot or by water taxis appear isolated from the world, such as Glyka Nera beach (between Chora Sfakion and Loutró), the cove of Marmara or the Phoenix bay (Finix). Each time, departing or arriving from a hike, their translucent waters with turquoise reflections capture the hikers’ attention like a lover in perpetual search of reassurance.
Opening on a large area, they are an invitation to travel and to explore an infinity of possibilities. With a single glance, we admire their rounded shapes that draw a sanctuary conducive to all returns. The cliffs that rise in the background like ramparts seem to stand guard over these havens of rest.