On a warm, late June day, we embarked on a family trip, with David and Sophie, to walk part of the path between Paleochora and Elafonissi.
The E4 pathway, that crosses all Crete from East to West, runs along this wonderful stretch of coast. I have been eyeing to walk it for a while, and the time felt right. The weather forecast was promising, with temperatures in the high 20s, a good breeze and low humidity.
The proper path starts from Krios, by a small pebbly beach a few km West of Paleochora.
The views are awesome. There’s a first climb with views to Elafonissi, followed by a quick descent to Viena. Around the well sheltered bay lies an ancient temple with stone columns, and a small beach for a refreshing dip. We also meet other hikers with very heavy-looking backpacks, equipped for multi-day hikes. We wonder how well they cope. We are only carrying small day rucksack with a few kilos, and we sweat easily every time we hit some ascending slope, which is often.
After Viena, the path is even more spectacular. It climbs up again towards a small church. Views of the junipers around Kedrodassos, Elafonissi in the distance, tropical beach settings with turquoise waters. Small break at the church, we see more heavy-loaded hikers. The path gets narrow, we walk around parts exposed to a wind that comes in strong gusts.
We get back down to sea level, longing for another dip in the sea, but looking for a good spot to have our lunch break. In the heat of the moment, we miss a turn and walk a bit further. We walk back and understand that the passage is through a small gorge, which brings us right down to the coast. We find a perfect cove and have our picnic.
The sea and the snorkelling are beautiful here. The water is amazingly clear and feels really cold, especially compared to the outside air temperature.
After lunch, we need to pick up our pace. The only bus to take us back to Paleochora leaves in about one hour, and we still have a few km to go. We walk through the surprisingly busy beaches around Kedrodassos. Clearly Kedrodassos is no secret anymore. Most people drive the bad dirt road from Elafonissi and park just above the beach. Understandably, we meet few people walking now, it’s 3pm.
The juniper trees put up a display of interestingly curved shapes and dark wood, in contrast to the clear sands. They offer little shade though, they are too low.
After the last rocks, we reach the mooring for the boat going to Paleochora, but it’s not running today, too windy. We walk through the car park which now feels really hot and find the bus. It takes a while for our bodies to cool down. The bus takes the winding roads back to Paleochora, then I will take another bus to pick up the car from Krios.
The walk is well worth it. Next time in cooler conditions!