The E4 Trail: Kandanos to Chrisoskalitissa

2nd September

Kandanos to Chrisoskalitissa

Mov av. 5.3    Time  7 hrs     GPS reading 32.3 km       Height  sea level !

I was up and away from Kandanos by 0650 with the intention of meeting Susa at Elos, spending the night there and dropping down to the west coast next morning. However, it is good to be flexible.

Running water in August
The verges of the road to Elos were full of "mellow fruitfulness" - I enjoyed handfuls of blackberries and a couple of the sweetest figs I have ever tasted. The sweet chestnuts were looking good for later, but as all over Crete the grapes had been badly spoiled by a very cold wet Spring. 

Chestnuts looking good

I made good time on the tarmac roads between Kandanos and Strovles having decided against a cross-country route to Elos. Meanwhile Susa was closing in on Elos on the 0900 bus from Chania. At the last minute I realised that I could actually make it all the way through to Chrisoskalitissa that same day by 2 pm so I texted Susa to stay on the bus and get off by the monastery. A few minutes later the bus overtook me as I sweated up the hill to Elos and I waved as cheerfully as I could. 

Coming down from Elos

Passing Vathi

It was another three hours to Chrisoskalitissa but Susa was there to cheer me home - quite an emotional moment after months of training and effort. 

The first sight of the west coast -
and an E4 sign
The monastery - middle right

After a beer at Stella's (just opposite the monastery), we went across and climbed the ramparts so I could throw my Kato Zakros pebble into the sea on the west coast.

The pebble, the hat and the stick
We had a chat with Father Panayiotis and discussed relative levels of VAT and other worldly and spiritual matters before catching the Elafonisi bus back to Chania for champagne and a celebratory meal at Mesoyeiako. 

The monastery at Chrisoskalitissa

A suitable finish back in Chania

My odyssey was over - a brilliant experience and all the better for being relatively pain-free for the second half.

I hope that my experience will be of some help to others contemplating the same sort of adventure and that you will enjoy it all as much as I have done. 


  1. What an odyssey! I feel I must get my hiking boots on NOW. An inspiration to us all!


    A wonderful account - thank you! It made me (almost) decide to go back and experience the pain and glory of that long hike all over again - perhaps a bit better equipped this time. Your photos brought a smile of recognition to my face and a nostalgic lump to my throat.

    You're absolutely right - it is an odyssey, and an adventure of a kind that's hard to find in the modern world.


    Christopher Somerville

  3. thanks for your accounting of this route, i have often thought about hiking it and have tried to research it with little results. can you recommend when to purchase maps for it, the link you provided for the gps topos seemed dead.