Lasithi hiking path

Exploring the hiking path E4 in the western part of the Lasithi plateau.
Across the plateau runs a network of interesting trails.

On the western Lasithi hiking path E4.

Across the Lasithi plateau runs a network of trails, which aroused my interest. So I set out with my rescue dogs to a first reconnaissance trip in the northwestern part of the plateau. The starting point was the Northwest ring road, where a dirt road branches off in western direction between the village of Kato Metochi and the monastery Vidani – directly at the point where there is the sign for the monastery.

The sign showing towards the monastery Vidiani, directly at the turnoff to the unpaved road.
In addition, the sign for the walking route E4 with references to the monastery Vidani.
Hiking path E4
Behind the characteristic of the Lassithi plateau: sheeps on the pasture.
Arrival at the starting point of our expedition. All are ready to start.

After driving a few hundred yards the car was stopped because the specified trail from there is hardly to drive yet and rapidly transformed into a walk-only path.

This path is rudimentary equipped with signs for the E4 trail, but which are easily overlooked in some places. Which is why it can happen that you have to go back a bit to get back on the right path.

The sheep gates which you have to pass are marked with an attached hose like a horseshoe. These gates are everywhere on Crete and usually locked on one side with a cord or a piece of wire, which can be opened. After passing through the gate it must be closed by the other side, so that no sheep or goats may leave the premises.

The path seems to follow after a short time an old, ‘donkey road’, which led down to the level of Kasteli with the Byzantine church Pandeleimon near Pigi.

E4 trail (small yellow sign in the middle of the pic), not the road to the left for 'Saint George Honos' Chapel.
The small, yellow signs of the E4 trail can easily be overlooked in the field sometimes.
That to open gate is marked with a hose in a horseshoe shape.
Then you can see well the old donkey path in the field.
On the mule track.
mule track

To the surprise, after climbing a short but steep slope (at this point one can speak of a climbing path instead of a hiking trail), you meet again the although unpaved but good road.

After walking a short while on the road you will encounter a large and from afar visible memorial stone. It recalls that at this place the ‘Turkish criminal Tsoulis Pasha was executed by locals for his atrocities against Christians’ more than 200 years ago. Also, the text outed that the path was probably already used by the Minoans. But in any case, its use goes back to the Venetian period.

A short distance climbing to the street is inevitable.
Back on the road again.
View back to the starting point with the lying behind Lassithi Plateau.
Further along the road - at the end you can see already the memorial stone.
On the memorial stone.
The text of the memorial stone.

Not far away there is a picnic area with stunning views on Kasteli with its (military) airfield and to the north to the coast at Hersonisos. Up to this point we were about 45-60 minutes on foot and stopped for a short rest.

View from the path E4 down to the north.
The rest cabin.
But now a rest is urgently needed.
In the background the island of Dia north of Heraklion.
panoramic view
landscape shot

Thereafter, however, we realized that the way leads very steep descent about 550 yards (ca. 503 m) over a well-preserved mule track down from the Lasithi plateau towards Lytos. Unfortunately, it was obviously impossible to descend before dusk and again to return to the vehicle. The route down then hits a dirt road between Tichos and Lytos which continues to Kastamonitza. But for completing this route is likely to be needed about the two to threefold time.

That's the donkey path, which leads about 550 yards deep down.
At the rest stop once you have an accurate map of the trail.
Through this gate you go down.
Behind our well familiar E4 sign.
That's the donkey track down.
Last view to the valley.

In order to explore, the return trip took place now on the good road, which we went down much faster and easier than on the hiking path E4. When you move on the road yow will also pass the holy pilgrimage chapel of ‘Saint George Honos, Parish of Kato Metohi’.

Trouble-free and quickly retreat oo the although unpaved, but good to be traveled road.
In front of the entrance to the holy pilgrimage chapel.
Location of the holy pilgrimage chapel Saint George Honos, Parish of Kato Metohi.
Holy Pilgrims Chapel Saint George Honos
Interior of the chapel.
View from the chapel to the Lasithi Plateau.

The distance to the Tsoulis Pasha memorial stone with the magnificent view can be managed on any case without problems in no time by car. It is also possible for the next attempt to leave the car behind at this place and hike down from there.
Even better, it could be, however, if another person drives the vehicle to the destination point of the hike and waits there. This will certainly avoid the walker to have a considerably strenuous two to three-hour extra return trip back on the high of the Lasithi plateau.

Overall, the one-time route is approximately 4 – 4 1/2 miles over 550 yards difference in altitude and 3-4 hours can be estimated.

Video from Lasithi Plateau including panoramic views from the path E4

Video (2 min 40 sec) of the Lasithi Plateau

Directions to the starting point for the hike on E4