Across East Crete are many old cobbled tracks known as kalderimi. Used since antiquity to connect villages and pasture areas, they were used primarily to drive sheep and goats from place to place and for traders with pack animals. These days they make great walking trails, although sometimes routes disappear under concrete or tarmac.
If you are on holiday and want an adventurous walk above the village of Kritsa without the need for boots, this may suit you. The walk rises steeply uphill on the often rough cobbled path, part of the traditional route shepherds used to drive sheep and goats to/from Kritsa and the Katharo Plateau each spring and autumn. To make it a circular route you can return via a tarmac road.
Stout shoes, sun protection, and water are essential, and it’s a good idea to take a snack. You are advised not to start this walk if there is a risk of cloud rolling down the mountain!
How long the walk takes depends on your walking speed and how often you stop to look. Guide time 3 hours. Difficulty – Moderate but steep. Car needed to access start point – no problem for a hire car.
From the village of Kritsa take the road signposted to Katharo Plateau. As you leave Kritsa the road twists and turns over very bumpy concrete that soon becomes tarmac.
Park where a dirt track runs to the right. This shrine is on the corner.
The walk starts down this track.
Look left to see this pen that, depending on the season, may house game birds.
The ancient path is to the right of the breeding pen. It rises gently here, but is steep in places.
The countryside, views and trail changes dramatically as you ascend.
The following photos give an idea of what to expect.
When the path is very ‘silver’ and rising steeply, you will get glimpses of cars going by. Keep a look out for this pagoda above you on your left.
The steep path to exit is on your left but to the right of the pagoda. Don’t be fooled by goat tracks, the path is clear when you find it.
A good place to get your breath back!
When you are ready you can either return the same route or walk down the hill on the tarmac road. Although tarmac doesn’t sound so exciting the views are different and worthwhile…and someone in a pick up truck may offer you a lift down.