Walk through Lefka Ori Askifou-Koutala Seli-Mesa Soros-Rousies-Pachnes-Troharis-Kendakia-Zaranokefa-Ag.Ioannis-Ag.Roumeli


Trail photos

Photo ofWalk through Lefka Ori Askifou-Koutala Seli-Mesa Soros-Rousies-Pachnes-Troharis-Kendakia-Zaranokefa-Ag.Ioannis-Ag.Roumeli Photo ofWalk through Lefka Ori Askifou-Koutala Seli-Mesa Soros-Rousies-Pachnes-Troharis-Kendakia-Zaranokefa-Ag.Ioannis-Ag.Roumeli Photo ofWalk through Lefka Ori Askifou-Koutala Seli-Mesa Soros-Rousies-Pachnes-Troharis-Kendakia-Zaranokefa-Ag.Ioannis-Ag.Roumeli


Trail stats

31.85 mi
Elevation gain
10,535 ft
Technical difficulty
Elevation loss
13,025 ft
Max elevation
8,085 ft
Min elevation
45 ft
Trail type
One Way
Moving time
17 hours 37 minutes
one day 11 hours 28 minutes
September 2, 2023
September 2023
8,085 ft
45 ft
31.85 mi

near Ammoudári, Crete (Greece)

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Trail photos

Photo ofWalk through Lefka Ori Askifou-Koutala Seli-Mesa Soros-Rousies-Pachnes-Troharis-Kendakia-Zaranokefa-Ag.Ioannis-Ag.Roumeli Photo ofWalk through Lefka Ori Askifou-Koutala Seli-Mesa Soros-Rousies-Pachnes-Troharis-Kendakia-Zaranokefa-Ag.Ioannis-Ag.Roumeli Photo ofWalk through Lefka Ori Askifou-Koutala Seli-Mesa Soros-Rousies-Pachnes-Troharis-Kendakia-Zaranokefa-Ag.Ioannis-Ag.Roumeli

Itinerary description

Walk through White Mountains Crete.

Before planning a hike along this path, read the description to the end!

A beautiful trail passing through almost all the White Mountains starting from Askifou and ending in Agia Roumeli.
I did a similar Hike few years ago , the only difference is that when I reached Koutala Seli I continued my way along the tops of Koutalas, Akrotirianos and Mikros Troharis, also I climbed to the top of Grias Soros, not Mesa and I didn't climbed Zaranokefala ,but continued from Kendakia to Zarranou source via Exo Toulroti and Mesokephales.
I started my journey from the village of Amoudari at 9:00 am from the place where the E 4 trail starts.
I had 6 liters of water 600 grams of cashew nuts and pistachios and also 600 g of dried figs for them..I had a good breakfast, drinking 1.5 liters of water and started climbing. Although there are two water cisterns on the Niato Plateau, I decided to carry 4.5 liters with me, the winter was dry in the mountains there was a small amount of snow, so it was not known what was left in the tanks and what quality the water was there. It was already September 1st.
It was a cloudy day with a pleasant breeze, which made my ascent along the right flank of Fanari easy, as well as the path from Koutala Seli to Sideroportti. This part of the E4 trail goes up and down several times ,what takes power . When I reached Sideroportti, then a thick cloud stretched from the north, enveloping Grias Soros and Agia Pneuma, that they completely disappeared from sight, as well as the path that leads to Livada. I took a short rest and continued my way to Rousies, going around Grias Soros sadlle in which grew tiny beautiful flowers. I want to note that there are no trails here! And so I approached the place between three mountains where I planned to climb to the top of Mesa Soros . It was not easy to climb, because the mountain is steep and plus small stones, stepping on which you start rolling down, I have reached the top and enjoyed the views. From here there is a good view of the mountains, since Mesa Soros is located almost in the center of the Lefka Ori massif,
Mount Castro was completely shrouded in clouds.
After that, I continued my way to Rousies, crossing the ridge of Mount Sternes. There are also no marked trails here ! The nearest marked trail runs from Kstsiveli to Rousies, which I reached about three hundred meters from the goal ( Rousies)
Arriving in Rousies at 17:24, I still had 1.5 liters of water left, I took a rest before climbing to the top of Pahnes, where I planned to spend the night. The cistern of Rousies had very good water and enough ,I took another 2 liters with me so that it would be enough to get to the source of Zaranokefala ,because I was going to climb several peaks, including Troharis second highest peak of Lefka Ori.
I started climbing Pahnes at 18:10. By evening, the wind began to intensify and when I was halfway to the top, thick clouds enveloped the mountain, so that it completely disappeared from view, I began to think about what might happen at night, as several days ago Mountain forecast predicted the possibility of thunderstorms, and a couple of days ago some clouds and yesterday clear skyes, what was to be expected? But fortunately, after about 20 minutes, the clouds began to dissipate and reaching the top it was almost clear.
Beautiful views of the mountains and the sea opened up, and the wind became even stronger, there was a northwest cold wind.
I took a photo and video and proceeded to dinner, while spreading the rug and sleeping bag, There was an incredibly beautiful sunset over Mount Volakias
After it got dark, I fell asleep for several hours, woke up a couple of times, it was very cold around + 7 °,
I woke up with the first light, got out of my sleeping bag to take a photo, being outdoor was uncomfortable, as there was a strong chilling north wind and there was a feeling that it blows you to the bone.
After about forty minutes, the sun began to rise, which brought a smile to my face, you can watch a very beautiful sunrise from the top of Pahnes.
I packed my things and at about 8:00 a.m. continued my way to Troharis, the wind continued to blow and was cold, so that the morning sun did not warm.
It was easy to go, first down, the loss of height is 100-150 meters, then the ascent begins, part of the path passes along a rocky ridge, but it is easy to overcome, the most difficult section of the trail is the last hundred meters to the summit, very steep and sometimes small stones, which complicates the ascent, but not as difficult as on Mesa Soros, because the stones have a flatter shape and are more tightly denser pressed to each other due to large snow masses in winter.
I reached the top, where luckily there is a windbraker and made a small picnic, 300 grams of cashewr nuts and 200 grams of figs were eaten with pleasure.
I really like the view from Troharis to Rousies and to the eastern part of Crete, the sea, the mountains Kedros, Psiloritis and the islands.
After resting for an hour at the top, I continued my descent, and then climbed Thodhori Korfi, after which I went to a mountain with a cliff with a stunning view of Mavra Gremna, Aradena gorge, forests between Ag. Ioannis and Aradena and of course the blue sea.
Then I went to Kendakia, a white mountain, monolithic in many places, without a mound of stones, then I continued my way to Zaranokefala, admiring the variety of stones and small flowers, There are no paths in these places and people rarely go here, except for hunters, geologists ,botanics and wildlife lovers.
I continued my way to Zaranokefala and soon reached its summit, having rested on it a little and contemplating Mount Psiristra, which is located opposite, from which I descended in august. I began the descent to the source, this descent is the most difficult part of my entire journey, very steep, with unstable stones, I previously described it in my summer hike.
Once again, I successfully descended and headed to the source, where there was cold fresh water, after resting, I took another 1.5 liters of water with me and began my descent to Ag. Ioannis,
The Zaranokefala path is my favorite trail, with stunning views, cypress trees with bizarre shapes, similar to the dancers of Butoh and modern abstract dance.
I walked and enjoyed, but every year more and more stones appear on the trail, unfortunately the mountains crumble over time . Having reached Krousia, I continued my way to the canyon, which leads to the village of Ag. Ioannis.
It was a very pleasant walk through this canyon, lots of ancient round structures probably for cheese storage .Soon I have reached the village, but I did not stop there, and continued my way to Sellouda with beautiful views of the sea and mountains and the Ag Roumeli where I'm on my way
Having reached Sellouda, I took a 30-minute rest, drank some water and started descending to Ag. Pavlos, it was evening and the sun was pleasantly caressing with its rays and a fresh breeze was blowing, which made the descent easy
Along the trail, I saw a lot of goats who looked at me inquisitively.
Here you can meet them everywhere, even in the wildest places in the mountains.
When I went down to Ag. Pavlos, the sun was setting behind the mountain and literally half an hour later it began to get dark, I continued my journey along the E4 coastal walk and at 20:30 reached the village of Ag. Roumeli, despite the darkness and the lion fishes with poisonous needles, that are active just in the evening, I immediately went to swim in the sea,
Having passed this trail through the White Mountains, I do not feel tired, even today, when I write this story.
I want to share that graviera cheese with olives and onions was the best food for recovery.
I rated this trail as moderate, In general, there is nothing difficult in it, just a pleasant walk through almost all the White Mountains, With the exception of the descent from Zaranokefala, the ascents and descents from Mesa Soros , they are very steep.
You also need to pay attention the section of the E4 trail, which located closer to the sadle of Askifiotikos Soros, where many markers are damaged, so you have to look for a trail or follow your intuition, but you can also use GPS of course.Also note that there are no marked trails from Sideroportti to the Sternes ridge, when you reach this point you will see a trail leading to Rousies from Katsiveli, it is located about 500 meters from the Sternes ridge
Also there is no marked trail from Kendakia to Zaranokefala and as for the trail from Pahnes to Thodhori Korfi, the trail is marked on the map, but I honestly did not see any markings there, except for a couple of stones laid on top of each other
You also need to be in good physical shape to complete this trail.

Comments  (3)

  • adr2velo Sep 22, 2023

    Nice to read your description of this walk after meeting you on the way :-) (yes, the two elderly folks).
    Your last sentence is very appropriate because rating this trail as "moderate" might be misleading to quite a few people...

  • Photo of Andre C.
    Andre C. Sep 22, 2023

    I'm glad to hear your letter, thank you, I was thinking about how to rate this trail and decided to list it as moderate and draw attention to difficult sections.
    What do you think this trail from Niato to Sideroportti was like?

  • adr2velo Sep 27, 2023

    Hello Andre
    Sorry for the late reply.
    From Niato to Sideropoti the path was reasonably well marked (like most of the E4 between Tavri & Kalergi), not "technically" difficult and it delivered for sure some great views on a very unique landscape!
    Now when it comes to rating, it all depends on the person who READS the rating (physical shape, hiking or climbing experience, etc...) Re-reading your trip description I think it is quite good as it makes it clear that it requires to be in good physical shape and sure-footed (not sure about the translation) in some parts.

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