The E-path starts at the Pyrenees of Spain, it crosses central Greece, and ends at Larnaka, Cyprus. The southern part of the path begins in Corinth and through Tripoli enters Laconia, crosses Parnon, Sparti and Mystras and climbs the slope of Taygetus and ends in Gytheio.
The path follows the route Agios Petros – Karyes – Vresthena – Theologos – Sparti – Mystras – Faneromeni Monastery- Anavryti –- Lakomata – Taygetos shelter– Pentavloi – Agios Dimitrios – Arna – Agia Marina – Monastery of Our Lady Giatrissa – Katsania – Gytheio. Through Kapsia village in Tripoli, the path enters Karyes village on the slopes of Parnon and crosses the forest ending at Vresthena. It passes through the city of Sparti, leading to the fortified town of Mystras with its byzantine churches and the narrow stone alleys. After seven hours of trekking, accompanied with a great view of mount Taygetus, the path continues to Anavryti and ends at the mountain shelter of Taygetus, where you can spend the night. Through the forest tracks and the numerous water sources the path comes to Pentavloi, a region of special natural beauty that follows Anakolo gorge. Near the river of the gorge, the old bridges and the traditional water mills the path continues to Arna and the prominent monastery of Our lady Giatrissa (the healer) to end at Kastania. From this point the path crosses traditional settlements, caves, hills, water springs, and ravines until it reaches the town of Gytheio. On its way to Gytheio, the European path E4 intersects with the national path E32 and many other local paths that lead towards the summit of mount Parnon and Taygetus and passes through forests and significant byzantine monasteries and traditional settlements.
The best period for one to walk the path is during the spring and the autumn, equipped with the adequate climbing equipment. The signs and the marks of the path are distinguished in yellow and black color. The Hellenic Federation of Mountaineering and Climbing has established and maintains the E4 path which is designated by the European Ramblers’ Association.
From the Pyrenees range of mountains in Spain, the European Long Distance Path, E4 passes through the Alpes and reaches Greece through former Yugoslavia. From the mountain range of Pindos, it crosses Central Greece and the mountains of Peloponnesus to end at Crete and from there to Cyprus. The itinerary of the path in Greece is divided in three parts; the north, the central and the south. The south path starts from Diakofto and passes through Tripoli towards north Laconia. It crosses the extended municipality of Gytheio and, through another path, it ends at the Cape Tainaro, the southest mainland point in the European Union.
The Part of the E4 path that runs through the prefecture of Laconia passes through traditional villages, magnificent landscapes and important habitats offering a unique experience to every nature lover. Thanks to Peloponnesus mesothermal climate, the south part of the route is considered to be easier than the northern and can be performed throughout the year. The best time, though, to walk the path is during spring and autumn. Good climbing equipment (backpacks, water canteens, waterproof clothing, sweaters, flashlights, sleeping bags and a tent) is required for the path crossing.
E4 signs are displayed on electricity pillars. They can be distinguished by their yellow and black colors. Yellow and black signs mark the paths that pass through stone and rock landscapes. The Ε4 path is supervised by the European Ramblers Association (E.W.V.) and has been traced and marked by the Hellenic Federation for Mountaineering and Climbing (EOOA). The Hellenic Climbing Club of Sparti is responsible for the part of the path that starts and ends at the climbing shelter of Taygetus.
In the region of Laconia the path follows the route of Agios Petros- Karyes – Vresthena – Theologos – Sparti – Mystras – Faneromeni Monastery- Anavryti –- Lakommata – Taygetus Shelter– Pentavloi – Saint Demetrios – Arna – Agia Marina stream – Panagia Giatrissa Monastery- Kastania – Gytheio.
Agios Petros – Karyes – Vresthena
The E4 path in Laconia starts from Agios Petros, through the forest road and after 10km, it enters the village of Karyes. From here you can wander through the paths of mount Parnon towards its summit, 1935m above sea level. From Karyes, after two and a half hours walk through the forest, the path ends at Vresthena where you can camp for the night. The monastery of Saints Anargyroi is located near the village. The area is integrated into the Mount Parnon Ecological Park. The surrounding villages offer a large network of hiking paths through long, picturesque routes.
Vresthena – Theologoa – Sparti – Mystras
From Vresthena, the path leads to the village of Theologos and, after 2km of asphalt road; it reaches Sparti where you can find a wide range of accommodations to spend the night. Starting from the end of Lycourgos Avenue in Sparti, you either take the direction to Kalamata or Mystras and, in less than an hour you find the first houses of the byzantine fortified town built 320m above sea level. From here, through stone paved alleys and under the dark shadow of the trees you can enjoy the view to mount Taygetus and the town of Mystras, you can get water supply from two springs and visit a traditional watermill and the late byzantine church of Saint Andreas.
Mystras – Faneromeni Monastery– Anavryti – Lakkomata
Cross the stream of Lagadas and you reach the monastery of Faneromeni and then Anavryti, at an elevation of 790m, where you can find a municipal guesthouse to spend the night. The route lasts two and half hours. Many other beautiful local paths start from here. A magnificent route starts from Anavryti and passes through cultivated fields and mountain forests as it climbs to Lakkomata at an elevation of 1280m, where you can find an information center. This part lasts 2.45 hours and can be done by car.
Lakkomata – Taygetus Climbing Shelter
From Lakomata you continue upwards to the shelter of the Hellenic Climbing Club of Sparti that can be reached after a three hour walk at an elevation of 1.550m. On route you will find springs for your water supply and you can spend the night at the shelter. The path intersects with numerous local paths. From this point, experienced climbers can continue trekking until the church of Prophet Elias, the summit of Taygetus, at 2400m.
Taygetus Climbing Shelter– Pentavloi – Saint Demetrios– Arna
From the Shelter, the E4 passes through the forest roads towards the forest area of Pentavloi, where five water sources stream water out of the rocks. It ends after a two hour walk to Agios Demetrios at an elevation of 1490m. After a three and a half hour descent you reach Arna (780m of altitude) with its gorge, the old bridges and the traditional watermills near the river.
Arna – Agia Marina stream – Panagia Giatrissa Monastery – Kastania
From Arna you cross the Agia Marina gorge (580m) and three and a half hours later you arrive at the Monastery of Panagia Giatrissa at 1000m. You can spend the night in Kastania where you arrive after an hour walk.
Kastania – Gytheio
The last part of the route is surrounded by forests, hills, fountains, caves and gorges. You pass by the villages of Vardounia, Desphina, Ahoumata, Platanos and Ag. Vasilios and you arrive at the last station, Gytheio, where you can find a variety of hotels and restaurants. Close to Gytheio, the famous forest of Vasiliki offers trekking routes of unique beauty.