The E4 European long distance path or E4 path is one of the European long-distance paths. Starting at its westernmost point in Portugal it continues through Spain, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria to end in Greece. It visits the Greek island of Crete as well as Cyprus.
Its length is more than 10,000 km, but the route through Romania and part of Bulgaria is not yet completely defined.
From: Tarifa, southernmost point of mainland Spain through mountains of Andalucia, Murcia and Valencia via Ronda, Alhama de Granada, Moratalla, Alcoi, Requena, Morella (GR7) 2300 km Puigcerda in Pyrenees E of Andorra Catalan coast at Ulldecona (GR8), Tarragona via Catalan coast path (GR92), Montserrat (GR172), then GR4 into Pyrenees 450 km
Montagne Noire Via Mont Canigou and Carcassonne (GR 36), Villefort through Haut Languedoc and Cévennes (GR 71, GR 7, GR 72), Ardèche and Rhône valleys east via GR 44, GR 4, GR 42, 429, Swiss border near Geneva N through Vercors, Grenoble, Chartreuse and Culoz (GR 9) 1100 km
Follows the Jura ridgeway through the north of the country ending at village Dielsdorf. (300 km)
From Dielsdorf, the E4 continues along S shores of Lake Constance via following settlements to village Rheineck at German borders. (150 km)
Niederglatt – Bülach – Freienstein-Teufen – Irchel – Buch am Irchel – Dorf – Andelfingen – Truttikon – Oberstammheim – Stein am Rhein – Mammern – Steckborn – Berlingen – Mannebach – Ermatingen – Gottlieben – Kreuzlingen – Münsterlingen – Güttingen – Uttwil – Romanshorn – Egnach – Arbon – Steinach – Tübach – Goldach – Rorschacherberg – Buchberg – Rheineck
Alternative 1: On the route of Nordalpine Weitwanderweg 01 (Nordalpine route 01) are exposed stretches – for experienced mountain walkers only
1. Western section of the route – 495 km through Bregenzer Wald, Lechquellengebirge
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, Lechtaler Alps, Wetterstein-gebirge, Karwendelgebirge and Rofangebirge:
Bregenz (440 m) – Lustenauer Hut (1250 m) – 22 km, middle difficult tour Lustenauer Hut (1250 m) – Damüls (1428 m) – 33 km, difficult tour Damüls (1428 m) – Biberacher Hut (1846 m) – 18 km, very difficult tour Biberacher Hut (1846 m) – Göppinger Hut (2245 m) – 16 km, difficult tour Göppinger Hut (2245 m) – Ravensburger Hut (2234 m) – 31 km, very difficult tour Ravensburger Hut (2234 m) – Stuttgarter Hut (2303 m) – 20 km, difficult tour Stuttgarter Hut (2303 m) – Ansbacher Hut (2376 m) – 28 km, very difficult tour Ansbacher Hut (2376 m) – Memminger Hut (2242 m), 25 km, very difficult tour Memminger Hut (2242 m) – Steinsee Hut (2040 m) – 20 km, very difficult tour Steinsee Hut (2040 m) – Anhalter Hut (2040 m) – 25 km, difficult tour Anhalter Hut (2040 m) – Fernpass (1209 m) – 35 km, difficult tour Fernpass (1209 m) – Ehrwald (994 m) – 20 km, middle difficult tour Ehrwald (994 m) – Meiler Hut (2366 m) – 39 km, difficult tour Meiler Hut (2366 m) – Scharnitz (964 m) – 30 km, middle difficult tour Scharnitz (964 m) – Falken Hut (1846 m) – 30 km, middle difficult tour Falken Hut (1846 m) – Murach am Achsensee (958 m) – 35 km, middle difficult tour Maurach am Achsensee (958 m) – Steinberg am Rofan (1010 m) – 25 km, difficult tour Steinberg am Rofan (1010 m) – Kufstein (504 m) – 43 km, easy tour
2. Middle section of the route – 441 km through Kaisergebirge, Chiemgau Alps, Loferer Steingebirge, Hochkönig and Steinernes Meer, Tennengebirge, Dachstein Mountains and Totes Gebirge:
Kufstein (504 m) – Stripsenjoch Haus (1580 m) – 19 km, middle difficult tour Stripsenjoch Haus (1580 m) – Straubinger Haus (1598 m) – 35 km, middle difficult tour Straubinger Haus (1598 m) – Schmidt-Zabierow Hut (1966 m) – 39 km, difficult tour Schmidt-Zabierow Hut (1966 m) – Lofer (626 m) – 16 km, middle difficult tour Lofer (626 m) – Ingolstatter Haus (2199 m) – 31 km, middle difficult tour Ingolstatter Haus (2199 m) – Riemann Haus (2177 m) – 8 km, middle difficult tour Riemann Haus (2177 m) – Franz-Eduard-Matras Haus (2941 m) – 25 km, very difficult tour on glacier Franz-Eduard-Matras Haus (2941 m) – Werfen (548 m) – 27 km, difficult tour on glacier Werfen (548 m) – Lungötz (828 m) – 33 km, middle difficult tour Lungötz (828 m) – Adamek Hut (2196 m) – 29 km, very difficult tour Adamek Hut (2196 m) – Simony Hut (2206 m) – 12 km, very difficult tour on glacier Simony Hut (2206 m) – Bad Goisern (500 m) – 32 km, middle difficult tour Bad Goisern (500 m) – Loser Hut (1497 m) – 34 km, middle difficult tour Loser Hut (1497 m) – Pühringer Hut (1638 m) – 25 km, middle difficult tour Pühringer Hut (1638 m) – Priel Refuge Hut (1422 m) – 20 km, difficult tour Priel Refuge Hut (1422 m) – Vorderstoder (660 m) – 18 km, middle difficult tour Vorderstoder (660 m) – Spital am Pyhrn (647 m) – 38 km, middle difficult tour
3. Eastern section of the route – 478 km Through Rax, Semmeringgebiet, Bucklige Welt and Rosaliengebirge
Spital am Pyhrn (647 m) – Admont (641 m) – 24 km, middle difficult tour Admont (641 m) – Hess Hut (1699 m) – 35 km, middle difficult tour Hess Hut (1699 m) – Radmer an der Stube (702 m) – 20 km, difficult tour Radmer an der Stube (702 m) – Eisenerz (769 m) – 20 km, middle difficult tour Eisenerz (769 m) – Sonnschien Hut (1525 m) – 25 km, middle difficult tour Sonnschien Hut (1525 m) – Voisthaler Hut (1660 m) – 1660 m) – 17 km, middle difficult tour Voisthaler Hut (1660 m) – Turnaueralm (1570 m) – 25 km, middle difficult tour Turnaueralm (1570 m) – Neuberg, Krampen im Mürztal (756 m) – 31 km, middle difficult tour Neuberg, Krampen im Mürztal (756 m) – Schneealpen Haus (1788 m) – 31 km, middle difficult tour Schneealpen Haus (1788 m) – Karl-Ludwig Haus (1803 m) – 21 km, difficult tour Karl-Ludwig Haus (1803 m) – Waxriegel Haus (1361 m) – 12 km, middle difficult tour Waxriegel Haus (1361 m) – Maria Schutz (760 m) – 30 km, middle difficult tour Maria Schutz (760 m) – Hochwolkersdorf (625 m) – 48 km, easy tour Hochwolkersdorf (625 m) – Mattersburg (256 m) – 17 km, easy tour
After town Mattersburg the route of the E4 leaves the Nordalpine Weitwanderweg 01, and goes on other paths further.
Mattersburg (256 m) – Rust (123 m) – 32 km, easy tour Rust (123 m) – Drassburg (234 m) – 20 km, easy tour Drassburg (234 m) – Kabersdorf (320 m) – 28 km, easy tour Kabersdorf (320 m) – Hochstrass (421 m) – 25 km, easy tour Hochstrass (421 m) – Köszeg (271 m, border crossing point in Hungary) – 17 km, easy tour
Remark: Generally there are detours on the route of E4 to avoid the very difficult sections. You can find map sketches and description about the whole route in the book „Von Neusiedler See zum Bodensee – Nordalpiner Weitwanderweg 01” in German.
Alternative 2: Subalpine route to: Salzburg Through Allgäu and Upper Bavaria via Neuschwanstein, Unterammergau, Bavarian Lakes (04) 550 km to: Wienerwald via Salzkammergut (04) 550 km to: Hainburg an der Donau E Austrian border path (07) 150 km
On the route of the Országos Kéktúra (National Blue Trail) – 1118 km Through the Little Hungarian Plain and along the Transdanubian Mountains and the North Hungarian Mountains.
Town Kőszeg (border crossing point) – peak of Irottkő – town Sárvár through the Mountains of Kőszeg and the Little Hungarian Plain – 70 km Town Sárvár – town Sümeg through the Little Hungarian Plain – 70 km Town Sümeg – town Keszthely and Lake Balaton through the Highland of Balaton – 47 km Town Keszthely – town Tapolca – village Nagyvázsony through the Basin of Tapolca and the Highland of Balaton. On the basin the path climbs almost every spent volcano: Badacsony, Gulács, Csobánc and Szent György Mountain – 83 km Village Nagyvázsony – village Városlőd – town Zirc – village Bodajk through the Bakony Mountains – 118 km Village Bodajk – village Szárliget through the Vértes Mountains – 48 km Village Szárliget – town Dorog through the Hilly Country of Gerecse – 67 km Town Dorog – Budapest through the Pilis Mountains and Mountains of Buda – 40 km Budapest – peak of Dobogókö (700 m) – village Visegrád, Danube Bend through the Buda and Pilis Mountains – 61 km Village Visegrád – village Nagymaros – with ferry across the Danube Village Nagymaros – peak of Hegyes-kö (centre mountain of Danube Bend) – village Kóspallag – peak of Csóványos (938 m) – village Nógrád through the Börzsöny Mountains – 38 km Village Nógrád – village Becske – village Hollókő, it is a World Heritage Site – village Mátraverebély through the Hilly Country of Cserhát – 119 km Village Mátraverebély – peak of Galyatetö – peak of Kékestető, 1014 m, the highest point of Hungary – village Sirok – village Szarvaskő through the Mátra Mountains – 65 km Village Szarvaskő – village Bélapátfalva – village Bánkút – village Putnok – through the Bükk Mountains – 55 km Village Putnok – village Aggtelek, its stalactite cave is a World Heritage Site – village Bódvaszilas through the Hilly Country of Aggtelek – 62 km Village Bódvaszilas – village Boldogkőváralja through the Hilly Country of Cserehát – 65 km Village Boldogkőváralja – town Sátoraljaújhely through the Zemplén Mountains – 55 km
In Sátoraljaújhely the route of the E4 leaves the path of the National Blue Trail and goes further on the route of Blue Tour of the Plain
On the route of Alföldi Kéktúra (Blue Tour of the Plain) – 262 km Through the Great Hungarian Plain
Town Sátoraljaujhely – town Kisvárda – 63 km Town Kisvárda – town Nyirbátor – 46 km Town Nyirbátor – town Bánk – 75 km Town Bánk – village Nagykereki – 78 km
After village Nagykereki the E4 leaves the path of Alföldi Kéktúra and goes to village Ártánd (border crossing point) – appr. 6 km
Remark: You can find detailed hiker maps and travelogues about the section of the Országos Kéktúra in Hungarian in the following books: Az Országos Kéktúra Írottkötöl Budapest, Hüvösvölgyig Az Országos Kéktúra Budapest, Hüvösvölgytöl Hollóházáig
There are websites of Hungarian hikers about the completion of the Országos Kéktúra:
The route of the E4 through Romania is not yet clearly defined. No organization is responsible for the trail’s upkeep in Romania.
In Bulgaria, the marked trail begins on the village square of the Sofia suburb of Dragalevtsi. It passes the terminals of the Dragalevtsi chairlift, the ski resort Aleko and the highest peak of the Vitosha mountains, Cherni Vrah
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, and then leads down the other side of Vitosha, through the Verila hills to Rila.
In the Rila and Pirin Mountains, it is not marked as such, but the main trail leading through those mountains, marked in red, should be followed. Coming from Verila, the trail enters Rila following the Saparevska Vada irrigation ditch. It passes through the Seven Rila Lakes area and then climbs onto the ridge passing Malyovitsa peak. It continues via the shelter Kobilino Branishte, the hut at Ribni Ezera and the hut Macedonia towards the Predel saddle which separates Rila from Pirin.
From Predela, it reaches the main ridge of Pirin via the hut Yavorov and follows it via the three highest peaks of Pirin (Banski Suhodol, Kutelo and Vihren) and the ridge Koncheto, before descending to the Vihren refuge. It continues on the ridge until the Vinarska Porta saddle, and then runs along Tevno Lake and down the Zhelezina stream towards Pirin hut. From there it is the only marked trail leading through the Central Pirin range, passing the peak Orelyak and the hut Popovi Livadi. It ends at Petrovo near the Greek border, where a bus to Kulata on the border can be taken. Total length within Bulgaria is 250 km.
There is little up-to-date information available on E4 through Greece, and while a route exists from the Bulgarian border to the foot of the Peloponnese peninsula, it may inadequately way marked. E4 continues, via ferry from Yithio (Gythio), through Crete. E4 had originally been planned to start out from the Republic of Macedonia rather than Bulgaria.
The Greek National Tourist Office suggest that: “The E4 is ideal for hiking from May 15 until early October”. However, the north can still be rainy in May, and it should be more settled in Central Greece and the Peloponnese by early May. Also snow may be a problem on Mt Olympus until mid-June (Cicerone Guide) and possibly other high places. The Tourist Office comments further: “The areas have a typical Mediterranean climate, with warm dry summers and considerable differences in day and night temperatures. Snowfall starts in November and snow is likely to linger into June”.
A walk can take longer than anticipated because of poor way marking, or because paths are blocked, or dangerously eroded, and streams and rivers may be impassable. Walkers should therefore be prepared for long diversions, and never presume that you will reach the intended destination, including the final one, on time, or on a specific day. Flexible planning is advisable. Some sections follow paved roads, but there should be little traffic
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, in the spring and autumn.
Accommodation is not available every night, so that lightweight camping, or bivouac gear, is necessary, as well as several days supply of food. Bears, are found in the far north of Greece, so that the safely guidelines for hiking in bear country, should be followed, especially with regard to the storing of food. The Cicerone guide offers invaluable advice on sleeping and eating. In spring, in some areas, there may be springs and/or fast flowing streams, though ample reserves of water should still be carried. With regard to accommodation maps should not be trusted and even if there is a hotel it may only open in July and August, or at weekends. Mountain refuges may not be open. Coffee shops may provide simple meals. Some mountain villages are uninhabited in the winter and will only begin to come alive again after Easter, and not fully until high summer.
The Hellenic Federation of Mountaineering and Climbing is the organisation, along with associated clubs, which has established and maintains E4, and it has published a leaflet about E4 with text in English, French and German, as well as descriptions of E4 and E6, with maps, in English and German.
An overview of walking in Greece, including sections of E4, can be found in The Mountains of Greece by Tim Salmon and there is a guide book in German to the E.4 in the Peloppnnes by Rolf Roost (see bibliography). However, additional, current local information should be sought whenever possible
Maps from Anavasi cover much of the route and some can be bought with a guide book, including the Taygetos 1:50,000 sheet.
From Kulata (Bulgaria) the way crosses the border to Promachon (Promachonas). The route was originally planned to cross from the Republic of Macedonia to Florina.
See the Oreivatein web pages for fuller details. There is a separate more detailed page for the section from the Bulgarian border to Florina.
Aluminum signs: on white background a yellow Rombus with black frameworks
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, in which stands with black writing E4/6. Color-signs on rocks and trees: white background, a yellow parallelogram on the left and a black on the right.
Because of the transliteration from the Greek alphabet, the spelling of place names can be confusing (some places also have an official and a local, or old, name).
Promachon (Promachonas), Rodhopoli, Doirani, Archangelos, Pella, Loutraki, Skopos, Florina (300 km).
Nymphaeo, Amyntaeo (Amyndeo), Rizomata, Dion, Litochoro (Litohoro), Olympus, Kokkinopilos, Meteora, Agrafa, Krassochori, Viviani (Viniani).
Karpenissi, Artotina], Kaloskopi, Delfi (Delphi), Itea (900 km, from Florina)
Diakofto, Kalavryta, Vytina, Tripoli, Sparti, Mystras, Refuge of Taygetos, Kastania, Gythio[n] (Yithio) (300 km). Ferry to Kastelli Kissamou, Crete.
See the web pages below for details of routes in Crete. There are in addition guide books listed in the bibliography above.
This new section of the E4 was inaugurated in 2005, and is 539 km long. It connects Larnaka and Pafos international airports, traversing the Troodos mountain range and Akamas peninsula. A brochure has been published by the Cyprus Tourist Organisation (for online information, see external links above).
In 2014 the Orientaction club has produced 1/25000 hiking maps of the mountainous region of Cyprus which include a large part of the E4 trail.