E4 European long distance path
The E4 European long distance path or E4 path is one of the European long-distance paths. Starting at its westernmost point in Spain it continues through 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.
- 1 Spain
- 2 France
- 3 Switzerland
- 4 Germany/Austria
- 5 Hungary
- 6 Romania
- 7 Bulgaria
- 8 Greece
- 9 Cyprus
From: Tarifa, southernmost point of mainland Spain
through mountains of Andalucia, Murcia and Valencia via Ronda, Alhama de Granada, Moratalla, Alcoi, Requena, Morella (GR7)
Puigcerda in Pyrenees E of Andorra
Catalan coast at Ulldecona (GR8), Tarragona via Catalan coast path (GR92), Montserrat (GR172), then GR4 into Pyrenees
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)
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
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, 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
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
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.
Through Allgäu and Upper Bavaria via Neuschwanstein, Unterammergau, Bavarian Lakes (04) 550 km
via Salzkammergut (04)
to: Hainburg an der Donau
E Austrian border path (07)
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
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:
- Hörpölin&son’s website about the Blue Tour – in English with travelogues and more than 1000 photos
- E&T Kéktúra oldala – this is a website of young people walking the path of the Blue Tour with more thousand photos – in Hungarian
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, 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.
- Responsible organisation(s): - (BTU): Tourist Union
- Publication(s): Series of 5 maps with text in Bulgarian, German and English from BTU
- The following (commercial) site provides much free helpful information about hiking in the mountains of Bulgaria: http://www.bghike.com/
There is little up-to-date information available on E4 through Greece, but it appears that while a route exists from the Bulgarian border to the foot of the Peloponnese peninsula, it is still generally inadequately waymarked, especially at key points. E4 continues, via ferry from Yithio (Gythio), through Crete. The Greek website Oreivatein has some information on the route. 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 while the weather should be settled by the 1st of May in Central Greece and the Peloponnese, there may be some rain, and brief, violent thunderstorms. 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".
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 excellent overview of walking in Greece, including sections of E4, can be found in The Mountains of Greece by Tim Salmon. However, current local information should be sought whenever possible.
As well as delays caused because of taking a wrong route, diversions may arise because it is blocked, or dangerously eroded, and streams and rivers may be impassable because of snow melt, or rain, especially in May. However, the warmth of both the Greek people and the sun, along with a sense of adventure, should more than make up for the frustrations. Some sections follow roads, and though this is less interesting there will be very little traffic, especially in May and June.
Accommodation will not be available every night, so that lightweight camping, or bivouac gear, is necessary, as well as several days supply of food. As bears, however few and shy, are found in the far north of Greece, follow the safely guidelines for hiking in bear country, especially with regard to the storing of food. The Cicerone guide offers invaluable advice on sleeping and eating. In May, in many areas, there may be plenty of springs and/or fast flowing streams, but it would be sensible to carry ample reserves of water—just in case. With regard to accommodation, the Oreivatein site should not be totally trusted, particularly its idiosyncratic use of the word 'motel' (a warning is also necessary with regard to hotels marked on maps). Even if there is a hotel it may only open in July and August, or at weekends. Mountain refuges will also usually be locked. Coffee shops, if they are open and still there, may provide simple meals. Many mountain villages are uninhabited in the winter and only begin to come alive again after Easter, and not fully until high summer.
The times given between places on the Oreivatein web page should be verified and additional time allowed for possible delays. Walkers should also 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. Thus flexible planning, including at least a couple of spare days, is advisable.
- Hellenic Federation of Mountaineering and Climbing, 5 Milioni Street, GR-10673 Athina.
- Hellenic Alpine Club Acharnon, Philadelphias Street 12, GR-13671 Acharnas.
- Tim Salmon, with Michael Cullen, The Mountains of Greece (Cicerone 2006).
- The Rough Guide to Greece. Latest edition.
- Greece (Lonely Planet). Latest edition.
- Marc S. Dubin, Greece on Foot (1986). Long out of print.
- John Hillaby, Journey to the Gods (1991). A long walk in Greece by a renowned British walker. It should be obtainable.
- Loraine Wilson, The High Mountains of Crete: The White Mountains and South Coast, Psiloritis and Lassithi.
- Gert Hirner and Jakob Murböck, Walking Guide: Crete West (Rother Guides). Originally in German.
- By a Collective, Walking Guide: Crete East (Rother Guides). Originally in German.
Maps from Anavasi cover much of the route and some can be bought with a guide book, including the Taygetos 1:50,000 sheet.
Route of E.4 in Mainland Greece
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, 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).
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. 
- "E4". Maps and more informations. European Ramblers' Association. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
- GNTO web site
- Based on local advice in Metsovo.
- E.4 Crete
- E.4 in Cyprus
- E4 - map and information by the European Ramblers' Association
- The Hungarian section of the E4 long distance path (Hörpölin&son's Blue Tour Website)
- An E4 walk in the province of Granada, Spain
- A detailed description by John Hayes the first person complete the E4 from Tarifa to Budapest
- Map & description of E4 in Crete