The largest and most mountainous of the Greek islands, Crete boasts an astonishing variety of scenery and vegetation, and a rich history dating back to the 4000 year old Minoan civilization.
Until now it has been all but out of the question to enjoy a self-guided walking holiday in Greece, for lack of maps and suitably located accommodation. In Crete this is now a possibility.The largest and most mountainous of the Greek islands, Crete boasts an astonishing variety of scenery and vegetation, and a rich history dating back to the 4000 year old Minoan civilization. At the island’s western end rise the spectacular White Mountains, reaching almost 2500m, the peaks towering above a coastline of sheer cliffs cut by deep ravines running down to the sea. The walk alternates between coastal walks, magnificent gorges and peak ascents. Highlights along the way include the famous Samaria gorge, the longest in Europe, and last refuge of the ‘kri-kri’ mountain goats equally impressive but less visited neighbouring gorges and villages and chapels tucked among pine trees.
£775.00 per person based on two people sharing a room.
Single room supplement £135.00
A moderate walk/hike each day with a maximum of 6 hours walk on rocky footpaths. Sometimes you cross streams in the gorges. On the coast you walk on sand and shingles for short distances. Participants should be in good physical condition with a some hiking experience.
May 1st to 31st October.
Arrive in Chania. Explore the old “Venetian style” city of Chania with its picturesque harbour. (Overnight in Chania)
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the entrance of Agia Irini gorge, for your first hike. Agia Irini gorge offers a quiet path next to a stream, full of pines and chestnut trees. Sougia is a beautiful village on the southern coast of Crete where you will have the opportunity to enjoy a swim in the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Up to 5hours walking (Overnight in Sougia)
Walk through the beautiful gorge of Selinou, thick with brilliant pink oleanders and carob trees, to the ancient city of Lissos. Lissos was an important centre of hydrotherapy in the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine eras. Here you will visit a well-preserved temple with mosaic floor dedicated to the God of medicine, Asklipios and you will have much to admire by making a small loop around the city. Refresh yourselves in the cove and return to Sougia. 3 to 4 hours (Overnight in Sougia)
Transfer by taxi or public bus to the Omalos Plateaus and the entrance of the Samaria gorge, from where you ascend Mt. Gigilos. This is where the wild goats of Crete (Kri-kri) live, as well as some of the rarest and most highly threatened with extinction wild birds of Europe, such as the griffon vulture and the lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus). Towards the top there are some points where you may need to use your hands a little (an easy scramble, nothing technical) but from the summit there are spectacular views in all directions. Descend by the same route and spend the night at a family owned hotel on the Omalos plateau. 6 hours (Overnight Omalos)
A short drive from the hotel will take you to the entrance of Samaria gorge. Samaria is the largest gorge in Europe and one of the most beautiful. You walk on a good path in shady pine forest and beside a pretty stream and where you may see Cretan wild goats. Reach the small village of Agia Roumeli, where you can relax and enjoy a swim. 6 hours (Overnight in Agia Roumeli).
Leave your luggage in the hotel lobby to be transferred by boat to Loutro. A beautiful sea walk (coastal path) beside the Mediterranean Sea. Todays walk alternates between sand and shingles next to the sea and about 50m above sea level in pine forest and shrub. On the way to Loutro you pass picturesque St Paul’s chapel, built on sand. After a break at “Marmara” beach, arrive at the small port of Loutro with its magnificent blue and white houses. 6 hours (Overnight in Loutro)
Ascend an ancient path to Anopolis village, a historic area from where the revolution against the Turks began in 1866. Here we see Cretans still wearing their traditional costumes. From Agia Ekaterini’s church, just beyond Anopolis, are wonderful views to the Libyan Sea and the south coast of Crete. Visit Anopoli’s square, relax at the coffee shop with the locals and return the same way. For the energetic there is also the opportunity to continue across Arathena gorge to “Marmara” beach and thence to Loutro. This big loop provides an unforgettable contrast between mountain trail, spectacular gorge and coastal path. 6 to 7 hours (Overnight in Loutro)
For the last day there are two options to reach the village of Hora Sfakion, from where you return to Chania. Either a 2 hour hike via the coastal path that crosses “Sweet water beach” (here fresh water springs emerge from the pebble beach), or a 15 minutes boat-ride from Loutro to Sfakia. The trip ends at Chania, with its interesting market. End of Services.
Chania: Arkadi Hotel http://www.arkadi-hotel.gr/
Sougia: Anchorage Rooms
Omalos: Hotel Exari https://www.exari.gr/
Agia Roumeli: Pahnes Pension http://www.pachnes.gr/
Loutro: Blue House http://thebluehouse.gr/