Walking Holidays in Crete are the best way to enjoy the beauty of this stunning island. Crete is Greece's biggest island and is located in the Mediterranean Sea, just below the Balkan Peninsula. Go hiking and trekking in Crete and discover this gorgeous island, famous for the blue of its skies and water and the white of its buildings. If you are looking for nature, good food, and friendly people, you have come to the right place. Below you will find all you need to know about the Samaria Gorge, hiking tours, hiking trails, guided walking holidays in Crete, and more!
Crete is well known for its history, mythology and some of the most important Minoan Civilization's remainings. However, there is a lot more to it. Blessed with extraordinary beaches, Crete is an excellent place to go hiking. While walking and hiking in Crete you will get away from the crowds and you will discover a different side of this gorgeous island. From mountains and deep gorges to pink beaches, Crete is perfect for trekking lovers.
Go hiking in Crete and get to know the locals, try traditional local dishes, and dive into the waters of some of the most scenic beaches you will ever encounter. Find all the hiking options we offer in Crete here!
What is the best season to go hiking in Crete?
Just like on most treks in Europe, you can go trekking all year round, from Crete to the Camino de Santiago in Spain, trekkers are welcome any time. However, there are always some seasons that are more advisable when it comes to temperature. For example, in Crete, it can de quite warm during July and August. Spring and autumn are the best times of the year to go walking in Crete. In spring nature is at its most abundant and the island is covered with a blanket of wildflowers. During the walks, you can also discover rare orchids. The colorful butterflies are a feast for the eyes; you smell herbs like thyme, oregano, and sage on the paths. In summer, it is a little drier but in autumn the first rains bring a new shower of flowers and amazing autumn colors. Find the best trek for you here.
How hard are the hiking trails in Crete?
The walks we offer for a walking holidays in West Crete are graded as easy to moderate. You will walk mainly on paths of moderate gradient with ascents of up to 500m in a day. The terrain can be stoney and rocky so hiking boots and walking poles are essential. You will be walking up to 5-6 hours a day, including stops to rest and for lunch.
Being fit for your trek in Crete will not only make the hike safer for you, but also for your team. If you are unsure about being able to complete your trek, we advise you to start training a few weeks in advance, walking a few hours a day. Climbing stairs also helps. Being fit is always good both for your physical and mental health, and trekking contributes hugely to keeping your body healthy. Here are some of the health benefits that you get from trekking and hiking, in Crete or anywhere else!
How do I get there for my Walking Holidays in Greece?
One of the most common questions among trekkers visiting Crete is how to actually get to the island. Luckily for all of us, it is not that hard. Here are your options:
Crete has three airports. The most common airport to fly to in Crete isNikos Kazantzakis Airport, 4kms away fromthe city of Heraklion.Flights arrive at this airport directly from international destinations, Greece & Europe.
Throughout the whole year, you can get at least one ship per day making the trip from the port city of Piraeus to Heraklion. During Summer, the trips increase to two or three voyages per day. Also, during high season, there are other ferries available running between Crete and the other Greek Islands including Rhodes, Karpathos, Kassos, and Khaliki.
Book hikes offered by our local partners in Crete on Bookatrekking.com
What is the accommodation like during myguided walking holidays in Crete?
Our local partners will reserve for you lovely authentic family-run guesthouses and hostels at very picturesque locations. The owners of the guest-houses are very hospitable and helpful and are known to provide the most delicious breakfasts and meals. They are all traditional and have a local character. The owners are friendly and will do everything in their power for you to have a pleasant stay during your hike.
What should I pack for my hiking tour in Crete?
Packing the right clothes and equipment is always one of the most crucial parts of getting ready for a trek. Our partner No Footprint prepared a summary of what you should bring with you for your trekking adventure in Crete:
- A pair of comfortable and waterproof hiking boots
- Walking poles
- A hat that provides effective cover from the sun
- Sunglasses to protect the eyes from UV exposure
- Comfortable and warm clothes that are suitable for walking
- an all-weather light waterproof jacket
- A swimsuit and beach towel
- A camera!
Enjoying the peace and quiet of nature is one of the pleasures of trekking. However, sometimes we need an extra push to keep going. When you feel like giving up, having the right playlist in your bag can help you to get the motivation necessary to reach the top. Here are ourtop picks for your Walking Holiday in Crete's playlist. Don't forget to take your headphones and some extra batteries in your backpack!
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What does trekking in Crete look like?
Despite being a small island, Crete has a lot to offer to its visitors. Our partner No Footprint has a great 11-day itinerary during which you will explore the beautiful Cretan coast & mountains, spectacular gorges, picturesque remote villages, and incredible beaches. Here is their itinerary:
DAY 1: WELCOME & HISTORICAL WALK AROUND CHANIA
Meeting at Chania. Transfer to your guesthouse within the Old Town. Opportunity to swim at one of the nearby beaches. Early in the evening, we’ll walk around the historic old town to explore the beautiful architecture and monuments, the lively 100-year-old market and the picturesque Venetian harbor with its distinctive lighthouse. As you stroll through narrow lanes and hidden back streets you’ll discover the neighborhoods where once Christians, Muslims, and Jews used to coexist, secret gardens, ancient ruins, parts of the Byzantine wall, the Venetian fortifications and buildings and Ottoman mosques and dwellings… myths and legends about invasions, occupations, resistances, and independence will come alive and fascinate you. Supper at one of our favorite local taverns.
DAY 2: EXPLORE TWO OF THE LUSHEST AND MOST SOLITARY GORGES
The Gorge Kydoni is a small lush green paradise starting from the fountain of the village of Karanou. Along the route, you’ll discover caves and small waterfalls till you meet the river Mavropiliotis and head west to the second lush gorge of the area, Boriano. You’ll be amazed by the dense vegetation, the tall oak and plane trees covered with ivy, the various herbs and wildflowers, especially in spring, and the many migratory & resident birds.
These 2 gorges constitute the perfect setting for our naturalist guide to introduce you to the unique biodiversity and flora of Crete. Our circular walk will end at Karanou village where you’ll enjoy a drink at the local “kafenio” with panoramic views to the surrounding mountains covered with olive groves. Time for lunch and a swim at the nearest beach!
Walking distance: 7km, 2.2 hours. Actual walking time: 3-4 hours. The path is considered easy.
DAY 3: ADMIRE HISTORICAL MONASTERIES & CAVES TOWARDS THE BAY OF STAVROS
We’ll start the day with a visit to the monastery of Agia Triada of Tzagarolon, often described as the richest and most beautiful monastery in Crete. Built by the Venetian nobles and scholars Jeremiah and Lawrence Tzagarolo, its architecture was influenced by the architect Sebastiano Serlio from Verona, Italy. It hosts a lovely olive oil and wine museum where you can taste various wines, olive oils, and vinegars produced from the monastery’s olive groves and vineyards. Our hikestarts from the oldest monastery in Crete, Gouverneto, built in 1537 and situated on a rocky site near the entrance of the gorge Avlaki. Its architecture is unique as it resemblesa fortress withfour towers with bastions to protect its corners. It is believed itwas founded by the hermit monks of the seaside Katholiko Monastery (whose ruinswe’ll visit shortly) on top ofa pre-existing ancient temple so as to protect themselves from pirate raids. We’ll descend towards the sea and Avlaki gorge by following the stone-paved path. On the way, you will meet Arkoudospilio Cave, the ruined monastery Katholiko and the cavernous church of St. John, where the hermit lived. Our hike will end at the beautiful bay and beach of Stavros where you can enjoy a lovely swim and lunch.
Walking distance: 9km, 3hours. Actual walking time: 4-5 hours with stops for observations and rest. The path is considered easy.
DAY 4: WALK THE SAMARIA GORGE, RICH IN PLANT & ANIMAL LIFE
The famous gorge of Samaria, the 2nd longest in Europe, is situated in the National park of Samaria, at the White Mountains. We’ll start the hike from the village of Omalos, from an altitude of 1230m and hike 16km down to the Libyan seashore and the picturesque village of Agia Roumeli. In the gorge, you will find around 450 unique plant species, protected under international law, in order to safeguard this delicate ecosystem. You’ll walk past huge pine and cypress trees and you may meet its famous inhabitant, the endemic wild goat of Crete or “Kri-kri”. The walk through the Samaria Gorge takes 5-8 hours depending on your pace and it is totally worth it! Six hours is the normal time including stops to rest and appreciate the natural landscape and wildlife. We’ll end the day with a swim at the deep blue waters of Ag. Roumeli and then we’ll take the boat toPalaiochorawhere we’ll spend the night.
Walking distance: 16km, 5 hours. Actual walking time: 6-8hours with stops for observations and rest. The path is considered moderate.
DAY 5: FREE DAY
A great opportunity to rest at one of the beautiful beaches of Palaiochora.
DAY 6: COASTAL WALK ALONG THE E4 PATH TO THE INCREDIBLE ELAFONISI
Today we’ll start early in the morning from Palaiochora and walk along the European hiking route E4 towards the cedar forest and the stunning Elafonisi. Elafonisi is a peninsula of exceptional natural beauty, part of the Natura 2000 Protection Program. You’ll walk through the sea to reach its small islet, lie at its small coves and sandy beaches and admire its interesting rock formations as the island stretches out into the sea and into the sunset. You’ll return by boat to Palaiochora in the evening.
Walkingdistance: 10 km, 3.1 hours. Actual walking time: 4-5 hours with stopsfor observations and rest. The path is considered easy to moderate.
DAY 7: WALK TO THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE OF LISSOS & SOUGIA VILLAGE
Another amazing coastal hike that crosses beautiful beaches and coves as well as the archaeological site of Lissos. We’ll explore Lissos and soak up its incredibly peaceful atmosphere, its Asklepeio temple, the Roman necropolis and the two chapels with interesting frescoes. You’ll enjoy a swim and continue walking to the laid back village of Sougia. Lunch and rest before taking the boat back to Palaiochora.
Walking distance: Option for 9km or 16km, 3-5 hours. Actual walking time: 4-6 hours with stops to swim, visit Lissos and rest. The path is considered moderate.
DAY 8: COASTAL WALK ALONG THE INCREDIBLE SHORES OF THE LIBYAN SEA
FromAgia Roumeli starts anincrediblybeautiful coastal walk which ispart of the EuropeanE4 hiking trailthat leads to Loutro and ChoraSfakion. You’ll enjoy a relaxed walk towardsAgios Pavlos beachwhere you’ll swim, snorkel and enjoy theturquoise colours,vastness and remoteness of the south beaches ofCrete. We’ll continue towards Marmara beach where we’ll stop forlunch. We’ll eventually end ourwalk at thepicturesque port ofLoutrowhere we’ll spend thenight.
Walking distance: 13km, 4.5 hours. Actual walking time: 6-8 hours. The path is considered moderate.
DAY 9: VISIT TO HISTORICAL ANOPOLIS & DESCEND ARADHENA GORGE
Todaywe’ll ascend the ancient path to thehistorical Anopolis village, thecentre of revolutionary activities against theVenetians and the Turks. Traces of the ancient city arestill visible. Time to have lunch and a break and experience theauthentic village cultureofCrete. From Anopolis we will walk to theabandonedAradhena villagebefore descending through the Aradhenagorgeback to Marmara beach.Several pairs ofgriffon vulturesnest in the cliffs of the gorge andwe look forward to spot them for you. After a swim in thecrystalwaters of Marmara beach we’ll return to Loutro.
Walking distance:11km, 5 hours. Actual walking time: 7-8 hours. The path is considered moderate.
DAY 10: WALK THROUGH THE IMPOSING IMBROS GORGE
We’ll start from the picturesquevillage of Imbrosbuilt at an altitude of 780m which is inhabited mainly fromspring till autumn as in the winter it is covered with snow. The gorge will fascinate you with its fig trees, almond tress and cypresses and itswildflowers. It is an easy downhill 8km walk till you reach the village ofKomitades.
Imbros gorgebecame a refuge for Christians during the Turkish occupation and a base for revolutionaries. For Australians, New Zealanders and some British, walking through the gorge of Imbros is almost a pilgrimage. Many Allied troops walked through the gorge in May 1941 in order to escape the island to Egypt. We’ll end the day with a swim and a beautiful meal by the sea.
Walking distance: 8km, 2.5 hours. Actual walking time: 4-5 hours with stops for observations and rest. The path is considered easy.
DAY 11: RETURN TO CHANIA IN THE MORNING
If you want to book this 11-day walking holiday in Crete, check this page.
Should I tip the guide after hiking in Crete?
Tipping in Crete is expected in most places, but it is by no means obligatory. Of course, there is no set standard for how much to tip when you got a good service. As regards tipping your tour guide, tipping between 2 to 5 Euros per person, per day of trek, is a good reference.
How much does a walking holiday in Crete cost?
Walking holidays in Crete range from EUR 864,-/ USD 935,- to EUR 1224,-/ USD 1325,- per person. Treks go from 1-week trekking tours to 11-day adventures. The prices depend on the number of days and what is included in each of them.
If you want to check all the options we offer for your hiking adventure in Crete, check this page.
Where to book your hiking holiday in Crete?
The great thing about the internet is that you can find anything anywhere. The same goes for hiking and trekking providers. However, since there is so much on offer, it can be overwhelming to find a trekking operator of your liking. That is why Bookatrekking.com does the selection for you.
We only join hands with the best hiking and trekking providers we can trust. You can rest assured that the trekking operators on Bookatrekking.com are reliable.Find your perfect walking holiday in Crete here!
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