Walking Holidays in Crete: Gorges, White Mountains and more!

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Walking Holidays in Crete: Gorges, White Mountains and more!
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Walking on Crete? Absolutely! We all know someone who has been to Crete for an all-in beach holiday. Fighting for a beach chair and barely getting out of the hotel. A shame, because the Greek island has much more to offer than just sun, sea and beach holidays. Those who love it know that it is also known for its beautiful gorges such as the Samaria and Imbros Gorge, both stunning places where you can hike endlessly. Or how about the Lefa Okri, the White Mountains? Higher than 2000 metres and also great to combine with the quiet beaches of the South Coast. Curious? We would love to tell you more about hiking on this versatile island!

Crete offers you the ultimate combination of a hiking and sun holiday in one. At Bookatrekking.com, we have designed a Crete Trail that takes you past the most beautiful highlights in southern Crete. The island is often crowded in the months of July an August, but luckily you can hike all year round. So take out those hiking boots and get ready for an unforgettable adventure on the cosy Greek island!

Walking on Crete: What, Where and Why?

Known as the sunny island, Crete is about 250 kilometers long from west to east. This immediately makes Crete the largest island in Greece. When flying to Crete, you have the choice of flying into Heraklion or Chania airport.

The most beautiful part for hiking is definitely in the southwest of Crete, as you can find the island's most popular highlights in this area. But why is hiking in this part of Crete so popular? The literal highlight is the Lefka Ori 'White Mountains'. This is a mountain range located in the southwest and counts some 30 peaks that you can admire from several places on the island. In addition, Crete is also best known worldwide for its beautiful gorges such as the popular Samaria, Aradena and Imbros Gorges where you can take beautiful walks. Besides the many gorges on Crete, you also have the opportunity to enjoy a walk on the long (sandy) beaches both in the touristy north and in the quiet south of the island.

Walking on Crete: What, Where and Why?

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The gorges on Crete

An absolute must-see on Crete is the island's many gorges. Crete does have towards 300 gorges and the island makes sure that locals and tourists can enjoy them to the fullest. In most gorges you can hike all year round, but if it has rained a lot, it can get slippery.

The ultimate gorge is the popular Samaria Gorge. This 13-kilometer-long gorge is also considered one of the narrowest gorges in the world. In fact, there are sections in this gorge where it is only about 4 meters wide. Good walking shoes are mandatory and with a normal level of fitness, this gorge is doable for everyone.

But not only this popular gorge is worth visiting in Crete. The less famous gorges like the Irini and Imbros Gorge, are equally beautiful highlights. Indeed, each gorge has its own charm, which is why visiting several gorges is definitely recommended during your hiking holiday in Crete.

During the 5-day program we offer, you will hike through a selection of Crete's most beautiful gorges such as the Samaria Gorge, Imbros Gorge and Aradena Gorge.

The gorges on Crete

Lefka Ori: The White Mountains of Crete

The White Mountains of Lefka Ori, is also called the Madares and can be divided into three different massifs: west, central and east. The Lefka Ori has over 20 peaks that rise even above 2,000 meters in several places and their highest peak, 2453 meters! It is a highlight on Crete that is literally impossible to miss and also well worth a visit if you plan on hiking on this island.

You have five different popular hiking areas in and around the White Mountains. The program we have put together in Crete allows you to admire these beautiful peaks in the Omalos Plain area, where you can also hike through the popular Samaria Gorge.

Lefka Ori: The White Mountains of Crete

Five days of walking on Crete: Gorges, White Mountains and beaches

Our put-together walking tour in Crete is a program that has the best of everything. Walk along and through the beautiful highlights of southwest Crete and enjoy true Greek culture on this 5-day walking holiday!


Arrival in Crete

Welcome to Greece! Today you arrive in Chania and are expected in a pleasant hotel in Chania. On this sunny island, you need to travel by yourself to the hotel we booked for you. We will provide instructions and help you with directions to and from Heraklion or Chania, but bus tickets or cab costs are not included.

Kriti Hotel (Chania)

Kriti Hotel (Chania)

From Omalós to Agia Roumeli

Duration: 03:30 h
Distance: 14.3 km
Ascent: 90 m
Descent: 1230 m
Today you need to travel by yourself to the starting point in Omalós. We will provide instructions and help you with the way there, bus tickets or cab costs are not included. When you arrive at the starting point, a wonderful hike awaits you. With one of Crete's most famous highlights, the Samaria Gorge! You will pass through a varying landscape from mountain peaks to forests. During the hike, there are plenty of great spots to take a break and recharge. In Agia Roumeli, you are expected in a fine accommodation where you can recover from the first hike.

Hotel Agia Roumeli (Agia Roumeli)

Hotel Agia Roumeli (Agia Roumeli)

From Agia Roumeli to Loutro

Duration: 06:00 h
Distance: 21.7 km
Ascent: 900 m
Descent: 880 m
Today, you have two options to choose from. You can choose a more challenging and longer variant by hiking through the Aradena Gorge. If you go for this option, it will add around 6 kilometers and double the ascent and descent. You mainly hike along the beautiful coast in southern Crete. Enjoy the peace of the sea and the long sandy beaches. If you go for the Aradena Gorge option, then after the walk along the beach, you will have a beautiful hike through the rocky gorge back to the seaside town of Loutro. If you prefer to take it a little easier today, you can choose to skip the Aradena Gorge. Your stage will not be any less enjoyable as a result, as you can enjoy a long beautiful walk along the coast to the cosy town of Loutro. We described the metrics of the more challenging route.

Hotel Porto Loutro (Loutro)

Hotel Porto Loutro (Loutro)

From Loutro to Sfakia

Duration: 02:00 h
Distance: 7.04 km
Ascent: 160 m
Descent: 170 m
Today day is a short walk mainly along the southern coast. Today the ascent and descent do not exceed 200 meters, allowing you to enjoy the mountains and green surroundings. You walk to the coastal town of Sfakion, a cozy village with enough facilities to fill the rest of your day.

Hotel Sfakian Horizon (Sfakion)

Hotel Sfakian Horizon (Sfakion)

From Sfakia to Imbros to Sfakia

Duration: 03:00 h
Distance: 10.9 km
Ascent: 800 m
Descent: 30 m
The last relatively short hiking day takes you via the Imbros Gorge to the village of Imbros. This gorge offers you a green and rocky environment and you hike on well-trodden paths through beautiful nature. Once in Imbros, enjoy a Greek lunch after your final stage. You will then return to the town of Sfakia, where your last overnight stay is booked through us. We will provide instructions and help you with directions, but bus tickets or cab costs are not included.

Hotel Sfakian Horizon (Sfakion)

Hotel Sfakian Horizon (Sfakion)

Departure day

After breakfast, you can check out. This is the end of your adventure in Crete. We hope to see you again soon!
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Did you know that we can book all huts and refuges for the Crete Trail for you? Check out all our options here.

How difficult is a typical walk on Crete?

The program we offer for a walking holiday in Crete is self-guided and without luggage transport. The stages are classified as medium to hard and you walk 3 to 6 hours a day. You mainly walk on trails with ascents of up to about 1,300 meters in a day. The trails can be stony and rocky, so hiking shoes are highly recommended and walking sticks are essential.

Prefer to take it a little easier? That's possible! In fact, we have put together an average version of our 5-day program. The stages during our 4-day program, are average and you will walk 2 to 4 hours a day. The trails will of course remain stony and rocky even during these hikes, but your ascent will not exceed 1000m in a day. Ideal for hikers who want a slightly shorter and more moderate hike in Crete!

If you are not sure if you will be able to complete your trek, try walking for a few hours a day for the weeks before the trek using the same shoes as during the trek so that you do not get blisters or hurt your feet. Another good idea is to walk with a backpack on your shoulders so that your back can get used to the weight.

How difficult is a typical walk on Crete?

Accommodation on Crete: Where to stay?

Greece is known for its hospitality and helpful people. Many accommodations in southern Crete, therefore, are run by Greek families. These are often small-scale hotels or family houses. The typical Greek interior style in these accommodations ensures you get a warm welcome every time. Most of these accommodations also provide delicious meals prepared by their own staff. If ordering a meal is not possible at your accommodation, there is always a local restaurant available where you can enjoy delicious Greek cuisine!

If you go hiking in southern Crete, you will find several cosy accommodations in small villages or along the coast. At busy places like Omalos where the entrance of the Samaria Gorge is, and in and around the White Mountains, booking overnight accommodation in advance is a must. Because of groups or many bookings, it can sometimes be completely fully booked, and organizing a spontaneous night is not possible.

Accommodation on Crete: Where to stay?

Hospitality on Crete

Where you can enjoy the busy tourist spots in the north, you can find peace and quiet in the south. If you go hiking in this area of the island, there is plenty of time to take breaks to, for example, eat a delicious typical Greek salad with a beautiful view in the background.

Depending on where you stay during your hiking holiday, breakfast is (limited) included. All villages also have cafés where you can have breakfast, often with coffee, tea or 'mountain tea' made from local herbs. In the evening, you can eat in one of the restaurants after your hiking day; a daily menu or snack with local specialties can always be found. Think for instance of a local Tzatziki, Pita Gyros or the fish catch of the day!

During your walking holiday in Crete, you will stay overnight in cosy local hotels or family houses. As the weather is mostly fine on Crete, there is a lot of outdoor 'living'. Ideal to enjoy a drink on the terrace after your evening meal or a walk on the beach to end your day.

Hospitality on Crete

Not sure yet or want to discuss your plans for the Crete Trail with one of our trekking experts? Get in touch today and turn your dreams into memories!

What is the best season to go hiking in Crete?

You can go hiking on Crete all year round, but keep in mind that July and August can be quite hot. May, June, September and October offer ideal temperatures for a walking holiday. In spring, for instance, nature is at its best and the island is covered in a blanket of wildflowers. Last but not least, the Samaria Gorge is open from 1 May to 1 November.

How do I get to Crete?

Crete is one of Europe's popular holiday destinations. Luckily, getting to the island is not that difficult. Here are your options:

By plane

Crete has three airports. The most well-known airport to fly to in Crete, is Heraklion (HER). However, it is more practical to fly to Chania (CHQ), since you will get to the starting point of the hike more quicker.

By boat

Throughout the year, you can take at least one ferry a day to make the journey from the port city of Piraeus to Heraklion. This is a trip of around eight hours. During the summer months, trips increase to two or three trips a day. Other ferries are also available between Crete and the other Greek islands, including Rhodes, Karpathos, Kassos and Khaliki, during the high season.

How do I get to Crete?

At Bookatrekking.com, we not only book your huts, we also send you on your way with a comprehensive hiking guide with the most important information for your Crete Trail, including interactive Komoot maps. Browse all our options here and turn your dreams into reality.

Packing List for the Crete Trail

No matter where you go hiking or for how long, bringing the right equipment is of utmost importance. For your hike, the first thing you need is a good backpack. The size of it will depend on the number of days you will be trekking, the season and the clothes you take with you. If you have luggage transport, the comfort level of your daypack is most important. We have compiled a packing list with a few essential items of clothing you should bring and some extras you might find useful:
  • Essentials

  • Extras

Safety tips for the Crete Trail

Although this is far from being a trek in the Himalayas, unexpected things can always happen and you might also find obstacles on the hiking trails along the way. The Crete Trail is safe, the trails are quite straight forward and there is not an extreme difference in altitude. However, for your safety, every hike deserves a level of respect; respect for the terrain, the trails, wildlife and vegetation, local rules and regulations, and above all, your physical capabilities and safety. Therefore, for an unforgettable and safe hiking memory, please keep the following safety recommendations in mind:

  • Know your limits

    Always prepare each stage carefully to use your energy wisely, respect your physical and mental limitations, and avoid taking unnecessary risks. When ascending or descending, if applicable, always use the aids provided, such as handrails and ropes. Is this trek suitable for you? Well, familiarize yourself with the grading system and figure out if this trek matches your capabilities. If you still need professional advice you can always contact Bookatrekking.com experts.

  • Stay on marked trails

    The most important thing is to never leave the marked paths. For easy navigation we work with our trusted partner Komoot, whose interactive maps, also available offline, provide you with the necessary digital means to get from A to B in the Crete Trail. As a backup, make sure to bring a hiking guide or a paper map with you.

  • Fully equipped

    Make sure you have the necessary gear for the conditions you'll be facing, including appropriate clothing, footwear, and any necessary equipment for the terrain you'll be hiking on. Always wear clothing adapted to the weather of Crete Trail and protect yourself from cold and wetness or heat and sun. Besides, make sure you carry enough food and water for the duration of your trek. On the way, you might (or might not) be able to buy snacks.

  • Stay reachable

    If you are hiking solo or in small groups it is advisable to inform people back home about your plans, what route you are taking and when you plan to return. Even small incidents can lead to unpleasant emergencies so make sure you are available at all times. Bring a charged phone containing at least the phone numbers of immediate family members, your accommodations en route and the emergency phone numbers operating in the Crete Trail.

  • Respect for nature

    Do not litter, prevent noise, stay on the marked trails, do not disturb wildlife or grazing animals, and respect protected areas.

Where Can I Book the Crete Trail?

At Bookatrekking.com you can book the self-guided Crete Trail and many other treks. We take care of all the details for you, including arranging accommodations and providing you with relevant information well in advance of your trek. Find our offers here. Our easy-to-use platform allows you to browse and compare different trekking options and find the perfect fit for your interests, abilities, and budget.

If you have any questions about a specific trek or need help choosing the right one for you, our team of trekking experts is here to assist you. Simply reach out to us and we will be happy to provide you with personalized recommendations and advice to help you plan the trekking adventure of a lifetime.

Is the Crete Trail not your cup of tea and are you looking for other epic adventures? Check out one of our following blog posts:


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