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Walking holiday in West Crete

No Footprint - 11 days

  • Walking holiday in West Crete
  • 11 days / 10 nights
  • Max. group: 10 Persons
  • Difficulty: Easy
Overview
Route
What's Included
Accommodation
FAQ
Packing List
Safety
No Footprint
How to Book

Overview

> Explore ancient paths that take you through incredible landscapes with ravines, natural springs, gorges, canyons, forests, and unique flora & fauna 
> Trek to the stunning Libyan sea beaches and the southernmost area in Europe
> Spend your nights in local guesthouses
> Visit the coastal villages of Palaiochora and Loutro

During our walking holiday in West Crete, you’ll experience incredible landscapes, beaches, culture, and delicate ecosystems, mainly plants, birds and butterflies. Together with our expert naturalist, you will explore the beautiful Cretan coast & mountains, three spectacular gorges, picturesque remote villages, and incredible beaches.

This 10-day trek in Crete will take you to Chania. The prefecture of Chania is the greenest part of the island as the range of the White Mountains ensures the highest rainfall in Crete. You’ll stay at the picturesque old town of Chania and then continue to the coastal villages of Palaiochora and you will also enjoy Loutro, in the Sfakia region, where you’ll enjoy incredible views of the Libyan sea. All walks end at Crete’s spectacular beaches.

By joining our walking holiday in West Crete, Greece, you’ll get introduced by a local to a side of Crete that few people know about.

Route

What's the plan?

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 historical old town to explore the beautiful architecture and monuments, the lively 100-year-old market and the picturesque Venetian harbour with its distinctive lighthouse. As you stroll through narrow lanes and hidden back streets you’ll discover the neighbourhoods 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 favourite 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 wild flowers, 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 hike starts 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 resembles a fortress with four towers with bastions to protect its corners. It is believed it was founded by the hermit monks of the seaside Katholiko Monastery (whose ruins we’ll visit shortly) on top of a 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, 3 hours. 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 sea shore 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 to Palaiochora where we’ll spend the night.

Walking distance: 16km, 5 hours. Actual walking time: 6-8 hours 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.

Walking distance: 10 km, 3.1 hours. Actual walking time: 4-5 hours with stops for 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

From Agia Roumeli starts an incredibly beautiful coastal walk which is part of the European E4 hiking trail that leads to Loutro and Chora Sfakion. You’ll enjoy a relaxed walk towards Agios Pavlos beach where you’ll swim, snorkel and enjoy the turquoise colours, vastness and remoteness of the south beaches of Crete. We’ll continue towards Marmara beach where we’ll stop for lunch. We’ll eventually end our walk at the picturesque port of Loutro where we’ll spend the night.

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

Today we’ll ascend the ancient path to the historical Anopolis village, the centre of revolutionary activities against the Venetians and the Turks. Traces of the ancient city are still visible. Time to have lunch and a break and experience the authentic village culture of Crete. From Anopolis we will walk to the abandoned Aradhena village before descending through the Aradhena gorge back to Marmara beach. Several pairs of griffon vultures nest in the cliffs of the gorge and we look forward to spot them for you. After a swim in the crystal waters 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 picturesque village of Imbros built at an altitude of 780m which is inhabited mainly from spring 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 its wild flowers. It is an easy downhill 8km walk till you reach the village of Komitades.

Imbros gorge became 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

What's Included

Included:

√ Transfers
On the first day of the trek, we will pick you up at Chania. At the beginning of each day, we will take you to the starting point of the trek and we will take you to the accommodation for the night once the trekking is over.

√ Accommodation
We have reserved for you lovely authentic family-run guesthouses and hostels at very picturesque location.  The owners are very hospitable and helpful and are known to provide the most delicious breakfasts and meals. Accommodation is based on a double room, shared basis. Single supplement available for EUR 157-.

√ Guides
During the treks you will be accompanied by a professional, naturalist/biologist guide who will introduce you to the local biodiversity, local flora and fauna.

√ Introductory briefing
On the morning of the first day of the trek, we will meet you in Chania for an introductory briefing where we will explain all the details of the trek and we will answer all your questions.

√ Breakfast
Breakfast is included and will be provided at the family-run guesthouses and hostels during the trek.

√ Emergency contact number 24/7
There is an emergency contact number available 24/7 in case of an emergency. We will be available to assist you during the whole trek.

√  Luggage transfer
During the day you only carry your day bag, the rest of the luggage will be transferred from one point to the other in a minivan.

√ Fees and Taxes
VAT and other taxes and fees are included in the price of this trek.

Excluded:

× Flights
The total amount excludes flights to and from Greece. You will also have to make your way to the starting point of the trek, in Chania.

× Lunch and dinner
Lunch and dinner are not included in the price of the trek. You will find plenty of cozy restaurants to enjoy along the treks.

× Accommodation before and after the trek
Before and after the trek you have to take care of your own accommodation.

× Personal expenses
All personal expenses such as drinks at the bar, washing and other similar expenses are for your own account.

× Travel Insurance Including Repatriation
Your international travel insurance is your own responsibility. It is important that your travel insurance also covers trekking trips. Discuss your itinerary with the insurance company before you travel to Greece.

Accommodation

Accommodation

We have reserved for you lovely authentic family-run guesthouses and hostels at very picturesque location.  The owners 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.

Accommodation is based on a double room, shared basis. Single supplement available for EUR 157,-.

FAQ

How to get to Crete

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:

By plane
Crete has three airports. The most common airport to fly to in Crete is Nikos Kazantzakis Airport, 4kms away from the city of Heraklion. Flights arrive at this airport directly from international destinations, Greece & Europe. 

By Boat
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.

Best Season

We organize our walking holidays in West Crete, Greece all year round apart from July and August when it can be quite warm. Spring and autumn are the best times of the year for walking. In spring nature is at its most abundant. 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. In the summer, it is a little drier but in autumn the first rains bring a new shower of flowers and amazing autumn colors.

How hard are the trails?

The walks during our walking holiday in West Crete, Greece are graded as easy to moderate. We 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. We will walk up to 5-6 hours including stops to rest and for lunch.

Tipping

Tipping in Greece 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.

Packing List

Packing List

Packing the right clothes and equipment is always one of the most crucial parts of getting ready for a trek. Here is a summary of what you should bring with you for this trekking adventure in Greece:

- 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!

Safety

Safety

Safety is of the utmost importance to us. That is why this is an area in which we simply do not compromise when it comes to keeping the cost of our trekkings low. Our guides have been selected on the basis of their technical competence, proven safety performance, impeccable judgment, friendly attitude and ability to provide useful and expert instructions. They are also very professional and well trained in first aid and personal protection equipment. First aid kits are available on all treks.

No Footprint

No Footprint

There isn’t a better way to experience Greece and explore its natural beauty than by getting out and about on your own feet! Whether you are an experienced hiker who is interested in challenging treks or a beginner who enjoys short hikes to admire beautiful sceneries, then you’ll find what you’re looking for. All our walking and hiking adventure holidays around the Greek islands and the mainland are organized by people who care and are committed to responsible touristic development. 

We are dedicated towards encouraging low-impact tourism and activity holidays, such as walking and minimizing our negative impact on the environment and people. We are committed to building a sustainable future for our community and believe that the best way to protect our natural environment is by educating people about the unique flora, fauna, and culture of our region. Our team of expert local guides is dedicated to introducing you to our unique natural and cultural world and guiding you through the country's untouched paths!

How to Book

How does it work?

On Bookatrekking.com you can find and compare the adventures of your dreams. Is this trekking adventure your match? In that case, you can proceed to book. At Bookatrekking.com you make a deposit of 15% of the total amount. You pay the remaining amount on location prior to the trek directly to the trekking company.

Bookatrekking.com uses only the safest payment methods. Once your booking has been received, your place is reserved, your place is safe and you can look forward to your chosen trekking.

After you have made your booking, you will receive an e-mail confirmation with all the necessary information and the contact details of the trekking company. If you have any questions or if you want to clarify something, you can obtain information directly from the right person. Of course, you can also always ask us your question. Send us an e-mail on support@bookatrekking.com

The trekking company will also receive your details and can therefore always contact you and provide you with extra information.

Cancellation Policy

You wish you didn’t have to, but there is no other way: You find yourself having to cancel your plans. In this case, you lose your deposit, but since you haven’t paid the large sum yet, you at least save that. Please do let us know if you cannot make it. A no-show can be a small disaster for your trekking provider, who did its best to block your dates. View our complete cancellation policy here.

 

 

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