Hiking in West and Central Crete - 15 Days / 14 Nights

The Best Time to Travel ...

We recommend the months of April - October
We use the international airport in Chania Crete, Ioannis Daskalogiannis (CHQ).

Our Tour

Day 1 Arrive in Chania.
Transfer to the hotel in Chania city.In the evening we will have a brief presentation of the whole trip and will continue with a dinner at a traditional tavern. Welcome to the gastronomic reality of the authentic Cretan cuisine! Overnight in Chania.
Day2 Walk through Agia Irini gorge.
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the entrance of Agia Irini gorge, for your first hike. Ag.Irini gorge provides a nice and 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 Mediterranean Sea. (4 hours walk). Overnight in Sougia.
Day 3 Walk to the ancient town of Lissos.
Cultural 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 center of hydrotherapy in ancient years, which flourished in the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine era. Here we will visit a well-preserved temple with mosaic floor dedicated to the God of medicine Asklipios and we will have much to admire by making a small loop around the city. Refresh ourselves in the cove and return to Sougia. (3 hours walk). Overnight in Sougia.
Day 4 Ascend Mt. Gigilos at 2.080m.
Our mini-bus brings us to the plateau of Omalos from where we climb mountain Gigilos (2.080 m).This is where the wild goats of Crete (Kri-kri) live as well as some of the most rare and highly threatened with extinction wild birds of Europe, such as the griffon vulture and the lammergeyer (Gypaetus barbatus). Towards the peak there are some points that we may use our hands to climb (easy scramble, nothing technical). The summit provides spectacular views in all directions. We descend by the same route and we spend the night at a family owned hotel in Omalos plateau. (6 hours walk). Overnight in Omalos.
Day 5 Walk through Samaria gorge.
A short minibus drive takes us to Xiloscalo, the entrance of Samaria gorge, which is the largest gorge in Europe and one of the most beautiful that nature can provide. We walk on a good path in shady pine forest and beside a melodic stream. We reach the small village of Agia Roumeli, where we can relax and enjoy a swim.(6 hours walk). Overnight in Agia Roumeli.
Day 6 Walk the coastal path to the village of Loutro.
We continue our walk close to the Mediterranean Sea (coastal path). Today’s walk alternates on sand and shingles next to the sea and about 50m above the sea level in pine forest and bushy areas. On the way to Loutro you pass from the picturesque St Paul's chapel, which was built on the sand next to the sea. After a needed-refreshing break at "Marmara" beach, you arrive at the small port of Loutro with its magnificent village decorated with the blue and white houses.(6 hours walk). Overnight in Loutro.
Day 7 Walk to the village of Anopolis.
Ascend the ancient path until Anopolis village, a historic area from where the revolution against the Turks began in 1866. Here we see "authentic" Cretans with their traditional costumes “that take us back in time, to other centuries”. From Anopolis we will cross Aradena gorge (very beautiful and slightly more difficult than the previous gorges). In the way back to Loutro we can swim in the crystal waters of "Marmara" beach (6-7hours walk). Overnight in Loutro.
Day 8 Walk from Loutro to Hora Sfakion.
Today we will follow the coastal path (2 hrs walk) and after passing from the "Sweet water beach" (there are many fresh water springs, coming out of the pebble beach), we will arrive at the village of Hora Sfakion where our mini-bus will wait to bring us to the Venetian castle "Frangokastelo". This castle has an interesting story about the ghosts of the Greek soldiers fighting against the Turks and a nice sandy beach where we can swim. We continue our drive to the fishing village of Plakias, where we spend the night. Overnight in Plakias.
Day 9 River Trekking.
This is our river-trek day. We will cross another gorge by following "Kourtaliotis" river from its source to "Preveli" Palm Beach. On the way will come across an abandoned olive oil mill, a Venetian bridge, and hippy huts. The exit of the gorge gives an unforgettable picture, as the river comes out in the sea through the forest of palm trees. In summer days we will live the amazing experience of walking this gorge through the actual river.(3-4 hours walk). Overnight in Plakias.
Day 10 Ascend Crete’s highest Summit.
Starting early in the morning, our minibus will bring us at the mountain hut of the highest mountain of Crete. Following the E4 path, we will reach the very top (2.456m) in approximately 3-3 1/2 hours. From the highest summit we can enjoy a full view of Crete. We can stare at both Kritiko Pelagos (Aegean Sea) to the north and Liviko Pelagos (Mediterranean Sea) to the south, all the islands that surround Crete, and of course all the mountain ranges of the island. Returning by the same path back, we then travel to Sivas village at the south area of Heraklion. (6 hours walk). Overnight in Sivas.
Day 11 Walk through Agiofarago gorge.
Agiofarago" means "Gorge of Saints". This gorge used to be the shelter of the monks of the near-by Monasteries. We will walk through the gorge that leads to one of the most beautiful and quiet beaches of Crete at Liviko Pelagos. There we have the chance to see the cave - house of a monk, a local hero during the revolution of 1866. We will also be impressed by the view of a natural lagoon connected underground with the sea. (1-2 hours walk). Overnight in Sivas.
Day 12 Drive to Lassithi plateau.
After breakfast we drive to the largest plateau of Crete. Lassithi plateau had over than 10.000 windmills some years ago, used for pumping out water for the locals to water their fields. We will have the chance to experience a small journey through mythology by visiting Dictaion Andro, the cave where Zeus was born. We will also have time for a short walk in the plateau to see the windmills. Overnight in Lassithi.
Day 13 Ascend Mt. Spathi at 2.148m.
From Lassithi plateau we will ascend the highest summit of mountain Dikti (2.148m). During our ascent we will have the opportunity to see some pairs of Eagles flying over the cliffs of the impressive west face of the mountain. The summit offers us an unbelievable view of Lassithi plateau and the east area of Crete. We descend by the same route to Lassithi plateau. (6-7 hours walk). Overnight in Lassithi.
Day 14 Visit Knossos Palace and Archaelogical Museum.
Today we drive back to Heraklion, and will visit Knossos, to enjoy the magnificent archaeological area holding remains of a Minoan city that thrived 3500 years ago and the famous palace dated 170-1450 B.C., excavated by Sir Arthur Evans at the beginning of this century. In the afternoon we are free to explore the city of Heraklion or to continue our culture excursion by visiting the very interesting archaeological museum, with exhibits from the Minoan period. Overnight in Heraklion
Day 15 End of trip.
This is the end of our trip. Transfer back to Chania Airport.

Important Notes

Please bear in mind that the itinerary can be altered for numerous reasons beyond our control (e.g. harsh weather, trail conditions) to ensure the safety and the well being of the group. The final hiking selection is left up to the Tour Leader in charge.
The archaeological Museum of Heraklion, on Mondays, opens at 13:00 hrs.
Transport: By air-conditioned vehicles, which leave us to walk and continue, with our baggage, to the next place where we will spend the night.
Accommodation: Hotels on HB basis, in the main cities and local inns and village pensions throughout the trip (all with private facilities).
The trip Net prices are based on double occupancy.
Food: Breakfast in the hotels and a nutritious dinner at local taverns or at the hotels/local inns/village pensions with a preset menu of traditional Greek and Cretan dishes.
Vegetarians are welcomed on the trips but we need to be notified upon reservation in order to arrange their food.
Activity Level: The hikes offer a moderate trek with a maximum of 6-7 hours walk on rocky footpaths. Sometimes we cross-streams in the gorges and on the coast we walk on sand and shingles for short distances.
Necessary Equipment: Daypack (approx.25-35 lt), trekking shoes, mountain clothing for spring time (waterproof wind jacket, polar fleece sweater etc.), water bottle, hat, sun cream, sun glasses, swimming suit, casual clothing.

Includes

Services of the tour leader - guide.
All accommodation with breakfast (14 nights in double rooms).
14 dinners.
Group transfers from / to Chania airport on arrival and departure.
Land transport throughout the trip.Baggage Transport.
Entrance fees in Samaria National Park. Entrance fees in Agia Irini gorge.
Professional licensed Englisg Speaking guide (for the visit to archaeological site Knossos and Heraklion museum).
Entrance fees in Knossos Palace and the Archaeological museum of Heraklion.
Personal accident Insurance.
VAT.

Not Included

Flight / Boat transport to and from Crete.
Picnic lunches during the walks Alcoholic beverages and soft drinks.
Personal expenses.
Entrance fees in Museums and other sites of interest (i.e. monasteries, caves, etc) unless stated differently.
Everything that is not listed above.

 

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