Unforgettable West Crete
Crete Greece: (ZZ-GRC-Hike01)
Explore the White Mountains and the gorges of West Crete
Our 8-day trip, explores the southwest coast of Crete, with its spectacular White Mountains, the deep gorges and coastal trails that lead us to charming fishing villages and quite beaches, accessible only by boat.
Starting from Chania with its picturesque Venetian port we will depart for the village of Agia Irini and enjoy a picnic lunch in its quite gorge before emerging at the crystal clear waters of Mediterranean Sea. Follow ancient paths to reach the second Roman city in Crete, visiting the temple of God Asklipios and exploring the ruins from Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine period.
Ascending well-maintained trails we will reach the summit of Mountain Gingilos (2080m), for stunning views to Omalos plateau, the White Mountains and the Samaria gorge - Europe s largest gorge, that offers us one of the most rewarding walks through a spectacular botanic garden, the home of the wild goats (Kri-kri) and griffon vultures.
Our superb coastal walk passes by the picturesque St Paul s chapel and the azure blue waters of Marmara beach to end up at the white-blue washed houses of the charming village of Loutro .
Relax in Loutro or hike to Anopolis -one of the most "authentic" Cretan villages, cross the Aradena gorge with its pink oleanders and drink fresh water from the "Sweet water beach".
Overnights will be in hotels in the main cities, local inns and village pensions throughout the trip (all with private facilities).
Food: Every morning we have breakfast in the hotels, picnic en route for lunch and a nutritious dinner at local taverns with dishes of personal choice or traditional Greek and Cretan cuisine. (Vegetarians are welcomed on the trips)
This trip includes
and can accommodate special dietary requests.
Activity Level: The hikes offer a moderate trek
with a maximum of 6 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. Participants should be in good physical condition with a little of
Day 1: Meet at the airport of Chania and transfer to our hotel.
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 Hania)
Day 2 (4-5hrs walk): After breakfast we depart for the village of Agia Irini in Hania area and we walk through Agia Irini gorge to Sougia. This gorge provides a nice and quiet path next to a stream. A picnic lunch will be offered while in the gorge. Sougia is a beautiful village on the southern coast of Crete where we will have the opportunity to enjoy a swim in the crystal-clear waters of Mediterranean Sea. (Overnight in Sougia)
Day 3 (3-4hrs walk): Starting from the small port of Sougia, we will cross the beautiful gorge of Selinou and following the European path E4 we reach the ancient city of Lissos, an important center of hydrotherapy in ancient years which flourished in the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine era. Here we 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. We refresh ourselves in the cove and we return to Sougia. (Overnight in Sougia)
Day 4 (5-6hrs walk): Our mini-bus brings us to the plateau of Omalos from where we climb mountain Gingilos (2080 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 lammergeier (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. (Overnight in Omalos)
Day 5 (6hrs walk): 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. (Overnight in Agia Roumeli).
Day 6 (6hrs walk): We continue our walk close the Mediterranean Sea (coastal path). We pass the picturesque St Paul's chapel, which was built on the sand next to the sea. After a needed-refreshing break at the "Marmara" beach, we arrive at the small port of Loutro. (Overnight in Loutro)
Day 7 (6-7hrs walk): 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. (Overnight in Loutro)
Day 8 (2hrs): For the last day there are two optional ways to reach the village of Hora Sfakion (or Sfakia), where our mini-bus will return us back to Hania. Either 2 hours hike by taking the coastal path that crosses "Sweet water beach" (there are many fresh water springs, coming out of the pebble beach), or a 15 minutes boat-ride from Loutro to Sfakia. Our trips ends at Hania and depending on the departure time we are free to shop and relax.
Transport: We travel by our own rented air-conditioned mini-bus, which leaves us to walk and continues, with our baggage, to the next place where we will stay for the night.
Note on Itineraries: 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 trip leader.
Rates and Dates for Unforgettable West Crete
All accommodations, all meals from dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on the last day, all picnic lunches, group transfers to and from airport, all transport throughout the trip, baggage transport, services of the tour leader - guide, entrance fees in Samaria National Park, personal accident insurance.
Transfer and Other Options:
Transfer from Chania airport is included at set time
And any other date upon request from April to October
Rates do not include:
Transport to and from Crete, alcoholic beverages and soft drinks, personal expenses, entrance fees in Museums and other sites of interest (i.e. monasteries, caves, etc).
Meeting: Chania airport
Transfer: Chania airport
What To Bring:
Daypack (approx.25-35lt), trekking shoes, mountain clothing (waterproof wind jacket, polar fleece sweater etc.) water bottle, hat, sun cream, sun glasses, swimming suit, casual clothing.