Creta: mountains to gorges

Level
3
Distance
93 km
Duration
8 days | 7 nights
period
Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
price from
€ 548
CO2 footprint
145 Kg/person
  1. Greece
  2.  | 
  3. Self-Guided
  4.  | 
  5. Tourcode GRSW014

A demanding but beautiful walk through the mountains and gorges of the legendary island of Crete: from the lush landscape countryside of Apokoronas to the impressive gorges of Sfakia and Aradhena, through traditional villages and a scenery that will take you straight to the heart of every myth you can think of.

You'll enjoy endless views over the deep blue Libyan sea whilst walking along Europe’s most impressive coast: this area remains a wild place, with 2000m high mountains falling steeply into the sea.

Deep blue water and clear blue skies, with lots of opportunities to swim on deserted beaches and hikes in the untamed nature of this blessed island. 

Highlights

  • Wander through the cobbled alleys of Vamos;
  • Enjoy a picnic in the silence of Skafia Gorge;
  • Savour the taste of fresh fish in a carachteristic Greek taverna;
  • Immerse yourself in the transpartent water of Chora Sfakion.

Itinerary

Day 1

Paleochora

Paleochora

Arrival in Paleochora, by taxi (may be arranged in advance) or by public transport from Chania or Heraklion Airport. From Chania it takes about 1,5 hrs by taxi, from Heraklion the taxi ride is about 3,5 hrs. Depending on your flight schedule, you'll have time for a first stroll through the pleasant seaside town of Paleochora, whose population of 1800 makes it one of the largest villages on the south-west coast. There is a Venetian fortress and several sandy and rocky beaches.

Day 2

Walk through the Anidri gorge, 10,5 km

Walk through the Anidri gorge, 10,5 km
In the morning you will be transferred by taxi to the village of Azogires, from where your walk starts along the ‘Monastery of the 99 Monks’-trail. You will encounter a variety of scenery today including olive groves, the quiet hilltop village of Anidri, with a Byzantine church, and the popular school house tavern, the small gorge of Anidri, the tranquil each of Gialiskari and a coastal stretch back into Paleochora. You may swim before going back to your hotel.

Distance: 10,5 km

Elevation gain: +75 / -450 m

Day 3

Walk from Paleochora to Sougia, 15 km

Walk from Paleochora to Sougia, 15 km

Todays walk starts in Paleochora. You follow a dirt track into an undisturbed natural wilderness, then continue along a stunning coastal path overlooking the sea. You will pass ancient Lissos, an important harbour for the Dorian city of Elyros, which boasted a population of 30.000 at it peak. In ancient times, people came to Lissos to be cured by the local waters. You can enjoy a picnic lunch on this historic spot and swim in the curative waters before heading further east to Sougia, by way of a beautiful narrow gorge.

Distance: 15 km

Elevation gain: +375 / -375 m

Day 4

Walk from Sougia to Omalos plain, 12 km or 21 km

Walk from Sougia to Omalos plain, 12 km or 21 km

Today you traverse two impressive gorges, from sea level up to 1000m! You walk through the impressive Irini Gorge along a well-made path. The ascent is demanding but not too steep. Leaving the Irini Gorge behind, you walk into the steeper Figou Gorge. From a certain height onwards, you will enjoy stunning views. The walk ends at a chapel, ‘Agios Theodoros’, where the hotel's minibus will pick you up. The hotel is on the Omalos plain surrounded by the spectacular summits of the White Mountains.

Distance: 12 o 21 km

Elevation gain: max +1200 / -100 m

Day 5

Walk through the Samaria gorge, 16 km

Walk through the Samaria gorge, 16 km

Today you walk through Europe’s longest and most famous gorge: the Samaria Gorge. You can either start very early or rather late, avoiding the crowds of people who walk the gorge as a day trip. During quieter hours, you'll enjoy the true beauty of this spectacular gorge. You spend the night in the seaside village of Agia Roumeli, at the end of the gorge, which leaves you as much time as you need for the walk. There will still be plenty of time for a relaxing swim in the crystal clear Lybian sea before you set off for dinner at one of the local taverns in Agia Roumeli.

Distance: 16 km

Elevation gain: +50 / -1200 m

Day 6

Walk from Agia Roumeli to Loutro, 14,5 km

Walk from Agia Roumeli to Loutro, 14,5 km

A splendid coastal walk with lots of variety. First you walk along the beach to the Byzantine church of Agios Pavlos. Then you walk at a higher elevation through fir forest. From the forest, you continue on to the beach at “Marmara”. Great views to massive mountains at your left and the sea to your right. There's a tavern on the small beach at Marmara, and you may want to enjoy a swim here as well! From Marmara, you'll need another hour along the coast to reach the car-free village of Loutro.

Distance: 14,5 km

Elevation gain: +275 / -275 m

Day 7

Round walk from Loutro, 15,5 km

Round walk from Loutro, 15,5 km

You take a steep zig-zag path up to the village of Anopolis. From here you walk further on to ancient Aradhena, situated at the edge of the impressive Aradhena Gorge. A spectacular path takes you down into the Aradhena Gorge all the way to the coast. The last part of today's walk follows a path along the coast back to Loutro. It is possible to do a shorter route of 4 hrs today, via the tiny village of Livaniana, then descend via the Aradhena Gorge to the sea. Depending on your flight departure tomorrow, you may need to travel back to Chora Sfakion by ferry today, and on to Chania or Heraklion. 

Distance: 15,5 km

Elevation gain: +840 / -840 m

Day 8

Departure

Departure

Today you travel back to Chora Sfakion by ferry in the morning and, from there, by public transport or pre-booked transfer to Chania or Heraklion Airport. Departure from one of the most beautiful areas of Crete.

Details

Is this for me?


This is the right trip for you if you have previous experience of hiking trips and a good fitness level. You'll discover Crete off the beaten track, a less touristic side of the island - gorges and mountains, great sceneries and untamed nature. There are some exposed sections, so this trip is not suggested to vertigo sufferers. Walking in the gorge may create problems to those suffering from claustrophobia. The perfect mix of sea and adventure. 

Included


What is included

  • 7 Nights in double room in **/*** hotels with breakfast
  • luggage transportation from hotel to hotel
  • Transfers: Paleochora-Azogirai, Sougia-Irini Gorge, Agios Theodoros-Omalos, Omalos-Xyloskala 
  • maps and detailed description of the itinerary
  • Medical and luggage travel insurance
  • 24h phone assistance

What is not included 

  • Transfers to the starting location and from the arriving location of the tour
  • lunches and dinners, if not otherwise stated
  • visits and entrance fees - tips
  • personal expense
  • possible sojourn taxes
  • everything that is not mentioned in the "What is included" section.

Optional Services

These services can be added to the ones included in the base price of the tour:

  • Single room supplement
  • cancellation insurance
  • Transfers to reach the starting location or to leave the arriving location of the tour, which will be quoted on request.

Accommodation


Hotel Aris Paleochora
Hotel Aris - Paleochora
Hotel Syia Sougia
Hotel Syia - Sougia
Hotel Neos Omalos Omalos
Hotel Neos Omalos - Omalos
B&B Pachnes Pension Agia Roumeli
B&B Pachnes Pension - Agia Roumeli
Madares Pension Loutro
Hotel Kyma - Loutro

When to travel


Starting on any day of the week, April-October. In case of heavy rainfall, the Samaria gorge may be closed. Last minute adjustment to your program may be necessary in that case. In April and end of October the Samaria gorge will be closed and guests will travel with the luggage to Sougia, take the ferry to Agia Roumeli and make a walk to the ‘Kastro’ and back (10 km). 
The best time to travel to the Greek islands is between April and June and September to the beginning of November. In the summer months it gets very hot. Active travelers should either go in the spring time (when nature is at its best) or in autumn (when sea water is still warm). 
 

What to bring


Clothing and other items
You will need your regular walking/cycling gear, including some sort of reflective garment. For the evenings, smart outdoor style trousers (or shorts) are invaluable, as are quick-dry t-shirts. These can be washed easily and will dry overnight and still look good for sightseeing or having a drink in town.

Take as little as possible to avoid potentially lugging a heavy suitcase up three flights of stairs at the end of the day. Please be aware that laundromats (“Laverie”) are not common in rural areas, so plan to do handwashing of small items.

Lightweight walking shoes/ trainers
For wearing around towns & villages. They can also be a back-up pair.

Socks & underwear
Take only good quality socks with quick-dry and insulating qualities. Road test them before you go on the trip. Take a suitable quantity of underwear as washing facilities are limited.

Warm jacket, hat, gloves
Bring a fleece, Polartec or warm layers for the evenings especially in spring or autumn; be sure it is totally suitable for your needs.
A fleece jacket which blocks the wind (Wind-stopper) is the most preferable. In the summer months a lightweight jacket is suitable for evenings.
If you are cycling/walking in mountainous or coastal areas, even in the height of summer, the weather can change very quickly and unexpectedly and you should be prepared for fog, mist, rain, snow or hail at any time. Always take an extra layer with you, as well as a warm hat and gloves.

Waterproof jacket & trousers
If you are caught in heavy rain, with good waterproof clothing you should remain dry. Remember that most garments will lose their properties over time. Few will remain waterproof for more than five years and many deteriorate in three years or less. We recommend a rain jacket with a good hood and collar and waterproof or thermal walking/cycling trousers or tights.

Dress code
In general, you should wear suitable clothing when entering a church (in many places, it is considered unacceptable to go inside wearing shorts or a tank-top). We suggest that women carry a shawl to cover up bear shoulders or low-cut tops. It also comes in handy when your shoulders get sunburned!

It is considered inappropriate for men to go without a shirt / T-shirt (other than at the beach).

Trekking poles (adjustable)
Highly recommended. A pair works best, depending on what you are comfortable with. If you suffer from back or knee pain this should be considered essential. Remember to practise walking with your pole(s) on different types of terrain in the months preceding your trip.

Walking boots
The importance of good footwear cannot be stressed enough. Your boots should be sturdy and of good enough quality to handle all types of terrain. Lightweight boots, (cordura/leather boots) which have Gore-Tex or sympatex water-proofing are most suitable for this trip. They should provide good ankle protection and be well broken in. Waxing leather boots regularly prolongs their life.

Walking tops & trousers
We recommend walking trousers and shorts and quick-dry wicking t-shirts. These can be washed easily and will dry overnight and still look good for sightseeing or having a drink in town. Wicking T-shirts are fast drying, keep moisture away from your skin and are available at outdoor stores. You should also bring one pair of loose-fitting trousers to wear in cities and for evenings out, etc. Shorts or zip-off trousers are useful in warmer weather.

Practical info

How to arrive


The nearest airport to Western Crete is Chania Airport, but also the bigger airport of Heraklion is possible. From Chania Airport it takes app. 2,5 hours by public bus and from Heraklion app. 5 hours to get to Paleochora. 
You may also book a private transfer from either airport to Paleochora by taxi with S-Cape.

At the end of the trip you travel by ferry from Loutro in 20 minutes to Chora Sfakion. From there you travel by public transport to the airport of Chania in app. 2 hours. The public bus from Chora Sfakion to Heraklion takes app. 4 hours including a stop-over in Vrysses. 
You may also book a private transfer from Chora Sfakion to either Chania or Heraklion Airport.

Mobile App


Use the SloWays APP for iOS and Android smart phones in combination with the written documentation provided.

The App has the detailed tracks and maps that you can use offline and without roaming. Thanks to the phone’s internal GPS, you can check your exact position on the map, so you always know exactly where you are. It also helps you self-navigate you way while travelling. More information on how to use the App inside the roadbook documents.

The navigation features include:

  • Offline navigation. Mobile data not required after initial download
  • Accurate GPS tracks
  • Autorotation of the maps
  • Daily route summary and elevation chart
  • Panorama of the track and at street level
  • Alarm and vibration that alerts you in case you go off track.
  • Emergency SMS button with position coordinates
  • Possibility to record and take georeferenced photos of problems on route alerting fellow travelers
  • Hotel information
  • Points of interest along the way
  • Historical background

Wanderlust Nominee Best Specialist Tour Operator 2023
Wanderlust
Nominee Best Specialist Tour Operator 2023
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Touroperating
S-Cape Countryside Travels srl
Borgo Allegri 16R
50122 Firenze FI
P. IVA 05227330486

 
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Touroperating S-Cape Countryside Travels srl Borgo Allegri 16R 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
VAT Nr 05227330486
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