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.
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.
If travelling between mid-May and mid-October, you will enjoy a ferry trip from Paleochora to the enchanting Elafonissi Lagoon. From there, you walk back towards Paleochora along the coast passing beautiful, remote sandy beaches. The walk ends at Kryos Beach, where a taxi will pick you up for the transfer back to your hotel. On Sundays and in spring and late October, you will be transferred to the mountain village of Azogires and walk back to Paleochora. You may book an optional transfer at a supplement per taxi to Elafonissi and walk to Kryos Beach.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nights in a double room in hotels ***
Hotel Aris is a family business 5 minutes walk from the beach and the city center. Rooms are weel-furnished and clean with free Wifi, TV, air conditioning, a small fridge and an electric kettle. Breakfast is rich and varied of savory and sweet dishes. The owner is helpful and courteous.
Hotel Syia*** is situated just 100 meters from the sea and at the end of Irini Gorge. This structure offers apartments and spacious and bright rooms with kitchen area and a private balcony. These offer this comfort: free Wifi, air conditioning,fridge, TV, coffee maker.
This hotel is located in the plain of Omalos at 1,50 m above sea level. It offers basic accomodations with dated furniture but clean and comfortable with view on Monte Lefka Ori. Rooms have these comfort: air conditioning/heating, free Wifi, TV. The restaurant offers traditional cretan dishes.
This B&B is located in a good position if you want to visit Samaria Gorge or go to the beach. This structure is furnished like a mountain hut and it offers basic and comfortable rooms with free Wifi, air conditioning, balcony with view of sea or mountain. The owner it' very helpful and courteous. Quality breakfast is good.
Madares is centrally situated in the seaside Loutro village 1 minute walk from the beach. It offers accomodations with a private balcony, most overlooking the Libyan Sea. Rooms are clean, spacious and comfortable with free Wifi, air conditioning, TV, mini fridge and some of these have a kitchenette. The restaurant prepares traditional Cretan dishes and fresh fish.
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.
GPS tracks are available on request.
What is included:
· nights in a double room in hotels ***
· luggage transport from hotel to hotel
. Ferry ticket Paleochora-Elafonisos
. Transfer Kryos-Paleochora, Sougia-Irini, transfer to Xyloskala
· maps and detailed route description
· medical and baggage insurance
· 24 hours telephone support
What is not included:
· journey to the places of arrival and departure;
· lunches and dinners, unless otherwise indicated;
· visits and entrance fees - tips;
· the personal extras;
· any taxes;
· anything not specified under "The price includes."
You may require in addition to the services included in the fee:
· single room surcharge;
· half board supplement;
· eventual transfer to get to the starting point or to return from the point of arrival, which can be quoted on request.