Hiking Holidays in Crete (15 days)

from 1430€

The ideal way to explore the largest and most mountainous of the Greek islands, the cradle of Europe's earliest civilization and the land where ancient myth and modern reality blend seamlessly against a backdrop of outstanding natural beauty, is this two week trip on the island of Crete. the island

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This 15-day trip is actually a combination of our southwest coast trip (Unforgettable Crete) and central Crete trip (Highest Summit). 
Explore the southwest coast of Crete, with its spectacular White Mountains, the Europe's largest gorge - the Samaria gorge and coastal trails that lead us to charming fishing villages and quite beaches, accessible only by boat.

Explore the southwest coast of Crete, with its spectacular White Mountains, the Europe's largest gorge - the Samaria gorge and coastal trails that lead us to charming fishing villages and quite beaches, accessible only by boat.

Continue to discover the central region of the island, from Knossos Palace, ancient Eleftherna to the caves of Zeus birthplace, to the "gorge of Saints" and into the solitary wilderness of Crete's highest mountains, Mt. Psiloritis and Mt. Dikti.

You will go eastern to Margarites pottery village and ancient Eleftherna, to continue to ascent Crete's Mt Psiloritis highest summit (2456m) for spectacular views to Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, the surrounding islands and all the mountain ranges of Crete.

Returning eastern to the lake of Zaros, you may have the chance to visit the world-renowned Knossos, the magnificent archaeological area holding remains of a Minoan city that thrived 3500 years ago and the famous palace of the legendary King Minos.

Enjoy a relaxing and refreshing day in the azure blue waters of Agiofarago's cove, before "pay homage" to Zeus birthplace in Lassithi plateau, visit the Mt Karfi and continue next day to climb Mt. Dikti (2148m) accompanied by a pair of eagles.

DAY 1: Arrive in Chania. Explore the old “Venetian style” city of Chania with its picturesque harbor. (Overnight in Chania)

DAY 2 (4-5 hrs walk): 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. (Overnight in Sougia)

DAY 3 (3-4 hrs walk): 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 hydrotherapyin ancient years, which flourished in the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine era. Here you will visit a well-preserved temple with mosaic floor dedicated to the God of medicine Asklipios and you will have much to admire by making a small loop around the city. Refresh yourselves in the cove and return to Sougia. (Overnight in Sougia)

DAY 4 (5-6 hrs walk): Leave your luggage at the hotel’s lobby to be transferred by boat to Ag. Roumeli village, at the foot of Samaria gorge. Either by the local bus or by using a taxi you will reach the entrance of Samaria gorge at Omalos plateau, from where you will climb up mountain Gigilos. 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 you may use your hands to climb (easy scramble, nothing technical). The summit provides spectacular views in all directions.  You descend by the same route and you spend the night at a family owned hotel in Omalos plateau. (Overnight in Omalos)

DAY 5 (6 hrs walk): A short drive from the hotel will take you at the entrance of Samaria gorge. Samaria is the largest gorge in Europe and one of the most beautiful that nature can provide. You walk on a good path in shady pine forest and beside a melodic stream. This is where you may see the wild goats of Crete (Kri-kri). You reach the small village of Agia Roumeli, where you can relax and enjoy a swim. (Overnight in Agia Roumeli).

DAY 6 (6 hrs walk): Leave your luggage at hotel’s lobby to be transferred by boat to Loutro. A beautiful sea walk (coastal path) close the Mediterranean Sea. Todays 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 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. (Overnight in Loutro)

DAY 7 (6-7 hrs 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 Agia Ekaterini’s church, just over Anopolis, you have the chance to enjoy the wonderful view to the Libyan Sea and the south coast of Crete. Visit Anopoli’s square, relax at the coffee shop with the locals and return the same way back.
For the strong hikers we propose to continue and cross Arathena’s gorge that ends at “Marmara” beach and return back to Loutro by following the E4 path.  This big loop may give an unforgettable picture that alternates between mountain trail, spectacular gorge and coastal path. (Overnight in Loutro)

DAY 8 (2 hrs driving): For today there are two optional ways to reach the village of Hora Sfakion, from where you will continue to Axos Village. 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.
If you choose to hike to Hora Sfakion, leave your luggage to the owners of the hotel for putting them in the boat and start the hike early in order collect your luggage from the boat at Hora Sfakion.
Continue your drive by rented car to the mountain village of Axos, where you will spend the night.(Overnight in Axos)

DAY 9 (3-4 hrs walk - 3 hrs driving): Starting from the ancient city of Eleftherna, built between 970 – 820 B.C. you shall have many things to admire such as the Byzantine tower at city’s entrance, the Roman reservoirs and the Hellenistic bridge. Continuing through the beautiful countryside you will end up at the pottery village of Margarites where you will have the chance to visit the ceramic workshops and be introduced to the traditional art of pottery. (Overnight in Axos)

DAY 10 (6 hrs walk – 1½ hrs driving): Starting early in the morning, you will be transferred at the small mountain plateau of the highest mountain of Crete. Following the E4 path, you will reach the summit (2456m) in approximately 3 - 3 1/2 hours. From the highest summit you can enjoy a full view of Crete. You 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. You will return by the same path, back to the hotel. (Overnight in Axos)

DAY 11 (3 hrs walk – 2 hrs driving): Today on your way to Zaros you will have the opportunity to visit Knossos, to enjoy the magnificent archaeological area holding remains of a Minoan city that thrived 3500 years ago and the famous palace dated 1700-1450 B.C., excavated by Sir Arthur Evans at the beginning of this century.
In the afternoon you may explore the city of Heraklion or to continue the culture excursion by visiting the very interesting archaeological museum, with exhibits from the Minoan period before relaxing by the lake of Zaros. (Overnight in Zaros)

DAY 12 (1-2 hrs walk - 2 hrs driving): "Agiofarago" means "Gorge of Saints". This gorge used to be the shelter of the monks of the near-by Monasteries. You may walk through the gorge that leads to one of the most beautiful and quiet beaches of Crete at Liviko Pelagos. There you have the chance to see the cave - house of a monk, a local hero during the revolution of 1866. You will also be impressed by the view of a natural lagoon connected underground with the sea. (Overnight in Zaros)

DAY 13 (optional: 3 hrs walk – 2 hrs driving): After breakfast you will drive to the largest plateau of Crete. Lassithi plateau had over than 10000 windmills some years ago, used for pumping out water for the locals to water their fields. You will have the chance to experience a small journey through mythology by visiting Dictaion Andro, the cave where Zeus was born. You will also have time for a short walk in the plateau to see the windmills. Optionally you can hike the Mt Karfi for viewing ancient settlement (Overnight in Lassithi)

DAY 14 (6-7 hrs walk -1 hr driving): From Lassithi plateau you will ascend the highest summit of mountain Dikti (2148m). During the ascent you 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 an unbelievable view of Lassithi plateau and the east area of Crete. You may descend by the same route to Lassithi plateau.(Overnight in Lassithi)

DAY 15 (1 hr driving): This is the end of your trip. You will drive to Heraklion airport where you can deliver your rented car.

Highlights include: Samaria gorge (longest in Europe), the ancient city Lissos (Ruins from Hellenistic, Roman Byzantine period), ascent of Mt. Idi - the highest summit of Crete, the steep Mt. Gigilos , the superb ridge-walk of Mt. Spathi at Dikti range in east Crete with spectacular view, crystal-clear beaches to swim and picturesquefishing villages in Crete.

Price/Person: €1430 (Single Supplement: €120)

Price Includes: All accommodation with breakfasts, group transfers from Chania Airport, group transfer from Chania to Agia Irini and from Sougia to Omalos, rented car for the 7 last days, baggage transport, English hiking description, maps and information, personal accident insurance, VAT.

Not Included: Transport to and from Crete, all meals (lunches & dinners), group transfers from Chania Airport, entrance fees in Samaria National park, entrance fees in Agia Irini gorge, entrance fees in Museums and other sites of interest (i.e. monasteries, caves, etc), personal expenses and drinks, everything that is not listed above.

Insurance: Everyone participating in any of Cretan Adventures events/activities is covered by personal insurance through AIG Europe Limited. In case a participant is already covered by their insurance under better conditions for the chosen activities and is unwilling to be covered by AIG Europe Limited, they must notify in paper the above to Cretan Adventures one day before the event (excluding weekends or holidays), the latest.

Cretan Adventures is not responsible for any accidents or mishaps directly or indirectly related to the tour.

Period: Any date upon request from May to October 2014.

Transport: You travel by our own rented air-conditioned car/mini-bus and taxi, which leaves you to walk and continues, with your baggage, to the next place where we will stay for the night.

Accommodation: Hotels in the main cities, local inns and village pensions throughout the trip (all with private facilities). The trip prices are based on double occupancy.

Group Size: 2-16 participants.

Activity Level: The hikes offer a moderate trek with a maximum of 6 hours walk on rocky footpaths. Sometimes you cross-streams in the gorges and on the coast you walk on sand and shingles for short distances. Participants should be in good physical condition with a little of experience.

Equipment: Daypack (approx.25-35l), trekking shoes, mountain clothing (waterproof wind jacket, polar fleece sweater etc.), water bottle, hat, sun cream, sun glasses, swimming suit, casual clothing.

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 Cretan Adventures.

Price/Person: €1980 (Single Supplement: €160)

Price Includes: All accommodations, group transfers to and from airport, all accommodation in BB basis, 7 dinners, all transport throughout the trip, baggage transport, services of the tour leader - guide, entrance fees in Samaria National Park, entrance fees in Agia Irini gorge, personal accident insurance, VAT.

Not Included: Transport to and from Crete, all picnic lunches, alcoholic beverages and soft drinks, personal expenses, entrance fees in Museums and other sites of interest (i.e. monasteries, caves, etc), everything that is not listed above.

Insurance: Everyone participating in any of Cretan Adventures events/activities is covered by personal insurance through AIG Europe Limited. In case a participant is already covered by their insurance under better conditions for the chosen activities and is unwilling to be covered by AIG Europe Limited, they must notify in paper the above to Cretan Adventures one day before the event (excluding weekends or holidays), the latest.

Cretan Adventures is not responsible for any accidents or mishaps directly or indirectly related to the tour.

Period: Any date upon request from May to October 2014.

Transport: We travel by our own 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.

Accommodation: Half Board. Hotels in the main cities, local inns and village pensions throughout the trip (all with private facilities). The trip prices are based on double occupancy.

Food: Every morning we have breakfast in the hotels and a nutritious dinner at local taverns with dishes of personal choice or traditional Greek and Cretan cuisine. (Vegetarians are welcomed on the trips)

Group Size: 4-16 participants.

Activity Level: Grade B/C. 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.

Equipment: Daypack (approx. 25-35lt), 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.

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.

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