Dear friend

You will never get bored in Crete: there is always some new landscape or geological feature, some rare eco-system, or region of outstanding natural beauty and diverse habitat. Not to mention its rich history, unique character & culture of its people, numerous traditional villages, incredible coastline, fascinating colours of the Libyan sea… and the food!

If you have yet to walk through this wonderland, here is your next new walking holiday…

Please find below our 10 reasons to visit Crete:


Crete, on the whole, is a mountainous island. Its mountain ranges are torn apart by magnificent, deep, wild gorges, which begin at high altitudes and usually end up at the coast. Given the fact tha­­t these gorges were formed by the united forces of water, wind and sun, they are rightfully considered true monuments of nature. In the Sfakia area alone, within a distance of 35 kilometres, there are 15 gorges, located roughly parallel to one another.

The most famous of them is the gorge of Samaria, the 2nd longest in europe, situated at the White Mountains. Start the hike from the village of Omalos, from an altitude of 1230m and hike 16km down to the Libyan sea shore. In the gorge you will find around 450 unique plant species, protected under international law, in order to safeguard this delicate ecosystem. You’ll walk past huge pine and cypress trees and you may meet its famous inhabitant, the endemic wild goat of Crete or “Kri-kri”. The walk through the Samaria Gorge takes 4-8 hours depending on your pace and it is totally worth it!


Reasons to Visit Crete

Crete is home to the ancient Minoan culture, and for many years was a central hub of Greek civilisation, being strategically positioned in the Southern Mediterranean. The Minoan civilization rose 4,800 years ago and lasted for more than 1,000 years. The thriving culture of this island was wiped out by the huge volcanic eruption at Santorini approximately four thousand years ago.

The Minoan palace is the main site of interest at Knossos, an important city in antiquity, which was inhabited continuously from the Neolithic period until the 5th c. AD. It was the seat of the wise king Minos. The Palace of Knossos is connected with thrilling legends, such as the myth of the Labyrinth with the Minotaur and the story of Daidalos and Ikaros.


Reasons to Visit Crete

At the northwestern tip of Crete, there’s a wild, almost inhospitable peninsula, ending in one of the most exotic beaches. You can take a boat from nearby Kissamos or drive up to a point and then walk for 40 minutes. The steep and rocky slopes of the mountain Geroskinos end up in a golden white sand beach and then into a huge round rock which traps the sea water forming a large lagoon, where the water has a depth of just a few centimeters.

On the right-hand side of the bay the water deepens enough so that you can enjoy swimming surrounded by the exotic islets of sand. The scenery is completed with the two isolated islets of Imeri and wild Gramvousa. Visit the Venetian castle built on top of Imeri which was the starting point for excursions of Cretans rebels against the Turks.

Gramvousa and Balos are biotopes, areas of oustanding natural beauty, part of the European NATURA 2000 programme. Whether you’re seeking to reproduce your own version of the iconic image above or simply wish to dip your toes in the pristine waters of Balos, it promises to be a breathtaking experience.


Reasons to Visit Crete

This barren rocky Peninsula, with the exception of a few small villages at its base, such as Afrata, Astratigos, Aspra Nera and Ravdoucha with stone-built houses, traditional ‘kafenia’ where elderly Cretans with the traditional black headband gather, is uninhabited. A paved road goes as far as Afrata village where you can start your walk towards the cave of Ellinospilos and the ruins of Diktynna Sanctuary, dedicated to the daughter of Zeus. The myth tells that in order to escape from King Minos she jumped into the sea and fishermen picked her up in their nets. The people of Crete called her Diktynna (which means “net”) and used to walk barefoot to the sanctuary with their offerings.

Expect to see many wild flowers in spring, many migratory & resident birds and enjoy excellent views to the Aegean Sea.


Reasons to Visit Crete

Gavdos is the southernmost part of Europe, 32 nautical miles away from Sfakia (South Crete) and 170 from Tobruk, Libya. It is a small fishing island, with 48 inhabitants who live isolated mainly due to the weather. During Byzantine times its population reached 8,000 but during the Venetians the island was abandoned as pirates used it as a refuge.

Gavdos, together with the neighboring Gavdopoula, are a migratory bird station in their long journey from Africa to Europe and vice versa, and a refuge for the endangered species of Mediterranean Monk seals and Caretta caretta sea turtles.

Walk and explore its wild beauty, its relaxed sandy beaches, its crystal clear waters, sand dunes with cedar trees, pine trees and shrubs, steep rocks along the coastline… and laid back way of life of the islanders!


Reasons to Visit Crete


Visit our favourite town, Chania, and come in touch with the long history of the island. Chania is the most important town in West Crete, built on the site of the ancient town of Minoan Cydonia. Chania developed substantially in the Byzantine era but it was totally destroyed by the Saracens (828 AD). Later, the Venetians turned the city into a great castle with strong walls.

Although bombed and burned several times in its long history, the Old Town and the Venetian Harbour have remained almost intact, giving the city a special Venetian character (some call it the “Venice of the East”). You’ll be mesmerised by the narrow scenic alleys with cafes, taverns and beautiful shops, the imposing lighthouse at the entrance of the small harbor, the mosque of Kucuk Hasan, the pedestrian road of Kum Kapi, the shipyards, the central market, the hill of Kastelli with the old Palace and the Minoan settlement, the picturesque district of the Ottomans called Splantzia, the church of St. Rocco, the cathedral of Chania… all samples of the civilizations that passed through Crete.



Reasons to Visit Crete

From the sand dunes of Elafonissi and Xerokambos to the tropical shores of Kedrodasos and Chrissi, from the hidden beaches in the wild gorges of Sfakia and Asteroussia to the emerald bays of Triopetra and Plakia,from the palm groves of Preveli to the piney beaches of Ierapetra, Crete’s entire south coast is definitely worth exploring!

There are various short and long relaxed coastal trails such as the one from Ag. Agia Roumeli towards Agios Pavlos beach which absolutely needs to be at the top of your list. You can expect everything from dramatic ocean vistas, dense and impressive forests, turquoise crystal clear water, picturesque settlements… Be sure to stop at one of the many quaint family-owned restaurants along the way and enjoy the freshest fish dishes that you’ll ever taste!



The musical tradition of the island of Crete is one of the most active and vibrant traditions to be found anywhere in Europe today. The music of Crete is as distinct as its people and it is present in all social events. Cretan traditional music exhibits a unique sound emanating from a unique instrument, the “lyra”. Another instrument which contributes to the unique sound is the “lute” which is played like a guitar and provides the vigorous rhythm of the songs. Mantinades are one category of songs that utilize improvisation and speak of love and death.

Most of the music of Crete is dance music which is played at local festivals (panigyria), weddings, baptisms and other festive occasions. These dances are usually quite fast and require considerable skill on the part of the dancer, but also restraint and finesse.

Seize the chance to attend a local festival or have supper at one of the numerous taverns that offer live music…. and don’t be embarrassed to join in!



Cretans have a strong identity which evolved from vivacious Minoan times and through contacts with different civilizations such as the Dorians, the Egyptians, the Byzantines, the Arabs, the Venetians, the Turks… They are characterised by a strong culture and identiy; a special spirit that transcends the limits of culture. You can feel it in their music, songs, they way they dance, talk or walk…

They are also permanently in love with their island and what it stands for. They are extremely friendly and find great pleasure in giving their visitors the time of their lives when visiting their home towns! Talk to them, try to communicate and you won’t regret it.


Reasons to visit Crete


Our top mountain trail in the White Mountains is the one that leads to the peak of Gigilos (1980m). The path is well-marked and easy to follow. Half way, at around 1,500m, you can stop at the spring of Linoselli to sample its cold water running throughout the year, and where during ancient times a known Oracle used to be based there. The views along the walk and from the summit are superb, embracing both the Aegean sea, the North coast of the island and the Libyan sea to the South. You’ll enjoy a panoramic view of the Samaria gorge and the summits of the central White Mountains.

Take a guided tour around the island to experience the rich geomorphology & rare eco-systems

The range of natural spectacles on Crete – the rugged massifs, the gorges with their wildlife, pristine islets with sand-dunes and cedar trees, wetlands and forests of palms and oaks – produce unusual ecosystems all across the island: a heaven for nature lovers!

Check the itinerary of our guided walking holiday at West Crete here…

Explore with us some of these rarities – learn about the flora and fauna – discover the stories and legends they inspire under the guidance of our expert guides…

Apart from the culture and history of the island, he’ll introduce you to the rich flora and the rare animals of the island:

Rich flora: The floristic region of Crete-Karpathos is characterized by the highest rate of endemism. According to 2010 data, the number of Greek endemic specie is 1,442. More than 25% of these are located in the region and 17.9% of these are only located in the Crete–Karpathos region.

Rare animals: There are certain subspecies of animals that are indigeneous only in Crete, like the local wild goat, Kri kri, and the Cretan tree frog. The Cretan Golden eagle and the Lammergeyer, a subspecies unique to Crete, are distinctive among the birds. The mountains and ravines are home to Griffon vultures. Crete hosts the world ‘s largest colony of Eleonora’s falcon and is an important breeding area for rare raptors such as the Golden eagle. Migratory birds make Crete a stopover each spring on their way from Africa to Europe and on the return trip each autumn.

Join our walking holiday at West Crete and discover “the Crete you are looking for”

There are hundreds of villages and small towns. There are truly individual and unique places – any mood, any pace, any style or setting exists here to satisfy everyone!

Read more about our itinerary…

** Our special West Crete
 walking offer** 

10% off per person for 2 people, for all May departures… 

Please contact us for further information and our group and other offers.

If you wish to discuss the above or any other matter please don’t hesitate to contact us either by phone at +30 6976 761492 or email at

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Nofootprint team

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