West Crete walking holiday

West Crete walking holiday

  • Mar - Nov
  • Small Groups
  • 10-14 days
  • Customizable

"Explore ancient paths through incredible landscapes with ravines, natural springs, gorges, canyons, unique flora & fauna to the stunning Libyan sea beaches..."

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During our West Crete walking holiday you’ll experience incredible landscapes, beaches, culture and delicate ecosystems, mainly plants, birds and butterflies. Together with our expert naturalist, you will explore the beautiful Cretan coast & mountains, three spectacular gorges, picturesque remote villages and incredible beaches.

The prefecture of Chania is the greenest part of the island as the range of the White Mountains ensures the highest rainfall in Crete. You’ll stay at the picturesque old town of Chania and then continue to the coastal villages of Palaiochora and Loutro, at the Sfakia region where you’ll enjoy incredible views to the Libyan sea. All walks end at Crete’s spectacular beaches.

By joining our West Crete walking holiday, you’ll get introduced by a local to a side of Crete that few people know about.

Here is an example of what you will experience during our West Crete walking holiday:

Join our West Crete walking holiday and you will:

images Walk and explore the history, culture and unique natural world of Chania district,

images Discover areas of unique natural beauty with your own private guide,

images Hike one of the most beautiful gorges in Crete,

images Walk to magical parts of the islands that you would never discover on your own,

images Learn about the local herbs and plants, birds and other members of the animal kingdom, above and under the water!

images Visit traditional Cretan villages,

images Experience customs and traditions, cultural happenings, local feasts with Cretan music and dance,

images Sample organic, home-made food locally produced wherever you eat,

images Swim at the magical waters of the Libyan sea,

images Stay at traditional family run guesthouses,

images 7-day, 10-day or 14 day walking holiday adapted to fit your schedule… possibility to combine this walking holiday with visiting other islands such as Santorini or Naxos & the Small Cyclades.

The carefully chosen walks during our West Crete walking holiday are graded as easy to moderate. We will walk mainly on paths of moderate gradient with ascents of up to 500m in a day. We will walk up to 5-6 hours in the day including stops to rest and for lunch. Being predominately limestone some parts of our paths can be quite rough and stoney.

The below itinerary is a sample. We like to adapt the itinerary based on the wishes and level of our guests.

Flexible itineraries are available: We can organise longer, more challenging hikes or more relaxed-paced walks offering you more time to relax and enjoy the sea and sun of the Libyan sea.

The above itinerary can be combined with our walking holiday in Santorini!

We have reserved for you a lovely authentic family-run guesthouses at a very central locations in Chania, Loutro & Palaiochora.  The owners are very hospitable and helpful and are known to provide the most delicious breakfasts. We’ll send you full details.

The combination of natural beauty and culture but also the hospitality of her residents will make this holiday unforgettable for you.

Solo travellers are welcome. It’s always more fun to walk with a group of like-minded travellers.

Please contact us for further information and advice.

We organise our West Crete walking holiday all year round apart from July and August when it’s too hot.

Spring and autumn are the best times of year for walking. In spring nature is at its most abundant. The island is covered with a blanket of wild flowers. During the walks you can also discover rare orchids. The colorful butterflies are a feast for the eyes; you smell herbs like thyme, oregano and sage. In the summer, it is a little drier but in autumn the first rains bring a new shower of flowers and amazing autumn colors.

The best time to visit:

  • March: blossom is out.   
  • April to mid June: for wild flowers, sunshine and moderate temperatures. The Easter period is recommended as it’s one of the most important celebrations in Greece and you’ll have the chance to experience traditional feasts and gatherings.
  • September to end of November: for warm seas, gentle weather and autumn flowers. Grapes and olive harvests.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@nofootprint.gr

WEST CRETE WALKING HOLIDAY FEES

7-day or 10-day walking holiday staying at traditional family-run guesthouses:

All prices are per person for two people sharing a standard double room.

  • 7 nights – Low Season EUR 778 High Season EUR 864
  • 10 nights – Low Season EUR 1,101 High Season EUR 1,224

Supplement for single rooms:

  • 7 nights – EUR 109
  • 10 nights – EUR 157

WEST CRETE & SANTORINI WALKING HOLIDAY FEES

10-day or 14-day walking holiday staying at traditional family-run guesthouses:

All prices are per person for two people sharing a standard double room.

  • 7 nights Crete & 3 nights Santorini – Low Season EUR 1,101 High Season EUR 1,224
  • 10 nights Crete & 4 nights Santorini – Low Season EUR 1,460 High Season EUR 1,622

Supplement for single rooms:

  • 10 nights – EUR 157
  • 14 nights – EUR 205

We offer group and special offers for our West Crete walking holiday. Please contact us for further information…

The West Crete walking holiday fees includes:

  • 5 or 8 or 12 guided walks
  • Naturalist/biologist guide
  • Accommodation
  • Breakfast
  • 2 picnics
  • 24% VAT
  • Transfer to the accommodations
  • Transfers to and from our starting and ending walking points
  • Client’s information brief by e-mail
  • An arrival briefing
  • Presentations on the Aegean biodiversity, local flora and fauna
  • 24 hour support on the island for any troubleshooting or advise
  • Transfer from the accommodation to the ship on departure

Book your walking holiday on West Crete…

Itinerary

DAY 1: WELCOME & HISTORICAL WALK AROUND CHANIA
Meeting at Chania. Transfer to your guesthouse within the Old Town. Opportunity to swim at one of the nearby beaches. Early in the evening, we’ll walk around the historical Old Town to explore the beautiful architecture and monuments, the lively 100-year-old market and the picturesque Venetian harbour with its distinctive lighthouse.

As you stroll through narrow lanes and hidden back streets you’ll discover the neighbourhoods where once Christians, Muslims and Jews used to coexist, secret gardens, ancient ruins, parts of the Byzantine wall, the Venetian fortifications and buildings and Ottoman mosques and dwellings… myths and legends about invasions, occupations, resistances and independence will come alive and fascinate you. Supper at one of our favourite local taverns.
DAY 2: EXPLORE TWO OF THE LUSHEST AND MOST SOLITARY GORGES
The Gorge Kydoni is a small lush green paradise starting from the fountain of the village of Karanou. Along the route you’ll discover caves and small waterfalls till you meet the river Mavropiliotis and head west to the second lush gorge of the area, Boriano. You’ll be amazed by the dense vegetation, the tall oak and plane trees covered with ivy, the various herbs and wild flowers, especially in spring, and the many migratory & resident birds.

These 2 gorges constitute the perfect setting for our naturalist guide to introduce you to the unique biodiversity and flora of Crete. Our circular walk will end at Karanou village where you’ll enjoy a drink at the local “kafenio” with panoramic views to the surrounding mountains covered with olive groves. Time for lunch and a swim at the nearest beach!

Walking distance: 7km, 2.2 hours. Actual walking time: 3-4 hours. The path is considered easy.
DAY 3: ADMIRE HISTORICAL MONASTERIES & CAVES TOWARDS THE BAY OF STAVROS
We’ll start the day with a visit to the monastery of Agia Triada of Tzagarolon, often described as the richest and most beautiful monastery in Crete. Built by the Venetian nobles and scholars Jeremiah and Lawrence Tzagarolo, its architecture was influenced by the architect Sebastiano Serlio from Verona, Italy. It hosts a lovely olive oil and wine museum where you can taste various wines, olive oils and vinegars produced from the monastery’s olive groves and vineyards.

Our hike starts from the oldest monastery in Crete, Gouverneto, built in 1537 and situated on a rocky site near the entrance of the gorge Avlaki. Its architecture is unique as it resembles a fortress with four towers with bastions to protect its corners. It is believed it was founded by the hermit monks of the seaside Katholiko Monastery (whose ruins we’ll visit shortly) on top of a pre-existing ancient temple so as to protect themselves from pirate raids.

We’ll descend towards the sea and Avlaki gorge by following the stone paved path. On the way you will meet Arkoudospilio Cave, the ruined monastery Katholiko and the cavernous church of St. John, where the hermit lived. Our hike will end at the beautiful bay and beach of Stavros where you can enjoy a lovely swim and lunch.

Walking distance: 9km, 3 hours. Actual walking time: 4-5 hours with stops for observations and rest. The path is considered easy.
DAY 4: WALK THE SAMARIA GORGE, RICH IN PLANT & ANIMAL LIFE
The famous gorge of Samaria, the 2nd longest in Europe, is situated in the National park of Samaria, at the White Mountains. We’ll start the hike from the village of Omalos, from an altitude of 1230m and hike 16km down to the Libyan sea shore and the picturesque village of Agia Roumeli.

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 5-8 hours depending on your pace and it is totally worth it! Six hours is the normal time including stops to rest and appreciate the natural landscape and wildlife.

We’ll end the day with a swim at the deep blue waters of Ag. Roumeli and then we’ll take the boat to Palaiochora where we’ll spend the night. Walking distance: 16km, 5 hours. Actual walking time: 6-8 hours with stops for observations and rest. The path is considered moderate.
DAY 5: FREE DAY
A great opportunity to rest at one of the beautiful beaches of Palaiochora.
DAY 6: COASTAL WALK ALONG THE E4 PATH TO THE INCREDIBLE ELAFONISI
Today we’ll start early in the morning from Palaiochora and walk along the European hiking route E4 towards the cedar forest and the stunning Elafonisi. Elafonisi is a peninsula of exceptional natural beauty, part of the Natura 2000 Protection Program. You’ll walk through the sea to reach its small islet, lie at its small coves and sandy beaches and admire its interesting rock formations as the island stretches out into the sea and into the sunset. You’ll return by boat to Palaiochora in the evening.

Walking distance: 10 km, 3.1 hours. Actual walking time: 4-5 hours with stops for observations and rest. The path is considered easy to moderate.
DAY 7: WALK TO THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE OF LISSOS & SOUGIA VILLAGE
Another amazing coastal hike that crosses beautiful beaches and coves as well as the archaeological site of Lissos. We’ll explore Lissos and soak up its incredibly peaceful atmosphere, its Asklepeio temple, the Roman necropolis and the two chapels with interesting frescoes. You’ll enjoy a swim and continue walking to the laid back village of Sougia. Lunch and rest before taking the boat back to Palaiochora.

Walking distance: Option for 9km or 16km, 3-5 hours. Actual walking time: 4-6 hours with stops to swim, visit Lissos and rest. The path is considered moderate.
DAY 8: COASTAL WALK ALONG THE INCREDIBLE SHORES OF THE LIBYAN SEA
From Agia Roumeli starts an incredibly beautiful coastal walk which is part of the European E4 hiking trail that leads to Loutro and Chora Sfakion. You’ll enjoy a relaxed walk towards Agios Pavlos beach where you’ll swim, snorkel and enjoy the turquoise colours, vastness and remoteness of the south beaches of Crete. We’ll continue towards Marmara beach where we’ll stop for lunch. We’ll eventually end our walk at the picturesque port of Loutro where we’ll spend the night.

Walking distance: 13km, 4.5 hours. Actual walking time: 6-8 hours. The path is considered moderate.
DAY 9: VISIT TO HISTORICAL ANOPOLIS & DESCEND ARADHENA GORGE
Today we’ll ascend the ancient path to the historical Anopolis village, the centre of revolutionary activities against the Venetians and the Turks. Traces of the ancient city are still visible. Time to have lunch and a break and experience the authentic village culture of Crete. From Anopolis we will walk to the abandoned Aradhena village before descending through the Aradhena gorge back to Marmara beach. Several pairs of griffon vultures nest in the cliffs of the gorge and we look forward to spot them for you. After a swim in the crystal waters of Marmara beach we’ll return to Loutro.

Walking distance: 11km, 5 hours. Actual walking time: 7-8 hours. The path is considered moderate.
DAY 10: WALK THROUGH THE IMPOSING IMBROS GORGE
We’ll start from the picturesque village of Imbros built at an altitude of 780m which is inhabited mainly from spring till autumn as in the winter it is covered with snow. The gorge will fascinate you with its fig trees, almond tress and cypresses and its wild flowers . It is an easy downhill 8km walk till you reach the village of Komitades.

Imbros gorge became a refuge for Christians during the Turkish occupation and a base for revolutionaries. For Australians, New Zealanders and some British, walking through the gorge of Imbros is almost a pilgrimage. Many Allied troops walked through the gorge in May 1941 in order to escape the island to Egypt. We’ll end the day with a swim and a beautiful meal by the sea.

Walking distance: 8km, 2.5 hours. Actual walking time: 4-5 hours with stops for observations and rest. The path is considered easy.
DAY 11: RETURN TO CHANIA IN THE MORNING

Map

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