The many gorges and high peaks of the Lefka Ori (White Mountains) in western Crete invite exploration on foot!
This programme offers day walks on well-marked paths and trails, some along the coastline (parts of the E4 European Hiking trail), some through gorges and others on forgotten, cobbled mountain paths, each rewarding you with unique scenery along the way and a real insight into Cretan traditions and daily life away from the large towns.
Trip Code: Southwest secrets / 9dIOP-CRE
English-speaking tour leader (D1-D9)
Accommodation: 8 nights (N1-N8) (double/twin room on a BB basis)
Meals: breakfast (D2-D9), lunch (D2-D8) and dinner (D2-D8)
Gorge/national park entrance fees, daily luggage transfers
Air transport to/from Crete
Breakfast on D1, lunch and dinner on D1 and D9
Drinks, personal expenses (museum fees etc)
Extra transfers (other than the ones mentioned below)
Arrival – Chania
Private transfer from Chania airport to your hotel.
This day is spent in the coastal town of Chania.
Depending on the time of your arrival, free time to explore the old part of Chania.
Evening meal and overnight in Chania.
Transfer time: 20mins
Imbros – Glyka Nera – Loutro
The day starts with a transfer to the small mountain village of Imbros from where the impressive gorge offers a gentle, steady hike down towards the south coast and Komitades village. From here, a short transfer takes us to the start of the coastal path that we follow down to Glyka Nera (Sweet Water beach) where the turquoise shades of the sea invite us for a swim. The fresh water springs on the beach and in the sea keep the water refreshingly cool even during the summer months! From here, we continue alongside the sea to the small coastal village of Loutro which has no road access.
Evening meal and overnight in Loutro.
Transfer time: 1h30´ + 15mins – Hiking time (approx.): 3hrs+3hrs (7 + 4,5km) – Elevation difference (m): 800-200-100-0
Loutro – Livaniana – Aradena – Loutro
After breakfast by the sea, we follow the path out of the bay and up to Livaniana village, overlooking the Aradena Gorge. From here we are treated to superb views across the gorge as we follow the old mule path into the gorge itself. We then walk along the dry rivebed down to the turquoise sea at Marmara marble beach for a refreshing swim! The walk back to Loutro is along the coastline and offers breathtaking seaside views all along the way.
Evening meal and overnight in Loutro.
Transfer time: 0 – Hiking time (approx.): 5hrs30′ (4,5+2+3+3km) – Elevation difference (m): 0-270-350-0-70-0
Marmara – Agia Roumeli
In the morning, our private taxi-boat takes us to Marmara where we start our hike following part of the E4 trail west along the coastline. The scenery changes along the way leading into the beautiful pine forest behind the beach of Agios Pavlos. The picturesque, tiny, Byzantine chapel of St. Paul right on the beach itself takes us back in time to a very distant age. The last part of our hike is along the path at the back of the beach which ends in the little village of Agia Roumeli, again with no road access!
Evening meal and overnight in Agia Roumeli, at the mouth of the majestic Samaria Gorge.
Transfer time: 15mins – Hiking time (approx.): 5hrs (11,5km) – Elevation difference (m): 0-150-110-0
Samaria Gorge – Omalos
Samaria is just one of the many gorges on Crete, but it is definitely the best-known. This natural treasure lies in the heart of the Samaria National Park (also a UNESCO World Heritage Site) which is home to numerous endemic species of plants and animals. Its breathtaking scale and impressive topography attract visitors from all over the world and the magnificent scenery will not leave the hiker untouched. Hiking in the opposite direction to most, we have fewer people around us for much of the time.
As we reach the top of the gorge, the sound of sheep bells welcomes us to the tranquility of the plain of Omalos, high up in the mountains.
Evening meal and overnight at Omalos.
Transfer time: 10mins – Hiking time (approx.): 6hrs30´ (3+13km) – Elevation difference (m): 0-1250
Vasiliki Strata – Agia Irini – Sougia
After a short transfer, we start our hike down the old cobbled path that used to be the only connection between the mountain plain of Omalos and the other villages below before roads were built. The “Vasiliki Strata“, as it´s known today, takes us down to the small village of Agia Irini where the gorge hike starts. Huge plane trees line our path and bright oleander bushes guide us down this lush gorge.
At the end, the little coastal village of Sougia awaits us for our evening meal and overnight by the sea.
Transfer time: 15mins – Hiking time (approx.): 5hrs30′ (4+7,5km) – Elevation difference (m): 1100-500-0
Sougia – Lissos – Paleochora
Our last hike of the week! Today’s walk offers magnificent views of the high White Mountains and the clear blue sea. On a clearly-marked path we pass the temple of Asklipios in ancient Lissos and then follow the coastline to the little town of Paleochora. After a sunset stroll around its old fortress, we head to the local tavérna where our evening meal awaits us!
Overnight in Paleochora.
Transfer time: 0 – Hiking time (approx.): 5hrs30′ (15km) – Elevation difference (m): 0-150-20-270-0
Paleochora – Chania
Public bus transfer to Chania.
Free time in Chania, evening meal and last overnight in Chania.
Transfer time: 1hr20´
Chania – Departure
The last morning is spent in Chania, with free time in the town depending on your departure time.
The tour leader’s duties end after breakfast.
Private transfer to the airport and departure.