Discover the natural beauty and the myths of Crete
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 hiking trip on the island of Crete. the island of contrasts!!!
This 15-day hiking trip is actually a combination of our southwest coast trip (Unforgettable Crete) and central Crete trip (Highest Summit & River trek).
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 the exotic palm beach of Kourtaliotis River and the azure blue waters of Agiofarago's cove to the solitary wilderness of Crete's highest mountains, Mt. Psiloritis and Mt. Dikti.
Walk through mythology and history at the world-renowned Knossos, the palace of the legendary King Minos and the Minotaur and pay homage to Zeus birthplace in Lassithi plateau.
15-day Crete hiking itinerary combines everything!!!
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, river trekking and picturesque fishing villages in Crete.
DAY 1: Transfer to the hotel in Chania city. In the evening we will have a brief presentation of the whole trip and will continue with a welcome dinner at a tavern in the picturesque Venetian port of Chania. (Overnight in Chania)
DAY 2 (4-5hrs walk): After breakfast we depart for the village of Agia Irini in Chania area and we walk through Agia Irini gorge to Sougia. This gorge provides a nice and quiet path next to a stream. A picnic lunch will be offered while in the gorge. Sougia is a beautiful village on the southern coast of Crete where we will have the opportunity to enjoy a swim in the crystal-clear waters of Mediterranean Sea. (Overnight in Sougia)
DAY 3 (3-4hrs walk): Starting from the small port of Sougia, we will cross the beautiful gorge of Selinou and following the European path E4 we reach the ancient city of Lissos, an important center of hydrotherapy in ancient years which flourished in the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine era. Here we visit a well-preserved temple with mosaic floor dedicated to the God of medicine Asklipios and we will have much to admire by making a small loop around the city. We refresh ourselves in the cove and we return to Sougia. (Overnight in Sougia)
DAY 4 (5-6hrs walk): Our mini-bus brings us to the plateau of Omalos from where we climb mountain Gigilos (2080 m). 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 we may use our hands to climb (easy scramble, nothing technical). The summit provides spectacular views in all directions. We descend by the same route and we spend the night at a family owned hotel in Omalos plateau. (Overnight in Omalos)
DAY 5 (6hrs walk): A short minibus drive takes us to Xiloscalo, the entrance of Samaria gorge, which is the largest gorge in Europe and one of the most beautiful that nature can provide. We walk on a good path in shady pine forest and beside a melodic stream. We reach the small village of Agia Roumeli , where we can relax and enjoy a swim. (Overnight in Agia Roumeli)
DAY 6 (6hrs walk): We continue our walk close the Mediterranean Sea (coastal path). We 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, we arrive at the small port of Loutro. (Overnight in Loutro)
DAY 7 (6-7hrs 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 Anopolis we will cross Aradena gorge (very beautiful and slightly more difficult than the previous gorges). In the way back to Loutro we can swim in the crystal waters of "Marmara" beach. (Overnight in Loutro)
DAY 8: This is the last day for the people that choose the one-week trip. They will reach the village of Hora Sfakion by a 15 minutes boat-ride from where will be transferred back to Heraklion.
The people that continue the trip will follow the coastal path (2 hrs walk) and after pass from the "Sweet water beach" (there are many fresh water springs, coming out of the pebble beach), will arrive at the village of Hora Sfakion where our mini-bus will wait to bring us to the Venetian castle "Frangokastelo". This castle has an interesting story about the ghosts of the Greek soldiers fighting against the Turks and a nice sandy beach where we can swim. We continue our drive to the mountain village of Axos, where we spend the night. (Overnight in Axos)
DAY 9 (3-4 hrs walk): Starting from the ancient city of Eleftherna, built between 970 – 820 B.C. we 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 we shall stop en-route to enjoy our picnic lunch and we end up at the pottery village of Margarites where we shall 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): Starting early in the morning, our vehicle will bring us at the small mountain plateau of the highest mountain of Crete. Following the E4 path, we will reach the summit (2456m) in approximately 3 - 3 1/2 hours. From the highest summit we can enjoy a full view of Crete. We 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. We will return by the same path, back to our hotel. (Overnight in Axos)
DAY 11 (3 hrs walk): Today on our way to Zaros we 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 170-1450 B.C., excavated by Sir Arthur Evans at the beginning of this century.
In the afternoon we are free to explore the city of Heraklion or to continue our culture excursion by visiting the very interesting archaeological museum, with exhibits from the Minoan period before we relax by the lake of Zaros. (Overnight in Zaros)
DAY 12 (1-2 hrs walk): "Agiofarago" means "Gorge of Saints". This gorge used to be the shelter of the monks of the near-by Monasteries. We will walk through the gorge that leads to one of the most beautiful and quiet beaches of Crete at Liviko Pelagos. There we have the chance to see the cave - house of a monk, a local hero during the revolution of 1866. We 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): After breakfast we 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. We will have the chance to experience a small journey through mythology by visiting Dictaion Andro, the cave where Zeus was born. We 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): From Lassithi plateau we will ascend the highest summit of mountain Dikti (2148m). During our ascent we 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 us an unbelievable view of Lassithi plateau and the east area of Crete. We descend by the same route to Lassithi plateau. (Overnight in Lassithi)
DAY 15: This is the end of our trip. We transfer you to Heraklion city at a convenient time.
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