Explore the mysteries of Central Crete
(self guided 8-day program)
Crete, the largest and most mountainous of the Greek islands, is 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.
Our self guided 8-day exploration focuses on the central region of this fascinating island, and takes you 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.
Starting from Heraklion, the island's bustling capital, we will go western 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.
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.
Returning back to Heraklion you may 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.
8-day self-guided hiking in Central Crete - Itinerary
Highlights include: Ascent of Mt Idi (2456m) the highest of Crete, with spectacular view to the whole island of Crete and its surroundings islands, the gorge of Saints, one of the most famous pottery Cretan villages, the Lassithi plateau (Zeus birthplace) and the plateau with the 10000 windmills, ascent of Mt. Dikti (2148m) with spectacular view, crystal-clear beaches to swim, and the magnificent Knossos Palace.
DAY 1: Arrival in Heraklion and transfer to the hotel. In the evening you may enjoy your dinner at a traditional tavern; welcome to the gastronomic reality of the authentic Cretan cuisine! (Overnight in Heraklion)
DAY 2 (3 hrs walk): This is our river-trek day. We will cross "Kourtaliotis" gorge from its source to "Preveli" Palm Beach. On the way will come across an abandoned olive oil mill, a Venetian bridge, and hippy huts. The exit of the gorge gives an unforgettable picture, as the river comes out in the sea through the forest of palm trees.
In summer days we will live the amazing experience of walking this gorge through the actual river. (Overnight in Plakias)
DAY 3 (6 hrs walk): Starting early in the morning, our minibus will bring us at the mountain hut of the highest mountain of Crete. Following the E4 path, we will reach the very top (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. Returning by the same path back, we then travel to Sivas village at the south area of Heraklion. (Overnight in Sivas)
DAY 4 (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 Sivas)
DAY 5 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. (Overnight in Lassithi)
DAY 6 (6-7hrs 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 until Agios Georgios village to Lassithi plateau. (Overnight in Lassithi)
DAY 7: Today we drive back to Heraklion, and will 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. (Overnight in Heraklion)
DAY 8: This is the end of our trip. We transfer you to Heraklion airport at a convenient time.
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