Discover two of the most famous Mediterranean Islands
This 15-day walking trip starts from Crete, Greece's largest island with mythical mountains, deep gorges and a unique history dating back to the 4000 year old Minoan civilization to the jewel of the Greek Cyclades islands, the spectacular Santorini, with its whitewashed cubist-shaped houses, the dramatic Santorini volcano and the breathtaking views of what once originated the legend of Atlantis.
Starting from the east side of Crete you will visit the island's largest mountain plateau (Lassithi plateau) with the 10000 windmills and Zeus birthplace and you continue to explore the southwest coast of Crete.
From Chania with its picturesque Venetian port, you will depart for the village of Agia Irini and enjoy a picnic lunch in its quite gorge before emerging at the crystal clear waters of Mediterranean Sea. Follow ancient paths to reach the second Roman city in Crete, visiting the temple of God Asklipios and exploring the ruins from Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine period.
Europe's longest gorge, the awesome Samaria gorge, offers one of the most rewarding walks through a spectacular botanic garden with plants, birds and animals that exist only here.
Relax in the charming village of Loutro by refreshing ourselves in the azure blue waters of Marmara beach before return back to "civilization" in Crete's capital - Heraklion, to visit the magnificent archaeological area of Knossos with its famous Minoan city and palace dating from 1450 BC.
The "grand finale" of this unforgettable holiday is the spectacular island of Santorini.
Walk through small-whitewashed houses on the narrow winding alleys, to discover the Fira, Imerovigli and the famous for its sunset village of Ia.
Trek on the comfortable path on the edge of Caldera's ochre cliff, enjoy the spectacular view of the islands Nea Kameni, Palea Kameni and Thirasia, swim in the hot springs and explore the still active volcano of Nea kameni!
Crete and Santorini Self-Guided Walking Tour - Itinerary
Highlights include: Spectacular mountain plateaus, Lassithi plateau (Zeus birthplace), Samaria gorge (longest in Europe), the ancient city Lissos (Ruins from Hellenistic, Roman Byzantine period), ascent to Mountain Karfi (1148m) with spectacular view, crystal-clear beaches to swim, coastal walks, picturesque fishing villages and the spectacular island of Santorini, the jewel of Cyclades, with its volcano and the small- whitewashed houses.
DAY 1: Transfer to the hotel in Heraklion city. 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): After breakfast you will be moved towards the largest plateau of Crete - Lassithi plateau. Starting from the village of Tzermiado you shall pass through the small and beautiful "Nissimos" valley to reach the sacred summit of Karfi, which offers spectacular view to the north coast and a Minoan settlement. From the summit you shall descend back to Tzermiado where you will have the chance to experience a small journey through mythology by visiting Dictaion Andro, the cave where Zeus was born. (Overnight in Lassithi)
DAY 3 (3 hrs walk): Your goal today is the Limnakaros plateau from where you will admire the spectacular view of Lassithi plateau and the highest summit of mountain Dikti (2148m). If you wish to extend your hike it is possible to reach the summit of Dikti (total walking hours 8). (Overnight in Lassithi)
DAY 4 (4 hrs walk): Today you will travel from Lassithi plateau to Elounda area at Mirabello to end up at Heraklion. Starting from Mirabello's rough countryside you shall hike around "Aforesmenos" cape to Plaka village. Walking on dirt roads and coastal paths, you will pass from an abandoned lighthouse and crystal clear beaches to end up at Plaka village. Passing from Agios Ioannis chapel you shall admire the spectacular view to the bays of Elounda and Spinalonga island (a massive fortress for the Venetians that later became a leper colony). At Plaka village you shall have the chance to enjoy a refreshing swim. (Overnight in Heraklion)
DAY 5: After breakfast you shall be transferred to Chania where you will have time to explore the old city that has been built around a crescent shaped harbor lined with delightfully lively bars, cafes and open-air shops. (Overnight in Chania)
DAY 6 (4-5hrs walk): After breakfast you will depart for the village of Agia Irini in Chania area and you will walk through Agia Irini gorge to Sougia. This gorge provides a nice and quiet path next to a stream. Sougia is a beautiful village on the southern coast of Crete where you will have the opportunity to enjoy a swim in the crystal-clear waters of Mediterranean Sea. (Overnight in Sougia)
DAY 7 (3 hrs walk): Starting from the small port of Sougia, you will cross the beautiful gorge of Selinou and follow the European path E4 where you will reach the ancient city of Lissos, an important center of hydrotherapy in ancient years which flourished in the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine era. Here you will visit a well-preserved temple with mosaic floor dedicated to the God of medicine Asklipios and will have much to admire by making a small loop around the city refreshing yourselves in the cove before returning back to Sougia. (Overnight in Sougia)
DAY 8 (6 hrs walk): You will be transferred to Omalos plateau, the starting point of Samaria gorge. Samaria is the longest gorge in Europe and one of the most beautiful that nature can provide. You will walk on a good path in shady pine forest and beside a melodic stream, you’ll reach the small village of Agia Roumeli , where you can relax and enjoy a swim before taking the ferry to the charming village of Loutro. (Overnight in Loutro)
DAY 9: Relaxing day to spend it either in Loutro or in the crystal waters of "Marmara" beach. Either you will follow the ancient path until Anopolis village, a historic area from where the revolution against the Turks began in 1866, and return back to Loutro (2½ hrs walk) or you can extend the hike to cross Aradena gorge (very beautiful and slightly more difficult than the previous gorges). In the way back to Loutro you can swim in the crystal waters of "Marmara" beach. (Overnight in Loutro)
DAY 10: 15 minutes’ boat-ride will take you from Loutro to Hora Sfakion from where you will be transferred to Heraklion. In the afternoon you’ll have the chance to visit Knossos, the magnificent archaeological area holding remains of a Minoan city that thrived 3500 years ago and the famous palace dated 1700-1450 B.C. (Overnight in Heraklion)
DAY 11: Today you will ride the ferry all the way to Santorini. Santorini, the most beautiful of the Greek islands, with its stark, white, cubist-shaped houses perch atop ochre cliffs, with endless stretches of beach with sand or shingle and its dramatic volcano surrounded by the Aegean Sea, compose the jewel of Cyclades. In the afternoon you will have the chance to hike to ancient Thira and to the monastery of Profitis Ilias, the highest point of the island. (Overnight in Santorini)
DAY 12: (3-4 hrs walk): Starting from Fira, the capital of the island, you will initially walk through the small-whitewashed houses on the narrow winding alleys, to Imerovigli. You will continue on a path till Ia having on your left-hand side the breathtaking view of the islands of Nea Kameni (with the volcano in the middle) the island of Palea Kameni and the island of Thirasia. (Overnight in Santorini)
DAY 13 (20 min walk): Today you will embark on a sailing boat to go to the island of Nea Kameni. Explore the volcano of Nea Kameni and enjoy the breathtaking views of what once originated the legend of Atlantis. Your boat trip will continue to Palea Kameni, where you will have the opportunity to swim at the hot springs and visit the island of Thirasia. (Overnight in Santorini)
DAY 14: After your breakfast you will sail back to Heraklion and the rest of the day is free to explore the city. (Overnight in Heraklion)
DAY 15: This is the end of the trip.
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