If you think of Crete as nothing but an island of cosmopolitan beaches and towns, then this twelve-day trekking trip will totally change your mind about this incredibly variable piece of mountainous land floating on the Mediterranean Sea! You'll be drawn into the unexplored and unspoiled nature of the most impressive Cretan mountains: White and Lassithi. Get ready for staggering paths, gorges, coastal trails, swimming in the sea or relaxing on pristine beaches, visiting traditional villages, tasting local delicacies, exploring ancient cultures, and meeting the locals. Best of all? You'll be led on certain excursions by an expert local guide who knows the land better than anyone.
This itinerary has been crafted by our Local Agency with one idea in mind: to inspire you. Every element can be adapted to your needs and your interests, from duration to accommodation and activities.
Arrival at the airport of Heraklion where we will meet you in order to assist you with your rental car and provide you with the maps and the printed material that we have prepared for your trip. We'll also talk you through your itinerary either at the café of the airport, or in our office (depending on your arrival time.
Start driving to Archanes, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful villages of Crete. Arrival and settle into the rooms of your hotel. Later, you can enjoy some nice walks in the alleyways of the picturesque village, or have a local beverage (aromatic tea made of mountainous herbs and honey made of thyme) in a 'kafenio' where the locals meet every afternoon or night. Stay overnight in a historic hotel in the centre of Archanes – a fine example of 19th Century inland Cretan architecture.
Overnight at a 4* traditional apartment in Archanes, Travelling distance: 17 km
Prepare for an entirely different approach to the Minoan civilisation, a civilisation that is considered to be one of the most famous of Europe. It includes a wonderful trek (of around 2-3 hours) in the legendary Mountain of Knossos’ antiquities, through the landscapes and the surroundings of the mythical palace.
This trip (upon request) can be organised under the guidance of our archeologist (specialised in prehistoric archeology of the eastern Mediterranean). In this case the trip includes also a picnic in nature, based on the principles of the Minoan gastronomy (olive oil, oat, seeds, figs, raisins, pies stuffed with a great variety of goat's cheeses and wild greens, aromatic herbs, and red wine).
Travelling distance: 9 km Archanes - Knossos, Time or distance of trekking: 2,5 km (around 3h. round trip)
After you enjoy your breakfast, prepare your luggage for the next destination: Selakano forest. Today you will plunge into the mysterious physical phenomenon of the cave Neraidogoula, which carries a legend for the inhabitants of the surrounding area.
The trip includes walking on a track of the most extended forest of the Cretan mountains, and subterranean exploration in the legendary cave. The visit to the first part of the cave using easy speleological (caving) techniques, as well as a nice picnic in nature and some local beverages in Mrs Stellas’ kafenio, are some of the highlights of the trip. Overnight at one of five village houses that have recently been converted into luxury holiday homes commanding panoramic views over the South Cretan Sea.
Travelling distance: 80 km, Time or distance of trekking: Around 3 hours easy trekking in the forest of Selakano, Overnight at a traditional apartment in Anatoli
Breakfast. Today you'll trek through the gorge of Sarakina. The natural environment in the gorge is simply magical - admire its rich vegetation, as well as pools of water and waterfalls which must be crossed with great caution. Boulders fallen in the stream bed, and natural rock arches through which visitors pass to continue their walk, are some of the most impressive geological formations seen in the gorge and at the same time make its crossing challenging, as you will have to climb at some parts in order to continue. Picnic in the nature. Return and free time. Dinner at a local tavern.
Travelling distance: 15 km, Time or distance of trekking: 1.5 km (about 2.5 hours round trip), Overnight at a traditional apartment 3* in Anatoli
Breakfast. Today you'll cross the high mountains of Lassithi, aiming to reach the majestic plateau, one of the 2 most important plateaus in Crete because of its links to the birth of the First among the 12 Greek gods: 'Zeus.' Leave your luggage with our driver and, together with your mountain guide, trek from Selakano to the plateau of Limnakaro. A wonderful trek that passes from various landscapes and sites with spectacular views.
Arriving at the plateau, you will meet the driver who will take you to the apartment. Settle into your rooms and eat dinner at a local tavern famous for its high quality Cretan cuisine at the top of the plateau.
Travelling distance: 7 km, Time or distance of trekking: 12 km (around 7 hours), Overnight at a traditional guesthouse 3* in Lassithi Plateau
Breakfast. After the decline of the Minoan and Mycenaean civilisations in Crete (around 2,000-1,000 BC), the island experienced upheavals. The disorganisation of the 'palatial system' of culture and the advent of new populations on the island, led to the refuge of many people in the mountains, organising new defence settlements in inaccessible rocky areas. These 'cliff-edge' villages are one of the most impressive residential cases in Crete's history.
Following in the tracks of the Minoans of that era, you'll trek along the Minoan path from the plateau of Nisimos to the ancient settlement of Karfi, one of the most important and hidden sanctuaries dating from 3,500 years ago. Depending on the free time you will have after the trek, there is the possibility of wonderful walks and short visits inside the plateau. The most interesting sites are 'Dikteon Andron' (the Cave of Zeus), the monasteries of Kroustalenia and Vidiani, or the gorge of Havgas. Moreover, the small villages built around the plateau where you can observe the everyday life of the farmers and shepherds.
Travelling distance: Around 15-20 km, Time or distance of trekking: Nisimos-Karfi: 2.5 km (around 2 hours round trip) + Psichro-cave of Dikteo: 0.5 km (around 0h40 round trip), Overnight at the same traditional apartment 3* in the Plateau of Lassithi
After breakfast, start preparing for the long trip (3.5-4 hours), from the East to the West. You will make a brief stop in the middle of your route-in the city of Chania- to enjoy a nice walk in the alleyways of this historical and picturesque city and then you will continue up to the plateau of Omalos.
The plateau is located in the heart of the world famous national park of Samaria. There is a possibility of a trek of around 1.5h from the bottom of the plateau to the shelter of Kalergis. Return to the plateau, settling into the rooms and dinner at a typical tavern of Sfakia just 10 minutes away from the famous gorge of Samaria.
Travelling distance: 232 km, Time or distance of trekking: Plateau Omalos-refuge kallergis-Plateau Omalos: 10km (2 h. round trip), Overnight at a traditional apartment 2* in the plateau of Omalos
Early wakeup call and breakfast. Our partner will transfer you to Xiloskalo (by 4X4). At the parking area you park the car, you deliver your luggage to our partner who will organise their transfer to the next hotel, you buy your tickets and you start descending the gorge. You walk along the amazing gorge, the longest trekking gorge in Europe and also the most famous of all.
It has been designated a Protected Monument of Nature by the European Council and it is one of the most important national parks in Greece. After almost 4-7 hours of hiking from Omalos (Xiloskalo) you arrive at the village of Agia Roumeli and the stunning beach. You enjoy a relaxing swim and you take the boat to go to the little picturesque port of Loutro. Settling into the rooms from where you will enjoy the deep blue sea view with the impressive iridescence and beauty of architecture. Your luggage will be delivered to your room.
Time or distance of trekking: 18km, Overnight at a 2* hotel in Loutro
After breakfast, you can start discovering the beautiful Loutro and the nearby castles and beaches. The only access to Loutro is by boat or on foot! Here, there are no overcrowded streets, restaurants, beaches or cars! It is a small picturesque fishing village in south west Crete, surrounded by beautiful beaches with small pebbles and crystal green-blue water.
Time or distance of trekking: To go to the most beautiful beach (the exit of Aradena gorge) you need to walk for around 1 hour + 1 more hour to return, Overnight at the same hotel in Loutro (2*)
After breakfast, start trekking along the coastal path of Loutro-Sfakia. You pass from the stunning beach of Glika Nera and other amazing small beaches that stretch along the steep coastline and you arrive at the little port of Sfakia, famous for its rebellious inhabitants. There a taxi or private van will be waiting for you in order to take you to the village of Ai Giannis, the last mountainous village of this area. Just before arriving there, you pass from the legendary gorge of Aradena, one of the most impressive gorges of Crete. Near its entrance there is an iron Bailey bridge, the tallest bridge in Greece and the second tallest in Europe, therefore ideal for bungee jumping. The taxi will leave you in Aradena for 30-60 minutes, after which you'll continue to the village of Ai Giannis.
Located at the end of a 20 km journey from Sfakia, it is well hidden in the forest at an altitude of 800m. There are fewer than 15 inhabitants and their principal occupation is stock farming. It is an ideal place for those who love nature and hiking. Yοu will be warmly welcomed by our partner who will help you settle into your rooms. Here, you will enjoy later a tasteful dinner, based on the local tastes, aromas and products of the family that owns the inn – an amazing, cosy hostel.
Travelling distance: 20 km, Time or distance of trekking: 6 lm (around 2 hours), Overnight at the traditionnal guesthouse in Ai Yannis
Today you'll wake up…in the wild! Enjoy a delicious breakfast, typical of this area of Crete, and start discussing with the owner of the inn the various options for trekking. The forest village of Ai Giannis is the starting point of one of the most beautiful and well-marked trails of Chania prefecture, the trail of Kormokopos (which we highly recommend).
The path to Kormokopos has a very distinct starting point at the west edge of the village. It runs uphill through the dense forest for about an hour until you reach the highest point of the route. Here the view is stunning! You overlook the entire southern coastline of western Sfakia and the Libyan Sea. A little bit further, near a steep cliff there is a spacious oblong cave, the cave of Kormokopos, where the foot trail actually ends. Return to the apartments and dinner.
Time or distance of trekking: Agios Ioannis – Kormokopos: 2-3 hours (return), Overnight at the same guesthouse in Ai Yannis
After breakfast, you'll be transferred to Sfakia. There you will take the public bus to the city of Chania. In Chania you can leave your luggage at the bus station, spend a couple of hours strolling in the charming port of the historical city and then go back to the bus station to take the bus to Heraklion and the airport. Flight home - we hope you've had an incredible time!
The price reflects this specific itinerary and is designed to give you an idea of the budget required for this destination. Throughout the trip-planning process, our local agency will tailor your itinerary around your budget.
|2-3 Pax||4-7 Pax||8-12 Pax|
|Price per person||$1,540||$1,180||$1,000|