Exciting walking holidays on the Greek island of Crete

8-days walking holiday in Crete

Day 1
Arrival at Heraklion Airport and transfer to a hotel in Heraklion area. Clients get together in the hotel to meet with the group leader. During a welcome drink the guide will present the program. Dinner and overnight in the hotel in Heraklion area.

Day 2 - Scootopia
Powerful machines in an off-road adventure drive. Feel the sensation of the adventure by driving our four-wheel 340 cc scooter cars between the rocks and the wild nature as well as through the narrow streets of the typical and picturesque Cretan villages. Enjoy a barbecue for lunch (2 pax per scooter - car). Late afternoon, return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 3 - Nature explorer
A drive through the untouched scenic beauties of the inland of Crete on 4x4 Suzuki Jeeps. Landscapes and unpaved roads give way to peaceful villages. Today you will discover the face of real Crete and its inhabitants. Return to the hotel in the afternoon. Dinner and overnight in Heraklion area.

Day 4 - Patsos crossing
The Amari region of Rethymnon, rich in water, offers the opportunity of a unique trek up the Patsos River and Gorge. Impressive vegetation and caves mark out this particular ravine, which is easy to walk through. Both the gorge and the cave, which hosts the church of Agios Antonios (Saint Anton) are under the protection of the forest authority and are an excellent destination for a day's hike. In the end of the gorge there will be a barbecue at the taverna under the shade of the enormous walnut trees. In the afternoon we drive to Chania, the most beautiful town of Crete. Walk through the narrow streets of the old Venetian town before you settle for dinner in a tavern. Overnight in a nice hotel.
Walking distance: approx. 4.5 km, duration: approx. 3 hours, grade: moderate. Until June you have to walk in water.

Day 5 - Gramvoussa express
The most western peninsula of Crete, Gramvoussa, discloses its secret and pristine beauty to the visitors. On a motorboat from Kissamos to the Venetian fortress on the island of Gramvoussa, enjoying the lunch aboard and visiting the magic of the lagoon of Balos. During the trip you will admire the geological wonder of Crete. Coming back to Chania we will have an early dinner in the same taverna as a rather tiring day is scheduled for tomorrow.

Day 6 - The grand track
16 km of the longest gorge of Europe enclosed between forested mountains and awesome cliffs lead from Xyloskalo, up on the White Mountains, downwards to Agia Roumeli, on the Libyan Sea. Take your time to discover the beauty, the stillness and the power of a landscape created in a blessed moment. Lunch/dinner and overnight in the peaceful village of Agia Roumeli by the beach, in the end of the gorge.
Walking distance: approx. 16 km, duration: approx. 4 hours, grade: moderate.

Day 7 - Sweet Water Beach
After breakfast in the village of Agia Roumeli, embark on the boat to sail to the beautiful village of Loutro. From there, finding the way across the rocky coast, walk in about 1 1/2 hour to the wonderful and quiet Sweet Water Beach. Enjoy the wonder of small freshwater pools formatted by the fresh water, welling up in the edge of the beach. Swim between the small freshwater pools and then enjoy a luncheon by a small hut. After this our walk continues for another 45 minutes to Chora Sfakion. Then drive via Frangokastello and the plain of Messara to Heraklion for dinner and overnight.
Walking distance: approx. 6 km, duration: approx. 2.5 hours, grade: easy.

When the weather is too hot, the program may be changed, and you will cross the Imbros Gorge instead:

After breakfast, embark on the boat and sail to Chora Sfakion where the bus is waiting to drive the group to the entrance of Imbros Gorge, which runs parallel to the Samaria Gorge. Although not as well-known as the Samaria Gorge, its natural beauty runs 7 km and will take you about 3 hours to cross. At the end of the hike, you reach the village of Komitades for lunch and relaxation. Then drive via Frangokastello to Heraklion like the normal program.

Day 8
Transfer to the airport and departure from Heraklion Airport.

7 nights based on 2 people sharing a double room or studio.

Prices on request.

4-days unique holidays in Agia Roumeli, "Samaria differently"

"Samaria Differently" is a program of activities created and run by a prominent family from the villages of Samaria and Agia Roumeli. It offers you a taste of life, an insight in the history and roots of the people as well as an opportunity to see this beautiful and unique wilderness in a way you will never forget. If you are a keen photographer, you will also have plenty of great opportunities to take beautiful pictures!

For many years Roussos Viglis has been dreaming of conveying his intimate knowledge and deep love of one of the most remote and wildest places in Europe. In 2014 the time had come and "Samaria differently" started.
In 4 days of activities centred around the village of Agia Roumeli and the gorge of Samaria you will get an understanding of what it was like to live in this beautiful but harsh place: how people lived and how they survived in almost complete isolation, what they ate, how they cooked. You will also discover the gorge of Samaria as very few see it: away from crowds and through the eyes of people who were born and grew up there. "Samaria Differently" is a very personal endeavour by the Viglis family to show you the life and the natural environment of one of the most remote and traditional regions of Crete. Passing through the gorge of Samaria on a day trip may be spectacular but being in a stream of tourists on a sightseeing walk will not give you any opportunity to learn and experience what life in such a place was - and to some extent still can be.

Day 1
Morning: We will visit the old village of Agia Roumeli. Then a walk up to the Turkish castle which sits on a ridge above Agia Roumeli will help give you a good idea of the settings of the place and why people have lived here for so long. It is also an occasion to explore the history of the place and maybe do a little bit of herbs gathering. Afternoon: Traditional bread and paximadi baking in our wood oven. We will do this in time to be able to sample it with our dinner.

Day 2
Complete day: Your private visit of the gorge of Samaria is probably the highlight of this programme. We will leave very early in the morning and slowly make our way up through the narrow canyon-like section of the gorge up to the village of Samaria. It is unlikely that we will meet anyone on our way because the day trip walkers come from the top and even the fast ones won't get as far down so quickly. It will also be a good time to show you some of the herbs (and in spring, the flowers) that grow in the gorge. Once we arrive in the village we will show you our ancestral home, the olive factory and will of course be able to tell you many stories about how life was for the people who lived here - one of the remotest places in Europe - until 50 years ago. By that time the village will start to get a little busy with walkers who come here for a break before proceeding down to Agia Roumeli so we'll find a nice quiet place a little away from the village to take a long lunch break, maybe take a little nap, keep an eye out for the shy Cretan wild goat, do a little bit of bird watching, or simply enjoy being in wild nature. Eventually, by around 15:00 almost all the walkers will have passed through, and we can return back to Agia Roumeli, again enjoying the peace of the place and the cool shade because the sun will now be hiding behind the steep cliffs of the gorge. We get back to Agia Roumeli in the evening, in time for a short refreshing swim in the sea before dinner.

Day 3
Morning: Cooking a local dish or two - an informal introduction to local cooking, the ways of cooking and the ingredients we use. Afternoon: Roussos Viglis is also a beekeeper. This is something that he learned from his father and grandfather. Besides being work that provides an income it is also a passion and his bees, his 'girls' as he says, are very much part of his family. In the later part of the afternoon, we will go and visit a few beehives for an introduction to Cretan beekeeping, an activity that is probably over 4000 years old on this island. The more questions you ask him about his bees the happier he will be.

Day 4
Morning: We will take a walk towards the east to visit the lower part of the little-known gorge of Elygias which runs parallel to the gorge of Samaria. Here again you will find beautiful trees and unspoilt nature. This can be a short walk (a couple of hours) or quite a long one depending on your mood. Afternoon: The afternoon will be free until the evening where we gather again for a barbecue on a local beach. We'll look for a place that is a little away from any village lights so that we can have a good look at the fantastic night sky that can generally be seen from Agia Roumeli.

Please note that we might sometimes change the program because of the weather or other circumstances. We can provide different programs (for example with more challenging walks) to suit specific groups. Maximum numbers of participants per group will be limited to 15.

Your accommodation
You will be staying in the spacious Artemis Studios, located at the western edge of the village and less than 100 m away from the long beach that runs to the west of the village. The beach is a mix of coarse sand and pebbles. The sea gets deep quite quickly but it is safe as there are no currents and it is very clear which is nice if you want to snorkel.

Useful Information

Getting to Agia Roumeli
The village of Agia Roumeli is not connected to the road network so your only options to get there are on foot or by boat.

On foot
You can walk to Agia Roumeli through the gorge of Samaria (4-5 hours of walking time) or along the south coast (5 hours from Loutro, 7 hours from Chora Sfakion, 3 hours from Agios Ioannis, over 12 hours from Sougia).

A more common way to get to us (if you have luggage!) is to come by boat from one of the south coast ports. You can check timetables and prices on our ferry link.

Taxi boat
We can arrange a private taxi boat from/to Chora Sfakion for € 70.- per trip.

Crete has a reliable network of public buses. The nearest road heads to Agia Roumeli are Sougia and Chora Sfakion. Both are connected by buses to Chania. You can see their timetables at their website.

It is very easy to pick up a taxi at both airports (and in any city) but if you want to pre-book a taxi transfer to Chora Sfakion we can arrange this for you. We guarantee friendly, efficient drivers and the price is generally a little cheaper than taxis hired on the spot.

Car hire
Hiring a car is cheap in Crete ans we can easily arrange this for you. But note that Agia Roumeli is not accessible by road and during your stay in Agia Roumeli you will not need your car.

Useful things to take with you
Hiking shoes (or good quality trainers if you are comfortable walking with those)
Trekking trousers / pants
Beach towel
Lightweight waterproofs (in April, early May and October rain is possible)
Fleece jacket (for cool evenings in early spring and autumn)
Eyewear - sunglasses
Small rucksack 25 to 30 litres capacity
Sun protection (including for lips)
Water bottle
Headtorch / headlamp (in case of power cuts)
Basic First Aid Kit including: Antiseptic cream, painkillers, plasters (band-aids) and blister treatment, insect repellent.
Any medicines that you might need. There is no pharmacy in Agia Roumeli!
Camera and batteries

Information and prices on request.

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