Hiking Crete’s “Wild West”: Highlights
Stay in the traditional village of Vamos with its cobbled alleys
Experience life in the traditional fishing village of Loutro, only accessible by boat or on foot
Conquer the world-famous Samaria Gorge
Walk one of Europe’s most impressive coastal paths along idyllic secluded beaches
Get to know the friendly locals and taste the delicious Cretan food in local taverns
Discover the “unspoilt Crete” while following walking paths through wild flowers, lush valleys and plunging gorges.
This tour will take you from the fertile green farmlands of Apokoronas, via the White Mountains, to the astonishing gorges and secluded beaches of the south coast. You start in Vamos, a traditional village east of Chania. Meet the locals of this village in the “kafeneion” and drink a “raki” with them. Stay in a beautiful old restored house and enjoy stunning views of the White Mountains whilst enjoying a hearty breakfast in the morning sunshine. On the south coast you will explore two impressive gorges: the Aradhena Gorge and the Samaria gorge. You will also discover idyllic deserted beaches as you follow quiet walking trails along the rocky south coast. You will stay in 3 different coastal villages, including the villages Loutro and Agia Roumeli which are only accessible by boat!
|8 DAY TOUR||From €450 per person sharing*
*A supplement charge will apply to solo walkers.
|AVAILABILITY||You can start on any day of the week, subject to availability, from April-October. In case of heavy rainfall in early spring and late October the Samaria Gorge may be closed. Last minute adjustment to your program may be necessary in that case. Please note that the Samaria Gorge is not open during the month of April, so you will travel by ferry from Agia Roumeli to Sougia on day 6.|
|ACCOMMODATION||7 nights accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis. The accommodations we have chosen are optimum choices having in mind the atmosphere, comfort and hospitality. All rooms have private facilities and almost always a balcony or terrace.
The standard hotels of this trip are listed below. If a hotel is fully booked, we book a similar alternative for you and inform you about the alternative booked.
|MEALS||The overnights are on bed & breakfast basis. Items for lunch are available in the local shops. In the evening you have a wide choice taverns at all locations. In Omalos there is a limited choice, but the restaurant of the hotel itself offers good, local dishes|
This trip is graded moderate overall. Moderate day walks are interspersed with more strenuous excursions, 4-6 hours per day (excluding breaks) on hilly to mountainous areas using well kept, sometimes stony paths. The walks are on mostly unsurfaced tracks; footpaths and mountain trails.
Day 1: Arrival in Vamos
Arrival in Vamos by taxi (it can be arranged in advance) or by public transport from Chania or Heraklion Airport. Depending on your arrival time you can make a stroll in the picturesque village of Vamos or make the 4-hour walk to Georgioupolis. This is a pleasant walk through the agricultural landscape of Apokoronas, passing through several villages to the seaside town of Georgioupolis. Beautiful views, a monastery, scattered churches and the oldest olive press of Western Crete will please you in this first walking day of the tour.
From Georgioupolis back to Vamos by taxi. It is also possible to do this walk in the morning on Day 3.
Overnight: Vamos Traditional Village
Day 2: Loop walk from Nippos
Distance: 14 km | Ascent: 400 m | Descent: 400 m | Walking time: 4 hrs approx.
Today’s walk is a circular route from the village of Nippos, embedded in the lush green area of Apokoronas. Cypresses & olive groves cover this hilly area. In the background the Lefka Ori, covered with snow in winter and spring, make you feel like walking in a painting. After the walk you will travel back to Vamos by taxi.
Overnight: Vamos Traditional Village
Day 3: Travel to Chora Sfakion
Distance: 12 km | Ascent: 100 m | Descent: 325 m | Walking time: 4 hrs approx.
A short taxi transfer will take you to the nearby village Vrysses, from where you travel by public transport to Chora Sfakion. The bus usually goes in the afternoon, allowing you to make a morning visit to Georgioupolis or to take a short walk around Vamos. (Booklet with short walks in and around Vamos is provided.)
Overnight: Hotel Xenia, Chora Sfakion
Day 4: Walk from Chora Sfakion to Loutro
Distance: 6.6/10 km | Ascent: 180/600 m | Descent: 240/670 m | Walking time: 4½ hrs approx.
From Chora Sfakion you climb through the Ilinga gorge to the traditional village of Anopolis. Here you meet locals in the kafeneion and you will have the chance to try one of the excellent Sfakiana pittas: a sort of pancake with cream cheese and honey. This will give you energy for the rest of the walk. You will descend along a scenic path to the village of Loutro, hidden in a tiny, secluded bay. Loutro is only accessible by ferry or on foot and there are no cars. Throughout the walk you will have splendid views of the brilliant white buildings of Loutro contrasted with the deep blue of the Libyan Sea. You will spend the last 2 nights of this tour in Loutro. In case you prefer a less strenuous walk, you can take the coastal walking route to Loutro, with the option to go for a swim at the lovely Fresh Water Beach.
Overnight: Hotel Kyma, Loutro
Day 5: Loutro loop walk
Distance: 9/16 km | Ascent: 460/840 m | Descent: 460/840 m | Walking time: 4 hrs approx.
Via a steep zig-zag path you climb up to the village Anopolis. From here you continue on to ancient Aradhena, located on the edge of the impressive Aradhena Gorge. A spectacular path takes you down into the gorge, which you follow all the way to the coast. During the last part of today´s walk you will follow a path along the coast back to Loutro. It is possible to make a shorter walk of 4 hrs. today via Livaniana (a tiny village) and then descend via the Aradhena Gorge to the sea.
Overnight: Hotel Kyma, Loutro
Day 6: From Loutro to Agia Roumeli
Distance: 14.7 km | Ascent: 275 m | Descent: 275 m | Walking time: 5½ hrs approx.
Today’s beautiful coastal walk offers a wide variety of landscapes. You walk first to Marmara beach, where you may have an early morning swim and a coffee before continuing west along the coast. The views of the mountains and into the gorges are overwhelming. You walk through aromatic pine forest and come to the picturesque Byzantine church Agios Pavlos, located on an isolated beach of the same name. Continuing along the beach with great views over the sea, you reach todays destination: the small village of Agia Roumeli, located at the foot of the Samaria Gorge.
Note: In April when the Samaria gorge is NOT open, you will travel on the late afternoon ferry from Agia Roumeli to Sougia and stay overnight in Sougia.
Overnight: Pension Pachnes Agia Roumeli or similar in Souiga
Day 7: Through the Samaria Gorge
Distance: 16 km | Ascent: 1200 m | Descent: 50 m | Walking time: 6 hrs approx.
The climb through the Samaria gorge is definitely the hardest walk of this tour, but also the most impressive one. Whilst most tourists walk through the gorge from top to bottom, you walk against the current and avoid the crowds! We recommend starting early today. By the time that you reach the upper end of the gorge, the temperature there will be considerably lower than at sea level; up to 10 degrees cooler, in fact. The last few kilometres are steep and demanding; mostly you will walk in the shade through dense forest until you reach Xyloskala. Here, the hotelier from Omalos will pick you up and take you to his hotel.
Note: in April you will walk through the Irini Gorge from Sougia to the Omalos plain. A beautiful and strenuous walk, similar to the Samaria gorge.
Overnight: Hotel Neos Omalos
Day 8: Departure
From Omalos plain you can take the public bus or book an optional taxi to Chania or Heraklion. In case you are departing on a morning flight, you may need to book an additional night in Chania or Heraklion. Let us know and we can arrange this for you.