We stay in a selection of hotels ranging from 2 - 4 stars. During the day only a light day pack is needed allowing us to enjoy our hikes and the fabulous scenery. The trip starts and ends in Heraklion.
Included meals shown by B - breakfast, D - dinner.
Although we do our best to adhere to the schedule listed, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.
Day 1 Sun May 15 Arrive in Heraklion - Ηράκλειον
Take a taxi (€15) or the public bus (€1.10) from Heraklion airport to our centrally located hotel on Eleftherias Square, just steps from the Archeological Museum. Welcome party at the roof-top bar followed by a buffet dinner at the hotel. (D)
Day 2 Mon May 16 In Heraklion - Ηράκλειον
We start the day with a visit to the Archeological Museum to see treasures recovered from Knossos and other sites. We continue by private bus to Knossos and tour the site with a guide. The balance of the day is at leisure. (B)
Day 3 Tues May 17 To Chania - Χανιά
We have time to explore the center of town on our own before leaving by private bus to Chania at 11:00. We check-in at the hotel located in the historic center and take an informal tour of the harbor district with Ed and Helen. Dinner at a local taverna. (B, D)
Day 4 Weds May 18 In Chania - Χανιά
Full day excursion to the Akrotiri peninsula with a local guide. We visit the historic monasteries of Agia Triada and Gouverneto before taking a half-hour hike down to the remains of the Katholiko monastery, considered the oldest in Crete. We continue down to the sea for a daring splash – waves permitting – in the Aegean and a picnic lunch. We return to Chania in the mid-afternoon. (B)
Day 5 Thurs May 19 To Paleochora - Παλαιόχωρα
A visit to Chania’s Archeological Museum followed by a late morning departure for a transfer across mountainous Crete, from the Aegean to the Libyan Sea. En route we visit a traditional village with an opportunity for lunch at a local taverna. After check-in, Ed will give us a first impression of this small town and its beaches. (B, D)
Day 6 Fri May 20 In Paleochora - Παλαιόχωρα 6 miles, +560ft
After breakfast transfer to Krios where we follow the E4 long distance hiking trail to Elafonisi. We begin with a climb (80m / 265’) over the rocky peninsula that separates Krios from Viena, where we see the few remains of a classical Greek and Roman settlement. We climb again (90m / 295’) and continue to the chapel of Agios Ioannis. As we continue over rough terrain above the coast, we can see Elafonisi beach in the distance. We stop for a snack/lunch at the beach of Kedrasos and reach Elafonisi after a total walking distance of 9.5km / 6 mi. We have time to explore the beach, wade out to the island, a peninsula at low tide, or just lie in the sun until the boat back to Paleochora leaves at 16:00. (B)
Day 7 Sat May 21 To Sougia - Σούγια 7 miles, +/- 853ft
Those looking for an extra workout at the beginning of the day will leave the hotel early by taxi to explore the gorge of Anidri that ends at Gialiskari beach after a difficult 4.8km / 3 mi., where they meet the more leisurely contingent that reaches this spot by bus, having left the hotel an hour after the first group. Together we walk 11km / 7 mi. to Sougia that includes a tough climb of 260m / 853’ and a similar descent to Lissos. Much of the trail is over rocky terrain without shade. After time out at Lissos for a late lunch and to see an ancient mosaic, we can either continue to Sougia by another very steep climb of 170m / 560’ and a most rewarding descent into the fantastic gorge of Sougia, or walk down a short distance to the beach of Lissos and take a water taxi to Sougia. Either way, there’s time to relax at the beach before dinner. (B, D)
Day 8 Sun May 22 In Sougia - Σούγια / Gorge of Agia Irini - Φαράγγι Αγίας Ειρήνης 4.4 miles, +1,476ft
A private bus brings us to the Oasis tavern where the footpath through the Agia Irini gorge begins. This gorge is impressive and beautiful, and walking along a trail interrupted by some rough sections is a delight. The flora is lush and varied, and we may even see some of the rare wild Kri-kri goats. We cover the distance of 7km / 4.4 mi. and climb 450m / 1,476’ in about 4 hours. We return from the village of Porofarago by private transport and have the balance of the afternoon and evening at leisure. (B)
Day 9 Mon May 23 To Agia Roumeli - Αγιά Ρούμελη / Gorge of Samaria - Φαράγγι Σαμαριάς ~9.5 miles, -4,100ft
This morning we have a very early breakfast to catch the 07:00 bus to gorge of Samaria. This gorge, and the Palace of Knossos, are considered the two sites that one must see when visiting Crete; therefore, the place is rather crowded. We cover a distance of 15km / 9.5 mi. and drop an impressive 4,100’. The scenery is a photographer’s dream, and many picnic sites, water faucets, and restrooms make the effort comfortable. We’ll probably exit the gorge around 14:00 and walk another half hour to our hotel on the beach. (B, D)
Day 10 Tues May 24 In Agia Roumeli - Αγιά Ρούμελη
Full day at leisure to hike up to the Turkish fortress high above the village, to look at Roman remains, to learn about Cretan cuisine, and to lounge on the beach and swim in the azure waters of the Libyan Sea. (B)
Day 11 Weds May 25 To Loutro - Λουτρό ~9 miles, +/- 656ft changes
After breakfast at the beach we head toward Loutro, 13.3km / 8.9 mi. away. Although we follow the coast, there’s plenty of up and down, plenty of difficult trail, and very little shade. Our first obstacle is a climb around a steep cliff followed by a rocky path to Agios Pavlos (Agios / Agia = Saint), where Saint Paul is said to have come off his ship to baptize some locals. The little church commemorating this event dates back to the 10th century, but the nearby tavern is of more recent origin. Pine trees shade our path before we emerge onto a desolate landscape with the sea down below on our right, and cliffs above us to our left. At the end of this trying 7km / 4.3 mi stretch, the trail leads right into a taverna where we enjoy a cold drink on the house. Down below is Marmara beach where we may want to swim and call it a day, i.e.: take a water taxi to Loutro. For those who want to tough it out and gain Loutro on foot, there are another two hills to conquer over steep, sometimes exposed terrain (3km / 1.9 mi.). (B, D)
Day 12 Thurs May 26 To Chora Sfakion - Χώρα Σφακίων 6.2 miles, +/- 656ft changes
This is our last day of following the E4 long distance trail. We leave after a leisurely breakfast, follow the coast to the picturesque Timios Stavros chapel and belfry above the coast and descend to the Glyka Nera (Sweet Water) beach. Stop for a dip. Our final challenge is the hike up a cliff, trail secured by cables, offering great views of the coastline and the island of Gavros. This mountain path leads to a paved road, which we follow to either Ilingas beach with water caves to explore, or directly to our hotel in Chora Sfakion. Today’s distance: 10km / 6.2 mi. (B, D)
Day 13 Fri May 27 In Chora Sfakion - Χώρα Σφακίων
The entire day is at leisure. There’s plenty to do here. The hotel has a pool; a winding village street leads to the harbor with shops and tavernas; there’s a small, enclosed beach and kayaks for rent, and boats and ferries sally forth to the island of Gavros, as well as to beaches and villages along the coast that you may want to revisit. (B)
Day 14 Sat May 28 To Heraklion - Ηράκλειον
Morning private transfer to Heraklion. Afternoon at leisure. Farewell dinner. (B, D)
Day 15 Sun May 29 Leave Heraklion - Ηράκλειον
Our Crete adventure ends after breakfast. Take a taxi (€15) or the public bus (€1.10) to the airport to meet your flight. (B)
Your trip leaders will provide 4 trip bulletins prior to departure with more detailed and specific information to help you prepare for your adventure including a day-by-day itinerary in booklet form with detailed maps.
Trip Dates: May 15 - 29, 2022 | 15 days - Waitlisted
Group size - 14
Trip Price and Deposit: $3,200 | Deposit: $800 | Single supplement $500
Remainder to be paid by February 14, 2022
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