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Samaria Gorge
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Duration?
Crete • Gorges of the Southwest
style :
Level :
Duration :
8 days
Comfort :
period:
Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
Code:
GRSW014
Trekking Walking
price in double room from: € 500
Crete • Gorges of the Southwest

Crete • Gorges of the Southwest

  • One of Europe’s most impressive coastal paths
  • The vast Omalos Plateau and brillant White Mountains of Crete
  • World-famous Samaria Gorge
  • The tiny car-free port of Loutro
  • Idyllic beaches circling the island
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Crete south-west gorges walking map
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Route

The walks are mostly on unsurfaced tracks; footpaths and mountain trails. 

Some coastal sections are along cliffs. If you are very afraid of heights, this may be challenging.  

 

Day 1: Arrive in Paleochora
Day 2: Walk from Elafonissos to Kryos Beach (10 km)
Day 3: Walk from Paleochora to Sougia (15 km)
Day 4: Walk from Sougia to Omalos Plain (12 km)
Day 5: Walk through the Samaria Gorge (16 km)
Day 6: Walk from Agia Roumeli to Loutro (14,5 km)
Day 7: Loop from Loutro (15,5 km)
Day 8: Departure

Day 1:    Arrive in Paleochora

Travel from Chania or Heraklion Airport and arrive in Paleochora by public transport or pre-arranged taxi. Refreshed after your journey, stroll out into pleasant seaside Paleochora, population 1800. One of the largest villages on Crete’s southwest coast, it offers a Venetian fortress and several sand and rock beaches.

Day 2:    Walk from Elafonissos to Kryos Beach (10 km)

Take off by taxi to Azogires and begin the ‘Monastery of the 99 Monks’ trail. En route, olive groves lead to the quiet hilltop village of Anidri with its Byzantine church and popular schoolhouse tavern. Next you encounter the narrow Anidri Gorge and tranquil Gialiskari Beach follow by a coastal stretch back into Paleochora, where you pause for a paddle before returning your hotel.

Alternative programme offered June to September, Monday to Saturday: take a relaxing ferry journey to enchanting Elafonissi Lagoon and walk back toward Paleochora along the coast, stopping for a swim at gorgeous, remote beaches along the way. At the end, taxi transfer from Kryos Beach back to your hotel.

Challenge: 3 hours, 10,5 km, 75 m ascent, 450 m descent
Alternative walk: 4 hours, 10 km, 200 m ascent, 200 m descent

Day 3:    Walk from Paleochora to Sougia (15 km)

Set off from Paleochora on a dirt track wandering into undisturbed natural wilderness, then connect to stunning sea views on the E4 coast path as you trundle to ancient Lissos. Once a key harbour for the Dorian city of Elyros, Lissos boasted a population of 30.000 at its peak and since then people have flocked here to be cured by the local waters. Pause for a picnic lunch on this historic spot and enjoy a paddle in the therapeutic waters, then head further east to Sougia by way of a steep-walled gorge.

Challenge: 5 hours, 15 km, 375 m ascent, 375 m descent

Day 4:    Walk from Sougia to Omalos Plain (12 km)

Today you traverse two impressive gorges, hiking from sea level up to 1000 metres! Venture into the impressive Irini Gorge on a well-made path, doing a demanding -though not too steep- ascent. Next up is the steeper Figou Gorge, which offers stunning views as you gain height. Your walk ends at a chapel, ‘Agios Theodoros’, where you’re picked up for the transfer to your hotel, situated on the Omalos Plain beneath the spectacular summits of the White Mountains.

Challenge: 6 hours, 12 km, 1200 m ascent, 100 m descent

Day 5:    Walk through the Samaria Gorge (16 km)

Hike Europe’s longest and most famous gorge, the Samaria Gorge, starting either early or late in the day to avoid the crowds of day-trippers. In these quieter hours, the true beauty of this spectacular gorge comes to light. Take your time and drink it all in, walking at your own pace to the end of the gorge and the seaside village of Agia Roumeli, where you’ll spend the night. Later on there will still be plenty of time for a relaxing swim in the crystal clear Lybian Sea before you set off for dinner at one of the local taverns.

The Samaria Gorge is open from 1st May until the onset of autumn rains, usually in late October. Please note that the gorge may be closed by authorities in case of extreme weather conditions.

Challenge: 5-6 hours, 16 km, 0 m ascent, 1100 m descent

Special notes:
If the Samaria Gorge is closed due to heavy rain, you ill travel to Sougia with the luggage transport, get the ferry to Agia Roumeli and do an optional 10-km walk to the ‘Kastro’ (no route description).
If the gorge is open but the ferry is not running due to high winds, you hike to Agia Roumeli taking just the things you need for the night. Your luggage will be sent to Loutro and you’ll pick it up there on day 6.

Day 6:    Walk from Agia Roumeli to Loutro (14,5 km)

Embark on a splendid coastal walk, trekking first along the beach to the Byzantine church at Agios Pavlos. Next you enjoy a stretch with shade as you walk at a higher elevation through fir forests. The beach at ‘Marmara’, squeezed in between massive mountains to your left and the sea to your right, offers a tavern and spot to swim. The final one-hour section contours the coast as you approach the car-free village of Loutro.

Challenge: 5 hours, 14.5 km, 275 m ascent, 275 m descent

Day 7:    Loop from Loutro (15,5 km)

Conquer a steep zig-zag section up to the village of Anopolis then hike onward to ancient Aradhena, situated at the edge of a stunning gorge. A breath-taking path leads down into it and all the way out to the coast, then you circle back to Loutro. Looking for a shorter option today? Choose a 4-hour route via tiny Livaniana and walk down the Aradhena Gorge to the sea.

If you have an early flight tomorrow, get the ferry to Chora Sfakion today and spend tonight in Chania or Heraklion.

Challenge: 4 or 7 hours, 8 or 15.5 km, 840 m ascent, 840 m descent

Day 8:    Departure

Jump on the ferry back to Chora Sfakion and travel to Chania or Heraklion Airport by public transport or pre-arranged transfer. Say farewell as you depart from one of the most beautiful areas on Crete.

You can book this trip starting any day of the week from 1st April to 25th October.
The best times to travel to the Greek Islands are April to June and September to early November. In Summer it gets very hot. We recommend doing this tour in Spring, when Spring is at its best, or in Autumn, when the sea is still warm.

'standard' hotels

All hotels of this trip are carefully selected because of their location, atmosphere and/or unique services. All rooms are en-suite.
Below you find the standard hotels of this trip. If a hotel is fully booked, we book a similar alternative for you and inform you about the alternative booked. 

Extra overnight:
You can book additional night(s) at any of the accommodations along the way. We can also book a hotel in Chania city or Heraklion city for you before and/or after the trip.

Hotel Aris
Hotel Aris (Paleochora)

Hotel Aris offers clean rooms with balcony or terrace and is near the sea. The rooms and bathrooms are all renovated in 2014/2015. The friendly owner Aris guarantees a pleasant stay.

www.arishotel.gr

Hotel Syia
Hotel Syia (Sougia)

The small seaside resort Sougia is located at the end of the Irini gorge. There is a nice beach and you will experience a laid-back 60'ies atmosphere. The apartments & studio’s of hotel Syia are located 200m from the seaside and offer a comfortable stay. Because of very limited availability in the village you may be allocated at a similar accommodation.

www.syiahotel.gr

Hotel Neos Omalos
Hotel Neos Omalos (Omalos)

On the Omalos plain you overnight in the hotel Neos Omalos at 1100m. Even in summer it is not hot at this spot. Rooms are basic, but comfortable. 

www.neos-omalos.gr

Pachnes Pension
Pachnes Pension (Agia Roumeli)

The Pachnes Pension is new and pleasantly furbished and located in a quiet position. It is 200m from the beach and the port of Agia Roumeli. 

www.pachnes.gr

Protopappas pension
Protopappas pension (Loutro)

In car free Loutro you stay in a pension in well-maintained rooms with a balcony overlooking the deep blue sea, the white-washed houses and the mountains. 

www.loutro.gr

practical info

You can book this trip starting any day of the week from 1st April to 25th October.

The best times to travel to the Greek Islands are April to June and September to early November. In Summer it gets very hot. We recommend doing this tour in Spring, when Spring is at its best, or in Autumn, when the sea is still warm.

The Samaria Gorge opens from 1st May onwards. The exact opening date depends on winter rains, which cause falling rock.

  • In case of heavy rains, the Samaria gorge can be closed. Guests will then travel with the luggage from Omalos to Sougia and take the ferry from Sougia to Agia Roumeli. There is a possible walk to the ‘Kastro’ from Agia Roumeli, 10 km (no route description at hand)
  • In case the ferry Sougia-Agia Roumeli is not running due to strong winds, but Samaria gorge is open, guests take basic needs for 1 night with them to Agia Roumeli. Luggage will then be sent on day 6 from Omalos to Loutro, via Sougia / per ferry.
  • In case on day 6, ferry is still not running, luggage is taken from Omalos to Chora Sfakion and arrives in Loutro from Chora Sfakion.

The nearest airport to Western Crete is Chania Airport (CHQ), but the larger Heraklion Airport (HER) is also possible. To reach Paleochora by public bus, it takes approx. 2,5 hours from Chania Airport or approx. 5 hours from Heraklion Airport. You may also book a private transfer from either airport to Paleochora by taxi with S-Cape. 

At the end of the trip it's a 20-minute ferry crossing from Loutro to Chora Sfakion. From there you travel by public transport to Chania Airport in approx. 2 hours. The public bus from Chora Sfakion to Heraklion takes approx. 4 hours including a stop-over in Vrysses. You may also book a private transfer from Chora Sfakion to either Chania or Heraklion Airport.

We can send you GPS tracks of this trip upon request and after booking.

included

Included 

  • 7 nights accommodation on B&B basis, 2 in Paleochora, 1 in Sougia, 1 in Omalos, 1 in Agia 
  • Roumeli and 2 in Loutro
  • All luggage transfers
  • Transfer Paleochora-Azogirai on day 2 OR ferry ticket Paleochora-Elafonissi if boat is 
  • Operational combined with transfer Kryos beach-Paleochora 
  • Transfers Sougia-starting point Irini gorge and Agios Theodoros (end of Irini gorge)-Omalos
  • Transfer Omalos-Xyloskala (start of Samaria gorge)
  • 24-hour telephone assistance, just a phone call away
  • Detailed road book and maps in English, digitally sent to agent 

Not included

  • Flights, public transportation and other ferry tickets
  • Airport arrival and airport departure transfers
  • Travel insurance
  • Admissions and entrance fees of any kind. Allow 7 Euro for Samaria andTips and gratuities
  • Personal expenses such as meals, drinks, phone calls, extra transfers eAny items that have not been specifically mentioned in the program 

Optional services

  • Airport arrival and/or departure transfers
  • Additional night/s at any of the accommodations along the way, in Chania, Heraklion or any other destination in Greece
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