The walks are mostly unsurfaced tracks; footpaths and mountain trails.
Some coastal sections are along cliffs. If you very afraid of heights or suffer from acrophobia, this may be challenging.
Arrival in Paleochora, by taxi (may be arranged in advance) or by public transport from Chania or Heraklion Airport. From Chania it takes about 1,5 hrs by taxi, from Heraklion the taxi ride is about 3,5 hrs. Depending on your flight schedule, you'll have time for a first stroll through the pleasant seaside town of Paleochora, whose population of 1800 makes it one of the largest villages on the south-west coast. There is a Venetian fortress and several sandy and rocky beaches.
In the morning you will be transferred by taxi to the village Azogires where your walk starts along the ‘Monastery of the 99 Monks’-trail. You will encounter a variety of scenery today including olive groves, the quiet hill top village of Anidri with a Byzantine church and the popular school house tavern, the small gorge of Anidri, the tranquil beach of Gialiskari and a coastal stretch back into Paleochora. You may swim before going back to your hotel.
From June to September you may opt for the alternative program for today, including a relaxing ferry journey from Paleochora to the enchanting Elafonissi Lagoon, from where you walk back towards Paleochora along the coast. Ferry runs daily except Sundays from June to September. En route, you will pass beautiful, remote sandy beaches - ideal spots from which to enjoy a refreshing dip. The walk ends at Kryos Beach, where a taxi will pick you up for the transfer back to your hotel.
In case ferry is not running, you will have a taxi transfer to Azogires and walk down to Paleochora.
Challenge: 3 hours, 10,5 km, 75m ascent, 450m descent
Coastal walk: 4 hours, 10 km, 200m ascent, 200m descent
Todays walk starts in Paleochora. You follow a dirt track into an undisturbed natural wilderness, then continue along a stunning coastal path (E4) overlooking the sea. You will pass ancient Lissos, an important harbour for the Dorian city of Elyros, which boasted a population of 30.000 at it peak. In ancient times, people came to Lissos to be cured by the local waters. You can enjoy a picnic lunch on this historic spot and swim in the curative waters before heading further east to Sougia, by way of a beautiful narrow gorge.
Challenge: 5 hours, 15 km, 375m ascent, 375m descent
Today you traverse two impressive gorges, from sea level up to 1000m! You walk through the impressive Irini Gorge along a well-made path. The ascent is demanding but not too steep. Leaving the Irini Gorge behind, you walk into the steeper Figou Gorge. From a certain height onwards, you will enjoy stunning views. The walk ends at a chapel, ‘Agios Theodoros’, where the hotel's minibus will pick you up. The hotel is on the Omalos plain surrounded by the spectacular summits of the White Mountains.
Challenge: 6 hours, 12 km, 1200m ascent, 100m descent
The Samaria gorge is open from 1st May onwards until autumn rains start, usually end of October.
Today you walk through Europe’s longest and most famous gorge: the Samaria Gorge. You can either start very early or rather late, avoiding the crowds of people who walk the gorge as a day trip. During quieter hours, you'll enjoy the true beauty of this spectacular gorge. You spend the night in the seaside village of Agia Roumeli, at the end of the gorge, which leaves you as much time as you need for the walk. 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 in Agia Roumeli.
Please note that the gorge can be closed by authorities in case of extreme weather conditions.
Challenge: 5-6 hours, 16 km, 0m ascent, 1100m descent
A splendid coastal walk with lots of variety. First you walk along the beach to the Byzantine church of Agios Pavlos. Then you walk at a higher elevation through fir forest. From the forest, you continue on to the beach at “Marmara”. Great views to massive mountains at your left and the sea to your right. There's a tavern on the small beach at Marmara, and you may want to enjoy a swim here as well! From Marmara, you'll need another hour along the coast to reach the car-free village of Loutro.
Challenge: 5 hours, 14,5 km, 275m ascent, 275m descent
You take a steep zig-zag path up to the village of Anopolis. From here you walk further on to ancient Aradhena, situated at the edge of the impressive Aradhena Gorge. A spectacular path takes you down into the Aradhena Gorge all the way to the coast. The last part of today's walk follows a path along the coast back to Loutro. It is possible to do a shorter route of 4 hrs today, via the tiny village of Livaniana, then descend via the Aradhena Gorge to the sea. Depending on your flight departure tomorrow, you may need to travel back to Chora Sfakion by ferry today, and on to Chania or Heraklion.
Challenge: 4 or 7 hours, 8 or 15,5 km, 840m ascent, 840m descent
Today you travel back to Chora Sfakion by ferry in the morning and, from there, by public transport or pre-booked transfer to Chania or Heraklion Airport. Departure from one of the most beautiful areas of Crete.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can book this trip starting every day of the week from 1st April until 25th October.
The best time to travel to the Greek islands is between April and June and September to the beginning of 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 water is still warm.
The Samaria Gorge opens at least 1st May onwards. The opening depends on the winter rains, which cause falling stones.
•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, but also the bigger airport of Heraklion is possible. From Chania Airport it takes app. 2,5 hours by public bus and from Heraklion app. 5 hours to get to Paleochora.
You may also book a private transfer from either airport to Paleochora by taxi with S-Cape.
At the end of the trip you travel by ferry from Loutro in 20 minutes to Chora Sfakion. From there you travel by public transport to the airport of Chania in app. 2 hours. The public bus from Chora Sfakion to Heraklion takes app. 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.