Crete Unveiled

GENERAL INFO

Known as the "Great Island”, Crete holds the title of the largest among all Greek islands, yet its beauty far exceeds its size. Picture mountains rearing straight up from the sea, gorges, and valleys and yet more glorious mountains all set against a backdrop of rich culture, globally renowned gastronomy, and unreal beaches. Crete’s rugged terrain is an adventurer’s paradise and in many respects the culmination of the Greek experience. This trip offers an in-depth exploration of the island, blending visits to historical sites, leisurely beach time, delightful cuisine, and breathtaking hikes.
Our trip starts in Chania Crete’s most captivating city, known for its Venetian quarter, narrow lanes, and picturesque harbor. During our two-night stay, we'll explore the old town and enjoy seaside relaxation. Moving southward, we'll drive across the White Mountains to reach Loutro, a tranquil seaside village. During our two-day stay, we'll hike through Imbros Gorge and along the coastline, discovering hidden beaches and sea caves. Our next destination is Rethymnon, an enchanting city with a Venetian-Ottoman charm, serving as our base for two nights filled with hiking and swimming adventures. The final leg of our tour takes us to Heraklion, where we'll visit the ancient site of Knossos and savor a wine tasting experience. Bid farewell to Greece or join us for an extended stay, venturing to the dreamy Santorini.

DAILY ITINERARY

We love Chania, and we're sure you will too. Chania’s ideal setting, framed by the White Mountains, vibrant harbor, remnants of its Turkish and Venetian history, bustling market, and nearby beaches, make it the most sought-after city in Crete. We'll gather in the afternoon at our hotel for an introductory talk and enjoy our first dinner together at a traditional restaurant. Naturally, Cretan cuisine is in the spotlight, thanks to the island's abundant and fertile land, coupled with a favorable climate that yields a variety of produce. From exotic avocados and bananas to tomatoes and the renowned Cretan olives, the island has it all. Of course we've spent numerous hours indulging in countless delicacies during our research into this crucial aspect, carefully selecting the best restaurants for you.

Overnight in Chania in a 4* hotel
Dinner included

Today we will hop on a 4WD and drive towards Balos lagoon, one of Chania’s most prized gems which cannot be missed. It is an exotic sandy beach of turquoise waters with a unique geomorphological shape located on the northwest side of the prefecture. Renowned for its untamed natural beauty, it stands proudly among the most beautiful beaches in the country. Take some time to relax and soak it all in before saying goodbye to this coastal paradise.
In the evening, you'll be free to explore more of the Venetian city, wandering along its picturesque streets and checking out numerous local shops before we come together for dinner.

Overnight in Chania in a 4* hotel
Breakfast and dinner included
Hiking distance:
2,4 km / Hiking Duration: 2 hr
Driving distance:
Chania to Balos 50 km / 1 hr 30 min
Balos to Chania 50 km / 1 hr 30 min

We start early from Chania, driving through the scenic White Mountains to reach Imbros Gorge. This pine tree-lined gorge offers a nice hike with changing widths, leading to the Libyan Sea. While smaller in scale compared to its well-known counterpart, Samaria Gorge, Imbros holds its own allure. With narrow passages, intriguing caves, and a breathtaking natural stone archway, this approximately three-and-a-half-hour descent promises an unforgettable adventure!
After the hike, we will hop on a ferry to the idyllic, tiny village of Loutro, a car-free coastal gem that can be reached only by the water. Known for its pristine beaches and clear waters, this area invites relaxation. Upon arrival, we'll check in and head straight to the beach. For tonight's dinner, we'll treat ourselves to local delights at a family taverna by the sea.

Overnight in Loutro in a boutique hotel
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
Hiking distance: 6 km / Hiking Duration: 3 hr
Elevation gain & loss: 75 m & 700 m
Driving distance:
Chania to Entrance of the gorge:  61 km / 1 hr 20 min
Ferry:
Sfakia to Loutro: 45 min

Southern Crete unfolds captivating mountain landscapes adorned with untouched bays. Exploring the region's south coast poses a unique adventure as most areas are accessible solely by sea or footpaths. Our hiking journey kicks off from Loutro. Along the way, we'll meander through goat-filled pastures, charming farmlands, and quaint villages, eventually reaching Marmara (Marble) Beach—a hidden gem in a picturesque cove where the Aradena gorge meets the sea. While the landscape may not readily divulge its secrets, a swim unveils a series of marble caves along the left side of the beach, sculpted by the relentless sea. Post-swim, a delectable lunch awaits at a nearby tavern. A ferry-taxi will take us back to Loutro, where the rest of the day is yours to savor the peaceful beauty of the surroundings.

Overnight in Loutro in a boutique hotel
Breakfast and lunch included

Hiking distance: 3 km / Hiking Duration: 1 hr
Elevation gain & loss: 180 m & 180 m
Ferry:
Marmara to Loutro: 45min

We say goodbye to our hideaway and we head to the medieval city of Rethymnon. Along the journey, we'll pause at the charming village of Vamos for a cooking class. The class unfolds in an olive press dating back to 1846, adorned with Venetian arches and sizable millstones and is hosted by Mrs. Koula. A Cretan native, Mrs. Koula carries the culinary wisdom of her family and graciously shares it with us.
In the afternoon, we reach Rethymnon. It is the only city in Crete built on a cape, is eloquently described by local writer Pantelis Prevelakis as being "on the boundary between calmness and fierceness." To the east lies a vast sandy beach, while the western coastline is rocky. Unlike Herakleio or Chania, Rethymno never had a large port that would have made it a center of trade. But it does have a wonderful old harbor, full of color, lined with Venetian and Ottoman buildings that have for centuries been reflected in its calm waters.

Overnight in Rethymnon in a 4* hotel
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
Driving distance:

Chora Sfakion to Vamos: 42 km / 1 hr
Vamos to Rethymnon: 40 km / 45 min

Nestled in the foothills of Crete's highest mountain, Psiloritis, lies Ancient Eleftherna—a Dorian settlement celebrated by the Archaeological Institute of America as one of its top discoveries in 2009. Our journey begins at the town's ancient Acropolis, leading us through fascinating sights: from the remarkable Roman cisterns carved into the hill's west side to the Necropolis and a 3rd-century BC ancient bridge. The hike concludes in the charming village of Margarites, renowned for its pottery. The tradition of pottery spans many generations in this village, with pieces crafted from local Cretan earth and "lepida" (a special potter's clay), using natural pigments from the mountains. The ceramics, polished with pebbles and adorned with a sheep's wool brush, draw inspiration from both ancient and modern Cretan pottery.
The remainder of the day is free to explore the labyrinthine lanes of the historic quarter of Rethymnon  or unwind at the beach.

Overnight in Rethymnon in a 4* hotel
Breakfast and lunch included
Hiking distance: 4,4 km / Hiking Duration: 2 hr
Elevation gain & loss: 223 m & 308 m Driving distance:
Rethymnon to Ancient Eleftherna 30 km / 45 min
Margarites to Rethymnon 30 km / 40 min

We depart from Rethymnon and journey to Heraklion to explore the Palace of Knossos, the renowned capital of Minoan Civilization, which held strategic and cultural significance around 4000 years ago. The site features impressive ruins, including a vast palace, courtyards, private apartments, baths, and vibrant frescoes.
Transitioning from culture to cultivation, we head to the wine country of Heraklion. In this picturesque landscape of hills and valleys, we'll visit a family winery established in 1966, renowned for producing high-quality wines, focusing on rare local varieties and crafting single-variety wines.
Following our wine tasting experience, we make our way to Heraklion. In the late afternoon, we'll explore this bustling city, ranking as the fifth-largest in the country, before coming together for our farewell dinner.

Overnight in Heraklion in a 4* hotel
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
Driving distance:

Rethymnon to Knossos Palace 80 km/ 1h 20min
Knossos Palace to winery 20 km / 25 min
Winery to Heraklion 26 km / 35 min

Breakfast is at your leisure at the hotel and following that, your Tripin Adventures trip in Greece concludes with independent departures to the airport or other areas of Greece. If you feel like continuing travelling, join us for an extension to the breathtaking island of Santorini!

Breakfast included

WHAT'S INCLUDED

PRICE INCLUDES

  • All accommodations based on double occupancy
  • Hotel taxes and service charges
  • All transportation during the trip
  • Entrance fee for the Archaeological site of Knossos
  • Tourist guide for the Archaeological site of Knossos
  • Services of a guide throughout the tour
  • Cooking class
  • Wine tasting
  • Transport and handling of one reasonably sized suitcase and one carry-on per person

NOT INCLUDED

  • Domestic and/or international air fare
  • Medical expenses
  • Travel or emergency evacuation insurance
  • Gratuities for leader/guide or driver
  • Alcoholic beverages and meals other than outlined in itinerary
  • Visas if needed
  • Transfer to and from the airport/port
  • Other items of a personal nature
  • Anything not mentioned in above program

INCLUDED MEALS

  • Breakfast
  • Lunches and dinners as indicated in the itinerary
  • Snacks during activities

ITINERARY CHANGES

We are constantly updating our unique itineraries based on new information and experiences available. The walks, accommodations, and visits listed may be adjusted. The itineraries presented are subject to modification and change by Tripin Adventures. We reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in our judgment, conditions warrant, or if we deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of participants, anything not mentioned in above program.

TRIP NOTES

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