KNOSSOS TO ARADENA
OVERLAND

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Trip Highlights
Tour details
Itinerary
What's included
Itinerary Changes
Terrain
Condition Grading
Accommodation
Starting point and getting there
Food, Weather
Gear checklist
Currency & Banking
Passports, Visas

Mountains rearing straight up from the sea, gorges, and valleys and yet more glorious mountains. There are few places in the world where high mountains so close to the sea combine with an often perfect climate. Crete’s rugged terrain is an adventurer’s paradise and in many respects the culmination of the Greek experience. Its natural beauty is equaled only by the richness of its history. The island after all is the birthplace of the first advanced society in European soil. Our trip starts in the bustling city of Heraklion and after visiting one of the most important archaeological sites of the Mediterranean, Knossos, we’ll drive towards the enchanting city of Rethymnon, which will be our base for the next few days. Then we will head towards a mountainous resort for two more days of hiking and our trip will end in the picturesque city of Chania. This trip combines the sensual pleasures of Crete’s sublime cuisine, delicious wine, and Mediterranean sunshine with the physical pleasure of an active holiday walking through some of the most beautiful countryside in the world.

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Immerse yourself in the culture and lifestyle of Crete and learn to cook authentic Cretan dishes
  • Discover rural Crete on a horseback
  • Explore Aradena one of the most fascinating gorges in the island
  • Visit Knossos Palace, Crete's most important archaeological site

TOUR DETAILS

  • Dates: From May to October
  • Days/Nights: 9 days / 8 nights
  • Price: Contact us for price
  • Single supplement: Cost based on request. Availability limited.
  • Condition grading: Moderate

ITINERARY

DAY 1

Arrival in Heraklion and welcome dinner

Heraklion is the fifth largest city of Greece. In order to experience it you have to penetrate the modern façade of the city and you will discover its attractive features. After all, it is the birthplace of El Greco and Nikos Kazantzakis and Heraklion province hosts some of the most fascinating Minoan sites in all of Crete. Today we will meet at our hotel for an introductory talk and afterwards we will wander the streets and have our first dinner together in a traditional restaurant. Of course Cretan cuisine plays a starring role and we have spent many selfless hours researching this aspect of the tour.

Overnight in Heraklion, Lato Hotel (D)

DAY 2

Archaeological museum, the palace of Knossos and a winery tour

Crete’s natural beauty is equaled only by the richness of its history. Once here, grab the opportunity to start your day visiting the Archaeological museum of Heraklion. The museum houses the most important collection of Minoan art in the world. It’s a great introduction to our visit in Knossos, Crete’s must-see historical attraction, which will follow. The Minoans were ruling big parts of the Aegean from their palace in Knossos some 4000 years ago, giving the area a great strategic and cultural importance.
From culture to cultivation we will head towards the wine country of Heraklion. More than twenty wineries are embedded in a harmonious landscape of shapely hills and lush valleys. Wine has been produced here since Minoan time. The owners of the vineyard will share with us their secrets of successful wine making and present us with some local varieties. After enjoying local wine we will drive towards the Mediterranean pearl, city of Rethymnon, to settle in our hotel.

Overnight in Rethymnon, Pepi Studios (B,L,D)
Driving distance:
Heraklion to Knossos 5km / 15min
Knossos to Winery 15km / 25min
Winery to Rethymnon 100km / 2 hours

DAY 3

Ancient Eleftherna hike and pottery visit

Ancient Eleftherna, a Dorian built settlement, lies in the foothills of Psiloritis, the highest mountain of Crete and the Archaeological Institute of America included it, in its top discoveries of 2009. We start our hike from the ancient Acropolis of the town, and on our way we will pass the remarkable Roman cisterns, which are carved into the hill’s west side, the Necropolis and a 3rd century BC ancient bridge.
Our tour finishes in the tiny village of Margarites, known for its pottery. Learn about the traditional techniques from a local potter who derives inspiration for his ceramics from Minoan and Byzantine originals.
In the afternoon we will have time to explore the labyrinthine lanes of the historic quarter of Rethymnon which still preserves much of its Venetian and Turkish appearance

Overnight in Rethymnon, Pepi Studios (B,L,D)
Hiking distance: 8km / Hiking Duration: 3 hours
Driving distance:
Rethymnon to Ancient Eleftherna 30km / 45min
Margarites to Rethymnon 30km / 40min

DAY 4

Horse trek and cooking class

After a hearty breakfast we will set out for our 1,5-hour trek on horseback. We will have an introductory lesson and then ride gently up and downhill, crossing a shallow river, through the bamboo jungle, along gardens and olive groves, towards the picturesque harbor and the famous eucalyptus alley of the village of Georgioupolis while we immerse ourselves in rural Crete.
Later on we will drive toward the quaint village of Vamos for a cooking class which takes place in an old olive press dating from 1846 with Venetian arches and large millstones in the centre. This unique setting will enliven your "journey" into the aromas and tastes of traditional Cretan Cuisine. Of course we will eat what we have cooked!

Overnight in Rethymnon, Pepi Studios (B,L,D)
Driving distance:
Rethymnon to Georgioupolis 25km / 30min
Georgioupolis to Vamos 7km / 15min
Vamos to Rethymnon 33km / 40min

DAY 5

Hike Imbros Gorge

Today we will head towards Imbros gorge at the south side of the island, driving by the rugged interior, which is largely untouched by mass tourism. A dreamy mosaic of sleepy villages and fertile valleys, dotted with Byzantine churches.
The pine tree-lined Imbros gorge was part of the route that linked the city of Chania with the Chora Sfakion village. Here, you’ll set off on your three-hour hike, following footpaths through wildflower meadows. Keep watch for Crete’s ‘kri-kri’ wild goats as you go. And reach for your camera at the most spectacular section, where everything narrows into a 2-meter passageway twisting steep, 300-foot walls.

Overnight in Agios Ioannis, Hotel Alonia (B,L,D)
Hiking distance: 8km / Hiking Duration: 3 hours
Driving distance:
Rethymno to Entrance of the gorge 50km, 1h 30min
Exit of the gorge to Agios Ioannis 25km, 40min

DAY 6

Papakefala summit hike

Today wake up to the quietness our mountain hideaway offers, blocking out the rest of the world affording a feeling of tremendous peace and tranquility, and savor a few moments over a steaming cup of coffee as the dew dries and the mist evaporates in the morning sun.
After breakfast we will follow a path delightfully free of crowds, lined with holm oaks and pine trees. As we head towards the Papakefala summit, it opens out onto a long ridge that traverses the mountainside, offering breathtaking views of the bright blue sea below.

Overnight in Agios Ioannis, Hotel Alonia (B,L,D)
Hiking distance: 5.5km / Hiking Duration: 3 hours
Driving distance:
Rethymno to Agios Ioannis 85km / 2hours

DAY 7

Aradena gorge hike

In the southern slopes of White Mountains there is one of the most fascinating gorges in Crete. Aradena gorge is not as famous as Samaria gorge but in physical terms as impressive and much less crowded. Moreover, the hike itself is challenging and the sense of achievement is immense. Start from the abandoned -due to a vendetta in 1950’s- village of Aradena and descend all the way down to the Libyan sea with the beach of Marmara at the end as reward.
An opportunity for a quick swim and lunch, and later leaving Marmara we’ll follow the coastal path towards the peaceful harbor of Loutro. After a short ferry ride to Chora Sfakion, tired but fulfilled, say farewell to the mountains and head back to the civilization, this time the lively Chania town.

Overnight in Chania, Kydon Hotel (B,L,D)
Hiking distance: 12km / Hiking Duration: 5 hours
Driving distance:
Agios Ioannis to the start of Aradena gorge 5km / 10min
Sfakia to Chania 70km / 2 hours

DAY 8

Chania Visit

Chania is Crete’s most beautiful town. Its perfect setting with the White Mountains as background, lively harbor, historical remains, busy market, and nearby beaches make it the ideal spot.The winding old streets conceal charming boutique hotels and some of the island’s best dining options. There will be time for some independent sightseeing before tonight’s farewell dinner.

Overnight in Chania, Kydon Hotel (B,L,D)

DAY 9

Say farewell to Greece or continue on your own

Breakfast is at your leisure at the hotel and following that, your Tripin Adventures trip in Greece concludes. Transfer independently from our accommodations in Chania to one of the international airports of the island for return flights home or continue your explorations of this marvelous region of Greece.

(B)

WHATS INCLUDED

Price includes:
All accommodations as listed (or similar) based on double occupancy
All transportation during the trip
Admissions fees to itinerary sites and museums
Services of a guide throughout the tour
Tourist guide for the archaeological museum of Heraklion and Knossos archaeological site
Winery tasting at day 2
Organic farm visit on day 4
Horse trek on day 5
Cooking class on day 5
A bottle of water per day
Ferry ticket Loutro-Sfakia
Hotel taxes and service charges
Transport and handling of one reasonably sized suitcase and one carry-on per person
All activities mentioned in the program

Included meals:
Breakfast, lunches and dinners as indicated in the itinerary, snacks during activities.

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
Αnything not mentioned in above program

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.

TERRAIN

This trip Level is Moderate and is suitable for most people that are in fairly good physical condition. Although the daily distances are not that far, it has been rated moderate as there are quite significant elevation gains and losses. The itinerary includes walking tours in cities and villages, and four days with moderate hikes of 3-5 hours, including one summit hike with elevation gains and losses of up to 350m.
Although the paths are quite well-kept the terrain often tends to be very stony and rocky, during the gorge-walking. You will mostly be walking on footpaths, mountain trails and on some tarmac roads and be prepared for few steeper passages.

CONDITION GRADING

Moderate
Trips designated “Moderate” are more active and require a bit more endurance. Hikes and treks includes occasional steep ascents. Trip members should be experienced hikers in good physical condition, capable of walking 3-5 hours

STARTING POINT AND GETTING THERE

Starting point is: Heraklion.

Getting There & Away: Crete biggest airport is about 5km east of the city center. There are many flights that connect Heraklion airport with Athens. Moreover there are many direct flights from various cities in Europe. Heraklion ferry port is located 500m east of the city center and is connected with major ports in Greece including Piraeus (Athens port), Mykonos and Santorini.

Getting around: We can arrange for a transfer from the airport or the port to your hotel. If you want to come by yourself there is a bus line connecting the airport to the center of the town and there is also the option of the taxi. From the port you could take a taxi to your hotel or even walk for about 25 minutes.

FOOD

Simple, nutritious and flavorsome, the food is one of the pleasures of travel through Greece. Rustic Greek Cuisine reflects the history and bounty of its diverse regions and relies in the fresh, seasonal home-grown produce and generally simple, unfussy cooking that brings out the rich flavors of the Mediterranean.
Greece’s relaxed and hospitable dinning culture makes it easy to get into the local spirit. Greeks love to eat out and share impossibly big meals family style. Given the long summers and mild winters, alfresco dining is central to the dining experience. Service could be slow by Western standards, but why being in rush either way.
As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There's no obligation to do this though. Wherever possible we will cater for dietary needs for any included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may need to provide their own. Note that alcohol and soda are not included.

WEATHER

Spring, summer and fall in Greece are sunny and warm. The daytime temperatures average 25-30 C though temperatures in the 35s are possible in the summer months. Nighttime temperatures cool off slightly to 20° C. Rain showers are rare in the islands, but it's often breezy and rainy on the coast.

GEAR CHECKLIST

Greece has a temperate climate. Base your clothing on the “layering system”, if it is hot you can “peel off” layers quickly, if it is cooler and windy you can quickly “dress up”. The lighter you travel, the easier you travel. Use your best judgement and pack as lightly as possible. You will appreciate light luggage towards the end of your trip.
Please consider taking along the following items on your trip.

OFFICIAL PAPERS

  • Valid passport
  • Airline tickets

LUGGAGE

  • Duffel bag or rolling luggage
  • Daypack to carry camera, water bottle and snacks etc.
  • Luggage locks and tags

OUTERWEAR

  • Midweight polar fleece sweater
  • Rain jacket and rain pants, or poncho

CLOTHING

  • Hiking shorts
  • Casual clothing made of light-weight fabrics
  • T-shirts
  • Long-sleeve shirt
  • Hiking pants, loose and easy to move in
  • Underwear
  • Swimsuit

CLOTHING ACCESSORIES

  • Sun hat or baseball cap

FOOTWEAR

  • Lightweight and supportive hiking boots, broken-in with good ankle support
  • Beach sandals
  • Casual, comfortable shoes for evening

ACCESSORIES

  • Sunscreen and lip protection
  • Sunglasses and retainer strap
  • Beach towel

OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES

  • Security pouch or money belt
  • Trekking poles or walking staff
  • Camera, memory and batteries
  • Reading and writing materials
  • Watch with alarm or travel alarm
  • Travel pillow
  • Motion sickness remedies
  • Personal first-aid kit
  • Insect repellent (lowrisk)
  • Electric adapter plug/converter

This is not a fixed list, but more of a guideline, so feel free to add and remove items as you see fit.

CURRENCY & BANKING

Greece has adopted the Euro as its currency. The easiest way to obtain local cash is from an ATM. Greek ATMs accept cards bearing the Cirrus, EC, Euro card, Visa and Plus symbols. If you take cash, US or Canadian Dollars can be easily exchanged at banks. Most major credit cards, Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted. It is advisable to have some Euros with you upon arrival to be used for a taxi if necessary. You may want to check the website www.xe.com for current exchange rates.

PASSPORTS

You must have a passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the conclusion of your trip. Please make sure that you have blank pages in your passport for your visa (if required), entry and exit stamps (one for each). Please make a copy to take with you in the event yours is lost or stolen and keep it separate from your actual passport.

VISAS

Currently a Greek Tourist Visa is not required for citizens of Canada, United States, Britain and Australia. If you hold another passport, please check online http://visacentral.com/visas.php

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