Birthplace of Zeus and the cradle of Europe's earliest civilization, Crete is justifiably known as the “Great Island”. Fabulous beaches and crystalline seas are just the beginning of the story. The mountains, which dominate the view as you approach, consist of dozens of peaks over 2000m of altitude and present a stunning scenic backdrop to life on the western side of Crete. There are few places in the world where high mountains so close to the sea are combined with an often perfect climate.
Our trip starts in Chania, probably the most charming city of Crete, and from there we will head towards White Mountains (Lefka Ori). They borrow their name from the shining bleached limestone in summer and the rich snow cover in winter. For the next week we will hike a network of ancient paths and shepherd trails. We will follow the southern coastline, climb to summits, and submerge to the depths of some of the prettiest gorges of the island, including the most famous one, Samaria. On a hot summer day, heading down to the mouth of a gorge is the ideal hike. We will walk shaded from the sun's ferocity, looking forward to a welcome swim at the end as a reward.
Wander around the historical city of Chania, one of the longest continuously inhabited city sites in the world
Walk through Samaria, Europe's longest gorge and Crete's 'must-do' experience
Climb Mt. Gigilos the legendary peak overlooking Samaria with its 2080m high summit
Enjoy awe-inspiring views of the dramatic, rocky seascape while breathing in the fresh, salty air of remote and unspoiled beaches
Dates: From May to October
Days/Nights: 7 days / 6 nights
Price: Contact us for price
Single supplement: Cost based on request. Availability limited.
Condition grading: Moderate to strenuous
Arrival in Chania
We love Chania and we believe you will too. Its perfect setting with the White Mountains as a background, lively harbor, historical remains, busy market, and nearby beaches make it the ideal spot. We will meet in the afternoon at our hotel for an introductory talk and have our first dinner together in a traditional restaurant. Of course Cretan cuisine plays a starring role and we have spent many hours digesting countless delicacies during the research of this important aspect.
Overnight in Chania, Kriti Hotel (D)
From Chania to Agia Irini Gorge and Omalos plateau
Wake up and get ready to enter the White Mountains through the narrow gorge of Agia Irini. Areas of humidity and shade sustain a variety of plants, and gigantic ancient plane trees grace a large clearing halfway up. Our hike ends at Agia Irini village and from there we will be transferred to Omalos plateau. In the heart of Omalos, at an altitude of more than 1000m, enjoy the evening breeze listening to the jingling of the occasional goat’s bell.
Overnight in Omalos, Hotel Neos Omalos (B,L,D)
Hiking distance: 7km / Hiking Duration: 3h 30min
Driving distance: Chania to Entrance of the gorge 70km, 1h 30min
Climb to the summit of Mt. Gigilos
Take a deep breath of the mountain fresh air and gear up for today’s high ascent. We will climb Mt. Gingilos the legendary peak overlooking Samaria with its 2080m high summit. Its north face, a near vertical slope of solid rock will try to scare us, but we will trick it by following the path round the back in order to reach the summit with only a little scrambling. Lammergeiers, the biggest birds in Europe, from Samaria gorge, glide past this cliff top so often at midday on their foraging trips it is well worth keeping an eye out for them.
Overnight in Omalos, Hotel Neos Omalos (B,L,D)
Hiking distance: 9km / Hiking Duration: 6 Hours
Samaria Gorge Crossing
“Kalimera!” How about a dip in the clear turquoise waters of the South coast? Yes! But first we have to trek through Samaria, Europe's longest gorge which lead us to our goal over trickling streams, through forests of scented pines and the "Iron Gates", the narrowest point where the rocks on either side are 600m high. After a 16km descent we’ll reach the welcoming resort of Agia Roumeli, with its much appreciated fine pebble beach and sparkling sea, in which we will stay overnight.
Overnight in Agia Roumeli, Hotel Pachnes (B,L,D)
Hiking distance: 16km / Hiking Duration: 6h 30min
Agia Roumeli to Agios Ioannis
If you’ve fallen already in love with the blue waters you may start your day with a morning dip or swim. Then put on your hiking shoes again to head towards the mountains, with awe-inspiring views on our way, at one of the best preserved coastlines in all Europe. A cozy hostel in Agios Ioannis, a village well hidden in the forest with only 15 inhabitants, has its doors open for us.
In the evening if your feet still support you, you can participate in an optional short hike to the Papakefala summit to enjoy the tranquil sunset.
Overnight in Agios Ioannis, Hotel Alonia (B,L,D)
Hiking distance:10km / Hiking Duration: 4h 30min
Aradena Gorge to Loutro and return to Chania
In the morning wake up to the quietness our mountain hideaway offers and savor a few moments over a steaming cup of coffee as the dew disappears in the morning sun. From Agios Ioannis we will head down to the Aradena gorge where the rocky riverbed is forced into an extremely narrow gap between sheer walls almost all the way down. This is a superb hike and the sense of achievement at the end is immense. Passing the beach of Marmara we’ll follow the coastal path which leads to the picturesque harbor of Loutro. A short ferry ride to Sfakia town will follow and from there we will drive to Chania city where we are going to have our farewell dinner.
Overnight in Chania, Kriti Hotel (B,L,D)
Hiking distance: 12km / Hiking Duration: 5 Hours
Driving distance: Chora Sfakion to Chania 70km, 2 Hours
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.
Price includes: All accommodations as listed (or similar) based on double occupancy
Hotel taxes and service charges
All transportation during the trip
All activities mentioned in the program
Entrance fees at the Gorges of Agia Irini and Samaria
Services of a guide throughout the tour
Transport and handling of one reasonably sized suitcase and one carry-on per person
Included meals: Breakfast, lunches and dinners as indicated in the itinerary, snacks during activities.
Not Included: Domestic and/or international air fare
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
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.
This trip level is, Moderate to Strenuous. The itinerary includes walking tours in cities and villages, and five days with moderate hikes of 3-7 hours, including one summit hike with elevation gains and losses of up to 1000m.
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.
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
Strenuous Trips designated “Strenuous” require strong physical stamina, as we’re often active for 6+ hours per day. Hikes and treks include traversing more rugged and mountainous terrain.
Getting There & Away: Chania airport is 14km east of town on the Akrotiri peninsula. There are many flights that connect Chania airport with Athens. Moreover, there are many direct flights from various cities in Europe. Chania ferry port is located 7km southeast of the city center and is connected with major ports in Greece including Piraeus.
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 busor a taxi to your hotel.
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.
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.
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.
Duffel bag or rolling luggage
Daypack to carry camera, water bottle and snacks etc.
Luggage locks and tags
Midweight polar fleece sweater
Rain jacket and rain pants, or poncho
Casual clothing made of light-weight fabrics
Hiking pants, loose and easy to move in
Sun hat or baseball cap
Lightweight and supportive hiking boots, broken-in with good ankle support
Casual, comfortable shoes for evening
Sunscreen and lip protection
Sunglasses and retainer strap
Security pouch or money belt
Trekking poles or walking staff
Camera, memory and batteries
Reading and writing materials
Watch with alarm or travel alarm
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.
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.
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