Crete - Gorges of the South-West

Self Guided Walking
Departure: from 29-04-2024 to 28-06-2024
Status: Open for booking
Price: 565 €
Duration: 8 days
Departure: from 29-06-2024 to 30-09-2024
Status: Open for booking
Price: 590 €
Duration: 8 days
For bookings or questions, contact us at +45 89 88 36 84 or info@solowalks.com

Endless views over the deep blue Libyan sea whilst walking along Europe’s most impressive coast. This area remains a wild place, with 2000 m high mountains falling steeply into the Libyan sea. Deep blue water and clear blue skies, and lots of opportunities to swim on deserted beaches. Via the imposing Irini Gorge, full of flowering oleander bushes, you make your way up to the scenic plateau of Omalos where you stay overnight. Early in the morning, before the big groups arrive, you walk down the world-famous Samaria Gorge to the coast. Then you head further east along the coast to the most romantic village on Crete: idyllic Loutro, accessible only by boat. Greek ‘mezes’ await you on one of the seaside terraces. During the last walk of the trip, you explore the impressive Aradhena Gorge, a challenging walk and one you’ll never forget.

Highlights:
- Most impressive coastal path of Europe
- Omalos and the White Mountains
- Samaria gorge and other canyons
- Car-free village Loutro on the coast
- Idyllic beaches


Itinerary:

Day 1. Arrival in Paleochora, Crete
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. Accommodation in Paleochora.

Day 2. Walk through the Anidri Gorge
(only May-September, alternative walk from Elafonissos to Paleochora). 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. Accommodation in Paleochora.
Walking time: 3 hrs/4 hrs, distance: 10,5/10 km, ascent: 75 m/ 200 m, descent: 450 m/200 m

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. Accommodation in Paleochora.

Day 3. Coastal walk: from Paleochora to Sougia
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 its 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. Overnight in Sougia.
Walking time: 5 hrs, distance: 15 km, ascent: 375 m, descent: 375 m

Day 4. Mountain walk: from Sougia to Omalos plateau
Today you traverse two impressive gorges, from sea level up to 1000 m! 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. Overnight in Neos Omalos.
Walking time: 6/7/8 hrs, distance: 12 km/16 km/21 km, ascent: 1200 m, descent: 100 m

Day 5. Walking the Samaria Gorge
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. Overnight in Agia Roumeli.
Walking time: 5 hrs/6 hrs, distance: 16,3 km, ascent: 50 m, descent: 1200 m

Day 6. Coastal walk: from Agia Roumeli to Loutro
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. Accommodation in Loutro.
Walking time: 5 hrs/6 hrs, distance: 14,7 km, ascent: 275 m, descent: 275 m

Day 7. Roundwalk from Loutro
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. Accommodation in Loutro.
Walking time: 4 hrs, distance: 15,7 km/8,7 km, ascent: 840 m/460 m, descent: 840 m/460 m

Day 8. Departure
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.

Recommended travel period: April-October. In the summer months it gets very hot.
The walks are mostly unsurfaced tracks; footpaths and mountain trails.


Price Includes:
Price Includes: >7 nights accommodation on a bed and breakfast 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
>Booklet ‘Discover Vamos on foot’ (one per booking)

Not Included:
Not Included: >Flights
>Travel insurance
>public transportation and other ferry tickets
>Airport arrival and airport departure transfers
>Admissions and entrance fees of any kind. (Allow 8 Euro for Samaria and Irini gorge)
>City/tourist taxes (0,5 - 2 EUR per person/per day) Tips and gratuities
>Personal expenses such as meals
drinks
phone calls
extra transfers etc.
>Any items that have not been specifically mentioned in the program

Extra Services:
Additional Services: >solo traveller supplement: available upon request
>Transfer Airport Chania – (Vamos)Paleochora: 145 Euro (price per vehicle; max 4 persons)
>Other Airport arrival and/or departure transfers: on request
>Additional night/s at any of the accommodations along the way: on request