Crete: The White Mountains

Crete: the key to the Mediterranean

We’re off for two weeks of trekking in Crete, walking through this ancient landscape and swimming in the warm waters of the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Our well-being is assured – each day we enjoy the locally grown simple and healthy Cretan food – and are inspired to slow down by the way of life here. Many of the villages we visit for the last week of the trek are accessible only by foot or boat, nicely removing us from our everyday world but still allowing our bags to be transported by boat and us the luxury of walking with day packs. Crete’s cultural treasures give us an insight into the Minoan, Roman, Persian, Greek, and Venetian civilisations who have all left traces here. The wisdom of the 3000 year old olive trees will seep into our subconscious as we walk!  

¤ Walk along the paths of ancient Mediterranean civilisations
¤ Enjoy the famous healthy, varied and delicious Cretan diet
¤ Discover ancient fishing villages and shepherding traditions
¤ Swim in the turquoise and azure blue waters
¤ Boat or walking only access from Agia Roumeli (Day 7) to Loutro (Day 12)
¤ Your bags transported by boat

Date: Enquire if you have a group of six or more…

Price: 1595€pp for ten days in May, 1950€pp all included for two weeks in October trekking with two guides (allows variations and options), transport within Crete as required, all food and accommodation (except drinks or souvenir money), bags transported.

Enquiries and bookings: Sian.

Day 1 : Rendez vous at Xania (Chiania) in the north of the island. This is a colourful small coastal town floating on the Mediterranean Sea. We have our first taste of the Cretan delicacies and spend the night in Hotel Palazzo.

Day 2 : We visit the town and its fascinating historical vestiges from previous Mediterranean civilisations. Mosques, Byzantine Forts, Cathedral, Venecian Palaces, Orthodox churches and Turkish fountains will fill our morning! Our transfer to Paleochora (south west of the island) winds along amongst suspended olive gardens, with white Olympian summits rising above.

Day 3 : Paleochora to Sougia where we spend the night. We start our coastal trek from the peaceful fishing village of Paleochora and suspended pathways bring us from wild creeks to white sandy beaches and through the fascinating valley of Lissos and its 3000 year-old olive trees, its sacred spring by the necropolis and the temple of Asklepios. (350m altitude gain; 6h walking).

Day 4 : Sougia to Agios Nikolaos beach. We climb 400m altitude to the Profitis Ilias Church which has a stunning view over the azure blue sea. Descent to beach for swim and return to Sougia by boat. Another night in Sougia. (400m altitude gain, 5h walking).

Day 5 : Sougia to Omalos via Agias Eirinies Canyon. We climb through the canyon in the shepherd’s tracks towards the Omalos Plateau and the surrounding White Mountains. Festive traditional meal and night in Omalos. (1000m altitude gain, 8h walking)

Day 6 : Ascension of Gigilos summit (2000m) following a transfer to 1250m. Spectacular mineral climb via high pass and well-merited view from the top. We spend a second night in Omalos. (1000m alt gain; 6h walking)

Day 7 : Omalos to Agia Roumeli via the famous Samaria Canyon. We descend as into the stomach of a dragon, the flamboyant red walls becoming narrower and narrower until the finally bring us to the opening at the sea. Night in Agia Roumeli. (1200m descent; 6h walking)

Day 8 : We take a day off in this restful spot, a little piece of Paradise! Agia Roumeli, ancient city of Tarrha where Apollo himself came to be purified! Accessible only by foot or boat, so calm is guaranteed. Possibility of sea-kayaking, yoga on the beach, relaxation, swimming….Night in Agia Roumeli.

Day 9 : We walk to Domata Beach via a lovely shaded pine-tree path. There is the option of return by boat from this heavenly beach. Another night in Agia Roumeli. (500m alt gain, 5h walking)

Day 10 : Agia Roumeli to Loutro. This is a beautiful suspended traverse in a surprising highland landscape. We go by the famous Agia Pavlos 10th Century Church on the beach. Picnic on marble beach. Night at Loutro. (100m alt gain, 6h walking)

Day 11 : Loutro to Loutro via Aradena and the canyon of same name. We reach this mountain village perched above the canyon where time seems suspended. We leave the fishing and coastal ambiance and come back to that of the shepherds in their high country. Night in Loutro. (650m alt gain, 6h walking)

Day 12 : Loutro to Skafia (Chora Skafion). A gentle day’s walking brings us via a fresh-water beach “Sweet-water beach” back gently towards civilisation…”on the road again”. Night in Skafia. (100m alt gain, 3h walking)

Day 13 : Bus to Imbros. Descent of Imbros Canyon, also known as Samaria’s little sister! Return to Skafia for the night. (700m descent, 5h walking)

Day 14 : Bus to Xania. (2h30). Afternoon visit and farewell meal. Night in Xania.

Day 15 : Depart from Xania.