Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct
Flight to Heraklion and transfer, provided by yourself, to the hotel by taxi.
Welcome by our hosting partner, and rooms allocation. According to your flight time, free time in Heraklion (you can visit the site of Knossos, museums, old town …). You will be informed of my arrival time and when we meet. Overnight in Heraklion.
We traverse the island by bus from east to west to Hania, Crete’s second city, charming with its narrow streets, beautiful Venetian and Turkish houses, and the old port. By early afternoon, the bus takes us to the sea on the south coast of the island to the village of Sougia. We deposit our luggage at the hotel and we go stretch our legs towards Lissos Bay. The cove was a busy port in antiquity, there remain some remnants scattered among centuries-old olive trees, and a beautiful mosaic within the ancient Asclepius Temple walls (the Greek Esculpade, god of medicine). Overnight in Sougia
– Altitude change: +200 m, -200 m
– Walking time: 3 h
A short ride takes us to the foot of Agia Irini gorges. Crete mountain ranges hide beautiful gorges and hiking in these wild areas of extreme natural beauty is an unforgettable experience. 7,5 km long, they also served as a shelter for Cretan rebels during foreign invasions, to have many caves. Irini grooves are special for the abundant vegetation (flora, various trees species …). We leave the marine environment to discover Crete from inside, and mountains to reach Omalos plateau (1050 m). Here again still the Cretan culture with goats breeding and cheese making. Overnight in Omalos.
– Altitude change: +900 m, -100 m
– Walking time: 4:30 h
We descend the Samaria Gorge, the longest in Europe towards the sea. There is so much to discover in this site, classified as UNESCO heritage! The gorges history, formed in a first time by mythology, then by the wars with fierce fighting of the local population against the Venetians, Turks and Germans. The site’s biodiversity is so exceptional, because it’s here that the Agrimi goat or Kri-kris is still commonly found, the famous Cretan ibex, or Diktame, mysterious plant with healing properties sang since antiquity. Finally, the imposing splendor of the landscapes with monumental cliffs, centenary cypress trees and pine brutia forests, and the legendary Sidéroportes, Iron Gates,the most narrow not exceeding 3 meters… So, perspectives of a great show! Overnight in the village of Agia Roumeli (no road access).
– Altitude change: +80 m, -1250 m
– Walking time: 5 to 6 h
This coastal hiking reserves us some wonders! Alternating pebble, sand, polished marble stone and sea sculpted rocks beaches, the path leads to Agios Pavlos millennium chapel of Byzantine architecture. Then, the path sneaks in the heart of the caddis and its arid areas to reach Marmara cove, old white marble quarry, ideal for resting and bathing! In the afternoon, a nice balcony trail overlooking the sea allows to reach the small port of Loutro, the pearl of Crete’s south coast with its white houses and blue shutters, a beauty! Overnight in Loutro (no road access).
– Altitude change: +200 m, -200 m
– Walking time: 6 h
Much less renowned than the Samaria Gorges, Aradena Gorges are not least spectacular, and are less crowded (our favourite!). These grooves are named after the nearby village of Aradena, an abandoned village with a small Byzantine chapel dating from the fourteenth century. We will descend all or part of Aradena Gorges, by Agia Ekaterini chapel and the beautiful Livaniana village.
– Altitude change: depending on the circuit (400 to 800 m)
– Walking time: 4 to 6 h
The boat ride from Loutro bay to Sfakia is splendid and offers beautiful views of the coast and its many coves. A bus transfer leads us to Rethymnon, that we will take the time to visit. Its minarets, its fortress, the Turkish and Venetian houses will enchant you. In the afternoon, we reach Heraklion for a final night in the animation of the old town! Night in Heraklion.
Depending on your flight time, free time in Heraklion (you can visit the Knossos site, museums, old town …). Return
Double rooms or exceptionally triple for individuals. Comfortable hotel (away from major roads) in Heraklion center. Small hotels, such as cottages in the south coast villages (sheets and towels are provided). Single room possible according to availability with an additional € 120. Lunches consist of a picnic and every evening we go to restaurants. We can in this way taste the Cretan cuisine, with ouzo and local wines. This is one of the highlights of the stay, atmosphere guaranteed!
Group size: 6 to 14 people
The price ranges from € 1150 to € 1205.
Warning: Weather conditions, and especially the sea state could force us to change the route.
This trip allows both to discover Crete at a leisurely pace and enjoy the sea, very welcomed after a hiking day. An daily average of 5 hours walking, excluding breaks. To better enjoy the stay, a minimal training is recommended and good walking shoes are essential. The trails are well drawn but pebbly on major part of the circuit. No day is mandatory and everyone will be free to participate or not to planned hikes. You can join the group at night with luggage transfer (by boat). It is also possible for a non hiker companion to participate in the trip.
For road trips (day 2 and day 7) we take the national bus service KTEL. The vehicles are very comfortable and recent, they all have air conditioning.
Airport taxes are included.
Dinner on day 1 and day 7 and lunch day 2 and day 8 are not included.
The possible "fuel surcharge" tax imposed by companies (oil price fluctuations) is not included.
I have been a mountain leader in the Hautes-Alpes for 20 years. History graduate, passionate about literature, I am a specialist in the local patrimony and I have authored books and topo-guides. I also supervise travels and hikes in Greece (Cyclades and Crete), Italy (Dolomites, Gran Paradiso, Piemont valleys, Cinque Terre), Reunion or Nepal (Tsum valley in 2013).
I invite you to contact me if you wish to discover the Queyras by foot, during winter or summer. I would be thrilled to guide you and make you discover its wonders!
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