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Samaria Gorge

gorgeous and legendary

KRITI COASTLINE

Crete, or “Kriti” in Greek, is the most southern land in Europe. On a clear day from nearby Gavdos island (Homer called it Calypso) you can see North Africa!  On this tour you hike Crete’s southwestern coastal footpaths on a European trail network, the E4 path, that hugs the Libyan Sea. Several of the coastal villages are inaccessible to motor vehicles and can only be reached by foot or boat.

DESCRIPTION

Omalos.  Samaria Gorge.  Sougia.  Loutro.  Askifou. 

This hiking tour takes place in the Hania region, western Crete, southern coast.  This area is a striking difference from the north coast.  It is undeveloped with no resort or boutique hotels.  It is pure nature with no cities.  It is go slow time.   Travel is by sea or foot.   Life is simpler.

The best part of Crete is the warm hospitality of the Cretan people. They will insist on sharing a carafe of raki with you — even if it is only ten in the morning!  Cretan food is a specialty in Greek cuisine with certain dishes (like dakos) imitated by other Greeks but only made perfect in Crete.

DETAILS

Trip Duration 8 days

Start & End Points 
Start:  The tour starts in Hania with a vehicle transfer to Omalos (38 km), the start point for the Samaria Gorge.  You should arrive in Hania in time for an afternoon transfer to Omalos, roughly 16:00.
End:  The tour ends in Askifou Plateau, with a vehicle transfer (50 km) to Hania airport or Souda Bay port.

CHILDREN  This tour is not recommended for children under 16 years old

RATING  This tour is rated moderate.   Hikes average 5 hours a day walking at a moderate pace.  Relatively few steep ascents.  A reasonable fit hiker can easily do this tour.

HIKING GUIDE REQUIRED  The Libyan Sea Coast is too tricky to try to do on your own primarily due to the logistics of luggage transfers.  The guide knows best how to arrange transfers by land and sea so that you have your luggage with you each night.  Also, the guide not only leads you in the right direction but he or she also enlightens your experience by providing information relating to the history and culture and flora and fauna on each day’s hike.   Additionally the guide carries provisions, such as, extra water, binoculars, first aid kit and snacks, although you are expected to carry your own water and picnic lunch.

BOOKING AGREEMENT  Participants are required to sign our company Booking Agreement as a condition of the tour.

WAIVER  Participants are required to sign our company Waiver as a condition of the tour

ITINERARY

Day 1: Omalos
From Hania’s pretty harbor, you transfer to Laki, a mountain village with an old path that goes to Omalos Plateau. Only a few generations ago this trail was well-trod, but now with a north-south highway to Omalos, hikers have the route all to themselves. 4 hour walk.

Day 2: Sougia
Hike the famous Samaria Gorge, considered to be Europe’s longest gorge. Eleven miles, all downhill, starting out on a steep staircase. Samaria’s is Greece’s most beloved national park with wild kri-kris, narrow slot passages and rivers. 8 hours

Day 3: Sougia
Hike to Lissos, an ancient Asclepio healing site that is in pristine nature, no residents nearby. There were some 200 “Cults of Asclepio” in ancient Greece, but only two existed in Crete. A Roman necropolis with scores of tombs from about 50AD can also be found at Lissos. 3 hours walk

Day 4: Loutro
Boat transfer from Sougia to Agia Roumeli from where you head eastward for Loutro. Stop at Agio Pavlos church where St. Paul is said to have washed ashore in a shipwreck and followers erected this lovely church on the beach to his memory. Swim there, jumping from the huge boulder. 5 hours walk

Day 5: Loutro
Hike the Aradena Gorge up to the abandoned Aradena village. If you’re brave enough, try bungee jumping from the Aradena Bridge. You are deep in Sfakia territory, the most rebellious in Crete. The Sfakians fought the Turks bitterly and held out for years against the occupation. 5.5 hours walk

Day 6: Askifou
Following the magnificent coastal road dig a hole in the beach at Sweetwater and drinking water emerges. 2.5 hour morning walk.   From Hora Sfakia, vehicle transfer to Askifou Plateau with a detour side trip to Frankocastello Castle, whose ghosts of Cretan souls are said to speak on May 18, 1828. Afternoon hike down the easy, 8 kilometer Imbros Gorge.

Day 7: Askifou
Today you are in the mountains at Askyfou, 750 meters high (2460 feet).  The hike is on the European E4 path, Askyfou Plateau, Ammoudari to Niato 8 km, 3 hours.   Overnight in cosy moutain lodge amidst pristine air and greenery.

Day 8: Departure
Transfer to Hania International Airport for daily flights to Athens.  56 km, 1 hour drive

COST & INCLUSIONS

COST PER PERSON

Cost for 2 Persons 2100 euros per person
Cost for 4 Persons 1600 euros per person
Cost for 6 Persons 1400 euros per person
Cost for 8 Persons 1320 euros per person
 Single Supplement  350 euros per person

Tour price is based on double occupancy.

This tour is not suited for children under 16 years old.

For currency exchange rates,  click here.

INCLUSIONS

7 nights accommodations for the best hotels in the region (see Accommodations tab)

Vehicle transfers on Day 1 from Hania to Omalos and on Day 8 from Askifou to Hania airport or Souda Bay port

Hiking guide, local experienced guide who handles all tour logistics including land and sea transfers and luggage transfers

All meals — Guide chooses the salads and appetizers.  You have entree choices.  Meals include house wine, water, beverages.

Entry fees to Samaria Gorge and Imbros Gorge

Map of the region

Trip packet with useful and interesting information, such as, packing tips, weather links, money exchange, etc.

Gratuities, tips and VAT taxes

EXCLUSIONS

Airfare to/from Greece

Airfare or ferry boat transfer to/from Hania

Transfer from Hania Airport to Hania hotel

Hania hotel

EXTRAS

Travel Insurance  For U.S. citizens, we are official agents of Travel Guard travel insurance and can book your trip insurance or provide you a policy quote.

Hania hotel   We can book your pre- and post-tour accommodations in Hania with a choice of fine hotels we patronize in the old city. 

Cretan Cooking Class  Pre- or post-tour activity.  Learn to make fine Cretan specialties with a local cook and eat the meal you prepare.  185 euros per person for two persons.  93 euros per person for 4 persons.  62 euros per person for 6 persons.  50 euros per person for 8 persons.

ACCOMMODATION

Arxontiko-PeposAn indicative hotel for the Kriti Coastline tour is Syia hotel in Sougia with spacious apartment rooms.

We select the accommodations based on quality, comfort, cleanliness, hospitality, location and charm. Most of the hotels on this tour are family owned and operated.

Hotels are included in the tour cost based on double occupancy. A single room entails an additional cost. This tour does not offer hotel upgrades.  The Libyan Sea Coast region is not a region with any type of luxury hotels.  Rooms are simple but clean.   Since luxury and upgrades are not available, we aim to secure the most spacious rooms available for our guests.

All hotels are dependent on availability. In the event of no occupancy, we patronize comparable accommodations in the same location.

Request Links to Accommodations for Kriti Coastline

MAP

Click map to open in Google Maps

Crete

GROUPS

This tour is also available for groups of more than eight persons. You can take the tour with the itinerary as listed or we can customize the tour’s destinations and activities to suit your party.

For sea transfers on this tour, all participants travel in the same boat.  For land transfers, participants travel in a van or mini-coach.

We offer innovative tours to large groups attending a congress, conference or corporate event.

See more information on the Groups page.

Contact us directly for price quotes and itineraries for your party’s special stay in Greece.

2017 TOUR DATES

SUMMER:  June 18-25 mini-tour June 18-22

AUTUMN:  October 14-21, mini-tour June 14-18

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Hugging the car-free Libyan Sea coast, Europe’s most southern hiking path
  • Exploring Lissos, an ancient Asclipio healing site
  • Overnight in coastal villages accessible only by foot or boat
  • Descending the beautiful Samaria Gorge
  • Wandering the Venetian fortress, Frankocastello, said to be haunted
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Athens & Attica Region
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