Crete White Mountains: Hiking Tour in Greece (Self-Guided)

TOUR OVERVIEW

8-DAY ITINERARY

GETTING THERE

WHAT’S INCLUDED

 BOOK NOW 

 PHOTOS

TRAVEL UPDATE TO GREECE 

Greece will be open for tourists as of May 14th, 2021. You can see the most up-to-date details here from the Greek government. 

WHITE MOUNTAINS IN CRETE HIKING TOUR OVERVIEW

The largest of the Greek Islands, Crete’s White Mountains are one of the few places on the planet where dramatic high mountains – 30+ at over 2000 m (6562 ft) meet the sea. No wonder that Crete is at the top of many hiker’s bucket lists.  It’s also home to over 50 gorges, fabulous beaches, crystalline sea with warm and dry summers and mild winters.  

You’ll love knowing that after a day of hiking your efforts will be rewarded with a dip in the crystal blue waters and world-renown Cretan cuisine. And be sure to look for signs of Zeus, Crete was the birthplace of the sky and thunder god. 

Your trip starts in Chania, probably the most charming city in all of Crete. Depending on when you arrive, you’ll have time to explore on your own – be sure to check out the Venetian Harbor, a highlight not to be missed. From there we’ll arrange a transfer to take you to the White Mountains (Lefka Ori), named for their shining bleached limestone in summer and snow-covered peaks in winter.

You’ll spend the rest of your time hiking a network of ancient paths and shepherd trails. You’ll follow the southern coastline, climb to summits, and explore some of the prettiest gorges in Crete including the most famous one, Samaria. 


HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR WHITE MOUNTAINS SELF-GUIDED HIKING TOUR IN CRETE 

✔ Explore the historical city of Chania, one of the longest continuously inhabited cities  in the world

✔ Hike through Samaria, the longest gorge in Europe and a UNESCO designated biosphere reserve. It’s  a ‘must-do’ experience when in Crete

Enjoy awe-inspiring views of the dramatic, rocky White Mountains as they meet the Aegan Sea seas while breathing in the fresh, salty air

✔ Cool off after hiking with a dip in the sea and rejuvenate on remote and unspoiled beaches in Crete

✔ Hike up to Mt. Gigilos, the legendary peak with its 2080m high summit offering stunning views of the Aegean Sea 

✔Your choice of either standard accommodation or upgraded accommodation on 4 of the nights when it’s available 


8-DAY HIKING CRETE MOUNTAINS ITINERARY

Day 1: Arrival in Chania

Chania self-guided hiking tour in Crete

You’ll love exploring Chania which dates back to 3650-3000 BC. Be sure to check out the Old Venetian Harbor, historical remains and the fabulous nearby beaches of Balos, Elafonissi, and Falassarna. The White Mountains are in the background giving you a preview of what’s to come.
Our local representative will meet at your hotel and give you a briefing on the hikes you’ll be doing accompanied by your booklet and maps. We’ll answer any questions that you may have so that you feel confident setting out on your self-guided hiking tour. 

  • Accommodation: Hotel in Chania

Day 2: From Chania to Agia Irini Gorge and Omalos Plateau

 

hiking trail in CreteToday you’ll head to the White Mountains and enter through the narrow gorge of Agia Irini. The combination of shade and humidity sustains a variety of plants. About halfway up you’ll find gigantic ancient plane trees. Your hike ends at the village of Agia Irini. From there you’ll be transferred to Omalos Plateau. At an altitude of more than 1000m, enjoy the evening breeze listening to the jingling of the occasional goat’s bell with a view of the Lefka Ori (White Mountains)

  • Accommodation: Hotel in Omalos
  • Hiking: 7km, duration: 3h 30min 
  • Transfers Included: Chania to the entrance of Agia Irini Gorge 70km (1:30 hr)  and at the end of your Agia Irini hike to Omalos 40km (1 hr)

Day 3: Hike to Mt. Gigilos Summit

Hike to Mont Gigilos self-guided hiking tour in CreteToday is your highest ascent as you hike up Mt. Gigolos, the legendary peak overlooking Samaria at 2080m. Its north face, a near-vertical slope of solid rock looks intimidating, but fortunately, you’ll take a path around the back to reach the summit with only a little scrambling. Along the way, your efforts will be rewarded with breathtaking views and from the summit, you can see both the Aegean and Libyan Seas, along with a stunning view of Samaria Gorge which you’ll hike tomorrow. Keep an eye out for Lammergeiers (bearded vultures), the biggest birds in Europe. They’re known to soar above the cliffs at midday as they look for their next meal. 

  • Accommodation: Hotel in Omalos 
  • Hiking: 9km / Duration: 6 Hours

Day 4: Samaria Gorge Hike

Samaria to Gorge self-guided hiking tour in Crete

Today you’ll hike through Samaria, the longest gorge in Europe (16km) and the most famous of Crete’s 50+ gorges. You’ll hike over tricking streams through aromatic pine forests and the “Iron Gates”, the narrowest point of Samaria Gorge with 600m high rock on both sides. After your hike, you’ll cool off at Agia Roumelia where the gorge meets the sea with a dip in the crystal clear turquoise waters. Then you’ll board a ferry to take you to the village of Loutro. 

  • Accommodation: Hotel in Loutro 
  • Hiking : 16km / Duration: 6h 30min

Day 5: Hike from Agia Roumeli to Marmara Beach and (optionally to Loutro)

Hike from Agia Roumeli to Marmara self-guided hiking tour in Crete“Kalimera!” (Good morning!) Today, a wonderful coastal walk awaits you. You’ll make an early start while it’s still cool walking on sand and shingles next to the sea as you make your way to the picturesque chapel of St. Pavlos (Paul), which is said to mark the place where Saint Paul landed on Crete. Next to the chapel is a freshwater spring coming out of the pebble beach where you can go for a swim.

Refreshed, you’ll hike again until you reach Marmara Beach you can sunbathe, go for a dip in the sea and enjoy lunch with a sea view on one of the tavernas.

When you’re done relaxing, you can return by water taxi back to Loutro or hike back along the same wonderful route. 

  • Accommodation: Hotel in Loutro 
  • Hiking:11 km /  Duration: 4.5hours. Add another 2.4 km (1:15 hrs) if you hike back to Loutro.  

Day 6: Free Day in Loutro or an optional hike to Marmara Beach & Aradena Gorge

Castle above Loutro self-guided hiking tour in CreteToday you have a free day to explore the tiny fishing village of Loutro which is only accessible from the sea or hiking trails or explore the ancient city of  Phoenix or the ancient coastal city of Tarra in what is today called Agia Roumeli.

Feel like hiking? Then do the gorgeous coastal hike via the Foinikas Settlement to Marmara Beach where you’ll find the entrance to Aradena Gorge. The hike, each way, is about 2 hours. You can hike there and either return the same you came or return to Loutro with a water taxi.

  • Accommodation: Hotel in Loutro
  • Hiking: 4.8 km / Duration: 2. 5 hrs hiking to Marmara Bach (optional).

Day 7: Loutro to Sfakia and return to Chania.

Coastal hiking path in Crete

This morning you’ll follow the coastal path to Chora Sfakion stopping for a swim at Freshwater Beach. This section has a fine path built on a steep rock face overlooking the gorgeous sea. deep. From Chora Sfakion you’ll take a transfer to Chania. 

  • Accommodation: Hotel in Chania 
  • Hiking distance: 6.6km / Duration: 3 Hours
  • Transfers Included: Chora Sfakion to Chania 70km (2 hrs)

 

Day 8: Departure from Chania

After breakfast, your hiking tour of Crete has come to an end. We hope you’ve had an incredible trip.  


GETTING TO CRETE

Chania is most easily reached from Athens. You can either fly (45 minutes) or take a ferry (9 to 12 hours).  You can also fly to Chania from Thessaloniki.

PRICING AND INCLUSIONS

Payment Information

€1149 for 7 nights in 3-star or equivalent accommodation

€1399 for 4 nights in 4-star or similar accommodation and 3 nights in 3-star or equivalent accommodation (upgraded accommodation isn’t available in all locations).

30% is due when you book. Your remaining balance is due 35 days in advance.

COVID POLICY
Our regular terms and conditions apply to this tour however we offer a flexible policy for COVID related concerns:

  • In case of governmental restrictions not allowing you to travel, we’ll issue you a credit voucher to use for this or the Cyclades Hiking tour – valid until Dec 31, 2022.
  • In case you contract COVID (and with proven verification) we’ll issue you a credit voucher to use for this or the Cyclades Hiking Tour – valid until Dec 31, 2022. 

You can see the full booking terms and conditions here.

WHAT’S INCLUDED

✔ 7-nights accommodation in either standard or upgraded (4 nights) and standard (3 nights)
✔ Breakfast every day except your arrival day
✔ All transportation during the trip (excluding arrival/departure from Chania port or airport) 
✔ Luggage transportation by car or ferry
✔ Welcome briefing by a local representative
✔ 24 hours telephone support throughout your trip
✔ GPX files, maps and booklets

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED

  • Travel insurance that covers you for this tour and includes pandemic, emergency evacuation and hospital care in the unlikely incident that you get injured. World Nomads insurance covers this which is why we recommend it
  • Domestic and/or international airfare
  • Entrance fees at the Gorges of Agia Irini (€2/pp) and Samaria (€5/pp)
  • Hotel tax (€1.5/room each day, must be paid in person, often in cash only)
  • Transfer to and from the airport/port 

BOOK YOUR SELF-GUIDED HIKING TOUR IN CRETE NOW

Thank you for your interest in booking this tour. You’ve made a good choice. Our Hiking the Crete Mountains Self-Guided Tour is absolutely stunning and you can reward yourselves after hiking with a dip in the sea and enjoy the pristine beaches.


+ YOU’LL GET THE FOLLOWING BONUSES WHEN YOU BOOK:

✔ BONUS 1:Trekking Tips Online Course (value $97)

so that you get the most from your amazing trek

✔ BONUS 2: Hiking & Trekking Gear Online Course (value $47)

so that you bring everything you need and nothing you don’t

✔ BONUS 3: Soft Copy of our Hiking Logbook (value $9)

so that you can remember your incredible hiking trip in Crete.

TOTAL VALUE: $153 FREE as a thank you for your booking and to have an incredible vacation.

PHOTOS OF HIKING THE CRETE MOUNTAINS