COASTAL WALKS IN CRETE
Hike along the Southwestern Coast of Crete with Family & Friends

Guided Hiking TRIP in Crete

From Heraklion to Chania – Knossos, Chania Venetian Harbour, and the pristine southwestern coast from Soughia to Sfakia.

Kalimera!

Crete, Greece’s southernmost and largest island is synonymous with turquoise waters, numerous beaches, and the amazing warmth and hospitality of its people not to mention 4000 years plus of continuous human habitation. Once covered in forests, the island was denuded of vegetation, the result of a great shipbuilding legacy starting with the Minoans and then the Venetians.

The ‘White Mountains’ of Crete are associated with hiking and skiing however, there is an extensive, multi-day hiking trail along the southwestern coast of Crete, the E4, which actually traverses the entire island. Our hiking itinerary picks the best days along this trail for our hike on Crete, from Heraklion-the modern capital-to Chania, then onwards to Soughia all the way to Sfakia, then looping back to Heraklion.
Our Coastal Walks of Crete trip offers  unrivalled access to secluded coves, delectable food, a trove of archeological sites and WWII history.
Our guided hiking trip focuses on the gentle trails that meander along the translucent waters of the Libyan Sea.

As they say on Crete, “Siga, Siga”—Slowly, Slowly, is our mantra. Days are spent savouring a slower pace, hiking when it is not too hot, swimming when it is, and relaxing every evening in seaside villages.

LOCATION
GREECE
LENGTH OF TRIP
4-14 DAYS
PRICE RANGE – This itinerary

USD $ 3,100
CAD $ 4,000
*Pricing based on three hikers

Day 1: ARRIVAL DAY
A short, 15-minute transfer from the International Airport of Heraklion to our boutique hotel overlooking the historic Venetian port. If all guests arrive early, we will arrange for a guided visit of Knossos and the National Museum of Archaeology, containing some of the best-preserved Minoan and Ancient Greek artifacts in Europe.

Hotel Lato in Heraklion
Dinner included

Day 2: CHANIA
A two-hour drive along the coastal road brings us to the former capital of the island, Chania. After getting settled in our hotel near the old Venetian centre, we will have time to expore the town on a guided visit with our local archeologist/tourist guide, taking in 4000 years of history from the Minoan period to World War II. This will help us better understand the strategic importance of the island, its varied architecture and mixture of Muslim and Christian influences.
Lunch will be taken in one of the many charming street-side restaurants, serving fresh seafood and local fare. Free time in the late afternoon to shop for locally made crafts.

Hotel  Halepa
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner included
Transfer from Heraklion to Chania by taxi, 2 hours

Day 3: SOUGHIA
Another taxi ride of 1.5 hours along a beautiful mountain road brings us from Chania to Soughia, a sleepy village on the Libyan Sea. Once a thriving city-state which minted its own coins, Soughia has become a tourist destination for those looking to set the clock back and enjoy what the island was like 50 years ago. After enjoying some free time, we follow the coast for an afternoon walk from Soughia to the Bay of Lissos, which was once a trading hub with Egypt, but today is an ideal destination for a swim and a nap. A taxi-boat will bring us back to Soughia for the evening.

Hotel  Irini
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner included
Luggage delivered
Distance: 5km (3m), 4 hours, up / down 300m (1000ft)

Day 4: SOUGHIA – DAY-HIKE TO AGIA TRIPITI
After a hearty breakfast, we head out to the white-washed chapel of Tripiti, perched high on a cliff above the sea. Depending on the weather and wind, we will either take a boat to Tripiti in the morning and walk back, or walk to Tripiti and take the boat back to Soughia in the afternoon. Built on an ancient pagan sun worshiping site, we make our way on this mini-pilgrimage to enjoy lunch under the shade of a timeworn Mediterranean pine. Part of the day will be spent at the beach at Tripiti.

Hotel  Irini
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner included
Distance: 12km (7.5m), 7 hours, up / down 400m (1300ft)
Taxi Boat to or back from Tripiti to Soughia, 30 min

Day 5: OMALOS
Our day begins with a short taxi transfer to the bottom of the Agia Irini gorge before making our way up to a small taverna for lunch. The gorge is one of the least visited of southern Crete and is lined with blooming oleander bushes, wild flowers and great spots for a rest under ancient plane trees.  Heading north, our trail takes us inland on an ancient, well-preserved Roman road leading to the interior of the island.  Several kilometres of the road are still in excellent condition, a testament to the engineering prowess of the Romans. Our destination is Omalos, a far cry from the beaches and sun shades of Sougia. Here is farm country and the bikinis are swapped for camouflage and shepherd’s boots. Omalos is considered the breadbasket of Crete where agriculture, not tourism is the main money-earner.

Hotel  Neos Omalos
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner included
Distance: 10.5km (6.5m), 6hours, up 700m (2100ft), down 300m (1000ft)
  Taxi from Soughia to the trail head at Agia Irini Gorge (15 min)

Day 6: SAMARIA GORGE
Europe’s longest gorge. Nearly 16 kilometres of walking is required in order to reach the Libyan Sea and our destination, Agi Roumeli. Ancient Mediterranean Pines stand sentinel above the gorge and our trail meanders 1230 metres down before reaching the Sea. Passing ancient Samaria, a haven from pirate attacks when villages were pillaged, we descend alongside the flowing waters of the gorge and finally the blue waters of the Mediterranean and the smiling faces of Andreas and Marie, our hosts for the evening.

Hotel  Calypso, Agia Roumeli
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner included
Distance: 16km (10m), 7 hours, down 1230m (4060ft)

Day 7: MARMARA– LOUTROS
Most of the day will be spent just a few metres above the water line, hiking across sand beaches and under the shade of Mediterranean pines. Lunch and swimming in Marmara, possibly the most charming cove on the south coast. The sheltered cove of Marmara is the perfect place to indulge in a massive Greek salad drenched in fresh olive oil before relaxing in the shade, sleeping off the afternoon heat. Our evening destination is Loutros, a splash of white and blue buildings set against a backdrop of red cliffs.

Hotel  Faros
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner included
Distance: 15km (9.4m), 6 hours, up / down 400m (1200ft)

Day 8: LOUTROS
Siga, Siga, so today, not much of anything unless you would like to hike the glorious Agia Aredhena Gorge up to the village of Anopolis, the epicentre of Cretan resistance throughout the ages. If you opt  to hike, today’s walk is incredibly diverse, with a steep walk up the gorge with some ladders and boulder hopping before reaching the village of Aredhena and a stop for refreshments. From there, our trail leads along the road for a short time before we make our way back on a well-marked trail to the village of Anopolis.  Lunch and a siesta before the steep descent back to Loutros and a well-deserved swim! Each option is equally pleasant!

Hotel  Faros
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner included
Distance: 10km (6.25m), 76hours, up / down 400m (1300ft)

Day 9: HERAKLION
Morning ferry to Sfakia, the scene of the Allied retreat after the Battle of Crete in 1941. A 3-hour bus journey over the White Mountains and back to Heraklion, to our favourite sea-side restaurant for our farewell dinner.

Hotel  Lato
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner included
  Ferry to Sfakia, then taxi to Heraklion, 3 hours

Day 10: DEPARTURE
Trip ends after breakfast

Breakfast included

 

ITINERARY – OPTIONS

Crete is a compact island with excellent infrastructure so modifying the itinerary is easy. Many of our guests have enjoyed what Chania has to offer, from its covered market, tiny streets, Venetian Harbour and amazing street food. Our hotel the Halepa is a perfect oasis after a busy day of exploring, situated far enough away from the city centre and close enough to access everything on foot. Marmara, on the south coast is also one of the favourite locations on the entire circuit, so maybe an extra day or two there would enhance the experience? Marmara is ideal for hiking, swimming and simply enjoying the simple things in life: a good book, a cafe frappé and a mid-afternoon siesta.

OPTIONAL HIGHLIGHTS

It is well worth visiting Knossos once in Heraklion. Knossos is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and has been called Europe’s oldest city. Reserve at least half a day for the site and the museum.
An excursion to the island of Santorini is also an option, the high speed ferry takes 2 hours from Heraklion.

ACCOMMODATION

The hotel in Heraklion we use is an upscale three-star hotel at the harbour, which is perfectly located for a stroll through the old city centre before or after dinner. All other hotels are basic, but clean, with private rooms and bathrooms, and most rooms come equipped with a little fridge.

WHAT IS ALWAYS INCLUDED

  • Hiking guide (we only hire certified International Mountain Leaders)
  • All accommodation
  • All breakfasts
  • Local transfers and lifts
  • Detailed information package including day-to-day itinerary with elevation gains/descents, and hiking map of Crete.
  • Some dinners and lunches.

OPTIONAL SERVICES

  • Lunches, some dinners
  • Luggage transfer where possible

This trip rating depends on the group, and can be anything between easy/moderate and more difficult.
Some sight-seeing in Heraklion and Chania is recommended. The days on the trails can be shortened with some taxi boat transfers.
The limestone trails can be steep at times, following the coast line. We recommend travelling in Spring or the Fall, when temperatures are slightly more moderate than in the middle of the summer.

HOW TO GET THERE:
The easiest is to book a flight to Athens and then onwards to Heraklion, in Crete, or to Chania, which is in the Western part.
If you would like to spend some time in Heraklion, we would recommend arriving and departing from the Cretan capital. If you’re trying to stay away from busy towns, flying to Chania would be the better option. Check our travel information page for more information.

The Greek island of Crete lends itself well to self-guided travel for numerous reasons. Primarily, Crete is a compact island with excellent public transportation allowing for easy travel from one area of the island to the other. Secondly, English is the lingua franca of tourism and most Greeks speak it well. Accommodation is plentiful and inexpensive, the weather almost always perfect and the cuisine remarkable. For the most part, the hiking is gentle, with ample opportunity for swims along the south coast and time to take in ruins from 4000 years of history which seem everywhere. We can also assist in organizing guided tours for towns such as Hania and Heraklion along with WWII battle sites and of course, the incredibly well restored Knossos Palace, home to the Minoan kings. We strongly recommend a side trip to the island of Santorini, a quick ferry ride from Heraklion, which is well worth the effort. Stunningly beautiful and the one of the most photographed of all Greek islands, Santorini is not to be missed.

We are here to make your dream holiday come true
About Alpine Interface
Alpine Interface is a small, family-run organization, specializing in guided hiking tours, in the Alps, Europe, and the Canadian Rockies.

The company is owned and operated by Karin Stubenvoll and Louis Marino.

Louis is the owner of the company and the lead guide. He is responsible for the smooth operation and high quality of all our guided hiking trips, new itineraries, and our special customer care, which is the main reason why we have so many returning clients. Karin is the Office Manager and does all the work!

In 2005, Karin and Louis moved from Chamonix in the French Alps to the Bow Valley in the Canadian Rockies in order to explore the wilderness of the Canadian west. It also provides better customer service, being in North America.

Imagine letting Alpine Interface tailor your private dream holidays for your family and friends. Celebrating our 20th anniversary in business this year has given us vast experience when it comes to the details of trip preparation. Let us take you to the majestic trails of the European Alps, to Provençal markets, the historic D-Day beaches of Normandy, and the jagged limestone spires of the Dolomites.

  • All guides are certified professionals with adequate work permits
  • Exceptional customer care and service
  • Fully customized itineraries catering to your group
  • Safe travelling with family & friends only

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