Day 2 - Meet in Chania Crete
After breakfast, half day sightseeing tour of Athens, the hostess of the next Olympic Games in 2004. Visit Acropolis, the Parthenon, the Archaeological Museum and Panathinaikon Stadium, the stadium where the first Olympic games were held in 1896. Lunch in a tavern. Early in the afternoon, transfer to the airport to catch the flight Athens-Chania. Arrival in Chania, and transfer to the hotel in the old part of Chania.
In the evening, we have dinner altogether at a tavern close to the old picturesque harbour, tasting for the first time the delicious regional Cretan cuisine.
Day 3 - Chania - Sougia (4-5 hours)
After breakfast, we leave by private bus (or taxi if the group size is up to 7 persons) to Agia Irini while our bags will continue to Sougia; we rejoin them in the evening. From village St. Irini we walk through the St. Irini gorge to Sougia (the gorge is 7 km long and 4 more km. on road to Sougia, approximately 4,5 hrs easy walk). This is a lesser-known gorge than Samaria, but rivals its neighbour for beauty and spectacle.
Day 4 – Around Sougia (3-4 hours)
For those who are interested in the Greek history, today’s walk will be a rewarding one with the visit of the ancient site of Lissos, a spa in Roman times with a mosaic floor as highlight. Picnic in the deserted Lissos bay where we also have the opportunity to swim in the crystal clear waters. Overnight in Sougia. (Easy walk)
Day 5 – Sougia – Omalos – Gingilos
By private bus we arrive after an hour’s drive to Xiloskala. This where our trekking starts, we follow the path to Gingilos. After an hour and a half moderate to strenuous walk, we make our first stop at Linoselli spring. Then we carry towards the top of the mountain. (4 hours moderate walk)
We spend the night back to Omalos (Omalos means smooth), where we can taste home made recipes and enjoy a quiet night.
Day 6 - Omalos - Samaria Gorge (5-6 hours)- Agia Roumeli.
An early local car brings us to the head of the Samaria gorge, Europe's longest and certainly one of its most spectacular. The descent begins on a good path in shady pine forest, dropping steeply and crossing the river before reaching the deserted village of Samaria. Soon the path is in the riverbed itself before we climb away again at the point where the (underground) river re-emerges. Now the path criss-crosses the river before bringing us out to the village of Agia (St.) Roumeli and the sea. After a swim and/or drinks, we settle into our rooms. (Moderate walk, 17 kilometres, between 5-6 hours.)
Day 7 - Agia Roumeli to Loutro (5 hours)
A coastal walk. We make an early start in the cool of the morning, walking on sand and shingle next to the sea to the picturesque chapel of St. Pavlos (Paul), 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. We make a short stop for swimming. After 5 hours moderate walk the silhouette of the blue and white washed houses of Loutro village appears. Overnight in a beach hotel on the Libyan Sea.
Day 8 - Loutro
Today we walk to Anopolis village, where we see the most “authentic” of the village communities in full swing - men in headdress and local costume, will visit St. Catherine’s chapel (enjoy the beautiful view of Loutro area and the blue sea of Liviko Pelagos) and descent from the same path to Loutro. (5 hours).
Day 9 - Loutro to Chora Sfakion (2 hours) and return to Chania.
We follow the coastal path to Chora Sfakion this morning, stopping for a swim at Freshwater Beach. This 2-hour stretch has some fine path building on a steep rock face overlooking the deep blue sea. From Chora Sfakion our private A/C bus brings us to Chania.
Or we may follow an alternative route, take the boat from Loutro to Sfakia (15-20 minutes ride) and then from Sfakia take the bus and go to Chania airport to catch the flight back to Athens. End of services.
Leadership and group size
Your tour leader will be with you throughout the week to guide you along the route, help organise and interpret in the villages and assist the group in any other way possible. Our leaders are fluent in English and Greek as well as often-another language, and have walked and often lived in the area before. They will try and give you a real insight into the local way of life. We expect to run this trip with a group of 4-16 participants.