AORI - Original Walks, Hikes and Treks in Crete ORIGINAL WALKS, HIKES & TREKS IN CRETE

Crete walks: Boat on Lybian sea Crete walks: View on Souia beach Crete walks: Sunset over the sea Crete walks: Omalos plateau Crete walks: Moasic in Lissos Crete walks: View from Ginglios to Samaria gorge Crete walks: Stone engraving in Lissos Crete walks: Agios Pavlos beach Crete walks: Aradena and Samaria gorge

Walking from the wild summits to the sparkling sea

Two weeks walking (and sailing) from Gavdos to Pachnes: An exciting trek through the incredible variety of landscapes and atmospheres that only Crete can offer… From the most southern border of Europe, where the islet of Gavdos lies to the highest summit of the Lefka Ori (White Mountains): Pachnes. Over a relative small distance, the contrast is absolute …

Day 1: Arrival in Chania
Second most important city of Crete, ancient metropolis of Kydonia, Chania has mainly retained from history its Venitian and Turkish episodes. Night in a pension.

Day 2: Elafonissi - Paleohora (4h)
Transfer by minibus to Elafonissi, the famous beach with pink sand on the south west coast … A short walk takes us away from the touristic, crowded area to another idyllic but more isolated beach with old cedar trees and turquoise water…. Later in the afternoon, a coastal path leads us to Paleohora. Night in a pension.

Day 3: Boat to Gavdos – Walk to Vatsiana (2h)
Most southern border of Greece and Europe, 24 nautical miles away from Crete, Gavdos is also known as the legendary Ogygia where the nymph Calypso used to live… The boat journey takes about two hours spent sunbathing and dolphin spotting … The island has about 40 all year round inhabitants living in three villages. Modern comforts like electricity and telephone where brought to the island not so long ago and only the last couple of years have witnessed an increase in the number of visitors, most of them beeing Greeks from Crete and the mainland, but still very few foreign tourists. Crete can still be seen from Gavdos, but we feel far, far away… Almost in Africa… Small walk in the afternoon to visit the village of Vatsiana and learn a bit of the fascinating history of the island… Night in a pension on Korfos beach.

Day 4: Tripiti - Most southern Beach of Europe (6h)
A round walk showing us most of the island. Wild isolated beaches, pirates coves, Byzantine chapels built on incredible spots in the middle of nowhere. We discover a fossil’s field and almost untouched archaeological sites in a landscape of dunes and deep gullies. The vegetation of pine, cedar and juniper trees is surprisingly dense. Night in Korfos beach.

Day 5: Boat to Sougia - Walk to Lissos (3h)
Morning boat to Sougia, a little village east of Paleohora. In the afternoon, walk to the archaeological site of Lissos (3h). A temple for Asclipios, god of medicine, and Ygeia, goddess of health, has been built by the Dorians 2500 years ago in this idyllic and secluded little valley by the sea… Night in a pension in Sougia.

Day 6: Sougia - Koustogerako - Omalos (6h )
Discovery of an entirely different world, remote from the shores of the Lybian Sea… The walk starts on a coastal path that we leave behind at some point to go up to the small village of Koustogerako. During the steep climb up, we take some time to enjoy the welcoming shade of the hidden Cyclop’s Cave where the inhabitants of the village took shelter during the war Lunch at the village’s only “Kafeneion”. In the afternoon, we continue the ascent towards the Omalos plateau on an old shepherd’s trail going through a cypress forest… Night in a pension on the Omalos plateau.

Day 7: Ascent of Ginglios (2000m) (5h)
Alpine landscape and fabulous views over the Samaria Gorge… We try to spot the Agrimi (wild goat of Crete) on the awesome cliffs of the mountain, favourite habitat of the legendary creature, symbol of Crete´ s pride and independence. Visit of a traditional cheese factory in the evening. Night in Omalos.

Day 8: Samaria Gorge (5h)
Classic hike through the most famous gorge of Crete. Despite the fact that it is visited by many tourists, it is simply very beautiful and a tour in Crete wouldn´t be complete without a walk through Samaria! Night in a pension in the coastal village of Agia Roumeli.

Day 9: Domata Beach (5h)
A bit of a strenuous hike on a steep coastal trail, but the panoramic views take our breath away at every turn, and the beach, where the water always has a striking turquoise color, is awesome!!! This is one of those rare still totally unspoiled spots, at the exit of the Domata Gorge, another big canyon running parallel to Samaria . The whole area is very isolated with no road access and we feel like ” Robinson Crusoes”… until a fisherman’s boat comes to take us back to Agia Roumeli where we spend a second night.

Day 10: Agios Pavlos - Selouda - Agios Ioannis (4h)
After an hour’s walk along the shore, we reach another “dream beach”: Agios Pavlos, named after St. Paul who baptized some people there in a spring flowing straight from the heart of the mountains into the sea… A chapel built in the 12th century commemorates the event. In the afternoon, walk up on a spectacular ancient mule track to Agios Ioannis, an isolated village located at 800 m, on a small plateau between the feet of the Lefka Ori and steep cliffs plunging directly towards the Lybian sea. Night in a village house.

Day 11: Zaranokefala - Pachnes (8h)
From Agios Ioannis we follow an old trail used for centuries by the shepherds to move their flocks to the heart of the Lefka Ori. It goes along the edge of the awesome Elias gorge before entering a lunar-like landscape – also known as “high desert”- above which towers the highest summit of the range: Pachnes (2454 m). On a clear day, we can see a lot of Crete, as well as Gavdos, from the top. We go down the other side of the mountain to join a dirt track used by the shepherds from where we are picked up by a 4x4 vehicle taking us back to Agios Ioannis.

Day 12: Aradena Gorge (4h)
From the abandoned hamlet of Aradena this wild and narrow gorge takes us through an oleander’s jungle to Dialeskari, also known as ”Marble Beach” … Night in small houses on the beach.

Day 13: Dialeskari - Loutro - Anopoli (4h)
We follow the coast to Loutro, a tourist resort with blue and white hotels built in a picturesque little bay that used to be the harbour for Anopoli, located 600m right above it. An ancient roman way winding up the hill joins the two villages. Night in a pension in Anopoli.

Day 14: Anopoli - Askifou (5h) - Chania
A pastoral route takes us first to the abandoned village of Kali Laki through green pastures. We then join the Askyfou plateau from where we get picked up by a minibus taking us back to Chania. Night in a pension in Chania

Day 15: Departure


© 2011 Anne Deckel