Hiking in the white mountains of Crete is one of the most popular hikes in Greece.
Birthplace of Zeus and the cradle of Europe’s oldest civilization, Crete is justifiably known as the “Great Island”. Few places in the world boast such imposing high mountains in such proximity to the sea, combined with the marvelous Cretan climate.
Fabulous beaches and crystal clear seas welcome you in this great island. The majestic White Mountains, which dominate the view as you approach, boast dozens of peaks over 2000 meters and create a stunning scenic backdrop on the western side of Crete.
Our hiking in the white mountains of Crete trip starts in Chania, probably the most charming Cretan city. From there we will head towards White Mountains (Lefka Ori). They take their name after the shining bleached limestone cliffs and the rich snow cover during the winter. For a whole week we will hike on a network of ancient paths and shepherd trails. We will follow the stunning southern coastline. Climb to imposing summits. Enter into the depths of some of the most beautiful gorges of the island, including the most famous of all. The legendary Gorge of Samaria. On a hot summer day, heading downhill towards the entrance of a Cretan gorge is an ideal hike. We will hike under shade, protected from the summer sun, looking forward to a refreshing swim at the end as a reward.
Period of operation: May to October
Duration: 8 days/7 nights
- 6-8 Participants: 1,000€ / person
- 4-5 Participants: 1,200€ / person
- 3 Participants: 1,390 € / person
- 2 Participants: 1,730 € / person
This trip level is moderate to strenuous.
- All accommodations as listed (or similar) based on double occupancy
- All transportation during the trip
- Entrance fees at the Gorges of Agia Irini and Samaria
- Services of leader/guide throughout the tour
- A bottle of water per day
- Hotel taxes and service charges
- Transport and handling of one reasonably sized suitcase and one carry-on per person
- Included meals: Day 1: Dinner / Day 2-7: Breakfast /Lunch / Dinner / Day 8: Breakfast
- Domestic and/or international air fare
- Medical expenses, travel or emergency evacuation insurance
- Gratuities for leader/guide or driver
- Alcoholic beverages and meals other than outlined in itinerary
- Transfer to and from the airport/port
- Other items of a personal nature.
We love Chania and we believe you will too. A beautiful location with the White Mountains as a background, a lively harbor, graced with great historical remains, a busy market, and mesmerizing nearby beaches make it the ideal spot to start a magnificent journey.
We will meet up in the afternoon at your hotel for a briefing and our first dinner together in a traditional restaurant. We will have the chance to try some of the delicacies offered by the traditional Cretan cuisine, which is famous not only thanks to its excellent flavors and homegrown ingredients, but also because it considered the base of the healthy “Mediterranean diet”. Overnight in Chania.
Get ready to enter the White Mountains through the narrow Gorge of Agia Irini.
We will hike in an area that remains fresh thanks to its lush and diverse vegetation, while gigantic ancient plane trees grace a large clearing halfway up. Our hike will lead us to the village of Agia Irini. From there we will transfer to the plateau of Omalos. In the heart of Omalos, at an altitude of more than 1000 meters, we will enjoy the evening breeze listening to the jingling of the occasional goat’s bells. Overnight in Omalos.
Hiking distance: 7klm / Hiking Duration: 3h 30min
Driving from: Chania to Entrance of the gorge 70km, 1h 30min
Take a deep breath in the fresh mountain air and gear up for today’s high ascent.
We will climb Mt. Gingilos, reaching the legendary 2.080 meter peak overlooking Samaria .
Its north face, a near vertical slope of solid rock may look scary, but we will follow the path round the back in order to reach the summit with only a little scrambling. Bearded vultures, the biggest birds in Europe, glide past this cliff top so often at midday on their foraging trips, it is well worth keeping an eye out for them. Overnight in Omalos
Hiking distance: 9klm / Hiking Duration: 6 Hours
“Kalimera!” How about a dip in the clear turquoise waters of the South coast?
But first we have to hike through the infamous Samaria Gorge, Europe’s longest gorge! We will hike over trickling streams, through forests of scented pines and pass through the “Iron Gates”, the narrowest point, where the rocks on each side reach an altitude of 600 m.
After a 16klm descent we’ll reach the welcoming resort of Agia Roumeli, with its much appreciated fine pebble beach and sparkling sea. Here we will we stay for the next two days. Overnight in Agia Roumeli.
Hiking distance: 16klm / Hiking Duration: 6h 30min
A wonderful coastal walk awaits us. After an early rise, we will set off in the cool morning breeze, walking on sand and shingle next to the sea up 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. Here we will stop for a refreshing swim. Our next stop is Marmara beach where we will take another dip in the sea before enjoying a superb lunch in a local taverna overlooking the azure sea. From here a water taxi will transfer us to the Loutro settlement. O/N in Loutro.
Hiking distance:11 klm / Hiking Duration: 4,5 hours
We will spend this day in the tiny fishing village of Loutro, which is only accessible from the sea or hiking trails. You can either spend a relaxing day on the beach or hike up to the beach Marmara via Foinikas, where the Aradena Gorge is located. The hike each way is about 2 hours so you can either go and return on foot or arrange for water taxi to bring you back to Loutro. O/N in Loutro.
Hiking distance: 4,8 km / Hiking Duration: 2,5 hours
Today we will follow the coastal path to Chora Sfakion, stopping for a swim at Freshwater Beach. This 3-hour stretch has some fine cobbled stone trails on a steep rock face overlooking the deep blue sea. From Chora Sfakion we will drive to the city of Chania. In the evening we are going to enjoy a farewell dinner. Overnight in Chania.
Hiking distance: 6.6 klm / Hiking Duration: 3 Hours
Driving distance Chora Sfakion to Chania: 70km, 2 Hours
After a mighty Mediterranean breakfast, and a “Greek” coffee, it’s time to say “goodbye”!
Please consider taking along the following items on your trip. This is not a fixed list, but more of a guideline, so feel free to add and remove items as you see fit.
Greece has a temperate climate. Base your clothing on the “layering system”, if it is hot you can “peel off” layers quickly, if it is cooler and windy you can quickly “dress up”.
- Duffel bag or rolling luggage
- Day pack to carry camera, water bottle and snacks etc.
- Luggage locks and tags
- Mid-weight polar fleece sweater
- Rain jacket and rain pants, or poncho
- Hiking shorts
- Casual clothing made of light-weight fabrics
- Long-sleeve shirt
- Hiking pants, loose and easy to move in
- Sun hat or baseball cap
- Lightweight and supportive hiking boots, broken-in with good ankle support
- Beach sandals
- Casual, comfortable shoes for evening
- Sunscreen and lip protection
- Sunglasses and retainer strap
- Beach towel
- Security pouch or money belt
- Trekking poles or walking staff
- Camera, memory and batteries
- Reading and writing materials
- Watch with alarm or travel alarm
- Travel pillow
- Motion sickness remedies
- Personal first-aid kit
- Insect repellent (lowrisk)
- Electrical adapter plug/converter
The lighter you travel, the easier you travel. Use your best judgment and pack as lightly as possible. You will appreciate light luggage towards the end of your trip.
From May to October with the exception of August