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Self-Guided Walking in South-West Crete
Greece - Trip code WSCR Walking and Trekking
Days 8
Deposit From £50
Was From £669
Now from £499
Flights not included
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Why book this trip?

Explore south-west Crete on this self-guided walking holiday that takes in an impressive coastline, the beautiful White Mountains and the famous Samaria Gorge. Hike at your own pace and enjoy the changing scenery of natural beaches, fir forests, mountains and gorges. En route walk into the quiet car-free village of Loutro and enjoy meals at seaside and hillside tavernas as you hike down time-worn trails.

    • Included meals

      Breakfast: 7

    • Trip staff

      None

    • Transport

      Taxi

    • i

      Accommodation

      1 nights simple guesthouse

      5 nights standard hotel

      1 nights simple hotel

    • i

      Walking grade:

      Moderate

    Itinerary

    Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.

    Day 1 - Arrive to Paleochora

    Accessible from both of Crete's airports by public transport or taxi, your first two nights' accommodation is in the small seaside town of Paleochora, on Crete's south-west coast. After checking in to your friendly hotel you may have time to take a stroll around this pleasant town, exploring its Venetian fortress and beaches.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: None

    Day 2 - Walk through the Anidri Gorge, or if travelling June to September walk along the coast from Elafonissos to Paleochora

    In the morning you will be taken by taxi to the village Azogires where your walk starts along the 'Monastery of the 99 Monks'-trail. You will encounter a variety of scenery today including olive groves, the quiet hill top village of Anidri with a Byzantine church and the popular school house tavern, the small gorge of Anidri, the tranquil beach of Gialiskari and a coastal stretch back into Paleochora. You may swim before going back to your hotel.

    From June to September you may opt for the alternative program for today, including a relaxing ferry journey from Paleochora to the enchanting Elafonissi Lagoon, from where you walk back towards Paleochora along the coast. The ferry runs daily except Sundays from June to September. En route, you will pass beautiful, remote sandy beaches - ideal spots from which to enjoy a refreshing dip. The walk ends at Kryos Beach, where a taxi will pick you up for the transfer back to your hotel.

    If the ferry is not running, a taxi will take you to Azogires from where you will walk down to Paleochora.

    You can expect both of today's 10 kilometre walks to take approximately three to four hours.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Day 3 - Walk to Sougia via the ancient port of Lissos

    Today's walk starts from your hotel, following a dirt track into an undisturbed natural wilderness, before continuing along a stunning coastal path overlooking the sea. You will pass ancient Lissos - an important harbour for the Dorian city of Elyros, which boasted a population of 30,000 at it's peak. In ancient times, people came to Lissos to be cured by the local waters. You can enjoy a picnic lunch on this historic spot and swim in the curative waters before continuing your journey east. The final part of the trek takes you along a spectacular and narrow gorge to the small and laidback seaside resort of Sougia. Here, your night's accommodation is positioned just 200 metres from the beach.

    You can expect today's 15 kilometre walk to take approximately five hours.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Simple Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Day 4 - Trek through spectacular gorges to the Omalos Plateau

    Today, you traverse two impressive gorges, from sea level up to 1000 metres. The first part of your walk takes you through the impressive Irini Gorge along a well-made path. The ascent is demanding but not too steep. You then head into the steeper Figou Gorge, from which stunning views can be enjoyed in the higher sections. The walk ends at a chapel, 'Agios Theodoros', where the hotel minibus will pick you up. Tonight's accommodation is on the Omalos Plateau, surrounded by the spectacular summits of the White Mountains.

    Depending on the route you take today's walk will be between 12 and 21 kilometres, and take approximately six to eight hours.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Day 5 - Trek through the famous Samaria Gorge

    Today's walk takes you through Europe's longest and most famous gorge - the Samaria Gorge. You can either start very early or later in the day, avoiding the crowds of people who walk the gorge as a day trip. During quieter hours, you'll enjoy the true beauty of this spectacular gorge all the more. You will be transfered to Xyloskala, the entrance of the gorge, and the start of your walk. Please note that the Samaria Gorge is usually closed until the end of April - Opening depends on the amount of rain the area is receiving. At any time of year if there is heavy rain the Gorge can also be closed. In this event arrangements will be made for you to travel to Sougia and take the ferry from Sougia to Agia Roumeli. From there, there is a optional walk to the 'Kastro' (approximately 10km).

    Tonight's accommodation in the seaside village of Agia Roumeli is positioned at the very end of the gorge, which leaves you as much time as you need for the walk. No organised trips to the gorge include an overnight stay here, so it remains peaceful in the evenings. Your modern style accommodation is just 200 metres from the beach. Upon arrival, you may choose to have a relaxing swim in the crystal-clear Libyan Sea, before enjoying dinner at one of the local taverns.

    You can expect today's 16 kilometre walk to take approximately five to six hours.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Simple Guesthouse

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Day 6 - Walk to beautiful, car-free Loutro via Marmara

    Today's splendid coastal walk offers lots of variety. After walking along the beach to the Byzantine church of Agios Pavlos, you then take a higher elevation through fir forest, before continuing on to the beach at Marmara. You may choose to relax at the tavern here, enjoying the views of the mountains and the sea, before your final hour's walk along the coast to the car-free village of Loutro. Widely regarded as one of the most romantic villages on Crete, it is only accessible by boat and on foot and will be your base for the last two nights of your holiday. Your pension accommodation here overlooks the surrounding white-washed houses, mountains and sea.

    You can expect today's 15 kilometre walk to take approximately five to six hours.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Day 7 - Enjoy a circular trek through the Aradhena Gorge

    Today's circular route starts with a steep zig-zag path up to the village of Anopolis. From here, you walk further on to ancient Aradhena, situated at the edge of the impressive Aradhena Gorge. You then follow a spectacular path down into the Aradhena Gorge and all the way to the coast. The last leg of your walk takes you along the coast back to Loutro.

    As an alternative, it is possible to do a shorter version of this walk, via the tiny village of Livaniana, before descending into the Aradhena Gorge.

    If you are leaving Crete tomorrow depending on your flight departure time, you may need to travel back to Chora Sfakion by ferry today, for your return to Chania or Heraklion Airport.

    You can expect today's 16 or 9 kilometre walk to take approximately seven or four hours, respectively.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Day 8 - Trip ends in Loutro

    After breakfast, the organised part of your holiday comes to an end.

    After returning to Chora Sfakion by ferry, you have the choice between returning to Chania or Heraklion Airport by pre-booked transfer or public transport.

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Trip information

    Country information

    Greece

    Climate

    Greece has predominantly hot, dry summers, May - October with tempertaures reaching into the mid thirties in July and August. May and October themselves can be less predictable and may have some rain and cooler evenings. Wild flowers bloom in April and May adding much colour to the trails. At the beginning and end of the season the villages tend to be very quiet. Seasonal weather patterns can be unpredictable. Up to date information on the weather worldwide can be found by following the BBC weather link on this page.

    Time difference to GMT

    +2

    Plugs

    2 Pin Round

    Religion

    Orthodox

    Language

    Greek

    Budgeting and packing

    Clothing

    Light clothes suitable for walking in warm weather are recommended. However early and late in the season (May/Juneeptember/ October) also bring warm clothing in case of drops in temperature or the odd shower. In high places like Omalos nights can be cold, so a fleece jacket is a good thing to have at any time of year.

    Footwear

    Well worn, sturdy walking boots with good ankle support are essential for the walks. Sandals and trainers are recommended for relaxing in the evenings.

    Luggage: On tour

    Bring one main piece of baggage as per your airline luggage allowance, maximum 20 kg per person. Remember you are expected to carry your own luggage during transfers by public transport so don't overload yourself. Luggage transfers between hotels are normally arranged by the hoteliers. Mark your bags clearly and leave them at the place and time arranged with them. Luggage transfers may be done using ferries rather than vehicles, but again the hoteliers will manage this. (If the ferry between Sougia and Agia Roumeli is not running but the Samaria Gorge is open then it may be necessary to carry one nights essentials with you). When travelling on public transport or on a ferry you should always take your luggage with you.

    Luggage transfer

    Included between hotels.

    Equipment

    Bring a personal water bottle (at least 2l capacity) and sun protection for use during the walks. You may find a trekking pole useful over the downhill sections. You may also wish to take a swimming costume and towel.

    Please note: 2 x 1:25,000 maps are provided on arrival in your welcome pack. These cover Samaria-Sougia-Paleochora and Lefka Ori-Sfakia / Pachnes.

    Tipping

    Local fees
    Entrance fee for the Samaria Gorge 5€.
    Entrance fee for Irini Gorge 2€.
    The ferry from Loutro to Chora Skafion at the end of your trip is not included. This takes 20 minutes and is currently 5€. For further information please see www.anendyk.gr. Private taxi boats may also be available.

    Greece

    Food and drink

    The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


    Dinner price
    £12.00 - 16.00
    Beer price
    £3.5
    Water price
    £0.9
    Foreign Exchange
    Local currency
    Euro
    Recommended Currency For Exchange
    GBP Sterling or US Dollars, cash.
    Where To Exchange
    We recommend that you change any currency into Euros prior to arrival. Bureau de Change are generally only found in major cities and large airports
    ATM Availability
    Cash can be drawn from ATMs from all types of cards in most areas in Greece, including the islands.
    Credit Card Acceptance
    In major restaurants.
    Travellers Cheques
    Banking hours may make exchanging Travellers Cheques more difficult.
    Transport, Accommodation & Meals

    Transport Information

    Taxi

    Recommended airport

    Chania or Heraklion

    Flying to your destination

    We'd recomend flying into and out of Chania which is served by budget (including Easyjet and Ryanair), charter (including Thomson Airlines) and scheduled airlines (including Aegean no-direct via Athens) from several UK airports. It is also possible to fly into Heraklion with similar airlines, although the journey to Paleochora at the beginning of your holiday is longer.

    Arrival and departure information

    At the start of your trip you can fly into Chania or Heraklion airport. It is also possible to take a night ferry from Piraeus and arrive to Chania at approximately 6.00.

    By public transport from Chania:
    There are public buses from Chania airport to Vamos Paleochora via Chania bus station. The last bus from Chania bus station is currently at 16.00. Duration from Chania to Vamos Paleochora is 1.5hrs

    By public transport from Heraklion:
    There are public buses from Heraklion airport to Vamos Paleochora via Heraklion and Chania bus stations. Total duration appoximately 4.5 hrs. If you arrive after midday an extra night in Chania or Heraklion will be necessary.

    On departure take a ferry from Loutro to Chora Sfakion (20 minutes). From here there are public buses to Chania and Heraklion. It is also possible to book a private taxi to the airports from Chora Sfakion. If you have an early flight an extra night in Chania or Heraklion will be necessary. Alternatively it is possible to return to Piraeus by ferry from Chania.

    Essential Information

    FCO Advice

    We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice click here.

    For more information from Explore about travel advice, click here
     

    Under 18 immigration guidance

    Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

    Price Guarantee

    Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

    Visa and Passport Information

    Greece: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.

    All visa information is subject to change. You should confirm all visa related questions with the relevant Embassy prior to departure.


    If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may consider applying through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

    It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
     

    Booking conditions

    Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.

    Transfers

    Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

    Booking a land only package with Explore

    Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

    You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.


    Joining Tour Abroad

    Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will now receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The transfers will be from the Explore designated airport or train station to the joining point of your tour, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

    Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Polar, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

    If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  


    For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here

    Insurance

    It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
    Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

    Flight information

    Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.


    Flight Information

    You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.

      

    Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

    We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

    On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.

    Maximum altitude (m)

    1222

    Greece

    Vaccinations

    Nothing compulsory but we recommend protection against tetanus and polio. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.

    Walking and Trekking information
    Walking grade
    Moderate
    Trek details
    On this journey you walk for 5 to 7 hours on 6 days, mainly on unsurfaced tracks, footpaths and mountain trails. The distance covered is a minimum of 92 kms (an average of 15 km per day).
    Max walking altitude (m)
    1222
    Additional Information

    Dates, prices and booking

    All holidays are subject to availability and prices are subject to change
    Mon 1 Apr 2019 - Mon 29 Apr 2019 Your trip can depart anytime between the above dates. Contact us for triple room requests and solo traveller prices.
    WSCR_2019
    Price from £499
    Save was
    Single room option +£170
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Paleochora
    Time and place
    00:00 at Hotel reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Loutro
    Time
    23:59
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Tue 30 Apr 2019 - Wed 29 May 2019 Your trip can depart anytime between the above dates. Contact us for triple room requests and solo traveller prices.
    WSCR_2019
    Price from £499
    Save was
    Single room option +£170
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Paleochora
    Time and place
    00:00 at Hotel reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Loutro
    Time
    23:59
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Thu 30 May 2019 - Sun 30 Jun 2019 Your trip can depart anytime between the above dates. Contact us for triple room requests and solo traveller prices.
    WSCR_2019
    Price from £545
    Save was
    Single room option +£175
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Paleochora
    Time and place
    00:00 at Hotel reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Loutro
    Time
    23:59
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Mon 1 Jul 2019 - Mon 30 Sep 2019 Your trip can depart anytime between the above dates. Contact us for triple room requests and solo traveller prices.
    WSCR_2019
    Price from £560
    Save was
    Single room option +£175
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Paleochora
    Time and place
    00:00 at Hotel reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Loutro
    Time
    23:59
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Tue 1 Oct 2019 - Sat 12 Oct 2019 Your trip can depart anytime between the above dates. Contact us for triple room requests and solo traveller prices.
    WSCR_2019
    Price from £499
    Save was
    Single room option +£170
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Paleochora
    Time and place
    00:00 at Hotel reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Loutro
    Time
    23:59
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Sun 13 Oct 2019 - Fri 25 Oct 2019 Your trip can depart anytime between the above dates. Contact us for triple room requests and solo traveller prices.
    WSCR_2019
    Price from £499
    Save was
    Single room option +£170
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Paleochora
    Time and place
    00:00 at Hotel reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Loutro
    Time
    23:59
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
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    Airport Transfers
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