Two weeks combining the Cretan Trails & Tavernas & Wild Crete holidays.
29th Sep 2020 – 13th Oct 2020
- See website for other dates
Tour code: 15160
Last Modified: 2nd June 2020
See what's planned
Crete’s White Mountains beckon you into the island’s wild interior. The distant peaks are often covered in snow well into late spring, and the summer sun reflects on the limestone summits making them appear white. Discover mountains cut by over 50 gorges, with the Samaria Gorge the most famous and well traversed, with Ramblers Walking Holidays.
Crete, especially the western part of the island, is a walkers' paradise. It has the unique combination of beautiful seas and high mountains and many trails criss-crossing the region. The island’s geographical diversity and wild beauty can be seen in the endemic flora and fauna, spectacular vistas and idyllic picnic spots, which add to the dramatic walking on offer. Mule tracks lead you to breathtaking cols, past remote villages and weathered archaeological remains. Coastal tracks follow rugged cliffs, around small bays. A quiet taverna offers a welcome rest from the afternoon sun and sandy beaches are perfect for a late day swim. Combine this with the local cuisine, wines and the Greek hospitality and you have the perfect mix for a memorable holiday.
From the charming Venetian harbour town of Chania, enjoy a week walking in Crete’s western corner. The town’s narrow streets and quiet squares, colourful buildings adorned with bougainvillea and bustling cafes along the waterfront, add to its lively character. It is a lovely place to while away a warm Mediterranean evening and enjoy some ‘taverna life’. There are many interesting shops, markets and also many intriguing museums dotted around town. The old sea fortress of Frikas now houses the Naval Museum and the old Venetian lighthouse dominates the port.
Time and the elements have left their mark on the island of Crete with a spectacularly rugged landscape of mountains leading to lush, green valleys and dramatic gorges as well as a rocky coastline with steep-sided coves and bays. Discover the wilder higher ranges that dominate the spine of Crete and its canyons and idyllic coastal routes between villages, some accessible only on foot or by sea. Wild Crete offers sometimes strenuous, but rewarding walking, exploring deep gorges and imposing summits, and follows much of the E4 path.
Paleohóra, a small tranquil town on the south west coast, was built on a once fortified peninsula jutting into the Libyan Sea. From here, we take the coastal route to Sougia, and walk on the imposing Gingelos (2080m) en route to Omalos, a village situated inland on the mountain plain.
From Omalos, we’ll head into the Samaria Gorge National Park for the 11 mile, 1300m descent through the diverse and spectacular scenery of the gorge. We recover at the village of Agia Roumeli at the end of the gorge on the coast, before moving on, via a coastal route, to the tranquil fishing village of Loutro. From Loutro, we walk through the Aradhena Gorge with the opportunity for a rewarding swim to end the day. We continue along the coast to Hora Sfakion before travelling to the north of the island to Chania where we spend our final night.
What's not included?
This is a holiday that combines Cretan Trails and Tavernas, at Grade 4 for the first week and Wild Crete, which is Grade 6, for the second week.
Our bottom line is happy travellers, and to that end we trust our tour leaders to use the itinerary below as a basis for providing you with a great holiday. We expect our leaders to make adjustments to the itinerary if the weather, group ability or other local conditions make that necessary. There are normally more options available to our leaders than those listed below and one or more of these options may well be chosen. All distances, heights & timings are approximate.
On arrival into Chania's airport, we transfer by road (approx. 40 minutes) to our hotel for 7 nights’ accommodation. The Hotel Kriti is located just outside the old city walls and is a perfect location for exploring the museums and shops or enjoying a night cap after dinner. The bustling Venetian harbour is a wonderful place to while a way a free afternoon or take a late evening stroll.
Transfer Time = 30m
Day 2 to 7
Day 2 to 7
Breakfast & Dinner
During our time in Chania our walks will take us along coastal paths, inland trails with spectacular views of the White Mountains and into rugged gorges, and with stops at tavernas for lunch or afternoon refreshment. Our walks are flexible to allow for group ability and weather conditions, and may include one of more of the following walks:
Therisso to Zourva and Meskla. A pleasant walk with fine mountain views following two old paths to the village of Zourva. After a lunch stop at the panoramic taverna in Zourva, the walk descends first on dirt tracks then through a wooded path to a small gorge before finishing in Meskla. Ascent 300m / descent 650m 8.5 miles; 5-6 hours including lunch stop. Note: This walk is not suitable for vertigo sufferers
Akrotiri Peninsula – Gouverneto to Stavros. A wild and remote, top of the grade, walk in dramatic hills and gorges near the north-west coast of the peninsula. Visiting the old abandoned Katholiko monastery, walking up a little-known gorge then through uninhabited countryside before ending at a delightful sandy bay, where Anthony Quinn danced in the iconic Zorba movie. Ascent 250m descent 470mm; 5 hours; 6.5 miles.
Laki, Karanos & Askordolos to Fournes. From Laki, in the foothills of the White Mountains, enjoy a varied downhill walk with magnificent views of the north coast. We visit the local church in Karanos with its beautiful ceiling paintings, before taking a light meze lunch in the village cafe. We descend in the afternoon through small hamlets, finishing at a taverna for drinks near a dry river bed. Ascent 300m / descent 600m; 9 miles; 5-6 hours including lunch stop.
Kalyves- Gavolohori- Almyrida. An easy walk on tracks and paths with good views of the White Mountains and coast. Starting outside Kalyves we pass through the villages of Tsivaras, Douliana and have a lunch stop in Gavolohori. There are visits to a cave church, a disused Olive Oil press and some Venetian Wells. Continue through the small village of Aspro, before finishing on the coast at Almyrida. Ascent 350m / descent 360m 8 miles; 5-6 hours including lunch stop
Ravdouha. One of the most beautiful walks. Starts with a climb above and down to Ravdouha on good dirt tracks with extensive coastal views. There we stop for a light snack of traditional Kalitsounia. The return is on a narrow scenic coastal path to Npogia where there is a welcoming taverna for a well-deserved drink. Ascent 300m descent 500m; 5 hours; 7.5 miles. Note: Not for vertigo sufferers
There will be a free day during the week where you may want to walk the Samaria Gorge (at an additional cost) or wander the cobbled streets of Chania or perhaps visit Knossos.
Breakfast & Dinner
Hotel Pal Beach
A more relaxing day today as we have a leisurely morning and an afternoon transfer to the south of the island to Palehora.
Breakfast & Dinner
Hotel Pal Beach
Taking the ferry one way, we walk between Paleohora and Sougia with time to visit the Minoan site at Lissos. Distance: 17kms (10.5 miles), 5 hours, Ascent/Descent +/-400m
Breakfast & Dinner
Today we traverse the imposing Gingilos part of Crete's White Mountain range. A challenging but rewarding day with some stunning panoramas. We stay in Omalos for 1 night's accommodation. Distance: 13kms (8 miles), 5-6 hours, Ascent/descent =+/-850m
Breakfast & Dinner
The Samaria Gorge beckons today and we'll descend into the National Park today as we walk to Agia Roumeli for 1 night's accommodation. The walk starts amidst almost alpine scenery before heading down into the rocky and dramatic gorge. There is a nice spot close to our hotel for a rewarding swim this afternoon. Distance: 17kms (13 in the gorge) (10.5 miles), 5-6 hours, Descent -1300m
Breakfast & Dinner
We follow the E4 (European Walking Route) today as we walk the coastal path to Loutro for 2 nights' accommodation Distance: 15kms (9 miles), 5-6 hours, Ascent/descent +/-100m
Breakfast & Dinner
Today's walk is a beautiful along the Aradhena Gorge, which encompasses terrain and scenery that epitomises "wild Crete". We end at a beach with time for a swim before returning to Loutro. Distance: 11kms (7 miles), 3-4 hours, Ascent/descent +/-350m
Breakfast & Dinner
Leaving Loutro, our walk takes us along the coast to Hora Sfakion, where we have time for a lunch stop before taking our coach to Chania for 1 night's accommodation. After our hotel check in, there will be time to explore the lovely Venetian harbour and enjoy a waterside drink. Dinner will be at a local restaurant. Distance: 6kms (3.5 miles), 2-2.30 hours, Ascent/descent +/-100m
We transfer to Chania airport for check-in and return flight to the UK.
Walks & Excursions
This holiday is the combination of our two one-week holidays: Cretan Trails and Tavernas and Wild Crete. The first week is one centre, grade 4 while the second week is multi-centre and grade 6.
Local Transport Costs
All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.
A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.
When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.
ATM and bank facilities can be found in our first centre in Chania. Facilities are not as plentiful on our 2nd week, so we suggest you take some euro in cash with you from Chania and your leader will then be able to guide you on obtaining additional cash during the remainder of the holiday.
Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.
Tour Leaders & Local Guides
Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.
Leader's Evening Briefing
Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.
Your Travel Details
On dates where Manchester flights are available, the transfer vehicle may wait until both flights have landed before transferring to the hotel.
The transfer from Chania Airport to the Hotel Kriti takes approximately 30 minutes.
During the second week, on some of the days your luggage will be transported by road and ferry leaving you with just your daypack.
Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements?
If you wish to organise your own flights from a non-UK or provincial airport or travel by rail or car to your holiday destination, 'land only' reductions are often available. Please contact us for details.
Before finalising any independent travel arrangements, please check with us first - especially if doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended date of travel. If you do intend to join your holiday locally please do tell us at least 14 weeks in advance.
If you are joining and leaving your holiday overseas we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at your hotel.
Although airport transfers are not included for those making their own independent travel arrangements, if you wish to join the group at the overseas airport, depending on your flight arrival time, you may be able to be included on the group's transfer. Please contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details.
Please note that your flight must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight to be able to join the group transfer. We also need your flight number, arrival time and departure point so that the group leader is able to meet up with you.
Luggage Allowance & Travel Documents
For all those booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately 10 days prior to departure.
Personal Details Check
To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
Passports and Visas
General Passport Advice
It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport. Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents and your return to your home country.
Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements.
Brexit Passport Advice
You should have at least 6 months validity left on your passport from your date of arrival.
If you renewed a 10 year passport before it expired, extra months may have been added to your passport’s expiry date. These extra months will not count, so you should ensure that your passport is not older than 9 years and 6 months from the date of issue at the time of travel.
You may wish to renew your passport sooner rather than later, in order to make sure you have it in time for your holiday or travel plans.
Please ensure to regularly check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for updates on passport requirements leading up to and after Brexit or contact us for more assistance.
UK Government Brexit Information for Passports can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/passport-rules-for-travel-to-europe-after-Brexit.
The UK Government has published a website tool to check the validity of your passport under these rules which can be found at www.passport.service.gov.uk/check-a-passport.
In the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK citizens will be able to visit the EU for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa. The UK Government also has information for travellers available at gov.uk/EUexit
Non British Passport holders should consult the host country’s embassy for applicable passport and visa entry requirements.
Where are we going to stay?
Nikiforou Foka, 73001 Chania, Greece
0030 28210 51881
The contemporary Hotel Kriti is located is one of the best spots in Chania, being on the very edge of the Venetian Harbour. The excellently reviewed hotel offers easy access to the town’s restaurants, museums, beach, Market Square and shops. All rooms are en suite with a hairdryer, TV, A/C, free Wi-Fi and mini-bar. The hotel has a swimming pool, bar, snack bar and breakfast room, where they serve a buffet breakfast each morning.
Hotel Pal Beach
Paleochora, Chania Creta 73001, Greece
0030 28230 41512
The Hotel Pal Beach is fantastically located just in front of the beautiful Pachia Ammos beach in Paleohóra, on Crete’s south west coast. It is ideally placed to access local walks and the village’s cafes and bars. The hotel’s bedrooms all have a balcony and a side sea view. All rooms are en suite with a shower and have a/c (operational from 1400-2400 daily), ceiling fans, mini-fridge, radio and telephone. The hotel has a safe at the reception, which is free of charge and is accessible 24hrs a day. There is free Wi-Fi in the reception and snack bar areas, but not in the rooms. Hairdryers are available to use from the reception.
73005 Omalos, Crete, Greece
0030 28210 67180
A 24 room, traditionally built hotel with panoramic views over the Omalos Plateau. The hotel offers a coffee bar, breakfast room, and a restaurant with a fireplace (for the chilly nights). Rooms are simply furnished but all are en suite, and have a TV.
Samaria Gorge Agia Roumeli, Crete, Greece
0030 282 509 1415
Just 70 metres from the beach of Agia Roumeli, the simple Pension Samaria offers air-conditioned rooms with a private balcony and an on-site taverna serving traditional Cretan cuisine. Free Wi-Fi is provided in the rooms.
Loutro, Crete Greece
0030 28250 91480
Ilios Hotel offers accommodation in two buildings, with spacious sea-front apartments which have private or shared balconies, some with magical views of the sun setting over the Libyan Sea. The hotel rooms are well equipped, featuring air conditioning, bathroom with shower, fridge, TV and free internet.
Footwear & Kit List
Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks.
General Kit List
Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.
If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:
This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.
Travel Documents Checklist
Documents and Information to take with you:
Electricity in Greece
Electricity in Greece is supplied at 220 Volts. If you wish to use electrical equipment you will need a European two pin adaptor with round pins. More information can be found at https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/
Water To Go
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
Maps, Guidebooks & Other Information
Maps, Guidebooks & More
The Map Shop
Maps and guidebooks relating to the areas you will be walking in may be bought before your holiday from The Map Shop at www.themapshop.co.uk
Find out more
Visas and Passports
No Visa Required
Staying Healthy On Holiday
Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.
Health Advice for Greece
No compulsory immunisations are required for visits to Greece.
You should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended in the UK.
You may also wish to consider immunisations against Tetanus and Tick-borne Encephalitis.
There is a low to no risk of malaria in Greece. Malaria risk is from May to October and is very limited; confined to the villages of the Evrotas delta area in Lakonia district. Please seek advice from your doctor or travel clinic.
Further Travel Advice
For further advice please visit:
You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.
You must be adequately insured to join our holidays. We do not insist that you insure with us but we require that you are adequately insured for the nature of your holiday. You will be unable to participate in our local walking and other activity programmes without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance.
Please ensure that as a minimum your travel insurance policy covers you for travel to your holiday destinations (country and geographical region) and for medical expenses, mountain rescue (including helicopter rescue) and emergency repatriation to your home country in the event of illness or injury. Your policy should also provide adequate cover for the activities, included and optional, you are likely to participate in during your holiday.
See our brochure or website for further advice regarding holiday insurance.
Whoever you insure with, please ensure that you take full details, and ideally the policy itself, with you on holiday and provide our tour leader with your insurer's name, the policy number and emergency assistance contact numbers.
Please note that it is very difficult to obtain travel insurance once your holiday arrangements have started.
Please take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you; it will help you in the event of you needing medical assistance during your holiday. Please note that the EHIC has an expiry date, so please check that your card is valid for the duration of your holiday. Please note however the EHIC should not be considered a substitute for medical or travel insurance.
For more information please visit ehic.org.uk.
The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.
Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.
We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.
The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
Heart and Sole
We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.
Staying In Touch
Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements.
Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.
As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.
We welcome all comments about our holidays and value ideas for the future. If you have provided us with an email address we will invite you to complete an online questionnaire or to add feedback to our page on the independent review site 'Feefo'.
Please note that this Holiday Information sheet may be periodically updated and reissued.
In most cases the revisions will be minor and the overall nature of the holiday will remain unchanged. Should we make a major change to your holiday arrangements between you booking your holiday and your date of travel we will notify you to specifically draw your attention to any significant change.
You may wish to review the latest version of this Holiday Information Sheet online prior to travel.
Please note that any advertised offers, benefits or initiatives may be discontinued at any time.
Our office is open and our Sales & Reservations team are available to speak to you from:
Please quote your Booking Reference number and Tour Code whenever contacting us.
We wish you an enjoyable holiday!
Our holiday walking grades
Full and half day walks at a moderate pace over hilly terrain.
Most of these holidays have an element of sightseeing as well.
Half day walks will probably involve about 3 hours of walking, with full day walks having around 5 hours. Expect ascents and descents of up to 600m.
Full day walks with appreciable amounts of ascent and descent.
These walks are in more remote areas such as Andorra or northern Portugal.
Similar to Grade 5, but with most of the walks at the upper level of ascent/descent, time and distance.