Hiking in Crete

September 21, 2021

Image by Barbara Pilas from Pixabay

Lace-up your boots and hit the ground! Go hiking in Crete in stunning places, from dramatic gorges to sleepy villages, engaging all your senses and getting closer than you ever imagined to this incredible land and its people.

From rugged coastlines to high mountains, and from steep gorges to fertile plains, Crete’s like a cosmos of its own. And this diversified landscape has played a pivotal role in shaping the course of the island’s long and turbulent history. To better understand its legacy, people and cadences, venture off the beaten track to unspoiled, pristine locations accessible only by foot. Whether you are the sporty, adventurous type or just athletic enough, with a healthy appetite for what’s original and authentic, hiking in Crete is an experience that will recompense you on so many levels.


Nestled on a hill on the foot of the White Mountains, between rolling countryside and the daily life of a scenic village, the Adeste Chania luxury villas is the ideal base for all sorts of walking expeditions in one of Crete’s most interesting and picturesque areas. With beautiful gorges -both long and short, old pathways of varying degrees of difficulty and a handful of quaint hamlets and historic churches to discover, hiking in Crete, in and around verdant Apokoronas, offers a first-rate opportunity to soak up your surroundings, meet the locals and engage in invigorating physical activity.
Is your appetite whetted? Read on for our handpicked suggestions for walking and hiking tours in Chania and Apokoronas, and get ready to immerse yourselves in a thrilling adventure. Our concierge team is 24/7 at your disposal, to help you customize the walking expedition that matches your style, needs, party size and composition.


Hiking in Crete: The secret gorges and ravines of Apokoronas

Dubbed “Europe’s Grand Canyon”, the awe-inspiring Samaria is the most famous gorge on the island. But it is not the only one. Unbeknown to most, yet most interesting to discover, Crete’s ravines, vary from easy to walk through -even with children, to those requiring ropes and mountaineering credentials.


Among the latter, Kaliakoudes Gorge, between the villages of Paidohori, Nio Chorio and Machairi in Apokoronas, is small and supremely beautiful -in essence, a side stream of the river Kiliaris, the second-largest in water flow river in Crete, that starts near Stylos village and ends on Kyani Akti beach near Kalives. The canyon is only 1.5 km long, yet has about six rappels and requires the use of technical equipment throughout its length. Experienced climbers will however very much enjoy the whole process. A sculpture of nature, Kaliakoudes is shady with very narrow passages and dense vegetation above the slopes. It usually has waterfalls until late spring, at the base of which large round wells and natural slides are formed. Canyoning down these waterfalls in the wintertime is nothing short of exhilarating for those in the know.


Another secret gorge in Apokoronas is the diminutive Diktamos that runs between the villages of Katochori and Faraggi (close to Stylos). One of the few gorges on the island that does not have a north-south direction, Diktamos is luscious and shady with many plane trees. It takes about 3 hours to cross its 7 km and at some point, you need a bit of climbing, but it is more or less doable, with caution, proper shoes and a good physical condition.


If on the other hand, you are looking to spend a more relaxed day with the family, one of its bigger brothers on the south coast, Imbros Gorge is the most accessible. 8 km long and at its narrowest point only 1,60 m, Imbros boasts beautiful scenery and is quite easy to cross, even for kids. It is also one of the few gorges that are passable in wintertime -barring heavy rainfall, of course. It should take you about 3,5 hours from start to finish and you’ll need sturdy shoes.


Hiking in Crete: Discover the Apokoronas Region


Extending from the foothills of the White Mountains to the coast on the north, Apokoronas is an especially verdant, fertile region of approximately 200 square kilometres, with olive groves, vineyards and orange groves, lemon and avocado trees, and even forests with cypresses and oaks.
From the all-encompassing vistas of the ‘Lefka Ori’ (White Mountains), Souda Bay, the Akrotiri Peninsula and Drapanos Mountain, to the sound of sheep and goats roaming about freely, Apokoronas’ varied topography is best discovered on foot. Options abound, from steep mountain hikes to leisurely walks amidst gorgeous nature, catering to all levels of physical condition and aptitude.


An easy and safe route is from Kokkino Chorio (our charming village that was once the filming site of the legendary Zorba the Greek and deserves to be explored in its own right!) to Almyrida on the North coast of Chania. You’ll be walking among flowers, plants and trees, whilst enjoying both sea and mountain views before you reach the crystal clear waters of the beach in about an hour or so.


You may also take the Livadouria path, which extends over 9 km and crosses the scenic villages of Tsivaras, Agios Pavlos, Douliana and Gavalochori. Strewn with olive groves, cypresses, holm oaks and myrtles, this is the course of a running race that has been taking place every summer since 2013. But you might as well walk through it at the time of your choice, at your pace, in your leisure.


If you’d like to explore the mountains, the scenic village of Melidoni is the starting point for a couple of walks: Climb up around the edge of Tria Korfalia to Profitis Ilias church, where the locals lavishly celebrate the Holy Spirit Sunday. From this point, you may continue up a foothill, crossing rocky ground via a stepped path to a tiny spring set in the hillside. It does require some effort but the views are as soul-restoring as they get, with beehives and shepherds huts thrown into the picture.


Yet the above is merely indicative. Hiking in Crete, in and around multi-faceted Apokoronas, can take many shapes and forms. Let our seasoned tour guide walk you through the area’s history and beauty at your own pace. Get in touch and let them tailor design the itinerary that piques your interest and suits you the most.


With customization at the heart of our hospitality philosophy, at the Adeste Luxury Villas in Chania, we aim to curate experiences that go beyond the mundane.


Boasting magazine-worthy looks and the latest creature comforts- including but not limited to Illy espresso machines, mini iPad’s, private pools and hydromassage columns– our Chania luxury villas, blend the perks and services of a 5* hotel with the intimacy of a private holiday home to return to after a fun-filled day of adventures. Stay tuned for more tips and advice on how to make the most of your time on our incredible island!

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