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Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Crete Coast to Coast - Georgioupolis
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Highlights

  • Discover the less touristy side of the Greek Island of Crete.
  • Staying delightful guest houses in the traditional village of Vamos.
  • Absorbing the lush and green agricultural landscapes of the Apokonoras plain.
  • Making your way through the lesser-known and magnificent gorge of Sfakia.
  • Swimming in the deep blue and clear waters of the Libyan Sea.

Discover a diversity of unspoilt landscapes as you walk from the north to the south coast on the Greek island of Crete.

Explore secluded and pristine beaches, the Lefka Ori or White Mountains, the fertile and green Apokonoras plain and the impressive Sfakia and Aradhena gorges, world-renowned phenomenons whose incredible landscapes were formed many centuries ago due to seismic activity.

During the walks you will feel truly immersed in traditional areas of Crete that few tourists get to see. Walking through olive groves and row upon row of cypress trees you will be enamoured by the white-washed and cobblestoned villages, Greek Orthodox monasteries and churches and surrounding peaks that will be snow-capped during the spring. Also enjoy delicious Greek food in the local tavernas.

DAY 1: Arrive Vamos

This self-guided walking tour in Crete begins in Vamos, a traditional village east of Chania. Drink raki or local wine with the locals in the “kafeneion” and discover your delightful guest house, which has been restored from one of the old traditional stone houses.


Overnight: Vamos


DAY 2: Vamos to Georgioupolis

This morning begin your exploration by taking rural routes to the coast. You will be walking through the agricultural landscapes of the Apokonoras plain and through several picturesque villages such as Alexandrou, and Kalamitsi-Amygdalle.


With great views along the way you will also see a monastery, scattered Greek Orthodox churches and one of Crete’s oldest olive oil presses. Walk past the Monastery of Agio Georgios which is 500 years old and worth a visit.


On arrival in the beachside town of Georgioupolis perhaps you would like to have lunch in a seaside tavern. The transfer back to your accommodation in Vamos is at 5pm.


Walk: 12km; 100m elevation gain/325m elevation loss


Overnight:  Vamos


DAY 3: Loop walk from Nippos

After a short transfer to Nippos you begin today’s walk, which takes you through lush green areas covered with cypress trees and olive groves. In the spring you may be able to see the snow-capped Lefka Ori mountain range whose peaks rise over 2000m. You will also pass by the Krionerida cave which during the Ottoman Occupation was used as a secret hiding place to harbour women and children.


Wander through one of the largest villages in the area, Fres and you can see the church from afar as you approach. It has an impressive square surrounded by tavernas and you may catch the aroma of a traditional bakery or tasty Greek dishes. Ta Lemonia is an example of such a tavern and the owner, Micalis, cooks everything himself.


From the end of the walk in Nippos you will travel in comfort by taxi to your next accommodation in Askifou.


Walk: 14km; 400m elevation gain/400m elevation loss


Overnight: Askifou


DAY 4: Lefka Ori Mountain Walk

Today’s fairly challenging walk takes you into the nearby mountains where you will probably not encounter another soul. Start walking along an old trail which is more or less parallel with the surfaced road to the village of Imbros, where you will begin your ascent. Here in Imbros you may wish try one of the local and traditional pancakes, “Sfakiana Pita” which is filled with sheep’s cheese and honey.


Ascend to the Askifou Plateau and then walk to the Niato Plateau before returning back through a forest. Enjoy a really peaceful day of hiking truly immersed in nature, free from the sights and sounds of civilisation.


Walk: 16km; 700m elevation gain/700 elevation loss


Overnight: Askifou


DAY 5: Through the Sfakia Gorge

At the end of the walk today you will have reached the southern coast of Crete! Again, a short transfer from the hotel brings you to the village of Imbros and it is here that you follow a dirt road and then continue on mountain trails. You will be following routes through the lesser-known Sfakia Gorge and for several hours you will be walking along a rocky riverbed with loose stones and rocks. However it is well worth it as the landscapes here are other-worldly. When you sit and have your picnic lunch and listen to the silence it will be hard to imagine the immense forces that created this impressive landscape.


When you arrive in Chora Sfakion, which is located on the Libyan Sea, there should be time for a relaxing and refreshing swim.


Walk: 16km; 400m elevation gain/1200m elevation loss


Overnight: Chora Sfakion


DAY 6: Chora Sfakion to Loutro

Today presents two walking options. The first is the more challenging walk of 10.2 km with some significant ups and downs and which takes you inland, through the Ilinga Gorge and to the authentic village of Anopolis (literally translated as “Upper City”). Then descend on a delightful zig-zag trail into the small village of Loutro which is car-free as it is only accessible by ferry or on foot.


The second option is a shorter and easier 6.6km walk and takes you around the coast to Loutro. This walk follows old Cretan trails that connects villages such as Kambia to Loutro. En route you will encounter Fresh Water Beach, so-named because there are underground rivers here that flow into the sea. As the fresh water runs out to sea it floats on the sea water as it is not as heavy as the salt water.


Walk: 6.6km; 180m elevation gain/240m elevation loss or 10.2 km; 600m elevation gain/670m elevation loss


Overnight: Loutro


DAY 7: Loop walk from Loutro

After breakfast head out of Loutro to Livaniana and descend to a ravine bed. From here you will walk through a short section of the incredible Aradhena Gorge before arriving in Marmari Beach. Another hour’s walk along the coast will bring you back to Loutro, although you can also take the small ferry if you wish.


There is a longer walking option today which takes you back up to Anopolis and through the complete Aradhena Gorge


Walk: 8.7km; 460 elevation gain/460m elevation loss or 15.7 km ; 840m elevation gain/840m elevation loss


Overnight: Loutro


DAY 8: Onward travel

The tour finishes after breakfast and you then take a small ferry back to Chora Sfakion and from here a transfer back to Chania or Heraklion is provided.


Accommodation

This 7 night, 8 day Crete Coast to Coast self-guided walk in Greece includes 7 nights in comfortable hotels, guest houses and pensions. All of the hotels have been specifically chosen for their atmosphere, comfort and hospitality. All rooms have private facilities and in most cases a balcony or terrace.


Alternative accommodation

During the high season, you might be booked into alternative accommodations which are not listed in the description. Any alternative accommodation will be of the same or better standard as those described.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. This walk is also suitable for solo walkers although there is a single supplement payable.


Here are some examples of accommodation we book, although this is subject to availability:



 

 

 



Vamos Traditional Village - Vamos



Vamos Traditional Village - Vamos

This unique accommodation is located in the heart of Vamos’s old quarter. Traditional stone houses have been restored and now provide lovely guest houses.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Lefkoritis Resort - Askifou

Situated in the heart of the Askifou plateau, this resort is built only of traditional materials (stone and wood) and provides guests with comfortable and well-equipped rooms, all with balconies.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel Xenia - Chora Sfakion

Located on the edge of the sea, all 24 rooms are comfortable, modern and are all air-conditioned with balconies and sea views.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Madares Pension - Loutro

Madares Pension is a cosy and family-run accommodation located close to the little dock. All rooms, although simple, have private facilities and in the evening you may enjoy a delicious dinner in the family’s tavern.


 

 

 

Time of Year

April, May, June, September and October are the best time to walk in the Greek Islands as July and August are too hot for most people. Please note that at the very beginning and end of the season (early April and end of October) any swimming pools at accommodations may be closed and restaurant offerings may be more limited during this time.


Grade & Terrain

This tour is suitable for most people that are in good physical condition. Although the daily distances are not that far, it has been rated moderate as there are quite significant elevation gains and losses, especially towards the middle and end of the tour, although there are options on some of the more difficult days offering easier walks. Although the paths are quite well-kept the terrain in Greece tends to be very stony and rocky, especially during the gorge-walking and in Loutro. You will mostly be walking on unsurfaced tracks, footpaths, mountain trails and on some tarmac roads.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

Much of the walk is not way-marked however you will be supplied with detailed route notes and maps so you will have no problem finding your way each day.


Baggage Transfers

All baggage transfers are included. On Day 6 the luggage transfer from Chora Sfakion to Loutro is via a ferry, which is very common in this part of Crete and is very safe. Please bear in mind that luggage is not always handled gently, so please pack accordingly. We request that you have only one piece of luggage per person and it should weigh only 20kg.


Transfers

If you fly into Chania Airport an included transfer brings you to your accommodation in Vamos. If you fly into Heraklion, you can take a public bus to Vrysses, (which is the closest place the bus goes to) and a transfer from here to Vamos is included. This itinerary includes a few transfers, some of which are necessary to get to and from the walks. On Day 2 at the end of the walk you will be transferred from Georgioupolis to Vamos, on Day 3 you will be transferred and picked up in Nippos, and on Day 4 there is a short transfer to Imbros to the start of the walk. At the end of the tour on Day 8, you will take a short 20 minute ferry ride to Chora Sfakion (not included) and from here a transfer to Chania (approximately 2 hours) or Heraklion (approximately 3 hours) is included.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity, emergency evacuation and hospital care.


General Information

The distances and ascents/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat and sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer and a day pack.


Getting to Vamos

The nearest airport is Chania. There are many flights to and from the UK and from other gateways in Europe. From here an included transfer brings you to your accommodation in Vamos.


Alternatively, you may also fly into Heraklion Airport, which is further away but there is a direct public bus service from here to Vyrsses. We can then arrange a transfer from Vrysses to Vamos.


Getting from Loutros

On the final morning you will take a boat from Loutros to Chora Sfakion (not included in price- approx 4 euros). Please check the ferry website for more information on times and prices.  The ferry takes about 20 minutes and from Chora Sfakion a private transfer is included to either Chania or Heraklion centres or airports. The journey from Chora Sfakion to Chania Airport takes around 1H30, and to Heraklion Airport about 2H15. Please make sure that there is a ferry that leaves Loutros to Chora Sfakion in order to catch your flight on the final day, or you may either need to spend the last night in Chania, or pay a an additional cost for a boat taxi if you need to leave earlier.

Included

  • 7 Nights guest houses, hotels and pensions
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • Baggage transfers including one by ferry from Loutros to Chora Sfakion
  • Transfer Chora Sfakion to either Chania or Heraklion centre or airport, plus other transfers to and from the beginning or end of walks
  • A transfer on Day 1 from Chania Airport to Vamos
  • Detailed maps, information pack and route notes, including a booklet “Discover Vamos...on Foot” which you will receive on arrival at your first hotel
  • Organisational assistance and backup from our area manager in Greece and our office

Excluded

  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Travel to and fromChania/Heraklion
  • Ferry ticket from Loutros to Chora Sfakion (cost is approximately €4.50)
  • 7 Dinners
  • 7 Lunches
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Personal equipment
  • Mountain rescue / emergency assistance
  • Optional Extras:
  • Additional nights before or after the holiday
  • Single room supplement if single room required.
  • Solo traveller supplement

Extras

  • Additional nights before or after the holiday
  • Single room supplement if single room required.
  • Solo traveller supplement

How fit do I need to be?

This tour is suitable for most people that are in good physical condition. Although the daily distances are not that far, it has been rated moderate as there are quite significant elevation gains and losses, especially towards the middle and end of the tour, although there are options on some of the more difficult days offering easier walks.

Which is the best airport to fly to?

The best airports to fly into are either Chania or Heraklion. More information can be found about getting to and from the tour on the downloadable fact sheet or in your information pack.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as some of the accommodations on this tour are quite small.  

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need good walking shoes/boots, comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack, warm clothing in the early/late part of the year and hats etc during the summer. We supply a detailed packing list with your information pack.  

When is the best time of year?

April, May, June, September and October are the best time to walk in the Greek Islands as July and August are too hot for most people.

How do the baggage transfers work? 

All baggage transfers are included. On Day 6 the luggage transfer from Chora Sfakion to Loutro is via  a ferry, which is very common in this part of Crete and is very safe. Please bear in mind that luggage is not always handled gently, so please pack accordingly. We request that you have only one piece of luggage per person and it should weigh only 20kg. 

What happens if I can't walk a stage? 

You can use public transport or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop. Speak to your accommodation providers, as locals, they will be able to give you advice and help you arrange your transport.


 

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
macs adventureCrete Coast to Coast
 
4.3

(based on 23 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (9)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (13)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Well organised (20)
  • Fun (17)
  • Great accommodations (11)
  • Once in a lifetime experience (5)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Holiday (18)
  • Trying something new (10)
  • Relaxation (9)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Occasional traveller (14), World traveller (4)

Reviewed by 23 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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4.0

Excellent Well organised holiday

By Jonny T

from Leeds (group from all over the UK/USA

About Me World Traveller

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Fun
  • Well Organised

Cons

    Best Uses

      Comments about macs adventure Crete Coast to Coast:

      A very enjoyable walking holiday for 5 couples who like enjoy their evenings based on some decent walking during the day. Even at the end of October the weather was decent and the walking was spectacular even if sometimes challenging for the less fit members of the group - but all covered every inch and enjoyed the locations very much. Some of the hotels were a bit basic but all were in interesting and different locations. Sinead, our contact at Macs Adventures was excellent.

       
      3.0

      Tougher than expected

      By John

      from Calgary

      About Me Serial adventure hiker

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Challenging gorge hiking
      • Excellent food everywhere in Crete
      • Few tourists in sight
      • Fresh fruit available everywhere
      • Great Accommodations
      • Mountain and Coast sections were spectacular
      • Well Organised

      Cons

      • Vamos sections were not as interesting

      Best Uses

      • Trying Something New

      Comments about macs adventure Crete Coast to Coast:

      This trip suffers from the fact that it isn't a true distance hike like the Camino or Coast to Coast walks which are inherently more rewarding. It is nevertheless an interesting and varied itinerary with spectacular scenery and few hikers. The initial sections in Vamos are straightforward but the mountain and N Coast sections are physically demanding with spectacular Gorge settings. Accommodations were adequate everywhere and the food exceptional

       
      4.0

      Excellent Walk which got progressively tougher!

      By Big Mike

      from Bristol

      About Me Occasional Traveller

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Fun
      • Great Accommodations
      • Well Organised

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Holiday
        • Trying Something New

        Comments about macs adventure Crete Coast to Coast:

        Well organised hikes with good accommodation. All transfers etc went smoothly. Gorgeous scenery and hikes were tougher than you thought as the week progressed.
        Would thoroughly recommend but need to do them in cooler months as can be exhausting in hot weather.

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        Spectacular scenery and varied walking.

        By Haddersgourmet

        from Oxford

        About Me World Traveller

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Fun
        • Well Organised

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Holiday
          • Walks in "remote and lonely grandeur"

          Comments about macs adventure Crete Coast to Coast:

          A well organised and wholly suitable itinerary for a week of walking in the heat of Crete at the start of June. Smooth transfers and pick ups and good accommodation.

           
          5.0

          Fabellous Crete

          By Nic & Sven

          from Glasgow Scotland

          About Me Occasional Traveller

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Once in a Lifetime Experience

          Cons

          • Only one weak accommodation

          Best Uses

          • Holiday

          Comments about macs adventure Crete Coast to Coast:

          The trip was well put together by Macs and partners, walking notes were very good (only had to retrace our steps a couple of times), and Crete is an island of fiendly people. Walks were great, but note that both walks from Askifou as well as the longer options from Sfakion and Loutro 'round walk' are probably in the upper end of moderate. On the second day of walking (Nippos via Tzitzifes) we found that only the village square of Fres had anyting to offer in terms of lunch, but that was made up by the lovely lady running a small lunch place - the first one as you round the corner to the village square. Vamos is a gem of a place not yet spoiled by tourism, Sfakion and Loutro are full of tourists (many walkers) but maintain a lovely charm and you dont feel its anything different than it should be. We found that the accommodation of Lefkoritis (base for both walks on the Asifou Plateou) was clearly run on a tight budget: food was at best average (e.g.we ordered packed lunch, which we later discovered was three pieces of dry bread, a slab of dry cheese, some water and fruit - dinner was basic - glass of water/no orange joice for breakfast) - one night there replaced by a night on any of the other locations would have been better. However - all in: We had a fabelous week of walking in Crete where the weaker elements were more than made up by those that could have been better. Absolutely recommended.

           
          5.0

          A great way to go beyond the usual tourist spots

          By Seattle crew

          from Seattle, Washington, USA

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Fun
          • Great Accommodations
          • Well Organised

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Holiday
            • Relaxation

            Comments about macs adventure Crete Coast to Coast:

            We're a young couple of rock climbers and general mountains people, and we loved the trip. So much history and beauty together!

            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            4.0

            Lovely walking in spring sunshine

            By Neil and Ruth

            from Ludlow

            About Me Occasional Traveller

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Comfortable accommodation
            • Fun
            • Great scenery
            • Well Organised

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Away from the crowds
              • Holiday
              • Relaxation

              Comments about macs adventure Crete Coast to Coast:

              "You are the first walkers of the season" greeted the taverna owner, half way around our first day's walk. Being the first week in April we had about a 30% chance of rain but we dropped lucky with 7 days of fine weather that was just right for some moderately challenging walking. Everything was organised perfectly, with all taxis and transfers happening as expected and on time. The accommodation was always friendly, clean and comfortable, finishing in the idyllic village of Loutro on the south coast, accessible only on foot or by boat. Though the walks were never that long, a maximum of 16k, the terrain was sometimes quite rocky and accurate navigation was essential - following the written instructions to the letter and making use of GPS to track distance and / or location. The mountain scenery was stunning at times and it was a treat to be able to ascend to the high mountain plateau at over 4,000 feet where the last of the heavy winter snow was only just melting. This holiday is highly recommended for fit travellers with some previous experience of similar walking holidays. I would recommend visiting in April when the beautiful spring flowers are still abundant against a backdrop of snow capped mountains. The sea is quite fresh but you can enjoy a swim on your last day if you are a little bit hardy.

               
              5.0

              Excellent walking holiday on Crete!

              By Isobel

              from Glasgow

              About Me Couple who enjoy hill-walking and sunshine

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • All accommodations were of a high standard
              • All transfers went like clockwork
              • Very comprehensive route notes
              • Well Organised

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Holiday
                • Relaxation
                • Walking

                Comments about macs adventure Crete Coast to Coast:

                The pre-departure pack was excellent providing a map, comprehensive route guide with detailed maps, accommodation itinerary and advice to take supplementary aids to navigation. I would recommend Macs Adventure to anyone who wants to explore independently but with the confidence of having an experienced travel company behind you.

                 
                5.0

                Peace & Quiet & Stunning Scenery

                By Outdoor Ali

                from Cheshire

                About Me Occasional Traveller

                Pros

                • Great Walking
                • Well Organised

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Holiday

                  Comments about macs adventure Crete Coast to Coast:

                  This was a wonderful self-guided walking holiday. Beautiful walking via mountains, gorges & coast. Saw a different side to the more normal Crete holiday destinations. All the arrangements went smoothly and the walks were well planned & the maps & route notes very good.

                   
                  5.0

                  highly recommended

                  By The GR 10

                  from West of England

                  About Me Avid Adventurer, Serious Walkers

                  Pros

                  • Fun

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Holiday

                    Comments about macs adventure Crete Coast to Coast:

                    So efficient, luggage always delivered, taxis always early, accommodation very good value as well as central and friendly.

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