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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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. After wet weather the paths can also become slippery especially in the gorges and extra care should be taken. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.