From €225.- / 8 days
Price per person based on 2 people sharing
Crete is the largest of the Greek islands. The island has a mild Mediterranean climate and varied landscapes, making it a popular walking holiday destination in Greece.
The island 's spine is formed by great mountain ranges stretching from east to west, with the west greener and more mountaineous, and the east more rocky and barren. The walking is varied, ranging from gentle coastal strolls, to stiff mountain climbs and all shades in between.
Minoan culture and its artefacts can be seen in many places throughout Crete, including the spectacular ruins at the Palace of Knossos.
You will stay in modern studio accommodation on a self-catering basis, in a small quiet village Kástellos inland, just just 11 km from the lovely town of Rethymno.
Your hosts Jeroen & Ria let their guests experience the Cretan people living, working and celebrate their name days and other celebrations. Nearby are several small villages, where the inhabitants still are genuinely interested in you. They talk to you on the streets, ask you where you come from, and sometimes give you sweets for on the road. You will experience the hospitality of the Cretans and you will be shown the real authentic life of the Cretans.
Peace and nature are keywords that indicate well, where you end up when you book at Footscapes of Crete. Griffon vultures regularly fly over because they build their nests in nearby hills. In the summer you are witnessing the swarms of bee-eaters staying in the area. Also eagles, hawks, owls and the Hoopoe are regularly observed here. And our sky is very special. Because we have no light pollution, you can observe thousands of stars with the naked eye. On a clear night it seems as if you can touch the Milky Way.
Your accommodation during this walking holiday to Greece will be in one of three spacious and modern studio villas. Each has a comfortable living area, a shower room and a fully equipped kitchen with oven/hob and fridge. Accommodation is air - conditioned for summer, but also has a cosy open fire for autumn and winter, as well as full central heating.
On arrival, you will find a nice welcome surprise. Groceries can be bought in the supermarket in the nearby village of Armeni (4km). All linen and towels (inc. beach towels) are provided, with a full change mid-way through each week.
There are private patios for each studio, with beautiful views to the White Mountains in the west, the Sea of Crete to the North and Mount Psiloritis to the east. There is also a CD/tape/radio in each studio, along with a selection of books and games.
Hiring a car is recommended for this walking holiday, but it is also possible to reach your accommodation from Heraklion airport by taking a taxi (10 mins) to Heraklion and then on to Rethymno by bus (90 mins).
There is wide variety of walks available during this walking holiday. Your hosts will aim to show the highlights and contrasts, perhaps a gorge ramble one day, a coastal walk (with swimming opportunity) the next, or maybe a visit to a historic monastery. All of the walks can be accomplished by a reasonably active person, typically someone who might be thought of as a "rambler" in the UK.
A more strenuous walk is usually followed by an easier day and vice versa. A typical walk will be approximately 6 to 12 miles long, but most of the longer walks have an option to stop part way through. For mixed ability/stamina couples, sometimes walks can be offered that will suit both. Your hosts are always pleased to discuss the walking programme with clients at the start of the walking holiday and specific requests can usually be accommodated.
It is possible to include several guided walks at additional cost, no guided walks and only self-guided walks, or a mix of self-guided walks perhaps combined with a few leisure days. The walking programme will be tailored to your interest and wishes. The example walks below give an idea of the variety of walks available.
Walk 1 - Eleftherna. A fascinating walk for antiquity enthusiasts. 7 miles, varied terrain, moderate difficulty. You'll walk to "new" Eleftherna over open limestone country. From the new village, you'll descend to the valley floor via a spectacular Hellenistic bridge, later rising to the acropolis of ancient Eleftherna. On the return, you will visit a well - preserved early Byzantine fortification, Roman cisterns and an Iron Age burial site. Here you can also visit the Monestary of "Arkadi". A "must see" when you are enjoying your holiday on Crete.
Walk 2 - Spring flowers and fossils at Koumi. A moderate - tough walk of 8 miles over some difficult terrain.We walk along an old Donkeytrail, Kalderimi, into the valley bottom, and then walk up the hill the other sideto the village of Fotinós. On the way we pass a shelter built into the rock face, and here we can see the first fossils. Sea Urchins and shells are easily found and further along the track there are more shells and a large oyster bed. In the spring this is also a perfect place to spot flowers, a good variety of orchids are present.
Walk 3 - Moni Preveli. A moderate walk of approximately 10 miles, with some incredible contrasts. The start is the Turkish bridge close to Asomatos village, walking alongside the Megalopotamos river to its outflow in the Libyan Sea at Palm Beach. After descending to the beach and maybe a short swim, you'll climb back up and visit the historic monastery of Preveli before returning to the start point.
Walk 4 - Lappa. A lovely walk of 10 miles over moderate terrain moderate terrain using several donkey trails. Starting off at Zouridi by following the E4 long distance footpath towards Lappa. After lunch, you'll complete the walk at Lappa, spending some time exploring this fascinating town and its Roman and Venetian artefacts, including a spectacular Roman necropolis.
Walk 5 - Summit of Vryssinas. Approximately 9 miles, with a moderate/hard ascent of about 1600 feet. You'll leave from the Minoan Cemetery at Armeni walking along the base of the Vryssinas ridge. You'll continue a gradual ascent through limestone plateau to the foot of Vryssinas peak. The final ascent to the top of Vryssinas and the chapel of Prophet Ilias brings fantastic 360 degrees views of Psiloritis, Rethymno, Kedros and the White Mountains. Vultures often patrol this ridge top. The descent will bring you back to the start, with views to Rethymno and the north.
Walk 6 - Two Gorges. Approximately 9 miles, with a moderate/hard descent.This is a walk that takes us in two spectacular, but very different, gorges. We start the walk at the village of Moundros and walk up the plateau to the deserted village of Nisi. We will stop here, visiting both of the churches and exploring the ruins and the old olive press. From here we drop into the gorge of Kato Poros. This is a rough track and involves walking over and around boulders on the river bed. This gorge soon narrows and there are some amazing rock formations to be seen. It is a spectacular gorge. The second gorge leads us back to Moundros, following the small river, in the gorge, which we have to cross several times. Also a good opportunity to spot birds of prey, including the Eurasian Griffon Vulture.
Prices for 2017
Low Season: From 31 March until 30 June and 1 September until 3 November
High Season: From 1 July until 31 August
Minimum stay: 4 nights
Accommodation prices include the use of air conditioning in summer and central heating in winter. A third person can be accommodated by use of a comfortable foldaway futon for a fee of €15.- per night.
It's also possible to do more or less guided walks mixed with days of self-guided walks or simply days at leisure. Self-guided route descriptions are available for lovely walks in the immediate surroundings, as well as hiking maps and lots of books about Crete.
Long guided walks (last about 4-5 hours each) are charged at €30.- a person. Shorter guided walks are also available at €15.- a person.
Special offer for our guests who want to do guided walks in LOW SEASON:
One week stay, together with two long (5 to 6 hours) walks at your choice, the price is €550.- for two people.
Please contact the holiday provider, through the contact form, for more information.
Walking holiday with both guided and self-guided options
Board basis: Self-catering
From €225.- / 8 days
Price per person based on 2 people sharing
-7 Nights self-catering accommodation,
- welcome surprise,
- welcome drink (village Raki),
- self-guided walk descriptions for walks in the region and a local walking map,
- complete linen pack including beachtowels,
- no final cleaning fee.
- Optional guided walks,
- all other costs, including travel costs to the starting-point of this holiday.
Footscapes of Crete
Ria Swinkels & Jeroen Wouters
English, Dutch, Greek
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Go to the Greece overview page for more walking holidays in Greece.