This centre-based in the lovely village of Chora Sfakion 8-day tour offers a choice of walks each day and takes in all the highlights including Samaria Gorge.
Immerse yourself in Crete’s dramatic landscape, with its rich history, olive groves and wonderful beaches. After each hiking day, the warm waters of the Mediterranean awaits you and your family, just a footstep from the lovely seaside hotel Livikon in Chora Sfakion. The walks will take you via the Lefka Ora (White Mountains) to the south coast’s secluded beaches. Walk through two of its beautiful gorges, Imbros and the breathtaking Samaria. Visit the most romantic village on Crete, the idyllic Loutro, accessible only by boat or on foot. Choose between hiking or spending a lazy day on the beach and enjoy the local philoxenia (hospitality), amazing local food and some excellent wines.
- Beautiful hills and stunning coastline
- The dramatic gorges of Imbros and Samaria
- The inland of Crete with the Lefka Ori (White Mountains)
- Traditional villages on the Askifou Plain and idyllic fishing villages
- The old town of Chania
Click to view map
Day 1: Arrival Chora Sfakion
Your driver will welcome you at the airport in Chania and transfer you to Chora Sfakion, located on the Libyan Sea coast. Chora Sfakion is the capital of the remote and mountainous region of Sfakiá. Today, the tiny fishing village is an amiable and scenic place that caters well to visitors with its main harborfront of tavernas, minimarkets, quiet local beach immediately west of the village, and several pebbly beaches nearby. You will be accommodated in the cosy hotel Livikon for the duration of your stay.
Day 2: Askifou | 7km
After breakfast, take a taxi or bus to the cosy village of Kares, where you can visit the local small war museum. The route leads you on quiet tarmac roads across the Askifou Plateau in the Lefka Ori (White Mountains). Enjoy the view of the mountain slopes covered with snow in winter and spring, making you feel like walking in a painting. Reach the village of Imbros on the south side of the plateau. Have a break in some of the taverns or cafes and soak in the locals’ peaceful life. It is a nice, gentle walk for warming up before visiting Imbros and Samaria gorges in the next two days.
- Walking for the day: 7km, 2h, ↑150m ↓125m
Day 3: Imbros Gorge | 12.5km
Taxi or local bus brings you back to Imbros’ village to get some supplies in the mini-market before entering the second famous gorge of Crete: the Imbros gorge. You will be walking for about two hours along a rocky riverbed with loose stones and rocks alternated with easier sections. The landscapes here are other-worldly; at its narrowest point, the Imbros gorge is only 1.60m wide! 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. At the end of the gorge, you come to Komitades where you may relax and have lunch in one of the taverns. Continue your walk crossing the Sfakia gorge and reaching Chora Sfakion. End your day with a refreshing swim.
- Walking for the day: 12.5km, approx. 4h, ↑350m ↓1,100m
Day 4: Samaria Gorge | 7.2km
Today you walk through one of Europe’s longest and most spectacular canyons: the Samaria Gorge. Take the ferry for an hour journey to the seaside village of Agia Roumeli, located at the end of the gorge. Walk to the very narrow passage near the gorge’s end, known by the locals as “Portes” which means “gates”. Make sure to catch the last ferry at 5.30 pm to get back to Chora Sfakion.
Note that the Samaria gorge is open from 1st May until the autumn rains start (usually end of October). It is also possible for the gorge to be closed at any time by authorities in case of flash flood alerts, in such case an alternative route will be provided.
- Walking for the day: 7.2 km, 3 hours, ↑375 m ↓375 m
Day 5: Town of Chania Rest Day
Take the local bus to visit the town of Chania and its pretty Venetian quarter. Wander around its narrow streets and old townhouses now transformed into atmospheric taverns. The busy Harbour area includes ample shops, bars, restaurants and cafes, boat trips, a museum, an art gallery and the lighthouse plus fabulous views to enjoy. A great place to unwind, have a stroll and enjoy a tasty lunch.
Day 6: Coastal walk from Chora Sfakion to Loutro | 10km
From Chora Sfakion climb through the Ilinga Gorge to the authentic village of Anopolis. Here you meet locals in the kafenion, and you may try one of those excellent Sfakiana pittas yourself: a sort of pancake with cream cheese and honey. This will give you energy for the rest of the walk. You will descend along a terrific path to the village of Loutro, hidden in a tiny, perfectly round, bay. Loutro is only accessible by ferry or walking, and there are no cars. Throughout the walk, you will have splendid views of the sea and Loutro. Take the afternoon ferry back to Chora Sfakion.
- Walking for the day: 10km, approx. 4-5h, ↑600m ↓670m
Day 7: Free Day
Enjoy a free day on the beach.
Day 8: Departure
After breakfast, our local representative will transfer you back to Chania airport.
What to expect
Your accommodation will be the hotel with the best location in Chora Sfakion – Livikon. Located in the town of Sfakia, within a 5-minute drive from Iliggas and Ammoudi Beaches, Livikon by the Sea features a sea-view tavern. All rooms have a private balcony with Libyan Sea views and free Wi-Fi. The stone-paved units come with air conditioning and a TV. They also feature a private bathroom with free toiletries. Some include a refrigerator. Breakfast is served daily at the hotel’s dining area. Restaurants, cafes and supermarkets can be found in the town of Sfakia.
Click to view images from Hotel Livikon
*The accommodation is subject to availability. In case this particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.
The overnights are on bed & breakfast basis. Every morning you enjoy a traditional breakfast with ingredients from local produce. Items for lunch are on purchase in the local mini-market in the villages. You can order a packed lunch; discuss with the hosts what they can make for you and what you like and pay for your lunch on the spot in cash. Evening dinner can be enjoyed in one of the local taverns or at the accommodation.
Difficulty and terrain
Good physical shape is recommended to experience the routes in an enjoyable way. The walks are mostly on stony trails, relatively short and easy to follow, and there is a great variety in landscape on every walk. The coastal section goes along exposed cliffs that require a head for heights. The walk on the Askifou plain is a relaxing stroll (read more about difficulty grades). We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never shorten the path through unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. We are also using a specialized app for walking and cycling holidays. We recommend all guests to download the app and create an account on which we can upload all the information needed for the trip routes.
When to go
This trip is available from mid-March to early November. The best period to visit is between June and the beginning of October. In April and end of October, the Samaria gorge is closed, and guests will travel with the luggage van to Sougia, take a ferry to Agia Roumeli and make a 10 km walk to the ‘Kastro’. The Anidri Gorge walk is not possible from June to September, when there is an alternative route from Elafonissos to Paleochora. Crete has a Mediterranean climate, with mild and rainy winters, and hot and sunny summers. In the fine season, from mid-May to mid-September, the Meltemi (or Etesian) blows from the northwest. The southern coasts are more sheltered from this wind, especially in the coastal stretches that are located south of the mountains. The Meltemi, together with the lighter breezes which in any case blow on summer afternoons, has the merit of making the heat more bearable. The flexibility of self guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your trip on any date during the season.
Click to view travel options
Our recommended arrival airport for this holiday is Chania (CHQ). An alternative airport is Heraklion (HER).
By train or bus
- Complimentary arrival and departure transfers from/to Chania airport (1.5 h) are included. Optional transfer from/to Heraklion airport available upon request (3 h).
- The bus ride from/to Heraklion could take up to 6 hours, for more information, please visit KTEL.
- For more detailed information, use the Omio planner above.
- 7 nights accommodation at Hotel Livikon (private en-suite)
- Breakfast each day
- Arrival and departure transfer from/to Chania airport
- Detailed road book and maps (a digital copy, provided before the tour)
- Access to our Navigation App
- 24/7 phone support by our local office/representative
- Flights and airport transfers other than Chania airport
- Lunches and dinners
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- Personal expenses such as snacks, drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
- Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘included’ in the programme
Options, extras and supplements
- Single room supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
- This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
- Extra nights at any of the accommodations along the way as well as in Chania and Heraklion
- Private arrival and departure transfers from/to Heraklion airport