Seven nights from £1,135 per person
Departing 11 May & 9 October 2012.
You'll love this tour if you like:
- The great outdoors
- Tradition and culture
The success of our Crete walking tours has led us to explore and research interesting trails elsewhere amidst the Greek archipelago! With the help of experienced local guides we have found some lovely trails and put together some spectacular walks. Like our Walking in Western Crete tour, these tours will similarly display the natural and authentic landscape of each region whilst, with the help of our knowledgeable guides, will also provide an insight into the traditional ways and culture of each destination.
Already well-established, and extremely popular, are our walks in Western Crete so we thought it was time to introduce our guests to the east of the island. Eastern Crete is vastly different from the west, so much so that one often feels that one has literally changed islands! The landscape is less mountainous but more hilly, with a multitude of small gorges and lost valleys where you find old stone villages blending harmoniously with a wild and often mysterious landscape. The earth here is sometimes deep purple or red, prefect for growing olives and grapes, which you find in abundance throughout this part of Crete. We explore arid and yet colourful gorges, including 'Deads' gorge', where the ancient Minoans used the natural caves to bury their dead. The colours found in this region are inspirational with the sharp blue of the sea and the sky marrying on the horizon and the wild natural beauty glistening amidst the silvery-green olive trees and the red and grey rocks.
During our tour we will explore a variety of these landscapes, encountering working shephard communities, abondoned Minoan villages, frescoed Byzantine chapels and medieval monasteries.
Our base for this tour is the seaside town of Sitia, an ideal location both for reaching the start of our walks each day as well as a perfect situation for your free time as everything is close by.
Our walks in Eastern Crete can be described as easy to medium with walks averaging between 6 to 12kms a day.
DAY TO DAY ITINERARY
The guide for our Eastern Crete tour is Jonathan Peat. Jonathan has been guiding walks in Greece, both on the mainland and the islands, for nearly 20 years. Jonathan is of British/Greek descent and speaks both languages fluently. His passion for Greece is fully represented in his guiding. Jonathan’s aims first and foremost during a tour are to introduce the special and unspoilt places and the beautiful nature in an area as well as to involve the visitor in a very authentic side of Greek life. He will explain the customs and communities and will provide the opportunity to meet local people going about their daily lives, giving you the opportunity to experience a side of Greece that you may not have experienced before.
Day 1: Fly from London Gatwick to Heraklion, Crete (some regional flights available, on request). Transfer to Sitia Beach Hotel (approx. 2 hours), for 7-night stay on half board basis. Time to relax, swim or explore before meeting in evening for welcome dinner at the hotel with your guide.
Day 2: We transfer by bus to the village of Zakros in the very far east of the island. From here we descend 'the valley of the dead' or 'Dead's gorge' as it is also known, to the coast at Kato Zakros. For those interested there will be time to visit the Minoan palace of Zakros before lunch in one of the handful of tavernas situated close to the sea. We return, on foot, to Zakros in the afternoon and transfer back to our hotel.
Day 3: Today we head west by bus to the hill village of Kavousi from where we start a circular walk in the beautiful Thripti mountains. AS we walk we will see the remains of a Minoan village and a medieval fortress.
Day 4: Dafni to Makriyalos. A tranquil walk over scented hills walking through a small gorge to the traditional hill village of Pefki. After lunch in a local taverna we descend to the sea at Makriyialos via the picturesque Pefki gorge.
Day 5: Day free. You may wish to just relax and enjoy the facilities of your hotel but if you wish to explore further your guide will be happy to provide more information on things to see and do. Sitia has an interesting archaeological museum and a folklore museum and, using local buses, it is possible to visit the harbour town Agios Nikolaos, from where you can visit the historical island of Spinalonga.
Day 6: Today we head into the interior of eastern Crete, following a scenic, natural landscape to the Plateau of Ziros. From here we walk to the village of Sitanos. From the plateau of Ziros we walk to the village of Sitanos, where we will have lunch before continuing our walk down, finishing either at Zakros (via very different route from Day 2) or at Ziros.
Day 7: A coastal walk to Palekastro. Following a small gorge we descend to a magical bay. From here we walk along the coast to the beautiful bay of Palekastro where there will be time for a swim before returning to our hotel.
Day 8: Transfer to Heraklion for return flight home.
NB: Exact order of itinerary may vary according to local conditions and guide's discretion.
- Return charter flights from London Gatwick to Heraklion, including all payable taxes
- 7 nights' accommodation in standard room on HB basis at 4-star Sitia Beach Hotel, Sitia, based on occupancy of a twin/double room
- 5 lunches (either picnic or taverna lunches)
- Transfers and excursions as detailed
- Guide throughout
- Single room supplement
- Holiday insurance
- Regional flight supplement (available on request)
- Meals other than those stated
- Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls
- Porterage and gratuities
The east of Crete is one of the most undeveloped regions on the island. Known locally as 'the hidden Crete' the area offers the visitor a particularly authentic and traditional experience. The scenery is spectacularly wild with rolling hills, rocky coastlines and large plateaus that are attractively planted with local produce, tended by farmers from the nearby villages that have lived from the land for centuries. The region is dotted throughout with tiny, traditional villages that continue to survive and where you will discover the true Cretan hospitality of an open and friendly local people.
The capital of the region, Sitia is built amphitheatrically overlooking the bay of Sitia. Like our base for our 'Walking in Western Crete' tour, the town today very much represents a working town with a touch of tourism, rather than the other way round! It remains small and attractive with the seaside promenade, lined with sophisticated cafes and enticing tavernas, a prominent feature that is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.
Like most towns in Crete Sitia has been influenced by history, some of which can be seen today in the ancient fortifications, situated just above the modern town, that represent a small part of what was once the medieval walled town of Sitia. Some of the town's history can be discovered in its small but excellent archaeological museum and in its folklore museum.
The region also has an excellent reputation for its first class olive oil, much of which is organic, as well as its vineyards. Olive oil produced and sold by Sitia is amongst the finest you can buy on the island and the wine, produced and bottled by the Sitia winery, which you will be able to enjoy during your stay is very drinkable!