” Spring and Autumn Guided Country Walking within Western Crete “
Spring Week 30 April to 07 May 2019 £955pp
Autumn Week 01-08 October 2019 £935pp
(single supp £100)
Five days of leisurely to medium paced walks of about 6 to 7 miles in the rolling countryside and dramatic gorges of Western Crete visiting villages and ancient sites amidst the abundance of Spring flowers with a backdrop of snowcapped mountains. Walks are 3 to 4 hours ending in lunch at a village taverna to sample local Cretan cuisine.
Walks take in the hills and the valleys of Western Crete as well as traditional villages and quiet ancient sites which are particularly beautiful in the Spring and Autumn with the abundance of wild flowers and plants.The walks, which include the foothills of Vamos, Ancient Lappa, Argiroupoli Springs, Polyrinnia and Milia, are best described as moderate and are suitable for all ramblers. During this walking week you will not be climbing mountains although inclines can never be avoided in this part of the world. Rather you will be exploring Crete’s open countryside, its gorges, hills and villages under the leadership of tour guide Tony Taylor.
Each walk of 3 to 4 hours (about 10-12 kilometres) has regular rest stops and ends in the early afternoon in a village taverna, hand picked by Tony, a resident on Crete for many years, where you will have the chance to sample a delicious array of local Cretan dishes and wine before being driven back to the village accommodation in the late afternoon. Meals are not included in the cost of the walking holiday in Crete (except for the first day evening meal). Spring Walking for 2019 will include “May Day” fesitivities in a traditional village setting after walking and lunch. Read our blog post about our Imbros Gorge walk to see an example of one of our fantastic expeditions!
Walking boots or strong comfortable shoes are recommended.
Using the Ramblers UK grading, the walks are Leisurely in pace and Easy to Moderate in terms of difficulty.
Inevitably almost all of the walks necessitate a number of ascents, usually steady, now and again short and quite steep
All walks are on tracks/paths
Accommodation for walkers is within Megala Chorafia/Aptera
Spaces are limited to 14, so early booking is recommended
- Note that temperatures in Crete even in May and October can be many degrees warmer than that of the UK which may affect your usual walking stamina
- Please discuss with us at the time of booking any medical conditions you feel may affect your walking ability
- Single supplement applies
**Please note clients for the walking holiday should outline their general level of fitness and any medical conditions at the time of booking. This will be requested before a deposit payment is taken and we will await a response before confirming your booking. Please provide your walking guide in Crete with any additional information relevant to the above at the Welcome Meeting or preferably beforehand. Although our guides carefully monitor individual abilities over the week, ideally you be required to have a good level of fitness and agility and therefore this holiday is only suitable to those used to walking the above distances and terrain on a regular basis.
The Pure Crete walking holiday in Crete is suitable for single travellers as well as couples and small groups. The price per person for Spring and Autumn Walking is £955pp & £935pp which includes your flight, all transfers, guide, complimentary welcome meal and a week of Pure Crete category B self catering accommodation within the hilltop village of Aptera in North Western Crete. Single supplement and regional flight supplement applies.
“We are in a village taverna in western Crete, my companions are fellow walkers on a holiday that explores the unspoilt beauty of this less visited side of the island and we are getting to grips with the local customs.
But our Cretan education is only just the beginning. Tony Taylor, our walking guide, is a man in a mission: to help us discover the Crete through walks suitable for anyone of moderate fitness.
He keeps up a steady flow of information and observations as he drives us each day in the minibus to the start of our walk and then leads us at a leisurely pace through traditional villages that most tourists would never find, along kalderimi or donkey tracks, through ravines and to spectacular viewpoints.
Outside the peak summer months, its ideal walking weather in Crete. Sometimes we walk in the shade of carob or almond trees but even in full sun, theres a gentle breeze. My fellow walkers, mainly aged-50 plus, soon bond during the lunchtime taverna stops, when Tony orders a selection of a dozen or so middle of the table for sharing. Its an opportunity for us to sample a variety of typical Cretan food, which islanders claim is the healthiest of all the Mediterranean diets.”
Helen Hosker, ETC magazine
A ‘Typical’ Country Walking Itinerary
As always the walks are subject to change dependent on local conditions.
Day 1: Tuesday
Flight to Chania airport and taxi transfers to accommodation in Aptera village.
Meet your walk guide at Ta Aptera Taverna at 7.30pm for informal chat followed by a meal together.
Day 2: Wednesday
Meet at 9.30am in the village square; transport to Xerosterni
Walk: “From Xerosterni to Gavalohori with Souda Bay below”
Taverna lunch in Gavalohori. Return to the village accommodation around 4.30 pm with a stop at the supermarket for provisions. (Spring Walking 2019 will include an opportunity to experience “May Day” festivities in Gavalohori including Cretan music and dancing)
Day 3: Thursday
Meet at 8.30am in the village square; transport to Tsitsifes
Walk: ‘The Villages of Cheese and Tragedy, From Tsitsifes to Vafes and its hidden tragic gorge”
Taverna lunch in Nippos. Return to village accommodation around 3.30 pm.
Day 4: Friday
Meet at 8.30am in the village square for the journey west to Vilandredho.
Walk: ‘The Gorge of Kato Poros, the Lower Gate of Ancient Lappa and Argiropolis’
Taverna lunch by Lake Kournas. Return to village accommodation around 4 pm.
Day 5: Saturday
A free day to rest or do further walking or sightseeing on your own. You could enjoy the many attractions of Chania, or hire a car to explore further a-field or, for the more energetic (and if open), an opportunity to walk the renowned Samaria Gorge.
Day 6: Sunday
Meet at 8.30am in the village square; transport to the Askifou Plateau.
Walk: ‘The Imbros Gorge and the South Coast’
Taverna lunch above the plateau at Kares . Return to village accommodation around 4.30 pm.
Day 7: Monday
Meet at 8.30am in the village square for the journey east to Pollirinia.
Walk: ‘Ancient Pollirinia, the Sirikari Gorge ‘
Taverna lunch on the coast. Return to village accommodation about 4 pm
Day 8: Tuesday
Transfer to airport by taxi for return flight home
Feedback from Spring Walking guests:
“The walking holiday surpassed all our expectations, Tony Taylor was a fantastic guide and has such a wealth of knowledge regarding the local area, the group were great company and lunches were feasts different everyday in superb locations. Thank you all”
Ms J Hall Brett
“Our walk-leader Tony was brilliant, and as well as taking us on very good walks, he arranged superb lunch-time food, especially on the first and last days. Overall an excellent, very enjoyable, smoothly run, hassle-free Holiday”
Mr J Gowers
“The Spring Walking holiday exceeded my expectations. Tony, our walking guide looked after us extremely well, ensuring our comfort and enjoyments. The scenery, wild flowers and the scent of wild herbs made the experience memorable as did the delicious lunches arranged for us at the end of each day’s walk. True Crete away from the normal tourist haunts.”
Ms J Davis
“We’d like to thank you and the team for a thoroughly enjoyable holiday. The walking with Tony and Simon was great, not to mention the most delicious lunches at the different tavernas. I can honestly say that the food we had every day wherever we ate was the best we’ve eatten in all our 20 or so Greek holidays.”
Mrs D Chambers
Letters received from ‘Walking Week’ clients:
” We cannot fault the arrangements for our holiday, or the service we received. Tony Taylor who led the week was knowledgeable , helpful and fun. The Tavernas where we ate were well selected with a variety of different menus”.
Mr J, Shepherd
“A superb holiday. Accommodation excellent, walking days expertly arranged and Tony went to great lengths to make sure all walks were successful and everyone was happy. Thanks to Marilyn also for assisting! Pure Crete team – warm, friendly and extremely helpful. Congratulations on running a very successful enterprise which fits in seamlessly with the Cretan village and environment. Very impressed!”
Ms V. May
“Tony and Marilyn were superb hosts. It was as if we were their personal guests. They provided insights into the island and its history and glimpses of their personal journey over 15 years on Crete. Their expertise and concern made for a magical week”
Mr J Russell Brown
“We enjoyed our holiday with Pure Crete. The walks were excellent, well planned and with good arrangements for transport. The format, with a walk in the morning, then lunch together, arranged by Tony, and then a free afternoon each day, with a day off, was also excellent”
Mr D, Surrey
“We were with Tony on the very first of his walking holidays and obviously enjoyed it as we were keen to return for a second visit. We were delighted with the experience again and think it was even better”
Mrs W, Lancs
“This was our 2nd holiday with Pure Crete. We did the walking week with Tony Taylor the first week based at Metoche Penthouse. It was most enjoyable – wonderful walking and great taverna lunches. A lot of preparation had clearly taken place. Pass our thanks to Tony.”
Mr A Goodsell
‘We have just returned from the excellent Walking Week based in Megala Chorafia and wish to record our heartfelt thanks especially to Tony Taylor.’
‘Tony was professional and very knowledgeable about the different areas covered. We found him a very personable leader and he provided not only expert guidance on the walks themselves but also engendered an atmosphere within the party such that each was individually enthusiastic whilst all interacted together in a friendly group. This inspired an overall desire by everyone to get the best out of the experience.’
Mr G Ashton
‘Excellent walking holiday, superbly led by Tony Taylor! Loved it cant wait to go back.’
‘We had a wonderful holiday with you. We cant fault a thing. The organisation was excellent and the walking was tremendous. I have recommended you to all my friends. Thank you’
The Imbros Gorge
Photos by Mike Ader with kind permission