Classic & Undiscovered Crete

Greece - Crete - Samaria Gorge - AdobeStock_62146189.jpeg
Duration: 7 nights
Type: European walking holidays
Walking Grade: 2 & 3
from £1,249pp

Greece’s largest island rolls out over 600 miles of coastline dotted with palm-fringed sandy stretches, plus an impressive line-up of ancient ruins, whitewashed villages, and historic cities. There’s also a wealth of wonderful walking trails that up the ante for epic scenery. Trek through the White Mountains for their eyebrow-arching views of soaring cliffs, wildflowers, and Cretan wild goats known as Kri Kri and discover the national park and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve that is Samaria Gorge. Stretching for over 9.94 miles (16km) it’s one of the longest gorges in Europe.

What you’ll love

  • Completing the dramatic Samaria Gorge walk
  • Admiring beautiful foothills, stunning coastline, and ancient ruins
  • Keeping your eyes peeled for rare wildlife
  • Staying in an authentic Cretan village near Kolimbari
  • Visiting the Venetian city of Chania on your free day

What’s included

  • Full programme of guided walks led by local HF Holidays Leaders
  • Choice of walks
  • 4-star hotel accommodation
  • Half-board (all breakfasts and evening meals)
  • All transport to and from walks
  • Return flights from the UK including hold baggage and airport transfers

Trip Notes

Easy to download as a PDF, our trip notes provide detailed information for every holiday. Please click below to find the trip notes for your departure date.

All our carefully-curated itineraries are designed by our experts. While we make every effort to adhere to the described itinerary, we may take alternative routes or adapt the running order for weather and/or operational reasons.

Welcome to Hotel Spilia Village. Unpack and settle in.


Today both groups will visit Rodopos village with its narrow streets, stone houses and beautiful churches.

Option 1 - Rodopos

Distance: 6 miles (10km)

Total ascent: 300 feet (90m)

In summary: A short journey to a splendid viewpoint and then our walk starts via olive groves to Rodopos village. Quiet tracks take us back to Kolimbari and a chance to visit the monastery or beach before a taxi ride back to the hotel.

Highlight: The Gonias Monastery and museum, one of the best preserved monasteries on Crete.

Option 2 - Rodopos Peninsula

Distance: 8 miles (13km)

Total ascent: 1,400 feet (420m)

In summary: A short journey to the lovely village of Rodopos where we will make our way along old goat paths and quiet dirt tracks through this rocky spine of Rodopos Peninsula to our hotel.

Highlight: Mountain goat spotting, spy them scrambling over the rough, rocky terrain.


Our coach follows the coast road west from Kolimbari towards Kissamos and then drives inland to the rural interior of the island.

Option 1 - Sirikari Gorge & Polyrinia

Distance: 4 miles (6½km) 

Total ascent: 300 feet (90m)

Total descent: 1,200 feet (360m) 

In summary: Our walk descends steeply into the deep gorge of Sirikari. At the bottom we pass abandoned dwellings on a rocky path that goes beneath high cliffs, home to eagles and vultures. At the end of the gorge we ascend to the ancient village of Polyrinia where there is time to explore before meeting our coach.

Highlight: Sitting amongst the flowers on the terrace of the unique little teashop in Polyrinia and eating a freshly-baked cake – yum!

Option 2 - Sirikari Gorge, Polyrinia & Kissamou

Distance: 8 miles (13km)

Total ascent: 500 feet (150m) 

Total descent: 2,000 feet (600m)

In summary: We follow the route of the easier group as far as Polyrinia. From here we continue along a wide open ridge with great views to reach the coast at the town of Kissamos.

Highlight: Stunning views of the turquoise Gulf of Kissamos and beyond to the Aegean Sea. When you reach it, take the chance to dip in a toe, or more, with a swim.


Today we offer a choice of the famous Samaria Gorge or the very attractive but shorter Imbros Gorge.

Option 1 - The Imbros Gorge

Distance: 4½ miles (7km)

Total ascent: no ascent

Total descent: 2,000 feet (600m) 

In summary: We drive to the little village of Imbros, high in the White Mountains. From here we head down the lovely, narrow Imbros Gorge which is usually very peaceful. Leaving the gorge we are met by our coach to make the short journey into the quaint little town of Chorio Sfakion, the capital of the region. As well as cafés and restaurants there is a pretty town beach and an opportunity to take the ferry to the remarkable resort of Loutro.

Highlight: Relax with a boat ride to the delightful resort of Loutro, a pretty blue and white village only accessible by boat.

Option 2 - The Samaria Gorge

Distance: 10 miles (16km)

Total ascent: 100 feet (30m) 

Total descent: 4,000 feet (1,200m)

In summary: An early start takes us to the top of the Samaria Gorge, high up in the White Mountains with dramatic scenery. This stunning gorge is 10 miles long and descends from the Omalos Plateau to the sea at Aghia Roumeli. We follow a good but rough trail with rest stations, water and basic toilet facilities. We should arrive at the bottom with time to enjoy a drink or a swim in the Libyan Sea before taking the afternoon ferry to Chorio Sfakion. 

In April and late October or at times of poor weather the Samaria gorge is closed. In this situation alternative walks will be substituted.

Highlight: The most famous part of the gorge is the stretch known as ‘the Gates’, where the sides close in to a narrow passage and soar up to a height of 980ft (300m). 

Please note that the Samaria Gorge is at the high end of the HF Grade 3 level walk and guests must be in good health and steady on their feet to maintain a reasonable pace. Whilst the paths are rough, they are not steep or exposed, but this can be a tiring walk.

In April and late October, or at times of poor weather, the Samaria Gorge may be closed. In this case, a suitable alternative walk will be arranged by our knowledgeable local leaders. 


Each week there is a free day when no guided walks are offered. This is an ideal opportunity to relax around the hotel, walk independently or visit local places of interest. The more popular options for your free day include:

Chania: Many guests take the opportunity to visit the delightful Venetian city of Chania. The old town is a maze of narrow streets lined with shops, bars and restaurants. The centrepiece of the city is the main harbour, from where there are regular boat trips available. The cafés that line the harbour side are attractive places to have lunch and watch the world go by. Other interesting sights include the Venetian defences and the indoor market – a hive of bustle and activity with lots of local produce.

Spilia Village: For a relaxing day you may prefer to spend time around the hotel and pool or perhaps a stroll in the olive groves or to ancient local churches.

The mosque at Chania port, Crete, Greece


Both walks visit the mountain village of Milia. This ancient village was abandoned in 1948 and then rebuilt using the traditional materials of timber and stone in the 1990s. As much of the original village as possible was preserved or recreated and the nearby gorge was reforested. It is now used as a mountain retreat and enjoys wonderful views of the surrounding forested slopes. 

Option 1 - Milia & Topolia

Distance: 7 miles (11km) 

Total ascent: 1,200 feet (360m)

In summary: We ascend steadily to Milia accompanied by great views. Here we may have the opportunity to enjoy lunch in a taverna before taking quiet tracks and lanes to Topolia.

Highlight: Stop at the taverna in Milia for refreshing home-made lemonade, or perhaps lunch, and soak up the magnificent view.

Option 2 - High Country around Milia

Distance: 9 miles (14½km) 

Total ascent: 2,200 feet (660m) 

In summary: We too start the day with a steady ascent to a pretty viewpoint above Milia. After a short refreshment we will continue to ascend through beautiful wild country to a wonderful plateau for lunch before making our way on good paths and quiet roads to Topolia to join the easier group.  

Highlight: Enjoy the feeling of serenity as you explore this wild and beautiful area of Crete.


Enjoy dramatic mountain views and the opportunity to enjoy a traditional taverna lunch.

Option 1 - Snowy Mountain Villages

Distance: 6 miles (9½km)

Total ascent: 500 feet (150m) 

Total descent: 1,200 feet (360m) 

In summary: From the historic village of Theriso we walk up to Zourva using a valley path or a quiet road with dramatic views of mountain villages in the distance. There will be an opportunity for a typical Greek meze-style lunch in Amelia’s tavern before turning down into a wooded valley and walking through orange trees into Meskla and a shady taverna.

Highlight: Visit historic Theriso.

Option 2 - White Mountain Approaches

Distance: 7 miles (11km)

Total ascent: 800 feet (240m) 

Total descent: 1,500 feet (450m)

In summary: From Theriso we follow shepherd’s tracks further up into the White Mountains. We will need to take care on a short rocky descent that takes us around the head of the valley before walking briskly to Zourva where we join the easier group for lunch and the walk down to Meskla including a pretty little gorge.

Highlight: Both walks can linger over a typical Greek meze-style lunch with a view in the acclaimed Amelia’s tavern – a great way to celebrate the holiday.


We hope to see you again soon.


Itinerary map for Crete

Spilia Village - Crete

The family-owned Spilia Village hotel is a luxury 4-star resort surrounded by citrus orchards and olive groves just 3km from the charming village of Kolimbari. A former olive oil processing plant, it has been lovingly restored using local stone and wood and the original millstones of the plant are on display in reception. As for facilities, the hotel boasts free Wi-Fi throughout, two outdoor pools, and an excellent restaurant decked out in Venetian style.

Rooms

Spilia Village has 30 comfortable en-suite rooms. All have free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, direct dial phones, two channel radio, satellite TV, mini bar, safe deposit box, laundry service, and hairdryer.

In common with most European hotels, tea and coffee making facilities are not available in the bedrooms; however hot drinks can be purchased from the bar/café. Twin rooms comprise one double bed and a day bed/sofa bed. 

About your stay

Spilia Village has two outdoor swimming pools. 

There is a pool bar, open during the daytime.

Internet access and Wi-Fi are free of charge.

Food & drink

Our holidays at Spilia Village are on a half-board basis and include breakfast and evening meal.

Breakfast

A self-service buffet is available each morning including a wide range of options.

Lunch (payable locally)

Ingredients for your picnic lunch can be bought from the local shops. On some walks it will be possible to eat in a local tavern; your leaders will advise. The hotel can also provide a packed lunch which can be added to your bill.

Evening meal

Dinner is served in the traditional Taverna "Halara" (a structure dating from the Venetian period). The Taverna serves local style cuisine with ingredients sourced from local farms and villages. Jugs of tap water, tea and coffee are served with the evening meal.

Drinks

The hotel has a well-stocked bar serving beer, wine and spirits.

Your evenings

The friendly atmosphere of our Guided Walking holidays continues into the evening.

We’ll enjoy a leisurely meal and then you may also like to join your leader for an evening stroll, relax with a book in a quiet lounge or linger after dinner with a drink purchased from Reception.

Essential information

It's best to be prepared for all weather conditions. To make it easier, here is a list of items you should consider packing.   

Essentials  

  • Walking boots 
  • Waterproof jacket 
  • Waterproof trousers 
  • Insulated jacket/top 
  • Walking clothing  
  • Walking socks (plus spares)  
  • Sunhat 
  • Gloves/mitts and warm hat
  • Water bottle (minimum 2 litre capacity)  
  • Headtorch 
  • High-factor sunscreen (minimum SPF 30)  
  • Sunglasses with a dark lens 
  • Rucksack (15-30 litres)  
  • Mobile phone 
  • Personal first aid kit (containing your medication, blister plasters, etc.) 
  • Passport 
  • Visa (if applicable) 
  • Copy of your travel insurance policy 
  • UK Global Health Insurance Card (formerly known as EHIC

Recommended

  • Collapsible walking poles 
  • Swimwear and travel towel
  • Snacks
  • Dry bags
  • Rubbish bags
  • Insect repellent

Optional extras

  • Camera 
  • Sit mat
  • Flask for hot drinks 
  • Durable lunch box
  • Gaiters 
  • GPS device 

Guest reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Supplements may apply.

Non-member fee: £30 per person.

All packages that include flights are ATOL protected. Advertised prices listed below show the lowest economy flight price option for that departure. On holidays where we offer local UK airports, details will appear in the “Important Information” section below and available alternative flight options will be offered when you book. Seating upgrades may be available on request and at an additional charge, please call 020 3974 8865 for a quote.

Date (Start - End) Itinerary Double / Twin Room Single Room Notes / Offers Trip Notes Book
2024

27 Apr - 04 May 2024

7 nights

Itinerary
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04 May - 11 May 2024

7 nights

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Flight from London Gatwick Airport

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11 May - 18 May 2024

7 nights

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21 May - 28 May 2024

7 nights

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21 Sep - 28 Sep 2024

7 nights

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Flight from London Heathrow Airport

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Double Call to Enquire
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28 Sep - 05 Oct 2024

7 nights

Itinerary
Flight from London Heathrow Airport

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Double from

£1,489 pp

from

£1,489 pp

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05 Oct - 12 Oct 2024

7 nights

Itinerary
Flight from London Heathrow Airport

Single Call to Enquire

Double from

£1,489 pp

from

£1,489 pp

Call to Enquire Trip Notes
Book Now

12 Oct - 19 Oct 2024

7 nights

Itinerary
Flight from London Heathrow Airport

Single Call to Enquire

Double from

£1,489 pp

from

£1,489 pp

Call to Enquire Trip Notes
Book Now
Date (Start - End) Itinerary Double / Twin Room Single Room Notes / Offers Trip Notes Book
2024

27 Apr - 04 May 2024

7 nights

Itinerary

Single Call to Enquire
Double Call to Enquire
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04 May - 11 May 2024

7 nights

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Single Call to Enquire
Double Call to Enquire
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11 May - 18 May 2024

7 nights

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21 May - 28 May 2024

7 nights

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21 Sep - 28 Sep 2024

7 nights

Itinerary

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Double Call to Enquire
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28 Sep - 05 Oct 2024

7 nights

Itinerary

Single Call to Enquire

Double from

£1,249 pp

from

£1,249 pp

Call to Enquire Trip Notes
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05 Oct - 12 Oct 2024

7 nights

Itinerary

Single Call to Enquire

Double from

£1,249 pp

from

£1,249 pp

Call to Enquire Trip Notes
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12 Oct - 19 Oct 2024

7 nights

Itinerary

Single Call to Enquire

Double from

£1,269 pp

from

£1,269 pp

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Important information

  • With flights holidays: Price includes return flights to Chania Airport, hold baggage and airport transfers
  • Our airport taxi service operates at this resort - price available on request
Duration:
7 nights
Type:
European walking holidays
Walking Grade:
2 & 3

7 nights from £1,249pp

or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ guests click here

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