23 Jul The coastal trails of South Western Crete
Hiking holidays can take you to the parts of Crete that other tourists simply can’t reach! Find out more about Skafia, a hidden gem in a little visited corner of beautiful Crete.
Western Crete is divided by the White Mountains range. On the south side the mountains literally end up in the sea, forming a dramatic coastline and a balcony with breathtaking views!
The coastline is rugged with cliffs cut by deep gorges. Samaria is the most famous gorge in the area and is filled with tourists during the summer months but there are about six more lesser known gorges where few tourists venture. The whole area is not overly developed, with minimal infrastructure and a real wilderness feel. Ferryboat or hiking are the only ways to travel between villages. Between Palaiochora and Sfakia three villages are linked by 50km of footpaths through unspoilt nature and dramatic scenery: Sougia, Agia Roumeli and Loutro. If you are following this part of E4, the trail that crosses Crete from west to east, you will need 4 days to reach Sfakia from Paliochora. Possibly the most strenuous part is the route between Sougia and Agia Roumeli.
If you decide to try these trails get in touch with us and we can help you design your holiday.
Or maybe you’d like to try a hiking holiday based in the tiny village of Agios Ioannis, a perfect base in the middle of this fascinating reagion. This calm and peaceful village lies at an altitude of 800 m right at the end of the road from Sfakia. Just after the bridge that crosses the gorge of Aradena the village numbers not more than 15 inhabitants.
Our guide in the area, Antonis, runs his own guest house in the village, with four newly refurbished cottages, all with en suite facilities, woodstoves and wonderful views of the mountains.
Antonis was born and raised in the village. He took his turn travelling and living abroad but eventually decided to return back to his homeland. The village he left was very different to the village he found when he returned. While growing up there was no electricity in the village and no water in their homes. The whole village shared a common water tank and they had to transfer water supplies to each house individually. There were maybe five or six children in the village and a school running just for them. Although fairly isolated, as it took 2 hours to get to Anopolis, the nearest settlement, the village was buzzing with around 40 inhabitants.
Then the Aradena bridge was constructed in 1986, civilized goods and services appeared, everyone had electricity and water and now it only takes 10 minutes to get to Anopolis. However many of the people have left and the village is not buzzing any more. There are now only 15 local inhabitants. Antonis has decided to live there permanently and has managed to shape the life he always wanted for himself and his family.
The idea of the guest house has gradually developed, based on demand. Travellers and passers by asked for it back in the 90’s as they needed a place to rest in between their hikes. Initially hikers would rent rooms in Antonis’ grandfather’s house and his mum would cook. The business grew gradually.
Now Antonis has created a wonderful custom built place for travellers, which is the base for our holidays. Hikers can relax, enjoy wonderful homemade meals and a comfortable, cosy place to stay.
If you want to experience this remote area of Crete join us for a hiking holiday. We can adjust the difficulty of the hikes according to your abilities, Talk to us about what would suit you when you book.
We have arranged week long hiking holidays in the area. Take advantage of our 20% discount on all 2015 holidays….and book now for September or October.