There are plenty of well-known routes that you can find in guidebooks so it is quite easy to find some enjoyable walks or hikes in Crete.
Although I am quite happy walking on my own or with a friend, I do like going on a guided walk as well. Some days ago I could join as a participant in a walking program and I must say that I enjoyed it very much.
So I definitely recommend you to book some guided walks in Crete for the following reasons:
When you walk with a guide, you will discover the unknown Crete and some off-the-beaten tracks that you never would have found on your own.
A guide can answer all sorts of questions about Crete and makes sure you will see the most interesting trails of Crete.
You will see much more than you would on your own as a guide has certainly an excellent knowledge of the area.
You do not need to wonder if the trail you are walking is the right one. You will not get lost and waste time by finding the right trail
Should an accident happen, it is safer to be in a group.
Last but not least: it is so much more fun to walk in a small group, there are different people to talk to and you can share experiences
The tourist season has started which limits my time for walking since I am back at work. However, I am so lucky that a part of my job involves checking some walks that tourists can do on their own so I can inform them correctly.
So off I went today for a short and easy walk in the area of Tavronitis. This walk involves mainly unpaved roads or agrotiko as the Cretans say.
view during my walk
As it is early in the morning, it is still a bit damp and there are plenty of snails. I imagine Cretan women collecting them, just after a good rain. They are a delicacy and Cretans say they are good for the stomach. For sure they would pick maratho (fennel) too, which grows in large quantities here. It is a herb that I like to use in salads but it is also used for making marathopita, a delicious pita filled with fennel.
I walk along olive groves, fields dotted with yellow flowers. The only sound I hear is the singing of the birds. The scent of wild lavender.
Suddenly I spot a buzzard catching a mouse. Some hawks are searching for prey, high in the sky. Colorful butterflies flying from one fragrant flower to another. The view on the peninsula of Rodopou is impressive. The majestic Lefka Ori (White Mountains) which can be seen from here, have still a bit of snow on its peaks. I think how fortunate I am for living on this beautiful island.
scent of wild lavender
After this lovely 2 hour walk I need to head back to my office. But I decided to leave my walking boots in the trunk of my car. Just in case that I have a spare hour to escape for a nice walk…
It is a beautiful day to explore the area of Varipetro, near Chania where the monastery of Agia Kyriaki is located in a tranquil environment.
The monastery was a set of ruins back in 1992 but has been restored and being taken care of by several nuns. It is a dependency of the Chrysopigi Monastery in Chania. The nuns are very friendly and some of them do speak a little English. They will tell you about the history of the monastery and the work they do. A scenic stone paved trail leads along a beautiful forest up to several cave churches. Even though they are fairly new, it is interesting to take a look at them. Enjoy the silence here and clear your head. Listen to the singing of the birds and admire the wonderful views.The walk continues, not via the stone path but a dirt track that leads you up to the mountains which gives you a fantastic view towards Chania. It is a bit of a strenuous walk but after the top is reached you sit on a rock and just appreciate the marvelous views. This area is a protected ecosystem so it is needless to say to keep the environment clean. Looking back, I must say that this was a more than pleasant walk less than 15 minutes drive from Chania.
Just 20 minutes drive from the village of Kolymbari is Deliana. Here you will find the well-preserved frescoes in the beautiful Byzantine church of Agios Ioannis. A “must see” before you start your walk through the gorge.
An unpaved road will take you in about 10 minutes to enter the gorge. The gorge of Deliana is one of the most easiest gorges to walk. It is more a wide track that gradually ascends. You might be lucky and spot some vultures. On the day that I passed the gorge, I counted twelve!
If you want to make a circular walk, you continue the path that goes up at the end of the gorge. At some places it is even marked, although not very clear. What I loved about the circular walk is the small detour that you can make on your way back. There is a sign to a Byzantine castle. It is more a hike than a walk when you walk along this trail, but it is definitely worth it since from this point you will have the most amazing views over the island of Crete. On a clear day you can even see Roka and the Polyrrinia. Imagine living in Byzantine times…. they must have been able to communicate with each other from these castles! Take the same trail back from were you came from and continue the road. It is partly paved, mainly downhill and a small steep part uphill before the road takes you back to the village of Deliana.