Day 1 CreteMake your own way to Crete where you can meet us for the scheduled group transfers to your hotel in Chania. Settle in and relax before meeting your fellow travellers over a drink and dinner tonight.
Meals included: D
Day 2 Chania
Walk 4km/2.5 miles - 1.5 hours
Postcard-pretty Chania owes much of its visual charm to a combination of Venetian, Turkish and Ottoman architecture. Today, we'll explore Crete's second-largest city and discover narrow streets filled with tavernas, cafés and shops. The Old Venetian Harbour is an enchanting highlight, with a unique lighthouse that's one of the world's oldest.
After our guided walking tour, you'll have plenty of free time to wander through the atmospheric streets of the Old Town and stimulate your senses at the cross-shaped Municipal Market. A multitude of leather stores and quirky boutiques can keep you shopping all afternoon, if you choose. Alternatively, you can simply sip on traditional Cretan wine while relaxing along the magnificent waterfront.Meals included: B,D
Day 3 Sirikari Gorge - Polirinia
Walk 9km/5.5 miles - 3 hours
Green valleys, glistening streams and an abundance of wildflowers greet us on our guided walk of Sirikari Gorge. This unspoilt region of western Crete is remote and peaceful, where Griffon vultures circle overhead. You'll need your sturdy walking shoes today, as we hike the gorge and take in breathtaking views when we reach the archaeological site of Polirinia. A powerful city across ancient Greek and Roman times, picturesque ruins are preserved along steep cliffs and surrounded by panoramic vistas. We'll see a Roman aqueduct, Venetian arches and traditional houses, before having a stop to get lunch. If you're still feeling quite active, take an uphill climb to the remnants of the city's medieval fort.Meals included: B,D
Day 4 White Mountains
We'll take a scenic drive in the orange-growing region to Crete's magical Botanical Park, before our trip into the White Mountains today. The park is thriving with almost 20 hectares of fruit trees, herbs, medicinal plants, vineyards and wildlife.
Topped with snow during winter, the majestic White Mountains retain their glow even in summer, as the sun reflects off limestone peaks. Nothing goes better with food than spectacular views, so lunch today takes place at the historic plateau of Omalos. It's the gateway to the Samariá Gorge, and we'll visit here after a delicious lunch.
Day 5 Aptera - Argyroupoli
Walk 5km/3 miles -2.5 hours
Spread over the hills above sparkling Souda Bay, the ancient city of Aptera was the most powerful city of Western Crete during the Minoan era. We'll see magnificent ruins of Roman cisterns, a Turkish fortress and a unique amphitheatre on our visit today. After this, we'll drive to the traditional village of Argyroupoli. It rests on the site of Ancient Lappa which was destroyed by earthquakes and invasion.
Charming stone houses line the cobblestone streets here. Whilst we explore, you'll also see Byzantine churches, Venetian mansions and natural springs. Then we'll stop for lunch at an authentic Taverna, before learning about local traditions at the Church of the Five Holy Virgins, which is both an ancient cemetery and a shrine.Meals included: B,L,D
Day 6 Chania - at Leisure
Today is yours to do as you please, whether that's relaxing by the pool at the hotel or exploring Chania at your own pace. Alternatively, join us for an optional tour that starts with a walk through the interesting history at the Gonia Monastery. Important religious relics are preserved in the on-site museum, including antique books and icons.
Get ready for a taste of Crete's 'liquid gold' next, at the award-winning Anoskeli oil mill. The olive-based fun doesn't stop there though, as we'll have a delicious lunch next to the Monumental Olive Tree of Vouves, which is one of the oldest in the world. Bird lovers are in for a treat on our way back to Chania with a stop at Agia Lake, a protected wetland habitat for both resident and migratory birds.
Day 7 Rethymno - Kournas Lake
Romantic Rethymno is a fairytale combination of Venetian arches, majestic mansions and captivating cobbled pathways. We'll explore the 'Fortezza' fortress, an imposing structure that dominates the Old Town with giant bastions, and houses the Sultan Bin Ibrahim Mosque. Leisure time gives you the freedom to find the perfect Greek lunch in a range of tavernas, explore the long, sandy seaside or search for treasures in winding lanes.
Next , ever-changing shades of blue dazzle the eyes at Kournas Lake, Crete's only freshwater lake. Set within a valley among the hills, this beautiful landscape hosts an array of protected wildlife, including diamondback terrapins. Back in Chania, we'll celebrate our fabulous trip over a farewell dinner together.Meals included: B,D
Please note: There will be plenty of rest stops and time to enjoy the local scenery. Most walks take place on paths and tracks. Some will be slightly more strenuous and may involve moderate slopes, tracks, hills, stiles and foot bridges which may be rough underfoot at times. Sturdy walking shoes are essential.