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suggestions for day walks near Chania

Sale, United Kingdom
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suggestions for day walks near Chania

I am organising a holiday for a group of friends ('lads' of 50+!!) in Chania for a week, doing walks of 6-10 miles per day. Does anyone have any ideas? We are going in mid-late May, samaria may be open, we may hire a car to be more accessible to other areas. I am thinking Kournas, Rodopos, foothills of White Mountains, but any ideas very welcome. We will probably stay in Ag Marina or Platanias.

Philadelphia
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1. Re: suggestions for day walks near Chania

Here's a good website of a good variety of walks, I think they start out of Rethymnon, or they meet you somewhere. Sounds very reasonable ... several gorges, not Samaria. You are enough to make up a group on your own & get a price -- : www.summerincrete.com/en/activities/walks.htm

Here's the home page about Chania, and under Activities they have some nifty things like Jeep Safaris. summerincrete.com/en/about/about_chania.htm

Edited: 22 January 2011, 03:49
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2. Re: suggestions for day walks near Chania

First: unless you know Platanias and/or Agia Marina, and like them and know you want to stay in one of them, I would consider staying in Chryssi Akti. It's the best beach along that coastline, and a nicer place than Platanias, which is pretty hideous now, and much closer to Chania. (Agia Marina is ok, and also close to Chania, but the beach isn't nearly as good IMO).

Samaria will certainly be open by mid-May, but you need to check beforehand, as the ferry that will return you from Agia Roumeli to Chora Sfakion is cancelled if the sea is rough, and if the ferry doesn't run the gorge is closed.

I've done nice walks from Chania just a couple, but they were good.

Bus to Kolymbari and out onto Rodopou - a circular road walk via Afrata and Aspra Nera. Bare, wild landscape.

Bus to Kastelli-Kissamos, Polyrhinia, Sirikari gorge.

Another suggestion: take the early bus to Chora Sfakion - two hours and a marvellous journey - and walk the Imbros Gorge. Shorter than Samaria and not as spectacular, but very beautiful, and much less visited. Get off the bus at Imbros, walk down the gorge, and get "taxis" might be local pickup trucks) from the tavernas at the bottom to Chora Sfakion (or walk the five km along the road if you're still feeling strong).

Books:

Landscapes of Western Crete (Sunflower Books) - indispensable.

The Rother Walking Guide: Crete West - also useful, though not as accurate as the Sunflower Book in my experience.

Hikes, Walks and Rambles in Western Crete is by two Greek mountaineers and is full of good information about the places visited. There is a good section on the Western Chania Region. It's a Cretan publication: see www.kritiki.gr

Edited: 22 January 2011, 09:00
Philadelphia
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3. Re: suggestions for day walks near Chania

I have done the Imbros Gorge in mid-May, it was unforgettable. We took our time, stopped to picnic, still did it in 3.5 hours. It ALSO has the narrow parts -- in the narrowest bend, less than 10 feet across . Whee. The entire time, we saw fewer than a dozen other people ... and the flowers & greenery were great; the fragrance of thyme made us feel as if we were in a dish of baked lamb!

TIP: Pack (or pluck from a woods, before starting) a couple of walking sticks!! the whole path is stony, many the size of footballs, so the balancing taxes the knees.

TIP #2: Don't park in Imbros village; drive beyond to entry of gorge, 1 km+ on.

Devizes, United...
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4. Re: suggestions for day walks near Chania

I have to agree with Jan and recommend the Imbros Gorge, only walked it once about 5 years ago but its way more atmospheric for my money than joining the endless stream of walkers in the Samaria. There are loads of lesser gorges in Crete, I've also walked the Kourtoliotika and the Kotsifou which are down near to Spili on the Rethymno-Agia Galini road.

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5. Re: suggestions for day walks near Chania

If any in your group are particularly interested in monasteries, there is a very interesting walk (two monasteries, old caves, spectacular bridge and impressive views from a gorge/ravine to the sea. It's not a demanding walk but there also is little shade. Very beautiful.

The target destination is Katholiko monastery on the Akrotiri Peninsula just east of Chania town. You can park next to Gouverneto monastery and walk down and back -- even walk down through the gorge to the sea for a cooling off if you are adventuerous enough.

The walk down I recall taking 90 minutes or so at a leisurely pace and stops at the caves. Most of our time was spent with our jaws on the ground once we reached Katholiko, which is an old abandoned (legend says pirates forced the exodus) monastery built into the rocks in the side of the gorge/ravine and sitting above a massive stone bridge that I could not imagine anyone building in that era. Stunning structure. Bring a camera.

If you need some pictures, send me a private message. A few should be online but I have about 400.

I have not walked Imbros or Samaria, and I can feel safe in assuming the Katholiko walk is shorter and less demanding and not as awe-inspiring from a nature perspective. But it is a stunning find at the bottom. And only took a morning to do for us (we didn't walk down for a swim like many others)

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6. Re: suggestions for day walks near Chania

Keep in mind the 90 minutes estimate from top to bottom included about 100 stops for pictures and lasting stops at the caves, particularly the Bear Cave. If you head straight down with little stopping (but you at least have to stop to stare at the view to the sea ONCE) I'd say it can be done in 30 minutes at a decent pace. But the fun is in the stopping and exploring and picturetaking

Edited: 22 January 2011, 14:20
Philadelphia
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7. Re: suggestions for day walks near Chania

aaah, walking down sounds like fun -- but what about going back UP??? How many Hours ... how much recovery time? These days, I like to avoid UP.

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8. Re: suggestions for day walks near Chania

Oh dear, Jan: I was just going to suggest walking UP the Imbros Gorge. In fact, I will, because it's another good option for the OP who can take the bus all the way to Chora Sfakion, get a taxi to Komitades, go up the gorge, which is a gradual climb, fairly undemanding, and pick up the return bus to Chania at the top of the gorge after enjoying Sfakianes pites at the taverna overlooking the gorge. I've done this a couple of times and like it better than the descent: your eyes aren't on your boots all the time, and you see more.

The climb back up from Moni Katholiko, however, is something else: shorter, but much steeper - especially if you go all the way to the sea for a swim. Beautiful, though.

Minneapolis...
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9. Re: suggestions for day walks near Chania

I suppose I should have made clear that unlike some hikes, at Katholiko, you do indeed need to walk back up, which of course is far more demanding than the walk down.

Shorter walk than most and for me it was convenient drive as I was based in Chania town. And I needed exercise after 4 straight days of gorging on food and wine and beer!

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10. Re: suggestions for day walks near Chania

This suggestion may not actually qualify as a pure walk but if you are interested in ancient sites then you may wish to consider Ancient Aptera.

It is only 15 km east of Chania and is perched high up on a mountain top.

It has been a fortified location for centuries and is huge with interesting ruins spread out all over the site. Because the highlights are far well separated getting from one to the other make this a perfect place for a hiking tour with some ancient history thrown in for good measure. You can easily spend 4 or 5 hours walking through Aptera.

Here is our album of Western Crete. It should open to the images of Aptera.

travel.webshots.com/album/559511069PIlVxI…

Have a great time.