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Walking Holidays in Western Crete

Liverpool
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Walking Holidays in Western Crete

Book the flights and a hire-car for a week. Base ourselves in one or two places to minimise driving. Six hikes, circular or out-and-back, six hours walking a day. Bit of relaxation, visiting the sights. No wasted time. No spending half the day worrying about catching a bus and still arriving ten minutes late or two hours early. Alternatively we've enjoyed self-guided inn-to-inn trips where your luggage is transported, though for the money they cost I want taxi rides rather than local buses, and no "well-deserved rest days".

That's the blueprint we've enjoyed in a lot of places. First impressions are that we're going to have to make some compromises in Western Crete. Linear walks, and attractive locations with no road links. Is this a reasonable assessment?

We've been on a few trips with Sherpa and enjoyed them, so I was looking at https:/…jecdos13.pdf which seems like the standard of walks we'd be looking for, though I'm not sure there's a lot of added value. You seem to be organising all the transport for yourself. Any comments on the actual walks?

I was also wondering about a DIY option with a hire-car. Stay in Omalos for two or three nights, climb Mount Gingilos one day, Samaria Gorge another and get the bus back from Sougia (feasible?), then go somewhere further North and West for the rest of our trip.

All a bit vague and open-ended I'm afraid, but any pointers would be very helpful. Flights to Chania for the second week in June booked, but nothing else.

Sale, United Kingdom
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1. Re: Walking Holidays in Western Crete

Hi

Well, for starters, have a look at this thread I started 3 years (and over 5500 posts) ago!

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g1699518-i15249-…

We had a great time. I think you are looking for more adventurous and longer routes than us, the max we did was Balos and back from Kaliviani, about 20km.

Just a couple of comments to start with: in June it will be hot, certainly at lower levels anyway. We went in mid-May, and the weather was more or less perfect for walking.

Leaving your car at the top of Samaria, walking the gorge and returning to your car the same day is not possible unless you get a very expensive taxi or walk both ways. You can certainly get to Sougia, but the last bus back to Chania from there is pretty early, and the last bus from Chania to Omalos is (I think) mid-afternoon in any case. The preferred route back to Chania is via Chora Sfakion, and easily achieved, but the same problem of getting to Omalos still arises. If you are very used to long distances and stamina-sapping walks, it is POSSIBLE to walk down and back up, but I couldn't recommend it.

Finally, here are some (80 out of about 250!) photos of our holiday - click on them individually to see a description of location:

http://tinyurl.com/npotcr4

There are people on here far more qualified than me who can advise you, particularly for the south coast, and I am sure any question you ask will be answered.

I don't know what preparations you have already made with respect to maps, walking books etc?

Edited: 08 January 2014, 19:12
Liverpool
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2. Re: Walking Holidays in Western Crete

Thanks, Steve, I had come across that thread but somehow lost it again. Did you in the end hire a car or use public transport for linear walks? That's probably my biggest dilemma at the moment.

As to getting back from Sougia, I did find tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g189413-i424-k68… If I'm reading things right you can only access the current (winter) timetables, and there doesn't seem to be any information about the route that buses take. I was assuming that at the worst I could drive to somewhere not far from Omalos, pick up the Chania-Omalos bus in the morning, and get the Sougia-Chania bus back to that point in the afternoon. Of course if the routes don't intersect that doesn't work.

I haven't got into books and maps yet. For one thing I'm still tempted by the Sherpa holiday, when I'll be supplied with all I need.

Great pictures, by the way. My appetite is duly whetted!

Edited: 09 January 2014, 12:25
Sale, United Kingdom
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3. Re: Walking Holidays in Western Crete

<<If I'm reading things right you can only access the current (winter) timetables,>> yes, that's correct - they update as the season progresses. But don't expect more than about 4 a day max.

<<and get the Sougia-Chania bus back to that point in the afternoon>> But you've got to get down the gorge to Agia Roumeli, then get the ferry from A.R. to Sougia - I don't think it will get there in time for the last bus.

<<Great pictures, by the way.>> Thanks!

Sale, United Kingdom
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4. Re: Walking Holidays in Western Crete

Sorry, I didn't answer a couple of your other questions.

Yes, we did hire a car. Without it, it would have been totally impossible to do what we did, as we were staying on the north coast in Agia Marina - but also most of the places we went had little or no bus service. An example would be to get from Frangokastello back to Agia Marina, Omalos back in late afternoon, and the day we went to Balos and drove to Kaliviani first.

The Sougia Chania and Omalos Chnai buses only share the nearest 12 km from Chania, so that wouldn't really help.

One thing you may have considered is to stay overnight at Sougia and get the early morning bus up to Omalos - presuming it is running of course, but that information should be available by the time you come.

Or, go back to Chania via Chora Sfakion and go back to Omalos the next morning to get the car.

Or, do what many people do and get an inclusive round trip from (and back to) Chania or its environs.

Edited: 09 January 2014, 22:04
Swansea, United...
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5. Re: Walking Holidays in Western Crete

We have stayed in Sougia for around the last 8 yrs in September and the last bus to Chania always waits for the boat from Agia Roumeli (which then proceeds onwards to Paleochora), usually around 6.00 to 6.30 pm.

Sale, United Kingdom
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6. Re: Walking Holidays in Western Crete

Thanks for that, FDswansea, I didn't know that - I knew there was a much better service from Paleochora, but didn't know that one of the buses came from Sougia - I don't think KTel show it on their on-line timetable.

PS Chnai?? in my recent post, sorry about that, my fingers working faster than my brain lol

Edited: 10 January 2014, 10:40
Sale, United Kingdom
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7. Re: Walking Holidays in Western Crete

Also, that journey from Sougia to Paleo by bus must be quite special!

Liverpool
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8. Re: Walking Holidays in Western Crete

Thanks for all the info. Looks like I'm going to get a large sheet of paper, make a long list of all the suggested walks, fire up Google, and work my way through it.

Agii Apostoli...
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9. Re: Walking Holidays in Western Crete

Its a very good and feasible schedule, but I would recommend to change one thing. after finishing Samaria, sleep in Agia Roumeli, then walk towards Loutro, on the way stop at Marmara beach and do Aradena gorge (1 day), then continue through to Loutro towards Sfakia with a stop at Glyka Nera (Sweet Water beach). You will use less car, less bus, more days, you can also free camp (I highly recomend), and as you go from coast to coast or through a gorge, you can't get lost.

If you are interested in hiking and adventure, I can give you many info, and from this year I will also organise hiking excursions and other activities! Contact me with private message or when in Chania!

10. Re: Walking Holidays in Western Crete

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