Walking week from North Crete to South Crete

Walking week from North Crete to South Crete: At the end of the summer season, from 29 October to 4 November 2018, we organize a walking week from North Crete to South Crete. More specifically, the hiking trail is from our accommodation in Kokkini Hani to Mirtos. The walks we have planned go through the Dikti Mountains on Crete. We hike along unknown paths, through gorges and over fields high in the mountains with the help of a GPS and compass. This walking week on Crete is a real discovery tour through unknown areas of the island. There is a car available on some parts of the route for us and specially to drive the luggage.

First walking day, Roza gorge and Ambelos gorge: The first part of the walk starts at the village of Gonies on the north side of the island. Here the Roza gorge starts, a deeply eroded canyon with many different plants and flowers. The gorge owes its name to the pink-red colouring of the rocks, which contain iron oxide. From the Roza gorge we continue to the gorge of Ambelos, a small gorge that takes us to Lassithi. The last part of the walk goes to Karfi at an altitude of 1100 meters and with an amazing view. Karfi was a particularly important Minoan settlement on the east side of Ambelos. The name “Karfi” (“the nail”) is a local toponym for the prominent knob of limestone that marks the top of the site, especially seen from the north. The next 2 nights we will stay overnight in the village of Agios Georgios on the Lasithi Plateau.

Second walking day, walking around the Lasithi Plateau: The Lasithi Plateau is a flat area, at a height of about 900 meters, surrounded by the Dikti Mountains. The plateau is very fertile thanks to the melting water of the surrounding mountains. The patchwork of fertile fields, gardens and orchards is in stark contrast to the bare, grey mountain slopes surrounding it. Mainly potatoes and grain are cultivated on the plateau. The plateau is famous for its windmills with white cloths, which have been used for two centuries to pump up water and irrigate the land. These windmills are now no longer in use. Around the plateau there are several villages, that we will visit this day.

Third walking day, Limnakaro plateau and Selakano: Today we leave from Agios Georgios first towards the plateau of Limnakaro at an altitude of about 1100 meters. There are no villages here, only a few houses belonging the local shepherds. On a part of the plateau mainly fruit trees grow, such as apples and pears. From here we walk to Selakano on the southeast side of the Dikti Mountains. Here we spend the night in small houses at an altitude of 1300 meters. As soon as night falls we light the BBQ and admire the unique starry sky.

Fourth walking day, walking around Selakano: Selakano is one of the last remaining forests on Crete. There are a lot of pine trees here, the Pinus Brutia, which is tolerant to the drought period of 6 months and grows well in rocky areas. The pine forest is the most productive place for beekeeping on Crete, while in the past wood and resin were harvested. Birds of prey (hawks and vultures) fly freely over the steep slopes. Although recent forest fires and overgrazing have created threats, it remains one of the most stunning mountain landscapes on Crete.

Fifth walking day, from Selakano to Mirtos South Crete: This day we have a long walk ahead. We walk from Selakano through the villages of Christos and Metaxachori to the Sarakina gorge. Once in the canyon, we must do a lot of climbing and scrambling over rocks. The gorge is a beautiful piece of nature with narrow passages where the cliffs are high above us. Most probably there is still some water in some places and in that case, we cannot promise that your feet stay dry. When we reach the end of the gorge, we walk to the south coast of Crete, to the village of Mirtos. This is a little village by the Libyan Sea with a large beach and small restaurants with sea views. It is a lovely place to recover from the long walk. In Mirtos we stay overnight.

Sixth walking day, walk to Tertsa: This last day we take it easy with an easy walk along the coast to Tertsa. It is a small village, located in a fertile valley where most people still live from agriculture. All kinds of crops are grown in Tertsa and you can see plastic greenhouses in which bananas, tomatoes or other vegetables grow. After the walk we return to Mirtos, where we finish off this great walking week together.

Walking week on Crete in October and November: To participate in the walking week as written above you must have a healthy condition and be free of injury. Some walks are hard because there are height differences, other routes are easy going. The walks often go over rocky mountain paths but are not dangerous. Sometimes it is a bit of a climb, but nowhere you have to do extreme performances. And of course, we stop as often as necessary to catch our breath or to enjoy the view. Besides this walking week we also organize other multi-day walks on Crete. With pleasure we give you more information about this, so if you want to know more, please contact us.