Village hike on Crete: Episkopi, Stamnoi, Aitania: A beautiful walking area on Crete including a visit to 3 mountain villages. We combine walking through the nature with visiting mountain villages. Along the way we see gorgeous churches, the way of living in Greek villages, culture on Crete and stunning views of the sea.

Village hike on Crete – General information about the village walk

Equipment needed: Sturdy shoes or good sports shoes, a hat, possibly a walking stick, water, a small back pack.

Level of the village walk: Almost everybody is able to do this walk. During the walk we choose from different options; from differences in height up to 200 meters to aged 50+ en 60+ walks. In this walking area of Crete there are so many possible walks, varying from 8 to 22 kilometres. We have created the routes for these walks ourselves, which you can also do individually with the help of a GPS, since there are no signs along the way.

Description village tour on Crete: This walk is difficult to describe, since there are so many walking possibilities with lengths of routes varying between 8 to 22 kilometres. This route goes between three nice Greek villages Aitania – Stamnoi – Episkopi. In between these villages are beautiful hills with lots of green. There is no path; we walk crisscross through nature with olive trees and vines. Even with the shorter walking tour of 8 kilometres it is possible to visit all three villages. Along the way you see a lot of the agricultural area. This area is both summer and winter green, with many shady spots along the route.

Village hike on Crete – The mountain village Aitania

Aitania, Crete: The village is on a hill with on the east side down below the river and gorge of Karteros. The northern part of the village has beautiful views of the sea. Below the village you can see a valley. In the village is a kafenion, a Greek coffeehouse. In the village mainly live elderly people, but it is a vivid little village with around 320 inhabitants.

Sights in Aitania: The church of the Virgin Mary “Kardiotissa” dominates the landscape. The stone bridge and the water mill at “Kakia Rahi” are both monuments protected by the Greek government. These are special sights of this village, also because of the memories the local people have about the construction of this arch bridge and watermill. Local craftsmen built the arch bridge by using a special technique.

Village hike on Crete – A village with many churches, Episkopi

Episkopi, Crete: Episkopi is located in the hills, hidden in a beautiful setting. The name Episkopi dates back to the second Byzantine period on Crete. During this time they moved the bishop seat of the coastal village Hersonissos further inland. Episkopi means bishop seat. Today this is a larger village with almost 1000 inhabitants. Here you will get a good impression of the culture on Crete and life in a village. You could actually walk here the whole day through the little narrow streets in the village. On the way we often meet friendly inhabitants, who love to have a little chat with us. There are several kafenions on the small village square. Here we will drink a cup of Greek coffee.

In Episkopi you really get an impression of how people in general live in the mountain villages of Crete, without other tourists around you. Around the little square you can find peddlers on the street, a butcher, a bakery, a cheese maker and a kiosk to buy a Greek newspaper. We will make an extensive walk through the village. In addition to an authentic Cretan village centre there is an ostrich farm just outside the village. From Episkopi you can look all the way down to Dia Island. The view is stunning here.

Different churches in Episkopi

In the village are 10 churches, some even smaller than others. We will visit several churches: The main church of the village is St. Minas, which is the parish church of Episkopi and also the largest one. This church belongs to the type of two-aisled vaulted basilica and was built the end of the 19th century (1882-1884). Its south aisle is dedicated to Saint Minas, honoured as protector of the village. The north aisle is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in memory of the previous church of the Holy Virgin Mary that was on same spot.

Episkopi, Church of Faneromeni-All Saints: This church is the type of barrel-vaulted basilica and built in two phases. First only the south aisle existed, dedicated to Agioi Pantes (All Saints) and probably dates from the 14th century. In 1642 they expanded the church with an additional northern aisle and a narthex (front hall). The aisles communicate with stone arched openings.

And even more churches

The Church of Keras Tsompanena, built in 1832, is a small single-aisled vaulted church. There are no more frescoes to be seen, but the openings are decorated with remarkable stone reliefs. It was one of the two parish churches in the village Episkopi, until they built the church of St. Minas in 1884.

The Church of St. Paraskevi is a small single-aisle and vaulted church in the centre of the village, dating from the 15th century. In front of the church is a small square and inside the church are frescoes. Important historical evidence is the illustrations of the Venetian soldiers, nobles and priests in several scenes of the frescoes.

The Church of St. Ioannis dates from the 14th century, which can be seen from the wall paintings inside and is dedicated to the Beheading of St. John the Baptist. Under the church floor are graves probably to the owners of the church. A unique architectural element on the outer side of the northern wall is the arcosolium, which is an arch that covers another obviously very important tomb. They built the arcosolium after the church and therefore people believe this tomb belongs to the renovator.

Then there is also the small Church of St. Antonios with frescoes of the late 14th century and not to be forgotten the Church of Michail Archaggelos also with wall paintings from the 14th century.

Village hike on Crete – The small village Stamnoi

Stamnoi, Crete: A beautiful little village with nice old small streets, surrounded by a green area. In these typical Greek streets you can see lots of doors in vibrant colours. The Church of St. Vlassios has been built in two phases. The church has in the northern aisle remains of paintings dated from the Venetian period and the southern aisle and west wing have been added in the 19th century.

The Church of the Transfiguration of the Saviour is an arched church with paintings dated from the end of the 13th century. The west entrance, the north wing and the wooden Templon have been added in the 19th century.

More information

Information about hiking: We offer options for individual walks or group hikes. Our hiking tours are suitable for everybody: from group hikes on Crete, individual hikes on Crete to aged 50+ walks on Crete. But even heavy hiking on Crete is an option.  You can book all our walks and hikes in combination with accommodation on Crete.

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Village hike on Crete