Crete: The Best of Far West Crete
Head to Sfakia on the far west side of the island, where towering mountains, deep gorges, tales of adventure, and local cuisine await. You’ll get it all on this full-day Crete tour that combines everything you could want from a great Greek day: hiking, cooking, wine-tasting, cheese-sampling, storytelling and more, to make up one epic, authentic adventure!
- Head to the western region of Sfakia, home to the stunning White Mountains, spectacular gorges, and panoramic views
- Visit a family-owned cheese and yogurt factory for a local breakfast
- Follow in the steps of ANZAC soldiers and hike through Imbros Gorge
- Learn why Crete is considered to be the flora crossroads of the Mediterranean
- Participate in a hands-on cooking class and enjoy a lunch of traditional Cretan dishes
- Indulge in local Cretan wines at a unique local cellar and winery
On this Chania tour, we’ll leave behind the city and its Venetian charm as we venture into a completely different landscape, going deep into the unique region of Sfakia.
The White Mountains will be our stomping ground for a whole day of activities for the whole family, including a cheese- and yogurt-tasting, a hike through a gorge, a hands-on cooking experience, a visit to a one-of-a-kind 'herbal sanctuary,' and a wine-tasting to finish off the day.
Sfakia is a region of southern Crete and took its name from the larger village located there, Chora Sfakion. The entire region is characterized by rugged mountainous beauty combined in a unique way with the sea. From the White Mountains, large green canyons descend to the Libyan Sea, giving the impression to anyone who looks from above that God tore the mountains in half! Aside from their astonishing beauty, these gorges also have a million tales to tell you. Among those stories from its turbulent, but heroic, past are the many times when brave rebel Sfakians, fighting for freedom, had to hide in these canyons.
Sfakia includes part of the White Mountains range, or Madara, including the highest peak of Pachnes. It also includes Samaria Gorge, the largest gorge in Europe and one of the most popular sights in Crete. As well, it is home to Imbros Gorge, which is the second most popular gorge on the island, and the one we will hike.
Our first stop of the day on this Crete tour will be at a family-owned, small-scale cheese factory, where you’ll get an introduction to and tasting of Cretan cheese and yogurt. You’ll learn all about the traditional local production from this expert cheesemonger and have the opportunity to sample what locals consider the best yogurt on the island!
After this light breakfast, we’ll move on to Askifou Plateau, a natural valley surrounded by the White Mountains. From an altitude of 730 meters, we’ll start our hike of the Imbros gorge. The gorge is about eight kilometers, and the average walking time is about two and a half hours. Don’t worry though, it’s an easy walk for the whole family, with many stops for photos and learning about the flora and fauna that we’ll encounter along the way.
Imbros is a spectacular gorge with several very narrow passages — and if you are Australian, New Zealander, or British, walking through the gorge is almost a pilgrimage, as many ANZACs who fought with the allied troops in Crete walked through this gorge in May 1941 to escape the island and sail to Egypt. Your guide will have many thrilling stories to share with you.
Your Crete adventure will continue as we visit Kallikratis, a village off the typical tourist path and which has an intriguing history. It has never lived under a permanent foreign rule, as its residents have a long tradition fighting for freedom and are well-known for their bravery. The area also boasts gorges, ravines, plateaus, and small abandoned villages.
Next up, time to experience local culture through gastronomy and a hands-on workshop! Among the flavors and aromas of local food and good wine, we’ll unveil the secrets of Cretan cuisine as you enjoy a traditional meal.
After lunch, we’ll head to a 'herbal sanctuary.' Known for their therapeutic qualities from ancient times but also for the special taste they give to local dishes, Cretan herbs will fascinate you with their abundance (over 1,800 plant species) and qualities. In a little café, we’ll meet the owners who distill Cretan herbs the traditional way and offer high-quality herbal products in their shop. And yes, we are going to try some of their concoctions!
The end of the day will find us with a glass of wine in-hand as we visit one of the best wineries on Crete. Here, we’ll get to taste four different wine varieties in a cellar that is in itself a setting for a ritualistic experience. A fitting finale in Crete’s far west!
- Local English-speaking guide
- Cheese and yoghurt samples
- Two-course meal (meat and veggie options)
- 4 different wine tastings
- Fresh orange juice for the children
Price does not include
- Additional food and drinks
- Souvenirs or personal shopping
- Tips/gratuities for your driver and guide
- Starting time: 8.00 AM
- Duration: 11 hours
- Language: English
- Meeting point: Chania Central bus Station, Kydonias & Partheniou Kelaidi, GR-73100 Chania, Crete. Your guide will be standing next to the ticket booth, holding a Crete Urban Adventures sign.
- Ending point: Chania Municipal Market. Alternately, we can drop off any tour participants whose hotels are along the route from Vrisses Village back to the Chania Municipal Market.
- Chania.; departure at: 08:00 AM; Chania Central bus Station, Kydonias & Partheniou Kelaidi, GR-73100 Chania, Crete
- Dress standard: Please wear comfortable walking shoes, and dress appropriately for hiking and the weather.
- You will be in a small group of a maximum of 12 people.