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Main, CavesGorges Hiking Routes Hiking Excursions

Nature and Areas of Beauty


If you are a lover of nature, then you are sure to be enchanted by the richness, diversity and abundance of wild flowers, plants and fragrant herbs in our area.With much of the area protected by 'Natura', east Crete also offers a wide variety of walking and hiking routes, with something suitable for all levels and ages, taking you through areas of outstanding, wild, unspoilt beauty.

Those with a desire to get acquainted to real Crete in depth, should look for the everlasting roots of the people and the exceptional human attitude that survived in Sitia due to the generosity of the stunning nature, its geographical seclusion and self sufficiency.

A trip to Sitia, a land of unprecedented contradictions and dazzling beauty, the predominant impression is that of a nature which is marked by all those features that human intelligence and sensuality should long for and the artistic expression should imitate.

- According to the ecology professor of the Crete University Mr. Mylonas: "A natural environment one of its kind in Greece and in Europe is of course a very rare if not unique natural and aesthetic Jewel". The nature of Sitia district remains rich and virgin.
- There are many expanded candidate "NATURA areas"
- Numerous sites of exceptional natural beauty
- Rare geological forms and sights of geological development
- Ten (10) large gorges and geological crevices
- Three hundred (300) caves of great interest
- Two thousand one hundred (2100) species of self-sown plants, 300 are endemic and there are many aromatic or medicinal plants
- A great number of rare animal and bird species.
   Her you can find the biggest colony in the world of the Eleanor's falcon (FALCO DE ELEONORA).
- The richest and purest sea biotope in the Aegean (Northern of Psiros island) where even corals grow.
- Wide meadows with the protected seaweed kind "Poseidonia"
- The unique in Europe Palm tree forest of Vai
- The beginning of the European path E4
- Many biotopes of mixed Euro-African vegetation (in Vai, Koufonisi etc.) 

Caves of Sitia area
****************

Sitia mountainous areas in comparison with other mountainous areas of Crete, do not have intense formations. However, due to the limestone composition of its rocks, the rain and river water has created an extended surface carst. In some places, the carst is quite impressive and has formed hundreds of limestone tips that look like a meteorite rain with uneven shapes. Even more impressive from the surface carst is the underground carst. There is a small amount of running water on the surface, as most of it is absorbed in the subsoil and moves underground through the multiple channels of the water-soluble limestone. In the mountainous area of Itanos only, more than 82 caves, chasms, sinks and underground rivers have been recorded and the total explored routes are more than 6,000 meters and basically provide a bilge system for the province. From here, the waters flow to the east to finally end up in various springs near the east coastline, like the ones in Zakros and Hohlakia. The past few years, the municipality of Itanos in cooperation with the speleological Club of Crete are working towards the creation of a speleological park. Many of the caves of Sitia, and of Crete in general, are connected with religious rituals and traditions dating back to the Minoan period. For the time being, the caves are not open to the public. However, it is possible to access some of them with the appropriate equipement. The most important caves of the region that functioned as sites of worship in the past are:


The cave Okso Latsidi

The cave Okso Latsidi is located in the area of the village Sitanos and it is part of an extended cave complex that expands for more than 6,000 meters in the subsoil of mountainous Sitia. It is one of the richest carst formations in Crete. Its entrance is next to the provincial road of Sitia-Karydi, between the villages of Sitanos and Katsidoni in an altitude of 684 meters. The main entrance (there are two) has a diameter of 2 meters and has an intense downwards inclination, which exlpains its name ("Latsidi" means "hole" in Eastern Crete). Right after the entrance, a large chamber is revealed, again with a downwards inclination. Its ground is covered with stones of many sizes, clay, and other material, such as wood, branches and leaves. After passing this chamber, and for the next 250 meters, there are five large, uneven chambers, which are connected with small passages. After passing the sixth chamber there are small tunnels that periodically become narrow. Water flows in their pavement, which increases during the rain seasons. It is believed that the cave of Okso Latsidi used to be part of an underground river.

The cave of Peristeras

Another important cave of the province is the cave of Peristeras. It is located 2km east from the village Karydi, in the area of Platyvolas, in an altitude of 540 meters. It has a rich rock decoration and 170 meters of explored routes. Here too, signs of human presence were discovered, dating back to the Neolithic period.

The cave of Pelekiton

It is also called "tis sukias o Spilios" (meaning, the cave of the fig tree), as there is a fig tree in the entrance. Its official name, however, is connected to the wider region, where there were stone mines. It is located northeast from Kato Zakros, in an altitude of 100 meters and it is about 310 meters long. Its entrance is impressive with a chamber of downwards inclination. This cave is not only beautiful, as it has a rich adornment, it is also one of the greatest archeological caves of the region, as signs of human presence are found, dating back to the Neolithic period.

Vreiko

This cave is located 5km away from the village Pefkoi. The road ends in about 500 meters from the cave's entrance, but it is accessible by walking. Signs of human presence have been discovered, dating back to the Neolithic period.

Megalo Katofygi

In the north of the village Tourtouloi or Aghios Georgios, one can find the cave of Megalo Katofygi, one of the most important caves of eastern Crete. It is located in an altitude of 450 meters and its entrance leads us to a chamber complex with an excellent adornment of stalagmites and stalactites

The cave of Petsofa (Itanos)

In an altitude of 80 meters, about 500 meters northwest from the area of Rousolakkos, there is the visible opening of the cave of Petsofa, which was named after the hill. It is a very small cave (about 3x5m) with a large archeological importance, as here many broken amphoras as well as a number of inscriptions have been found.


(*Note: the information on gorges, caves and the hiking trails E4 of the Sitia region are general. The visitor is responsible in every case to evaluate his/her personal abilities and knowledge in order to choose the appropriate way to enjoy the proposed routes and sights)

Gorges in the Sitia Area
*********************




1) Richtis Gorge:
(Exo Mouliana, Sitia Area 5 km approx. 2.5 hours one way )




This truly magnificent gorge is to be found approx. 20 minutes from Sitia, on the road towards Agios Nikolaos. You start at an altitude of about 350m, just outside the village of Exo Mouliana and walk down the gorge, ending down on Richtis beach. There is river running down the gorge, which you will have to cross several times during the walk (there may be water throughout the year!).

The gorge begins with an impressive 19th century stone arched bridge named Lachanas. You will be surprised how green the gorge is, with a vast array of plants, fragrant wild herbs and oleander bushes – it is easy to forget that you are in Crete!! You will be amazed to find the fantastic waterfall, which is over 15m high and flows all year round - you can take a dip in the pool there! You will also come across old mills and stone houses on your way.

The path ends at the beautiful pebble beach of Richtis, with stone seats and tables and tamarisk trees for welcome shade in the summer months. There is also a stone water fountain, with clean drinking water.
To get back to Exo Mouliana, you can either go back up the gorge, or follow a windy, cement road back up (suitable for cars!). Another option for a shorter walk would be to drive to the bottom of the gorge, walk up as far as the waterfall, then back down again to your car. This road starts from in the village (look for a sign on your right about halfway down the village).




2)
Zakros Gorge:
(Zakros area, 4 km, approx. 2hrs)





You can start this walk either from the village of Pano Zakros, (suggested) or about 4km further down the road towards Kato Zakros (you will see a parking area). This gorge, an area of outstanding beauty, is known as the “Valley of the Dead, as many caves were found there with tombs from the Minoan period. In the springtime, the gorge is full of wild oregano and many other fragrant herbs and plants.

The gorge ends at the beautiful bay of Kato Zakros and you will pass the ruins of the 4th Minoan palace (this closes at 3pm!). There are welcome tavernas by the sea and during the summer months, there is a bus in the afternoon (check days and time beforehand!), which you can take either back to Sitia or to get back to your car.



3)
Karoumes Gorge:
(Palekastro Area, 3.5 k
m, approx. 2hrs each way)
​​​



This walk begins at the village of Choklakies, 8km south of Palekastro on the road to Zakros and is mainly down a riverbed (there may be water in the springtime!). The gorge winds from right to left along very steep cliffs, ending at the beautiful beach of Karoumes, with crystal-clear blue water and trees for welcome shade.
The only other way of getting to this beach is by boat!




4) Agioi Pantes Gorge:
(Sitia area 4.5 km, approx. 2.5 hrs)





Medium Difficulty.The walk starts approximately 4km north west of the village of Skopi on the
main road. The first 2 kilometres are downhill on a cement road, which then turns into a dirt track. In the middle of the gorge is a cave “Skafidara”, famous from the second world war, when it was used as a hiding place. You will also come across 2 freshwater springs and if you are lucky enough to be here early in the season, you will see many beautiful endemic wild flowers and herbs. You will pass the small church of Agioi Pandes, where there is a picnic area and then you come out at the sea.
Wherever you come across a split in the road, always take the right hand path. The route is also marked with red paint on rocks! The gorge is partly shaded.



5) Kapsa Gorge:
(Makri Gialos Area, 4,5 Km appox. 2,5 Hours)






Medium Difficulty, with a few tricky parts! We recommend you start the walk from down by the sea early in the morning, as the sun will be behind you.There is a shaded parking area by the sea, close to Kapsa Monastery (which is well worth a visit). The gorge is full of herbs and rare wild flowers in the springtime and there are many pine trees on the route. The gorge is partly shaded. The first part and the end of the walk are relatively easy, the middle part is more difficult.

You will finally reach the small village of Pervolakia, where there is a small cafeneion for refreshments. You can either walk back down the gorge to the sea, or alternatively, there is a well marked path down the hillside, with red paint on rocks (no shade!). There is also a taverna close to the monastery.





6) Xerokambos Gorge:
(Xerkambos area 3 km, approx. 2 hrs)


This very impressive gorge is approx. 3km in length and is located in a rocky, deserted area between Ano Zakros and Xerokambos. The entrance to the gorge is about 500m from the sea - the first kilometre is relatively easy to follow, the path then divides into two and you take the right fork for approx. 1,5km. This part is very rocky, with lots of bushes and no clear path! The walk ends before you reach Xerokambos.


7) Pefki Gorge:
( Makrigialos area 3km, approx. 1hr 30 mins )


This gorge begins just outside the village of Pefki and ends back in Makrigialos. It is a gentle walk, along old donkey tracks, through a forest of strong-scented pine trees, steeped on each side by high vertical cliffs. From the village square you take the road down towards Agios Stefanos and after about 150m, there is a sign for the gorge on the left. You will be impressed by the contrasting colours of the pine trees, cliffs and rich blue of the Libyan sea in the distance.




Hiking Routes by Portobelis
*************************
Book one of below Hiking Routes and enjoy the unspoilt beauty of this area!!!





Route 1
Short
: Exo Mouliana-Richtis beach ( 5 Km approx. 2.5 hours own way )



 

This truly magnificent gorge is to be found approx. 20 minutes from Sitia, on the road towards Agios Nikolaos. You start at an altitude of about 350m, just outside the village of Exo Mouliana and walk down the gorge, ending down on Richti beach. There is river running down the gorge, which you will have to cross several times
during the walk (there is water throughout the year!).
The gorge begins with an impressive 19th century stone arched bridge named Lachanas. You will be surprised how green the gorge is, with a vast array of plants, fragrant wild herbs and oleander bushes – it is easy to forget that you are in Crete!! You will be amazed to find the fantastic waterfall, which is over 15m high and flows all year round - you can take a dip in the pool there!
You will also come across old mills and stone houses on your way. The path ends at the beautiful pebble beach of Richti, with stone seats and tables and tamarisk trees for welcome shade in the summer months. There is also a stone water fountain, with clean drinking water.
To get back to Exo Mouliana, you can either go back up the gorge, or follow a windy, cement road back up (suitable for cars!). Another option for a shorter walk would be to drive to the bottom of the gorge, walk up as far as the waterfall, then back down again to your car. This road starts from in the village (look for a sign on your right about halfway down the village)


Route 2
Long:
Palekastro-Agathias-Skinias Beach-Karoumes Beach-Karoumes Gorge-Choklakies Village.
(12kms, approx. 4-5hrs).


 



Starting from Palekastro village after a 15 minute walk, you will reach the small village of Agathias. Walking through the village, you will come to a dirt track, passing through olive trees.At the end of this path, there are several rural roads, which is rather confusing! Your best option is to ask a local to show you the way towards Skinias beach. After approx. 10 minutes, you start to walk uphill, arriving at the small plateau of “Plativola” (30 minute walk) at a height of 150m above sea level, where you will see the small church of Agios Spyridon. To get to Agios Spyridon, you need to get past several barbed wire fences – there are gates which you should open and then close, as there are many sheep and goats in the area!!! Continue downhill and in approx. 30 minutes, you arrive at the beautiful, totally secluded beaches at Skinias. From the southern pebble beach, there is a signed path which leads down to the second beach.Continuing on for approx. one hour, following a very picturesque route, you will arrive at the impressive beach of Karoumes. Unlike the the beaches at Skinias, Karoumes beach has trees, offering welcome shade. If you look across to the west, you can see Karoumes gorge, a walk of approx. 1hr 30 minutes. At the exit of the gorge, is the small settlement of Choklakies, where you can enjoy a welcome drink in the local 'kafeneion' (summer months only). To get back to Palekastro, you can take the local bus which departs from Zakros, stopping at all villages on the way (there is one bus in the afternoon – please check for days and times before setting off on this walk!!)


Route 3
Short: Azokeramos-Traostalos-Azokeramos ( 10 kms, approx. 2 hrs)
Long: Azokeramos-Traostalos-Kato Zakros (12 kms, approx. 4-5 hrs





Starting from Azokeramos, there is a new dirt road which leads to the top of Traostalos Mountain (520m above sea level). You can actually drive a car down this road! The route offers magnificent views of Zakros and Xerokambos area to the south and to the small villages of Choklakies, Kelaria and Adravasti.
Heading towards the top of the mountain, you will see the entrance to Karoumes Gorge and then the beautiful deep blue Cretan sea to the east and Skinias bay to the north. It will take approx. 1hr to walk the up the last 5km. The route starts at Azokeramos (260m) and ends at Traostalos (520m). The return walk is much easier!! Looking towards the east side of the mountain and at a height of 150m is the well-known cave Pelekita (Zakros area). You can also see the tops of the Sitian mountains.
Then if don't want to come back you can take the path to the south going to kato zakros village it is approximately 6-7 km and you need 2-3 hours.You are sure to be captivated by the outstanding natural beauty of the area!!



Route 4

Short:
Xamezi-Liopetro-Xamezi (6kms, approx. 3hr 30 mins).
Long: Xamezi-Liopetro-Papadiokampos
-Panagia Faneromeni-Sitia
(14kms, approx. 4-5hrs).


The fortress of Liopetra belongs to the Xamezi area. As far back as 579, there was a proposal from the Venetians that such a fort be built, to offer protection to the Sitia area from a possible Turkish invasion. It was not until the beginning of the 17th century that the fort was actually built – it was large enough to offer shelter for as many as 6000 people!At 430m above sea level, the views from Liopetra are truly breathtaking. It is possible to go by car almost to the top (approx. 20 minutes from Xamezi Village), the first part of the road being cement, then a dirt track road.When you arive to Liopetro you have two choice, to return back from the same road to Xamaizi or to contineus down to the see and folow the long route and return to Sitia.




Hiking Routes prices 2017
Routes Guide Transfer Meal Prices (6 persons
minimum )
Hiking Route 1

Yes

Yes
No
35,00
Hiking Route 2 Yes
Yes
Yes
45,00
Hiking Route 3 Yes
Yes
Yes
38,00
Hiking Route 4








Above prices are per person in euros and include:
1) English speaking guide
2) Cretan traditional light meal (where specified)
3) Transfer by mini bus (where specified)

Above prices do not include:
1) Travel insurance (extra 4 euros per person)


Hiking prices 2017 ( Package A/ Minimum 6 persons)
( Hiking routes with guide) + (Hotel***breakfast) + ( Car cat. A/ airport )
Period April-May-October June-September July-August
One week dbl room

268,00

288,00

347,00

Two weeks dbl room

480,00

525,00

617,00

One week sgl room

421,00

452,00

534,00

Two weeks sgl room

796,00

848,00

995,00

Extra hiking per route

25,00

25,00

25,00

Above prices are per person and include:
1) One week package includes two hiking routes and two weeks three hiking routes.
2) Hotel*** with breakfast.
3) Car rental cat A/ delivery and return to the Airport.

Above prices do not include:
1) Flights and transfer
2) Local Bus: Heraklion-Sitia approximately 3 hours 20 euros
3) Travel insurance

Note: Good walking shoes, water and a hat are essential!!



Free Hiking Routes in Sitia Geopark

Georoute 5
Georoute Name: Karidi - Agios Ioannis - Chonos - Mitato - Karydi

Type: Trekking
Length (Km): 5,605
Time: 2 h, 00 min
Initial elevation (m): 590
Final elevation (m): 600
Maximum elevation (m): 709
Minimum elevation (m): 590
Georoute 5 is a trekking route along its entire length. It begins from Karidi and heads west, following an old stone-tiled path. At the small chapel of Agios Ioannis (St. John), it turns north and continues to the hamlet of
Chonos. Along the georoute, there are many caves which are only accessible to experienced speleologists.Alternatively, visitors can travel south, along the dirt road, to return to Karidi.
At Chonos the geotrail passes by Chonos cave, crosses the hamlet and ends at the small village of Mitato. From there, it follows georoute 1 to return to Karidi.


Georoute 6
Georoute Name: Karydi - Mangasa - Mitato - Karydi

Type: Trekking
Length (Km): 4,703
Time: 1 h, 30 min
Initial elevation (m): 582
Final elevation (m): 591
Maximum elevation (m): 591
Minimum elevation (m): 476
Georoute 6 begins from Karidi and heads northeast, following an old track that leads to the hamlet of Mangasa (or Vrissidi). Apart from enjoying the picturesque landscape, visitors can also become acquainted with many features of the geological history of the region, such as the unique rocks of Mangasa Unit, as well as many elements of cultural heritage, such as the stone houses with the impressive arcs, the dry-stone hedges and the old … main road of the area (stone-paved path)! From Mangasa, the geotrail continues up to Mitato, passing by significant geosites. From Mitato, the trail follows georoute 1 to return to Karidi.


Georoute 7
Georoute Name: Karydi - Maza gorge - Adravastoi

Type: Trekking
Length (Km): 6,372
Time: 2h, 10 min
Initial elevation (m): 587
Final elevation (m): 263
Maximum elevation (m): 587
Minimum elevation (m): 260
Georoute 7 begins from Karidi and crosses the entire Maza gorge, ending at the village of Adravastoi, located just beyond the gorge exit. This georoute follows old tracks and the gorge basin and is a particularly difficult route suitable only for experienced trekkers with the proper equipment!


Georoute 8
Georoute Name: Epano Zakros - Mavros Kambos - Skalia

Type: Trekking
Length (Km): 3,979
Time: 1h, 20 min
Initial elevation (m): 293
Final elevation (m): 655
Maximum elevation (m): 655
Minimum elevation (m): 290
Georoute 8 follows the European Trail E4 along its entire length. Apart from trekking, the georoute offers many exciting sights, such as the unique view of the eastern coastal areas, the beautiful landscape and numerous geosites. Ιt begins from the settlement of Epano Zakros, climbs the steep slopes of the mountainous regions, crosses the breathtaking Mavros Kambos plateau and ends at the Skalia area, featuring a small spring and the ruins of the old stone settlement.
At Skalia, georoutes 3 and 9 intersect. Visitors can return to Epano Zakros either by taking the same route back or by following one of the other two connected georoutes.


Georoute 9
Georoute Name: Ziros - Skalia

Type: Trekking
Length (Km): 4,82
Time: 1h, 40 min
Initial elevation (m): 617
Final elevation (m): 655
Maximum elevation (m): 740
Minimum elevation (m): 617
This Georoute also follows European Trail E4. It begins from the hamlet of Ziros and ends at Skalia; essentially, it is an extension of Georoute 8, all the way to Epano Zakros for those with great stamina!


Georoute 10
Georoute Name: Epano Zakros - Deads Gorge - Kato Zakros

Type: Trekking
Length (Km): 4,11
Time: 1h, 30 min
Initial elevation (m): 7
Final elevation (m): 160
Maximum elevation (m): 160
Minimum elevation (m): 7
Georoute 10 begins from Epano Zakros, passes through the renowned Zakros Gorge, also known as 'the Gorge of the Dead', and reaches the village of Kato Zakros. It constitutes the southern and eastern part of European Trail E4 in Greece, which officially ends at Kato Zakros.This exceptional trekking route is particularly important because it combines beautiful landscape with numerous components of geological and cultural heritage of the area. It is worth noting that it passes through the Minoan cemetery and the archaeological site of Kato Zakros palace.


Georoute 11
Georoute Name: Kato Zakros - Fangromouro - Katsounaki beach

Type: Trekking
Length (Km): 7,164
Time: 2h, 30 min
Initial elevation (m): 7
Final elevation (m): 12
Maximum elevation (m): 52
Minimum elevation (m): 0
Georoute 11 begins from Kato Zakros and follows the old coastal trail towards the south, passes through Fangromouro area and ends at Katsounaki beach.
The Georoute crosses many interesting geosites and is exceptionally pleasant, as it follows the coastline along its entire length. At Katsounaki beach, there are numerous geosites, including Katsounaki gorge, as well as endemic species of sand lilies or Sea Daffodils (Pancratium maritimum). Visitors can return to Kato Zakros either by the same path or from the road via Xerokambos.


Georoute 12
Georoute Name: Kato Zakros - Pelekita cave - Karoumes beach

Type: Trekking
Length (Km): 7,069
Time: 2h, 30 min
Initial elevation (m): 7
Final elevation (m): 20
Maximum elevation (m): 107
Minimum elevation (m): 6
Georoute 12 begins from Kato Zakros, heads north along an old but clear trail and ends at the wonderful and totally isolated Karoumes Beach.
This magnificent georoute includes a large number of geosites, including the renowned Zakros marine terrains, Pelekita Cave, the ancient quarry and others.
At Karoumes, the georoute intersects with georoute 13, which passes through the Hohlakies gorge. Thus, visitors can return either by following the same path back to Kato Zakros or via georoute 13, through Hohlakies gorge, ending up at road route 1.


Georoute 13
Georoute Name: Hohlakies - Hohlakies gorge - Karoumes beach

Type: Trekking
Length (Km): 3,81
Time: 1h, 20 min
Initial elevation (m): 84
Final elevation (m): 20
Maximum elevation (m): 120
Minimum elevation (m): 20
This georoute begins outside the hamlet of Hohlakies, passes through the beautiful Hohlakies gorge and ends at the outstanding beach of Karoumes.Several important geosites can be found at Karoumes, such as the coral limestone and small caves. Most people can return through the gorge, but more adventurous visitors can head to Kato Zakros through georoute 12!


Georoute 14
Georoute Name: Vai - Skopeli - Megali Kefala - Vai

Type: Trekking
Length (Km): 5,131
Time: 1 h, 45 min
Initial elevation (m): 20
Final elevation (m): 20
Maximum elevation (m): 120
Minimum elevation (m): 20
Georoute 14 begins from the renowned beach of Vai with the unique Cretan Date Palm forest, continues southwards crossing sand dunes and small bays and ends at Skopeli summit. It offers a fantastic view and includes numerous significant geosites of the area: Dunes with Cedar groves (Juniperus phoenicea), forest stands of Carob tree (Ceratonia illigua), shrublands of Cretan Cistus (Cistus creticus) and many rare flora species. From there, it follows a parallel track back to Vai, where it connects with georoute 2.


Georoute 15
Georoute Name: Toplou Monastery Gorge

Type: Trekking
Length (Km): 3,03
Time: 1 h, 10 min
Initial elevation (m): 0
Final elevation (m): 0
Maximum elevation (m): 0
Minimum elevation (m): 0
Georoute 15 is considered one of the most significant georoutes of the area due to the exceptional geosites that it includes. The georoute begins west of Toplou Monastery, crosses the gorge and returns from a ridge back to its starting point. The entire georoute features a fantastic landscape and visitors can encounter numerous endemic flora species, fossils, as well as the erosional landforms called 'Tafoni'. In the small lakes formed in the canyon, one may encounter the Balkan Terrapin (Mauremys rivulata). At the end of the georoute, one should not neglect visiting Toplou monastery, which features a church museum and a winery.


Portobelis One day Hiking Excursion (Traditional Crete)
by 9 seater minibus with 1-2 hours hiking
**********************************************



Walking Excursion: No.1
Sitia-Exo Mouliana-Richti Gorge-Hamaizi-Faneromeni area-Sitia






Leaving Sitia at 09.00, we drive to the village of Exo Mouliana and then down to sea to the entrance of Richtis gorge (approx. 40 minutes from Sitia, on the road towards Agios Nikolaos).
Starting at the wildly beautiful pebble beach of Richti, we walk into the gorge, until we come to the most impressive waterfall, which is over 15m high and flows all year round (approx. 45 minutes walk each way) - you can jump into the pool there! You will be surprised how green the gorge is, with a wide variety of plants, fragrant wild herbs and oleander bushes – it is easy to forget that you are in Crete!! Back again to the beach, there are stone seats and tables and tamarisk trees for welcome shade in the summer months.
(Non–walkers can wait here!). There is also a stone water fountain, with clean drinking water.
We drive back up to Exo Mouliana and then to the village of Hamaizi, where we enjoy a light lunch with Cretan Meze in a ‘cafeneion’, just by the main church in the village, Agios Pandeleimonas. After a visit to the church and the Folklore Museum, we drive to the area of Faneromeni, down to the sea and back to Sitia (arrival approx 17.30).

Walk into Richtis Gorge, Hamaizi (Folklore Museum, light lunch with Cretan Meze, Agios Pandeleimonas Church, Folklore Museum), Faneromeni area.
Departure: 09.00/ return approx. 17.30
Cost: €48 per person. Price includes: Minibus, escort/driver, light lunch, travel insurance, entrance fee
.

Note: Good walking shoes, water and a hat are essential!!



Walking Excursion: No.2

Sitia-Zakros Museums-Kato Zakros Gorge-Vai Palm Beach-Toplou Monastery






We leave Sitia at 09.00 and drive to the village of Zakros, where we visit the Digital and Natural History Museums. We continue down to Kato Zakros and stop near the ruins of the 4th Minoan Palace, just by the gorge (known as the ‘Valley of the Dead’, as many caves were found there with tombs from the Minoan period). The gorge is an area of outstanding beauty, full of fragrant herbs and plants. We walk into the gorge (approx. 30 minutes, o/w), then to the Palace which you can visit if you wish. After a swim in the clear blue sea, we enjoy a light lunch of Cretan meze in a taverna by the sea. On the way back to Sitia, we make a quick stop at the Palm Beach of Vai, then on to Toplou Monastery, where we visit the church and museum. We expect to be back in Sitia approx. 18.30.
Visit to Zakros, walk into Zakros Gorge, Minoan Palace (optional), light lunch with Cretan meze, Vai Palm Beach. Toplou Monastery.
Departure: 09:00/return approx.18.30
Cost: 58€ per person. Price includes : Minibus, escort/driver, light lunch, travel insurance, entrance fee to Toplou Monastery.
Price does not include: Minoan Palace (optional!)


Note: Good walking shoes, water and a hat are essential!!




Free suggested Excursions


Toplou-Vai - Kato Zakros
Visit the most impressive 14th century monastery of Toplou, followed by a visit to Vai, the largest natural palm grove in the whole of Europe, which fringes a beautiful beach with crystal-clear waters. On to the tiny fishing village of Kato Zakros, home to the fourth Minoan Palace, a famous archaeological site not to be missed!!

Lassithi Plateau
A whole day is taken up visiting the beautiful, fertile plain of Lassithi, famous for its vegetable production and its hundreds of windmills. One should also visit the cave of Psychro, where according to Greek mythology Zeus, the father of the gods and people was born.
A boat leaves Ierapetra (approx. 1 hour from Sitia) in the morning for a pleasant one-hour cruise to the uninhabited island of Chrissi, renowned for its beautiful, white sand beaches, covered in millions of tiny shells. There is a taverna for lunch, drinks and snacks. The boat returns late afternoon.

‘The Real Crete’
A chance to discover remote villages, meet the inhabitants, sample Greek coffee and the local drink Raki in small, village cafes, accompanied by the delight of ‘mezes’. It is rare to leave these villages empty-handed, as the locals are extremely generous and like to give an offering of whatever fruit is in season, be it apricots late spring to grapes late August. Visit churches, meet the villagers and see how they live.

Agios Nikolaos-Spinalonga
Agios Nikolaos is a well-established tourist destination, famous for its jewellery shops, bottomless lake and the island of Spinalonga, which was a leper colony until 1957! The journey by boat from Agios Nikolaos harbour across the Bay of Mirabello to Spinalonga is approx. 1 hour each way and a guide on the island will explain its fascinating history. You may also wish to include a visit to the traditional village of Kritsa, famous for its lace-making.

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