Crete
Off the beaten track

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Our most recommended Crete Off the beaten track

From Agios Nikolaos Area: Day Trip to Chrissi Island

1. From Agios Nikolaos Area: Day Trip to Chrissi Island

Ierapetra is situated on the southern coast of Crete. As it is the only town in the south, it is referred to as the Bride of Libyan Sea. With the rising of the sun, head to the gorgeous port of Ierapetra and set sail toward Chrissi Island.   Chrissi Island, or Gaidouronisi, meaning Golden Beach or Donkey Island, is an uninhabited island around 15 kilometers south of Ierapetra. 7 kilometers in length and covering an area of 4,743 km, the island is covered in golden sand and a rare variety of Lebanon cedars.  Anchoring on the south side of the island, head to the nearby beach for swimming and sunbathing. Walk the path running through the island and the cedar forest to the otherworldly beach of Chrissi Ammos. Hunt for seashells, check out the rockier coast of the island, or make the trek to the island’s lighthouse.  Swim in turquoise crystal clear waters and soak up the sun in this magical and totally undisturbed place of natural beauty.

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From Chania: Full-Day Samaria Gorge Trek Excursion

2. From Chania: Full-Day Samaria Gorge Trek Excursion

Samaria Gorge, the longest gorge in Europe, is located 4,000 feet above sea level. Enjoy a trek in the gorge on a 12-hour excursion that begins with a pick-up in Chania and a drive to Omalos, in the White Mountains. Trek over rocks and stones, through a forest of thousand-year-old trees, along a river and by freshwater springs. Take in spectacular views of Crete’s most beautiful mountain range and see mountain goats roaming in the wild. At the end of the trek, visit the village of Agia Roumeli that boasts numerous taverns and shops. Late in the afternoon, board a boat for the trip from Agia Roumeli to Sfakia, where a bus will be waiting to transfer you back to the starting point.

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The Miracle of Wine and Olive Oil: Day Tour from Chania

3. The Miracle of Wine and Olive Oil: Day Tour from Chania

Travel through stunning natural landscapes up into the mountains of the Kissamos region on this 7-hour tour from Chania. Stop at a traditional family winery, established in 1993, and learn about the varieties of wine they produce and their ideas for modern farming processes and wine production. Taste award-winning local Vidiano, Muscat of Spina and some international varieties such as Grenache rouge, Syrah and Mourvèdre that each have a unique taste due the local terroir. Next you’ll visit a traditional village and see the oldest olive tree in the world, with an estimated age of 3,000 years. This is a day filled with tasting different wine expressions of noble grapes and a variety of delicious foods. Head to another winery in the Kissamos region to taste a special local blend of white wines with Vilana, Vidiano and Assyrtiko varieties. Walk through the idyllic landscape of the vineyards and visit the family’s olive oil factory. Learn about extra virgin olive oil production. The wine tasting here will be accompanied by a tasting of extra virgin olive oils and local pure products, creating combinations your palate will never forget. You’ll also learn the Cretan way of saying goodbye drinking the award-winning Tsikoudia.

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Richtis Waterfall and North Coast Tour

4. Richtis Waterfall and North Coast Tour

Take a tour to Richtis beach on the far side of Mirabello Bay and trek through the forest to the stunning Richtis waterfall. After pickup from your accommodation, enjoy the beautiful scenery on the 1-hour drive to the bay of Mirabello. Leave the asphalt and travel off road down to Richtis beach, hugging the mountainside.  Park at the bottom and enter Richtis gorge to start the 30-minute walk to reach the falls. Follow a trail through the forest, listening to the sounds of birds and running water. Stop to admire the incredible waterfalls, with time to climb up the stairs to the top of the falls, take photos, or swim in the cool waters.  When you are ready to leave, head back to the beach along the same trail. During the tour you’ll enjoy a traditional lunch at a local tavern, with wine and water included. At the end of your tour, you’ll be dropped off back at your hotel in the Elounda area.

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From Rethymno: Half-Day Quad Bike Safari

5. From Rethymno: Half-Day Quad Bike Safari

Choose from a morning or afternoon Quad Bike safari, and benefit from a hotel pick-up from Rethymno, Bali or Georgiopoulis. Journey to the base in Rethymno town and get kitted out with all the necessary equipment from your guide. Listen to a detailed briefing before you set off for some serious off-road fun! Journey up into the mountains of Maroulas, and head for the summit for a 10-minute break to take in the panoramic views. Then, continue on your bike for another 20 minutes to reach a spot where you can relax over coffee at a traditional kafeneion (Greek coffee house). Soak up the peace and quiet of Café Gidospito overlooking beautiful Lake Potami. Then, make your way to the picturesque village of Prassies for a quick snack to recover from your Quad Bike experience. Return to Rethymno and get dropped off at your hotel to relax and freshen up after you dusty adventure! Each quad is for 2 people, if you like single quads, please make different bookings for each person.

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The Samariá Gorge Hike from Chania or Rethymno

6. The Samariá Gorge Hike from Chania or Rethymno

Samariá Gorge is the longest gorge in Europe. An area of stunning natural beauty, it is rich with many flowers and herbs and the crystal-clear spring waters that flow from the mountains. Following an early morning pick-up (between 05:30 and 06:30) from the nearest point to your accommodation in Rethymno or Chania, travel through the mountains passing the plateau of Omalos. You will arrive at some wooden stairs at the start of Samariá Gorge. You can opt to start the walk straight away or get some breakfast at the taverna before you begin. Hike for approximately 6-7 hours and experience the magnificent landscape on a 16-kilometer walk. Once you have finished the hike, there will be ample time for a swim and lunch at a taverna in Agia Roumeli. Indicative Timetable: 5:20 AM ‐ 6:10 AM: Pickup 7:30 AM: First stop at Omalos Plateau 8:00 AM: Begin the Xyloskalo hike 2:00 PM: End the hike at Agia Roumeli Village Please note that this timetable depends on how fast you walk and how much free time you take to eat.

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Scuba Experience I-Discover Scuba

7. Scuba Experience I-Discover Scuba

This is the ideal diving course for anyone over 10 years old who wants to try scuba diving but does not have a diving certificate. Begin your day with the basic theory on diving and the skills necessary to do so. You will then move on to real-life diving under the supervision of a certified instructor. During the dive, you will have the opportunity to explore the bottom of the sea in Agia Pelagia, learn the basic commands, and get the chance to observe up-close the fish and sea creatures living near the seabed.

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From Rethymno: South Crete Private Tour with Lunch

8. From Rethymno: South Crete Private Tour with Lunch

Start your day at the breathtaking Kourtaliotiko Gorge. Walk through the rising rock walls and admire the incredible natural scenery, before you reach the lonely chapel in Agios Nikolaos. Listen to the ethereal sound of the wind, created by its movement through the gorge. Reach the springs of Kourtaliotis, where you can purchase rare herbs, which only grow in the mountains, from the locals. Arrive at the exotic coastal resort of Kalypso, an old pirate shelter. Relax on Karavos beach, which has recently become a national park. Clamber across the towering rocks and dive into the turquoise water of the Libyan Sea. Travel to the village of Mariou and enjoy a delicious local lunch, complimented with their traditional drink, raki. Finish your adventure at the stunning village of Spili, carved into the heart of the mountains. Escape the sun as you relax under the trees and view the famous Lion Fountain. 

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From Heraklion: Morning Sailing trip to Dia Island

9. From Heraklion: Morning Sailing trip to Dia Island

Enjoy a cruise, snorkeling and fishing in crystal clear waters on this relaxing and fun trip to Dia Island. Relax on the 1-hour trip to the island, taking in the scenery and enjoying the comfort of your boat, which will have a maximum of 8 passengers onboard. Next, visit the romantic gulf and ancient Minoan port of St. George. Spend 2.5 hours swimming in the turquoise water, walking on the beautiful trails, fishing or just relaxing on the beach. Relax and let the crew take care of you by providing you with any snorkeling and fishing equipment you need. Enjoy unlimited refreshments, seasonal fruits and a delicious Mediterranean lunch served by the crew.

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From Rethymno/Chania: Imbros Gorge Hike

10. From Rethymno/Chania: Imbros Gorge Hike

Discover the Imbros Gorge, which runs parallel to the more famous Samaria Gorge. Although the Imbros Gorge is smaller, many people prefer to cross here because it offers a very different hiking experience than the Samaria Gorge. Of the 11 kilometers, 8.5 kilometers are suitable for hiking. Discover the exquisite beauty of nature in this narrow passage and learn about the stunning rock formations.  According to legend, the name Imbros was given to the village, and subsequently the gorge, because two Greek brothers chose to live here after they were banished from Imbros Island when it was connected to Turkey. For many years, the Imbros Gorge served as part of the trail that connected the city of Chania to the Hora Sfakion village. It is notable that during World War II, after the Battle of Crete was lost by Greece and her allies, many thousands of British soldiers passed through the Imbros Gorge towards South Crete in order to get to Egypt.  After the hike, take a swim in the stunning refreshing Libyan sea. Eat lunch with the locals in the taverns. 

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What people are saying about Crete

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 1,861 reviews

Very well organised day out, but be warned, it’s a very long day! We left our hotel at 6am and didn’t return until 8pm. The trail is doable in good runners but much more enjoyable and comfortable in hiking boots. I would recommend bringing a sandwich and some snacks like nuts and bananas. Our bus stopped off at a cafe on the way to the trail head which sold sandwiches and snacks as well as coffee and orange juice. Tomas was very helpful and gave some great guidance on rest stops and suggested times which kept us on track. We are experienced hikers so we didn’t see Tomas again until we collected our ferry tickets in Agria Soumeli. We set off at around 7:45am and reached the beach at Agria Soumeli at 1:30pm. I would strongly recommend bringing a towel and togs as it was one of the best sea dips I’ve ever had! We did the hike at the end of October but I don’t know if I could have done it in July!

We had a wonderful tour with our awesome guide Γιάννης. He provided so much interesting information about the history and culture of Crete along with what we would be seeing at the winery/olive oil factory. Effi was also wonderful explaining how the olive oil is made and then educating us on all the great wines her company makes We highly recommend this tour to anyone who loves wine and/or Olive Oil. 5***** all the way.

We had an amazing time and experience in this tour. The host of the tour Andreas, made it super interesting and entertaining, being professional sommelier he shared his knowledge with the group and made wine tasting even more enjoyable. Though it would be great to add to the tour actual walk through the grapevine field and wine making facilities.

Best day in Crete, absolutely loved it! Think bucolic landscapes, loads of wines and delicious food. Very relaxed yet fun. Out guide, Andreas was absolutely phenomenal. Highly recommended!

I had a great trip and learned a lot about Cretan culture, history and food :) Our guide Yannis was very knowledgeable and kind! I totally recommend this tour!