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Hiking Trip in Crete

Crete Trip 9th/13th July 2016


Crete, especially the West of the island, is a walker’s paradise. It has the unique combination of beautiful seas and high mountains. The geographical diversity and wild beauty of the island, the friendliness of its inhabitants as well as the climate have made Crete into a choice destination for walking and hiking. The whole island is criss-crossed by trails, most of them now disused since roads have been built or used only by shepherds. It is possible to walk all day without meeting a soul and still reach a village where you can eat and sleep in relative comfort before setting off for another day in nature. The truly dedicated hikers can go to areas that are practically unknown and totally uninhabited , with undisturbed flora and fauna, be it in deep gorges or high up on the mountains.

The Samaria Gorge is one of the main sights of Crete.  The Samaria Gorge is in west Crete, in the White Mountains. It is the longest gorge in Europe, with a length of 18 kilometres. The gorge starts at Xyloskalo (1227 m. above sea level) on the Omalos Plateau and runs down to the seaside village of Agia Roumeli on the south coast of Crete.

This hiking programme is designed with flexibility in mind to appeal to experienced hikers. Many of the walks can be taken in part depending on our condition on the day. We will just need to carry our backpack and a day pack lunch. You have to be physically fit to attend this hiking trip!

West Crete

PROGRAMME

  • Saturday 9/07 Day 1: Chania. Chania is the place of the Venetian Harbour, the old port, the narrow shopping streets, waterfront restaurants, old buildings, museums, churches and crafts shops . The atmosphere has a touch of Florence and Venice combined with the culture and character of Cretan people and traditions.
  • Sunday 10/07 – Day 2: Chania – Omalos by bus 7:45am. Walk to the mountain refuge of Kallergi (http://www.kallergi.co/) which offers a stunning bird’s eye view of the Samaria gorge. Kallergi Mountain Refuge is located on the western region of Crete, above the plateau of Omalos, in the White Mountains (Lefka Ori) mountain range at an altitude of 1680 metres. The site is of unique natural beauty and commands great views to the surrounding peaks and the gorge of Samaria. It can be accessed on foot (1 1/2 hour) via the 5km long dirt road from Omalos. It features a fully equipped kitchen, a lodge with fire place and wood burning stoves, toilets (indoors and outdoors) and a camping area. Nite in Omalos (Kallergi Refuge).
    Hike to the summit of Melidaou (16 Km. Ascent: 453m, 7 hours, Technical difficulty: Very difficult). Altitude 2133m a great view to north and south side of the island will give you the sense of flying.
    Alternative in case of very bad weather condition: Hike to Gingilos (15 Km, 6 hours, Ascent: 325m, Technical difficulty: Difficult). One of the most known summits of the White Mountains massif. A very well marked trail takes us to the altitude of 2005 meters with a magnificent view of the area. Gingilos, the impressive mountain that rises vertically above the Samaria gorge is actually quite easy to climb. The view from its summit (2080 m) is one of the best mountain views in Crete. We can see the Libyan sea (to the South) and the Aegean sea (to the North) from the same spot.
  • Monday 11/07 – Day 3: Kallergi Refuge – Agia Roumeli (18 Km, Ascent: 1.680m, 7 hours, Technical difficulty: Easy). A walk in Crete has to include the gorge of Samaria! Although the walk is long and we descend 1350m, the path is well maintained, making the hike fairly easy.  This lets us have the place almost to ourselves. There’s an undeniable raw beauty to Samaria, whose vertical walls soar up to 500m high and are just 3m apart at the narrowest point, 150m at the broadest, all carved by the river that flows between the peaks of Mts Avlimaniko (1858m) and Volakias (2115m). The hike begins at an elevation of 1330m from the refuge of Kallergi  and ends in the coastal village of Agia Roumeli. Samaria is also home to the kri-kri, a rarely seen endangered wild goat. The gorge was made a national park in 1962 to save the kri-kri from extinction. You are unlikely to see these shy animals, which show a marked aversion to hikers, but you might spot golden eagles overhead. Geologists theorize that the gorge was formed 14,000,000 years ago. Nite in Agia Roumeli.
  • Tuesday 12/07 – Day 4: Agia Roumeli – Sougia. We will stay away from the mainstream close beautiful sea and deserted beaches. We can relax on the beaches and visit one or more of the three Venetian castles high above the village or make an incursion into the wild, unknown Eligas gorge which runs parallel to the East of the Samaria gorge. From Agia Roumeli we will take the boat to Sougia. Ferry Agia Roumel – Sougia at 530pm. Nite in Sougia.
  • Wednesday 13/07 – Day 5: Sougia – Chania. The small village of Sougia in the south-west of Crete has managed to remain unaffected by the growth of tourism in Crete. It is still a peaceful haven, with a long beach and excellent places to eat, all at prices below those found in most of the island. We can chose to do very little apart from lazing on the beach or enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of a few beach front cafés. There are also a number of beautiful walks we can do in the region: from Sougia we will take a walk to the ancient city of Lissos. The walk is relatively easy, doesn’t take long (about 90 minutes each way) and Lissos is a very beautiful and peaceful place with interesting remains of ancient civilisation. The walk starts at the harbour of Sougia and it goes trough a the small gorge, a path in the shade of old pine trees and a treeless plateau with good views all around.  It is worth spending a while exploring Lissos and soaking up its peaceful atmosphere. From Sougia we will take the bus to Chadia (about 1.5hrs)  at 12:30pm or 6pm depending your flights.

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LOGISTICS AND ROUTES

ORGANISED BY MAURIZIO

Hiking leading

  • Omalos – Kallergi Refuge
  • Kallergi Refuge – Melidaou (or Gingilos)
  • Kallergi Refuge- Agia Roumeli
  • Agia Roumeli – Venetian  Castles
  • Sougia – Lissos

Tickets

  • Sunday 10th 7:45  Chania – Omalos (by bus) 7.5 euro 90 minutes
  • Tuesday 12th Agia Roumeli – Sougia 17:30 (by ferry) 10.5 euro 40 minutes
  • Sunday 10th Samaria Gorge ticket 6 euro

Accommodation/Breakfast/Dinner

Deadline to secure your place and send the money to Maurizio for accommodation, bus ticket, ferry ticket, 2 breakfasts, 2 dinners, gorge ticket is Thursday 12th  May. Total to pay is 89 euro.

TO MANAGE BY EACH PARTICIPANT
  • Accommodation in Chania Saturday 9th
  • Accommodation in Sougia Tuesday 12th
  • Bus Sougia – Chania
  • Flight from/to Crete
  • Everything is not included on the list “Organised by Maurizio”.

samaria-gorge-hike

EQUIPMENT

You need to bring in a small rucksack for packed lunch, water, clothes and anything else that you will need during the 3 days excursion, It’s strongly recommended not to bring useless and superfluous items. What to bring? Sun cream, torch for speleology and nite walk, warm clothes,  bikini/swimming trunks, warm water proof jacket, boots, gears, dive mask, camera, shorts, passport, light rain coat, sun hat.

TRANSPORT

  • Saturday 9th Ryanair flight FR7354 14:25 DUB Dublin – 20:55 CHQ Crete Chania (4h 30)
    Wednesday 13th Ryanair flight FR7355 21:30 CHQ Crete Chania 00:20 (+1) DUB Dublin (4h 50)
  • There are a lot of cheaper options travelling via UK (check en.skypicker.com/)

Cost of transport is not included in the price above and are managed by participants. All participants are invited to book flights and accommodation in advance.

PARTICIPANTS

Places for this hiking trip are strictly limited (Max 8). If you want join this event please read carefully the paragraph below.

HOW ATTEND THIS EVENT?

The maximum number of participants is 8.  The event was proposed to the participants of the Selvaggio Blu Trip and there are already 5 confirmations. The remaining  3 places left  will be allocated via the meet-up event . The criteria of reservation will be “first booked first served”.

All details about the trip will be discussed on the Facebook event page. To open the Facebook event page you need to join the Challenge Hiker group in Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/groups/thechallengehikers/.

Booking cost of 89 euro per person will be collected from now until Thursday 12th  May.

TERMS & CONDITIONS

Finally, please note that this is not an organized trip, and as such, you won’t be covered by insurance – we are simply an informal, like-minded group that meet regularly to enjoy a walk, and if you choose to accompany us, you must take responsibility for your own safety.
Please make sure to get travel insurance as this is not included.
A condition of attending is that you leave no trace.

Maurizio Pittau will be acting as facilitator.

In partnership with The Challenge Hiker – Hiking Club in Dublin


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