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5.0
| 33 reviews

Hike and Wild Swim Crete's Hidden Coves

Hike through gorges and along cliff top trails to reach remote wild swim spots in Crete's natural sea pools, lagoons and bays

Duration

7 nights

Annual Leave

1 week off work

Group Size

Up to 10 people

Season

Jun-Oct

Location

Greece

Meeting Point

Chania Airport, Crete

Classic Accommodation

Hotel

Customer Reviews

(33)

5.0

Difficulty

Moderate

From

From

Spend a week wild swimming in the warm, clear Mediterranean waters off the coast of Crete

Hike through gorges, forests and dunes between swims, with classic Cretan taverna feasts awaiting you on land each day

Take on a 3.7km open water swim to Limpet Island, completing the 'Falasarna Triangle' swim

Day 1

Arrive in Crete

Welcome to Crete! Your host will meet you at Chania Airport and transfer you to your hotel in Kissamos. In the evening, join your host and fellow wild swimmers for a welcome dinner of traditional Cretan food.

Day 2

Swim Kissamos Bay and hike Sirikari Gorge

Swimming

1 hour · 2km

Hiking

2 hours · 4km · 460m up · 130m down

After breakfast, you'll head to a sheltered corner of Kissamos Bay for a gentle introductory swim. Your route will stick close to the shore, taking you above seagrass meadows, around the coastline and to a small cove. After getting dressed and having a quick snack, you'll hike back, stopping to admire the million-year-old fossils in the sandstone. In the afternoon you'll hike through Sirikari Gorge, a secluded area where griffon vultures nest, before spending the evening at a taverna enjoying a traditional Cretan meal, made with local produce.

Day 3

Swim to sea caves and hike the villagers’ coast path

Swimming

1-2 hours · 2-4km

Hiking

3 hours · 7km · 280m up · 270m down

An early start today makes the most of Crete's beautiful mornings. You'll pack up some breakfast to go, then get driven to an eastern peninsula for today's swim. Your swim follows the coast from a tiny pebble beach to a dark, otherworldly sea cave where the light creeps in, casting myriad reflections as you swim. You'll continue past more caves towards a secluded cove where you can clamber out of the water, dry off and enjoy your beach breakfast looking out over the bay. You'll then hike the 'Villagers’ Path' – a coastal route past grand geological features with commanding views over the peninsula and the bays below – before a late lunch at a coastal taverna with amazing local seafood. Late afternoon, you'll drive back to Kissamos to spend the evening relaxing.

Day 4

Swim Cape Crow and hike Kampos Gorge

Swimming

1 hours · 1.6km

Hiking

2.5 hours · 5km · 400m up · 36m down

Today you'll have an adventure on the wild west coast of Crete, combining a hike in Kampos Gorge with a sea swim through crystal clear water to a remote beach (and another well-earned taverna feast!). Reaching the jump-in beach early, you'll swim along the rocky cliffs, around Cape Crow and towards a remote cove. Take in this glorious location while enjoying a large breakfast on the beach, fuelling up for a hike through Kampos Gorge, dense with the Mediterranean fauna of thyme bushes and carob trees. You'll criss-cross a small river during the steady climb, emerging at a tiny village where you'll find a traditional taverna.

Day 5

Swimming the sea pools

Swimming

1-1.5hrs · 2 or 3km

Today you'll head back to the rugged west coast to a wild swimming paradise: large, natural pools carved in the rocks. Launch into impossibly blue waters from a sheltered cove by a small chapel. Swimming towards a cape, you'll first reach a protected natural pool to explore, before passing under huge cliffs as you continue to a sheltered bay, reaching a perfectly circular pool with tranquil waters to immerse yourself in. Enjoy a snack on the rocks and swim further if you wish, before heading back to Kissamos for some afternoon downtime. In the evening, you'll head to a village called Mezedopoleio and eat like the locals do – with plenty of small dishes of fresh local foods, shared between the whole party, with a variety of different tastes. Take your pick! There'll be local raki and wines to wash the good food down.

Day 6

Falasarna open water swim

Swimming

1-1.5hrs · 2-4km

Snorkelling

2hrs

With several days of swimming under your belt, it's time to tackle an open water challenge. Setting off from quiet spot on the sandy beach, you'll swim out to Limpet Island: an elongated rocky ridge in the bay. The visibility in the water here is amazing and at times you'll be surrounded by shoals of fish. There are two swim options, depending on how far you would like to swim today. Clamber out of the water and up some steps by the rock caves to reach a cafe for lunch, with far-reaching views over the Mediterranean. Later, you'll hike to a tiny cove. From here, using masks and snorkels, you'll explore a WWII shipwreck that lies less than 2m below the surface. Dry off, get dressed and then you'll be driven back to Kissamos to enjoy a free evening.

Day 7

Swim a pink sand lagoon and hike through juniper forest

Hiking

1 hour · 2km

Swimming

1-2 hours · 2 or 4km

Set off after breakfast and drive a scenic route all the way across the island to the south coast. Take a walk in the sand dunes, admiring the pink shoreline along small coves, before swimming in the shallow, turquoise waters between the natural rock pools dotting the bay. If you're feeling strong, you can circumnavigate the whole peninsula, swimming through deep, cavernous sections to a shallow, tranquil sea bed. Aftern a post-swim snack on shore, you'll hike along a narrow trail to the juniper forest. These exotic trees grow over sand dunes all the way to the shoreline. You'll find cove after cove of pink sand, against the blue backdrop of the sea, where you'll have a picnic lunch, taking a dip in the sea before retracing your steps back to Elafonissi Beach.

Day 8

Goodbye Crete!

Your wild swimming odyssey had to come to an end eventually. After breakfast, your host will transfer you to the airport at Chania in time for your return flight home.

Included

Guides

Expert local hiking and swimming guides, plus support kayaks for all swims

Accommodation

7 nights in a 3 star hotel in Kissamos

Meals

Breakfast, refuel snacks and a large Greek-style late lunch or dinner each day

Transfers

All transfers to and from Chania Airport to your accommodation in Kissamos

Equipment

Snorkels and masks provided for the shipwreck swim

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Alcoholic drinks

Tips for your guides

Some meals as described

Some equipment

Visas where required

Day 1

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2 – Day 4

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 6 – Day 7

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 8

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

The hotel in Kissamos will have a Continental and Greek buffet breakfast each day. On some mornings with an early start, you will have the hotel pack the breakfast and take it with you to have during the morning break after the first swim of the day.

Each day either lunch or dinner is included, at local tavernas, cafes or as a picnic. This will be done the Greek way: with a large quantity of various dishes, sharing everything! You will sit down for a fair amount of time for these meals, sometimes late in the middle of the day, and adapt to the local pace. This is very much the Cretan approach to eating.

There are excellent options for vegetarians. Other dietary requirements can be catered for, please let your host know in advance.

What is the accommodation like?

Hotel in Kissamos

You'll stay at Sunny Bay Hotel in Kissamos a 3 star, family-run hotel with sea view balconies and a swimming pool (if you feel you need even more swimming on this trip!).

Accommodation will be in same sex twin rooms.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked for an extra charge, see Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability).

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Chania Airport (CHQ)

Arrive any time on Day 1 - Check transfer information below

Ends

Chania Airport (CHQ)

Depart any time on Day 8 - Check transfer information below

Transfers

Your trip starts at Chania airport in Crete. Transfers are included if you arrive on the start day between 7am and 10pm, so please let your host know your flight times. Your trip ends back at Chania airport in Crete, where your host will drop you off in time for your departing flight. Transfers are also included between 7am and 10pm if you depart on the final day, so please let your host know your flight times. A 7am departure transfer would get you to the airport approximately 8am, so please consider booking flights departing from 10am onwards.

If you arrive or depart outside these times, there are taxis available. The journey to the hotel takes approximately 1 hour and the cost is €83 (check the Optional Extras below). Please contact your host to organise the transfer for you.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • Snorkel and Mask (for shipwreck swim on day 6)

What's available to hire?

There are some wetsuits available through the host, however we only suggest using these for the shipwreck snorkel. In June and October when the water is a little cooler and you feel you might want to swim in a wetsuit, we advise bringing your own. This will ensure you swim in a suit which fits correctly and will be comfortable to swim in for several days in a row.

What do I need to bring?

  • Main pack or suitcase
  • Waterproof backpack or drybag with straps 20-30 litres
  • Swimming goggles x2
  • Swimwear
  • Swimming hats
  • Swimming wetsuit (optional, only usually needed for June)
  • Swimming body lubricant / anti chafe balm (e.g. body glide)
  • Lightweight swim towel
  • Tow float
  • Lightweight walking shoes or hiking sandals for the hikes
  • Small drybag for electronics
  • Waterproof camera
  • Sunhat, sunglasses and suncream
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Small personal first aid kit
  • Lightweight hiking wear with good skin coverage
  • Clothes for downtime in Kissamos
*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Single room in Kissamos (High Season)

Payable Before Departure

Single room in Kissamos (High Season)

Per Night

Single room in Kissamos (Low Season)

Payable Before Departure

Single room in Kissamos (Low Season)

Per Night

Twin/double room in Kissamos (High Season)

Payable Before Departure

Twin/double room in Kissamos (High Season)

Per Night

Twin/double room in Kissamos (Low Season)

Payable Before Departure

Twin/double room in Kissamos (Low Season)

Per Night

Optional Private Room Upgrade | High & Mid Season

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade | High & Mid Season

Optional Private Room Upgrade | Low Season

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade | Low Season

Airport transfer Chania to Kissamos (each way)

Payable Before Departure

Airport transfer Chania to Kissamos (each way)

Colleen(November 2023)

Fabulous trip. Beautiful swims and I always felt safe and looked after. Perfect balance between activity/adventure and relaxation. Amazing food with vegans/veggies well catered for. Lovely hosts/guides and a friendly, fun, supportive group. Best holiday I've had in a long time 💙

Nicola(November 2023)

This was a wonderful trip for me, and one I will always remember. The guides were fantastic, very experienced and kind and always thinking of our needs. Every day was full of fun and adventure and beauty, and we were taken to tavernas for feasts every day. I would recommend this to everyone I know.

Anke(November 2023)

The trip was perfect. Most of the swims were highlights, can't even decide which one was the best. The food was delicious and had a lot of vegetarian options. Manu, Miltos and Julien took us to many amazing places and took very good care of us. I had a great time and enjoyed every second of it!

Alison(October 2023)

This was a wonderful holiday and I recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone who enjoys open water swimming. Manu and his team were superb. They adapted the swims as necessary for the sea conditions to ensure we stayed safe. Even in October the weather and water was warm and we swam in beautifully clear turquoise seas. The swim locations were stunning! Miltos (our hiking guide) was a font of knowledge which made the walks really interesting. On top of that, we ended each day in a different Taverna where Manu would order a HUGE spread of delicious Cretan food that we would all share. A lovely sociable way to end each day's activities. I would say that this holiday best suits outdoor swimmers who enjoy a bit of walking rather than keen hikers who think they may enjoy swimming.

Wayne(October 2023)

Absolutely amazing trip. Swimming and hiking in places you would not necessarily find without Manu and the team. Their knowledge of the island, its plants and wildlife is second to none. Excellent food everyday after our adventures. The team really couldn't be any more helpful. If you love swimming in amazing locations and good food this is the trip for you.

Liz(October 2023)

Amazing trip, an excellent hotel and fantastic food. I cannot praise Manu and his team enough. Courteous, helpful, knowledgeable, helping to push me to my limits while all the time checking I was ok. Nothing was too much trouble and the whole holiday was a wonderful experience. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Book your holiday now!! 😊

Alison(October 2023)

I totally recommend this holiday, a great host company who could not do enough for you. The swims each morning were in totally different locations, bays, hidden coves, bat cave, islands & WW2 wreck. The daily meals were in stunning locally run restaurants with delicious food and incredible views. The gorge walks were memorable with Griffen vultures, carob trees and the smell of wild mediterian herbs. The hotel had a good pool and was on the beach for more swimming.

Janina(October 2023)

Fab trip - Manu and Miltos were brilliant guides

Alice(August 2023)

You've read enough reviews by now - so stop reading and get booking. A 10/10 experience. Most days involved a gorgeous hotel breakfast followed by a lovely hike guided by the knowledgable Miltos, then a stunning swim in the crystal clear waters. The swim was easily adjusted for swimmers of different levels of ability and comfort, and was always accompanied by a mid swim snack. Lunch was always a feast of different foods served family style - while allowed us all a chance to try all the delicious food on offer. Fiona and Manu took exceptionally good care of us - even taking us out for an evening of volleyball & swimming under the stars for our final night. It was a lovely holiday with the right mix of adventure and time to chill. Outstanding.

Ed(August 2023)

If you at all enjoy open water swimming, sunshine and scenic hikes, this is one of the best things you can possibly do with your free time.

PRO TIP #1: buy snacks from the local supermarket to carry with you if you're a hungry human like me as there's often large gaps between meals (larger than I'm used to, at any rate). The meals themselves hugely make up for that they are extremely generous.

PRO TIP #2: anti-chafe gel was a godsend on the longer swims and towards the end of the week. Others seemed to fare fine without, but my chafey swim style pretty much required it. Recommend a Huub luub stick.

PRO TIP #3: a water pouch with a straw attachment is way easier to drink from on the swims (when you're in the water trying to hydrate from the kayak)

PRO TIP #4: I went in July. Being a cautious Brit I brought 2 x jumpers and some jeans and did not remove them from my bag even once. Recommend you save that packing space for sunscreen.

Enjoy!

William(August 2023)

This trip is well worth it. If you like swimming and hiking, this is your trip, regardless of your age.All guides were encouraging, knowledgeable of the area and and flexible according to the water conditions.Also, they picked great restaurants!!!

Tess(July 2023)

If you are thinking of booking this trip, this is your prompt to just do it! You won’t regret it! I was a bit nervous to book at first because I’m not the best swimmer in the world but Fiona, Manu and Miltos make sure everyone is comfortable. We had some really good swimmers and some swimmers like me (I highly recommend flippers and snorkel if you are not as strong a swimmer) and we were all able to get what we wanted out of the swims. In terms of the hikes, I’m more of a hiker and I did feel that these were a little bit easy for me, but at the same time, we were hiking on days with 35+ degree heat so definitely for the best that they were a bit easier (plus the swim afterward was perfect to cool down!) And Miltos has the best knowledge of plants of any one I’ve ever met; you will come away with encyclopedic knowledge of how to treat any disease if you are stuck in the wilderness 😂 In the afternoon, we usually had a huge lunch (Shout out to Manu’s excellent ordering skills) and then had plenty of time to chill by the pool with cocktails in the evening. All in all, I had the most amazing time and I can’t thank Fiona, Manu and Miltos enough!!!

Jessica(October 2022)

I had the most wonderful adventure swimming and hiking in Crete. Our hosts and guides, Fiona, Manu and Milto were great. They were friendly and knowledgeable and made the week so easy for us all. I highly recommend this trip to anyone who enjoys swimming and hiking. I'd love to go back and do it all over again.

Anna(October 2022)

Unforgettable week wild swimming in Crete! The hosts Fiona, Manu and Miltos immediately put us at ease making sure we felt safe and enjoyed every moment of the trip. Their knowledge of the conditions and swims were second to none, seeking out the best spots according to the weather, including a fantastic natural hydropool! The hotel and food during the trip were both excellent which were added bonuses and the group were wonderful. If you're thinking about booking this trip - do it - you won't regret it.

Claire(October 2022)

A wonderful adventure week in Crete. The weather was perfect, our days were planned perfectly according to our group's ability and the weather. The opportunity to swim and hike further if you wanted to. Absolutely no pressure either way and supported in whatever you wanted to do. Great snacks, especially Fiona's brownies :) Manu and Fiona were great hosts, clearly passionate about what they do and they know their stuff - even down to what to order in the Taverna's after our swims and hikes! If you get the pleasure of meeting Miltos, he was a wonderful guide, fully laid-back Greek - a fountain of knowledge - you would want him (and his cat Peachy) on your pub quiz team!

Steven(October 2022)

A really well hosted and fun trip

Julia(October 2022)

A fabulous trip in a beautiful part of Crete. Fiona, Manu and Miltos are exceptional hosts and know the best places for swimming and eating!!

Joanna(October 2022)

A truly memorable series of adventures in the sea and on the land in beautiful places with exceptionally knowledgeable, caring and experienced guides. We learned a lot about the island, its history, plants and wildlife. Wonderful activities and delicious meals in different tavernas each day. Welcoming and friendly hotel by the beach in Kissamos.

Helen(September 2022)

This was a wonderful trip into the outdoors. Lovely hosts, incredible food, beautiful surroundings and it felt like a real dive into wellness: nature, healthy eating, fresh air and exercise. Crete left it’s mark and the group dynamic was gentle and understanding of all abilities . Thank you to the beautiful island of Crete

Anna(September 2022)

Great trip - every day was a different swim and then a different delicious taverna all with experienced, knowledgeable guides . Had a great time

Lucy(September 2022)

Excellent trip - the swimming was beautiful and Fiona, Manu and Miltos were great guides who adapted to different abilities and made sure we were safe. Food was excellent and plentiful, easy to be veggie, hotel was nice. Highly recommended.

Jenny(July 2022)

Very special trip. Manu, Fiona and Miltos were excellent hosts and guides. We ate superbly in local tavernas, swam and walked in special places - well away from the summer crowds. Lovely group, and activities well judged and adapted for the skills and experience of each of us. (And for the weather - we we were taken further afield to find calm vibes on windy days.) Good balance of activity and down time. Nice hotel on Kissamos beach. Highly recommended.

Ashley(July 2022)

I would highly recommend this trip. Each day was a unique adventure and felt as though we were discovering secret, untouched treasures of Crete. All 3 guides were knowledgeable, kind, flexible, and attentive to the needs of a diverse group. We had the most amazing food and wonderful accommodations. Our group got along incredibly well and we all looked out for each other. Truly a special holiday!

Ed(June 2022)

Very happy with everything. We were taken to sheltered areas of the island according to according to wind conditions, so we ended up doing the schedule in a tweaked order to our benefit. 3 kayaks were used as support during the swims, we swam at our own pace and had adapted routes for shorter/longer swimmers. The food was delicious and plentiful, would be easy for vegetarians here. Nice amount of free time. The snacks were a very nice touch, for someone as greedy as me it was nice to have something after the swims. I would recommend a good fitting (tight) rash shirt, the sun doesn't recognise water resistant sun cream!

Shelley(June 2022)

The local guides created the most spectacular experience for the whole group. They were in tune to the environmental conditions and needs of the group each day. Every single day was over the moon fantastic! The food was delicious. Swimming was top notch with pristine waters. The cave swim was a delight. Best week of my life!

Gregory(October 2021)

I had a truly excellent experience on this trip. As someone who is confident in the pool but have never tried open water swimming, this was an excellent introduction. Whilst there was a mix of abilities in our group, our guides made sure that those who could swim a little further/faster had the opportunity to do so, whilst others could swim modified routes and still have a great experience.

Our guides, Manu, Fiona and Miltos not only kept us safe, but were also patient with everyone on the group, made sure everyone was comfortable and took every opportunity to share their wealth of knowledge on Cretan nature and culture. We really felt part of their 'family', especially enjoying homemade snacks after our swims and sitting down to enjoy some really excellent meals in local tavernas. I'd also like to mention that the team made sure everyone's dietary requirements were looked after and that everyone was eating (and drinking!) well.

If you are considering this trip, my advice would be to book it, you won't regret it!

Christine(October 2021)

I would highly recomend the swim /hiking adventure in Crete. It exceeded all expectations. The hosts went out of their way to make our holiday the best it could be. The swims were amazing but the food was out of this world! The hotel was superb. Definately one of my fave holidays ever!!

Emily(October 2021)