Adventures / Adventure Tapas

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.

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Trip Ref #10104

Adventures / Adventure Tapas

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

LOCATION

Greece

ANNUAL LEAVE

1 week off work

SEASON

Jun-Oct

GROUP SIZE

Up to 10 people

MEETING POINT

Chania Airport, Crete

ACCOMMODATION

Hotel

DIFFICULTY

Moderate

You'll need good fitness levels - and of course be able to swim. However the swims are manageable for most decent swimmers.

Spend a week wild swimming in the clear and warm Mediterranean waters of Crete

Hike through gorges, forests and sand 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

What's it like?

    See the photos our community shared

    All our reviews are verified

    We only invite travellers to leave a review if they have booked this trip with Much Better Adventures.

    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

    More than I could have hoped for - a perfect mix of activities, a tailored approach to our different swimming levels and a friendly, funny group. With little open water swimming experience this week has really encouraged me to keep it up. The hotel in Kissamos was really comfortable and the taverna lunches were all delicious. The week flew by and I returned more refreshed than from a week lying by a pool!

    Dan, October 2021

    The Hike and Wild Swim Crete trip was amazing and I can recommend it to both well seasoned and occasional swimmers who want to explore some of Crete’s finest swimming spots with some sensational hikes mixed in. The swims varied in length each day and were well tailored to the group (e.g there are options to shorten and hike back for those less used to the distances). We were well looked after by our guides; all passionate on the outdoors and intent on making sure we were well looked after and had fun. Each day we were treated to a spread of fine Cretan cuisine tailored for all dietary requirements. We stayed in a lovely hotel by the beach with private pool; they were very accommodating. Above all, it was simply a lot of fun with a great bunch of people! My first such group trip; could not recommend this enough. Hope to see you again Manu, Fiona and Miltos. Thank you!

    Debbie, June 2021

    This trip is quite simply the best way to spend seven days exploring the west coast of Crete. Local guides Fiona and Manu are brilliant, competent, kind and good company. It feels like they spend a week sharing their favourite secret swim spots and hikes which makes every day a treat. The food is also incredible as they make sure to take us to their favourite tried and tested local tavernas and suggest sharing a whole bunch of tasty dishes that we’d not have ordered independently. Have been talking everyone who will listen to do this trip since returning!

    Emily, June 2021

    This tour has a great balance of swimming, hiking, and independent time, and the food is AMAZING. Local guides Manu and Fiona know the area thoroughly, are expert kayak followers, and are flexible and kind. They made each day of the trip better than the last, I am very impressed! Look forward to returning!

    Kiera, June 2021

    The trip was exceptional! From the comfortable hotel, to the beauty of the island and the hospitality and expertise of the hosts! Perfect amount of exercise and downtime and plenty of delicious Greek cuisine to make up for all those calories spent swimming in the beautiful sea. If you are looking for improving your swimming or trying out wild sea swimming for the first time, then you will thoroughly enjoy and benefit from this week. The views on the hikes are pretty spectacular too!

    Rowan, June 2021

    Superb

    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

    The Area

    map

    Logistics

    Starts

    Chania Airport (CHQ)

    Arrive any time on Day 1

    Ends

    Chania Airport (CHQ)

    Depart any time on Day 8

    Transfers

    Your trip starts at Chania airport in Crete. Transfers are included if you arrive on the start day between 6.30am and 10.30pm, 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 6.30am and 10.30pm if you depart on the final day, so please let your host know your flight times.

    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.

    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 big quantity of various dishes and we share 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).

    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

    Introductory swim in Kissamos Bay and hike to Sirikari gorge

    Swimming

    1 hour · 1.5km

    Hiking

    2 hours · 4.1km · 459 up · 132 down

    After breakfast, you'll take a short drive to a sheltered corner of Kissamos bay for a gentle introductory swim. The swimming route will stick close to the shore while you swim above above seagrass meadows, heading around the coastline and ending up on a small cove.

    After getting dressed and having a quick snack, you'll hike back to your starting bay on country tracks, stopping to admire the million-year-old fossils in the sloping sandstone.

    In the afternoon you'll hike through Sirikari gorge, a secluded area where griffon vultures nest on the cliffs.

    This evening you'll visit a local taverna for a traditional Cretan meal, made with local produce.

    Day 3

    Swim between sea caves and hike the villagers’ coast path

    Swimming

    1-2 hours · 2-3.5km

    Hiking

    2.5-3 hours · 6.6 · 280 up · 270 down

    An early start today to make the most of Crete's beautiful mornings. You'll pack up some breakfast to go for the break between today's swim and hike. Then jump in the vehicle and you'll be driven half an hour outside Kissamos to a peninsula in the east.

    Today's swim launches from a tiny pebble beach and follows the coast around to a spooky, sea-level cave. You'll dive into the dark waters of the cave. It forms an otherworldly place: the light creeps in, casting a myriad of reflections as you swim out of the darkness towards the exit.

    You'll continue swimming past surface-level caves towards a secluded cove. Here you'll clamber our of the water, get dry and enjoy a beach breakfast looking out over the bay.

    Today's hike is called "The Villagers’ Path": a coastal route past grand geological features and with commanding views over the peninsula and the bays below. After the hike, you'll enjoy a late lunch at a coastal taverna with amazing local seafood. Then, by late afternoon, you'll drive back to Kissamos to spend the evening relaxing.

    Day 4

    Cape Crow swim and Kampos Gorge hike

    Swimming

    1-1.5 hours · 2.5km

    Hiking

    2.5 hours · 4.6 · 36 up · 392 down

    Today you'll have an adventure on the wild west coast of Crete, combining a hike in Kampos gorge with a sea swim to a remote beach (and another well earned taverna feast!).

    It's another early start to reach the jump-in beach. You'll swim along the rocky cliffs, home to rich sea life, then round Cape Crow and towards a remote cove with crystal clear water. After landing on the pebbly beach, you'll take in this glorious location while enjoying a large breakfast on the beach.

    Next you'll hike through Kampos gorge, immersed in this valley of Meditteranean fauna of thyme bushes and carob trees. You'll criss-cross the small river during a steady climb, emerging from the gorge at a tiny village on the road to nowhere.

    The village has a traditional taverna ready to satisfy your well earned appetite with delicious local dishes before returning to Kissamos.

    Day 5

    The Sea Pools Swim

    Swimming

    45-90 minutes · 1.6km or 3 Km

    Today you'll be back in the rugged west coast for more! This time amongst large natural pools carved in the rocks: wild swimming paradise.

    You'll 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 with abundant sea life. The swim continues to a sheltered bay, reaching another natural - and 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.

    This evening you'll head out for dinner to a village called Mezedopoleio. Here you'll eat like the locals do. There'll be 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

    60 - 90 minutes · 2.5 - 3.7km

    Snorkeling

    2 hours

    With several days of swimming under your belt, it's time to tackle an open water challenge. Setting off from quiet spot on the pink sand beach, you'll swim out to Limpet island: an elongated rocky part of a submerged ridge in the bay. The visibility in the water here is amazing and at times you'll be surrounded by shoals of sea breams and other fish.

    There are two swim options, depending on how far you would like to swim today.

    After the swim you'll climb some steps by the rock caves to reach a cafe for lunch with far-reaching views over the Meditteranean.

    Later you'll hike along a rocky path to a tiny cove. From here, using masks and snorkels, you'll discover a WWII shipwreck that lies less than 2m below the surface. You'll have plenty of time to explore the wreck before swimming back to shore. Dry off, get dressed and then you'll be driven back to Kissamos to enjoy a free evening.

    Day 7

    Swim in a pink sand lagoon and hike in a juniper forest

    Hiking

    1-2 hours

    Swimming

    2km or 4.5km

    Set off after breakfast and drive to more distant shores, following a scenic route all the way across the island, to the south coast. At first you'll walk in the sand dunes, admiring the pink sand by the shore while passing a sequence of small coves. Close to the tip of the peninsula, you can start 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. You'll swim through deep, cavernous bottoms to a shallow, tranquil sea bed. Enjoy a post-swim snack on the shore in the shade of the juniper trees.

    Then, you'll hike along a narrow trail over flat rocks, before entering the juniper forest. These exotic trees grow over sand dunes all the way to the shoreline. You'll find cove after cove covered in pink sand, backdropped by shades of blue in the sea.

    You'll have a delicious picnic lunch in the shade by one of the little coves. After lunch you can take a dip in the sea once again, before retracing your steps back to Elafonissi beach. From here, you'll drive back to Kissamos for a final evening at your base.

    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.

    15% Off Outdoor Gear

    In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us 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
    • Daypack 20-30 litres
    • Swimming goggles x2
    • Swimwear
    • Swimming hats
    • Swimming wetsuit (optional, only usually needed for June)
    • Lightweight swim towel
    • Tow float
    • Lightweight walking shoes or sandals for the hikes
    • Drybag
    • 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

    Single room in July & August

    Payable Before Departure

    Single room in July & August

    Per Night

    Single room in June

    Payable Before Departure

    Single room in June

    Per Night

    Single room in October

    Payable Before Departure

    Single room in October

    Per Night

    Twin/double room in July & August

    Payable Before Departure

    Twin/double room in July & August

    Per Night

    Twin/double room in June

    Payable Before Departure

    Twin/double room in June

    Per Night

    Twin/double room in October

    Payable Before Departure

    Twin/double room in October

    Per Night

    Optional Private Room Upgrade | July & August

    Payable Before Departure

    Optional Private Room Upgrade | July & August

    Optional Private Room Upgrade | June

    Payable Before Departure

    Optional Private Room Upgrade | June

    Optional Private Room Upgrade | September & October

    Payable Before Departure

    Optional Private Room Upgrade | September & October

    Each way

    Payable Before Departure

    Each way

    We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

    What's the number?
    It works out on average at 352kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

    The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

    But what does the number mean?
    Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

    • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
    • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
    • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

    What are we doing about it?
    Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

    Want to know more?
    Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

    This is an active trip with full days of swimming and hiking, however the pace is relaxed and there are plenty of rest and snack stops. The open water swims will be the biggest physical challenge towards the end of the trip.

    You will need good fitness levels - and be able to swim! - however the trip suits both experienced and less experienced swimmers. On most days there will be a longer swim option for anyone with the energy and keeness to go further. Otherwise, the group will do the moderate length option each day.

    Not only experienced sea swimmers will love this trip. This is also a perfect chance for anyone who swims in a pool a couple of times a week to try their first sea swimming holiday.

    Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

    The hottest months are July and August with daytime high temperatures ranging from 29-36 degrees Centigrade (82-95F), a "normal" day would be in the middle of this range. By the sea there is, of course, usually a breeze which moderates how this feels and you'll be in and out of the refreshing water!

    June and September normally deliver fine sunny days and moderate-to-hot temperatures with daytime highs between 23 and 29 degrees C. The water is a beautiful temperature for swimming and is particularly warm in September.

    October is still a fine month with excellent sea temperatures, with the bonus of a less crowded island. There can be the odd chilly day and evening. Daytime peak temperatures range from 17 to 26 degrees C.

    Sea Temperatures

    June: 20-22°C (a swimming wetsuit is recommended) July and August: 24-27°C October: 23-24°C

    You'll be able to leave your luggage at the hotel in Kissamos for the duration of the trip.

    The beaches you will go swimming from near Kissamos, Falasarna, Elafonissi are listed as Blue Flag beaches, which means that sea-water quality is tested regularly every season and if they fail the test they get closed. The other beaches you'll be swimming from are mostly pretty remote and far from any population centres.

    Your host also takes extra safety precautions such as avoiding close proximity to river mouths, which is not hard in the Cretan summer as they are almost all dried up!

    Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

    Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

    Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

    We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

    We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

    If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

    All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

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