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.
1 week off work
Up to 10 people
Chania Airport, Crete
You'll need good fitness levels - and of course be able to swim. However the swims are manageable for most decent swimmers.
Our local host has provided some important information about any changes to the trip, and additional safety measures in place, as a result of COVID-19.
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
Build up to a 3.7km open water swim to Limpet Island, completing the 'Falasarna Triangle' swim
Expert local hiking and swimming guides, plus support kayaks for all swims
7 nights in a 3 star hotel in Kissamos
Breakfast, refuel snacks and a large Greek-style late lunch or dinner each day
All transfers to and from Chania Airport to your accommodation in Kissamos
Snorkels and masks provided for the shipwreck swim
Flights to and from the meeting point
Tips for your guides
Some meals as described
Chania Airport (CHQ)
Arrive any time on Day 1
Chania Airport (CHQ)
Depart any time on Day 8
Your trip starts at Chania airport in Crete. Transfers are included if you arrive on the start day, 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 if you depart on the final day, so please let your host know your flight times.
Hotel · Twin share
Day 2 – Day 4
Hotel · Twin share
Hotel · Twin share
Day 6 – Day 7
Hotel · Twin share
Hotel · Twin share
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.
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).
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.
Introductory swim in Kissamos Bay and hike to Sirikari gorge
1 hour · 1.5km
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.
Swim between sea caves and hike the villagers’ coast path
1-2 hours · 2-3.5km
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.
Cape Crow swim and Kampos Gorge hike
1-1.5 hours · 2.5km
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.
The Sea Pools Swim
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.
Falasarna open water swim
60 - 90 minutes · 2.5 - 3.7km
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.
Swim in a pink sand lagoon and hike in a juniper forest
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.
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.
All our adventures take place in wild places. Things can go wrong in wild places. Your perfectly planned itinerary may change a bit (or a lot) if the weather turns, someone gets hurt, or a volcano erupts. Usually though, changes make it all the better.
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- 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
- Swimming hats
- Swimming wetsuit (optional, only usually needed for June)
- Lightweight swim towel
- Tow float
- Lightweight walking shoes or sandals for the hikes
- 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
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.
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.
We’ve teamed up with the guys at World Nomads to offer insurance designed for adventurous travellers across 140 countries that includes overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. To get yours sorted, click here.
We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book the trip, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!
All of our group adventures are especially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded.
"I cannot recommend this highly enough! The people on the trip were amazing. Easily the best trip I've ever been on!" Charlotte, 2019, Trustpilot.
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