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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

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
Classic

Hotel

OVERALL RATING

5.0

Based on 33 reviews
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 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fab trip - Manu and Miltos were brilliant guides

Alice

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

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!

We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity.

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 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. We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity, ensuring the protection of the reserve and its wildlife.

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 70% 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 for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.

Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.

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.

You're always in good company on one of our adventures.

Our trips are typically made up of a mixture of solo travellers and small groups of 2 or 3 friends, with most in their 30s-50s.

Our sociable adventures are solo-friendly by design and naturally attract outdoorsy people with a shared mindset; a love for adventure, a desire to push themselves and meet awesome, like-minded people along the way.

It’s this camaraderie that has so often turned a great adventure into a life-changing one.

Don't just take our word for it:

  • 95% of people rate the group dynamics on our trips 5/5
  • 90% of people recommend joining a trip to make new friends
  • 75% of people have met people on our trips that they would now consider friends

See here for more info about the Much Better Adventures tribe.

Interested in a more exclusive experience? Opt for a 'Private Group' through the dates and prices tab to book this adventure for just you and your chosen companions.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

TRIP DEPARTURE DATES

June 2024

Saturday • 1st June 2024

to Saturday • 8th June 2024
10 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 15th June 2024

to Saturday • 22nd June 2024
4 Booked • 6 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 29th June 2024

to Saturday • 6th July 2024
3 Booked • 7 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 21st September 2024

to Saturday • 28th September 2024
1 Booked • 9 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 28th September 2024

to Saturday • 5th October 2024
2 Booked • 8 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Pay In Installments

You can choose to pay for this trip in as many installments as you like, with no interest or fees.

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