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Kayak and Hike the Coast of Crete

Paddle your way along Crete's turquoise coastline and hike through majestic gorges, fuelled by taverna feasts and tranquil swims

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Trip Ref #10444

Kayak and Hike the Coast of Crete

Paddle your way along Crete's turquoise coastline and hike through majestic gorges, fuelled by taverna feasts and tranquil swims

DURATION
7 nights
LOCATION
Greece
ANNUAL LEAVE
1 week off work
SEASON
Jun-Oct
GROUP SIZE
Up to 8 people
MEETING POINT
Chania Airport, Crete
ACCOMMODATION
Classic

Hotel · Guesthouse

OVERALL RATING

4.8

Based on 11 reviews
DIFFICULTY
Moderate

You'll need good fitness levels to enjoy the hiking and kayaking, but plenty of stops and cool down dips make things manageable for most

Kayak the glistening Aegean waters to reach hidden bays, sea caves, natural pools and remote villages

Hike rugged trails through olive groves and pine forests, and explore the epic Samaria Gorge - the longest in Greece

Settle into a classic Cretan taverna each day for memorable fresh feasts and local wines

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 adventurers for a welcome dinner of traditional Cretan food.

Day 2

Kayak along the rocky peninsula and hike the villagers’ path

Kayaking

1-2 hours · 4km

Hiking

2 hours · 4km

After breakfast, you'll take a short drive to the corner of Kissamos Bay for an introductory kayak session along the coastline, weaving through dramatic rock formations and sea caves before landing in natural rock pools for a snack and swim in the bay. Hike back along the old villagers’ path: a coastal route with sea commanding views. After the hike, tuck into a late lunch at a coastal taverna with amazing local seafood. Return to Kissamos in the late afternoon for a well-deserved relaxing evening.

Day 3

Hike between two coasts

Kayaking

2-3 hours · 8km

Hiking

2 hours · 5km

Start today's hike from a small traditional village on the north coast, ascending through olive groves to a spectacular ridge. Wind your way down to Falassarna Bay along sand dunes to reach the stunning beach. Hop in your kayak and paddle out to Limpet Island, the tip of the submerged ridge in the bay. If the sea is calm you'll jump in to the clear turquoise waters for a snorkel to admire the glistening shoals of fish. Kayak further along the coast beneath towering cliffs, exploring small bays before heading back to shore for a late lunch overlooking the Mediterranean.

Day 4

Kayak to a juniper forest beach and an ancient temple

Kayaking

5-6 hours · 16km

The stunning kayak route today needs an early start and an hour's drive through the mountainous heartlands to the southwest corner of Crete. Put-in at the pebbly Krios Beach, heading along the south coast to reach quiet, white-sand beaches fringed by juniper trees. Kayaking here is a dream on the azure water, with myriad spots to jump in for a swim. Along the way stop at a hidden, heart-shaped bay at the site of an ancient temple - a perfect spot for a snack and a snorkel. Depending on conditions, it may also be possible to reach the famous Elafonissi Beach before returning to your pull-out point. As is tradition on our Crete trips, your adventure today is rewarded with a classic Cretan late lunch at a taverna in one of the villages en route back to Kissamos.

Day 5

Hike the Gorge of Vultures

Hiking

3hrs · 8km

Take a break from the sea and get some kilometres in the legs today with a beautiful hike into a quiet gorge, which is a nesting site for Griffon vultures. Start high in the hills above Kissamos and enjoy some fantastic views over the bay. Descend through oak woods and semi-abandoned hamlets into a steep-sided gorge where goats often forage. The hike finishes with a steep climb to the ancient site of Polyrrinia, which is now a mixture of ruins and occupied houses. Stop for lunch at a traditional family taverna before returning to Kissamos by vehicle (there is also the option to return on foot, via a 7km path the village's children used to use to get to school in Kissamos).

Day 6

Kayak along the rugged southern coastline

Kayaking

5-6hrs · 14km

The big day on the water awaits today with a memorable 14km paddle along the south coast from Sougia to the village of Agia Roumeli, only accessible by water. Taking only what you need for the next two days, set off in the kayaks and explore the length of this section of coast, finding small bays and beaches, rock formations and sea caves, with plenty of chances for snorkel stops as you go. The final landing spot of the week is on Agia Roumeli’s pebble beach. Once you have dried off, get to know this blissfully isolated village, devoid of cars and connected only by footpaths to the neighbouring towns. Bed down for the evening in this unique and peaceful place.

Day 7

Samaria Gorge

Hiking

5-6hrs · 16km

After yesterday's kayaking culmination, today it's time for the pinnacle of hiking in Crete - Samaria Gorge. Cretans refer to it as 'the' gorge - the longest and the most spectacular of the hundreds of gorges in Crete, it is also one of the longest in Europe. Fuel up with a hearty breakfast before hitting the trail that meanders through the national park. Starting at sea level and walking up the gorge means that you will have the path to yourself for most of this self-guided hike and be one of the first people to arrive at the famous narrow passage of Portes. Climbing steadily, the gorge rises from the rocky riverbed and colourful cliffs, through the old village of Samaria and past the church of Santa Maria before a final, tough ascent through shady pine trees to exit at the top of the gorge. You'll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views over the route you have just conquered. Your hosts will collect you at the top of Samaria Gorge and transfer you to Chania, where you will spend your last night in Crete.

Day 8

Goodbye Crete!

Your Cretan 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 kayaking guides

Accommodation

5 nights in a hotel in Kissamos, 1 night in a village guesthouse, 1 night in a hotel in Chania

Meals

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

Transfers

Airport transfers and everything in between

Equipment

All kayaking gear, plus snorkels and masks

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 – Day 6

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 7

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 8

Departure day

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, the hotel will pack the breakfast to take with you to have during the morning break after the first hike or paddle 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?

Kissamos

You'll stay at Sunny Bay Hotel in Kissamos a 3 star, family-run hotel with sea-view balconies and a swimming pool.

Accommodation will be in same sex twin rooms.

Agia Roumeli

You'll spend one night in twin-share rooms at Calypso Hotel, located just 20 metres from the beach in the village of Agia Roumeli. The hotel has comfortable rooms with air conditioning, most with excellent balcony views overlooking the Libyan Sea. While Calypso is your host's first choice in Agia Roumeli, you may stay at Hotel Tarra Lodge or Gigilos Hotel depending on availability.

Chania

On your last night you will stay at the Kriti Hotel in Chania; a modern 3* city hotel with a swimming pool and located right next to the ancient city walls. Rooms are twin-share, ensuite and have city views. The hotel is in a prime location, close to the old harbour and the centre of Chania town, making it a great base to explore from.

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.

Travel options

If you plan to enjoy some time in Crete before your trip begins, you may wish to stay in Chania. This will allow you to join the included group arrival transfer as pickups are also available from the city upon request. Please contact your host if you would like to arrange this.

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?

  • Single and twin sit-on-top kayaks
  • Paddles
  • PFDs/Lifejackets
  • Snorkel and mask

What do I need to bring?

BAGS

  • Main pack or suitcase
  • 20-30 litre drybag with backpack straps for carrying
  • Small drybags for kayaking, including waterproof phone case

CLOTHES

  • Swimwear
  • Loose, long sleeved natural fibre top (for kayaking)
  • Long sleeved rash vest that you can swim in
  • Thin long sleeved thermal top and neoprene longjohns
  • Lightweight waterproof boating jacket
  • Neoprene socks, booties or water shoes
  • Swim hat, goggles and mask/snorkel if you prefer your own over those provided by the host
  • Lightweight walking shoes, boots or sandals for the hikes
  • Lightweight hiking wear with good skin coverage
  • Casual clothes for downtime in Kissamos, Sougia and Agia Roumeli

OTHER

  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Lightweight towel
  • Sun protection: hat, sunglasses, suncream
  • Waterproof camera
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Small personal first aid kit
  • Energy bars and snacks - read our article on Best Hiking Snacks
*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 season)

Payable Before Departure

Optional private room upgrade (high season)

Per Person

Optional private room upgrade (low season)

Payable Before Departure

Optional private room upgrade (low season)

Per Person

Airport transfer Chania to Kissamos (each way)

Payable Before Departure

Airport transfer Chania to Kissamos (each way)

Emma

I had an incredible week in Crete on this trip. Manu & Miltos were excellent guides and we always felt in really safe hands. It’s a well thought-out itinerary as the distances we kayaked and hiked got progressively longer over the week, which gave us the chance to adjust (particularly for the kayaking, as I didn’t have much experience here!). Highlights for me were kayaking through the clear blue waters at Elafonissi, snorkelling from the remote beaches we landed at, and trekking the Samaria Gorge early in the morning before all the other tourists arrived. It was also great trying tasty Cretan food for the first time. Lots of choice for a veggie too. Highly recommend!

Teresa

Fiona, Manu, and Miltos put together the most amazing kayaking and hiking adventure. All of the accommodations were clean and comfortable and there are not enough great things to say about the restaurants and food chosen. It was truly a once in a lifetime adventure. I loved everything about this trip, especially our guides and the new friends.

Noa

What an incredible week in Crete organized to perfection by Fiona & Manu. A great progression of activities in duration and difficulty before the peak fun on the last two days. Manu & Miltos led us through the best kayak and hike adventures. Crete is beautiful and the family-style food feasts at the late lunches are chef’s kiss. Highly recommend! Book now.

Tom

The local hosts are an Italian/British couple, Manu and Fiona who have lived in Crete for quite a while. They are ably assisted by Miltos. Communication before and during the trip was good. We enjoyed excellent weather, lovely swimming, snorkelling and kayaking, scenic and at times dramatic walks and some really delicious food. Our itinerary had to be changed a bit due to factors beyond the control of our hosts. We had a couple of windy days which made kayaking difficult in the area in which we were based so we had a much longer drive down to the south coast to find calmer waters. For me, the highlight was the final walk: going up Samaria Gorge (while 95 % of walkers were coming down).

Bridget

Crete is beautiful! This tour is a great way to explore the land and the sea. A lot of the tour is self-guided though, and are not full days of activities. Nice accommodation and the tour leaders were lovely!

Richard

Fantastic trip. Nice mix of kayaking and hiking. A more relaxed trip than others I've done with Much Better Adventures, but moderate difficulty sums it up and I was looking for something less challenging this time, so fitted the bill perfectly. Highlight of the trip is the journey on the last 2 days. Kayaking to Agia Roumeli and then hiking up the gorge. If you have any energy left after the gorge it's worth continuing up to the spring partway up Mount Gingilos for stunning views and rock formations.

Hilary

This was an awesome trip that totally exceeded by expectations. I am used to travelling on my own, so was a bit apprehensive of a group holiday, but we had so much fun and I learnt so much from the guides about Crete, food and the local plants and wildlife.

There was a good variety of activities throughout the trip, balancing kayaking, hiking, swimming and socialising. There was also a gradual build up to a 15km kayak in one day, followed by the epic Samaria gorge - as every bit as lovely (and challenging!) as expected.

The start of October was the perfect time to go, both in terms of the weather (mid to high 20s) and hardly anybody else there, as out of season.

Denys

My girlfriend and I really enjoyed our trip to Crete. All locations were different: we explored some famous places, as well as some hidden gems. Travelling in October was perfect: the water was warm, not too hot for hiking and not busy with tourists.

The guides (Manu, Miltos, Fiona) and the group were exceptional! We learned new skills for kayaking and snorkelling. I'm not a confident swimmer, so the guides made sure I could explore at my own pace and improve my swimming skills while the rest of the group could swim further.

We used everything from the kit list. Since we were lucky with the weather, wetsuits were not a must.

Louise

This was a truly amazing trip with a wonderful trio of guides and a group of fantastic like-minded people. Each excursion was expertly arranged with lots of exploration whilst in the kayaks, snorkelling and hiking. The guides were knowledgeable about the landscape, wildlife and culture which made for such an authentic experience and I very much enjoyed the cheeky samples of a variety of fruits from the trees and plants. We were provided with snacks during the day and then usually a late lunch in which there was so much food, communally shared, that you were full until breakfast the next day. The local dishes were delicious and for someone who is vegetarian and struggles with dairy and eggs, the team made no issue with this and made sure I had enough food to eat, which was highly appreciated. However, I think I could have lived off the bread and oil alone as it was amazingly tasty.

I had only tried sea kayaking once before so I was a bit apprehensive on how I would fare, but the team were so patient, kind and helpful, especially when I struggled at times. I was initially in a single kayak, as I travelled solo, but it was no issue when I asked to be in a double. I would say that the fitness rating is accurate as a good level of endurance is required for the longer days of kayaking and hiking although there are adequate stops throughout the days to refuel.

This was such a fantastic trip, and well worth the money spent. I will be recommending this to others. I loved every minute of it and I can't thank the team enough for such wonderful memories made!

Jennifer

We kayaked to hidden beaches and caves, snorkelled and swam in crystal blue waters, hiked impressive gorges, and dined together at authentic Cretan tavernas. The week's activities unfolded in a way that each day was more impressive than the last. Manu, Fiona and Miltos are outstanding hosts, each with their own unique perspective on Crete and expertise across the various activities. They worked seamlessly to ensure we had the most amazing experiences. I loved the variety of activities and how much of Crete we were able to explore!

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 156kg 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 kayaking and hiking, however, the pace is relaxed and there are plenty of rest, snack and swim stops in beautiful secluded spots. You will need good fitness levels and be happy hiking or paddling for up to 6 hours on the bigger days towards the end of the trip.

Sit-on-top kayaks are used on this trip, so proper clothing and protection for the lower body, legs and feet is important. Your host provides a mixture of single and double kayaks. The singles are streamlined, relatively narrow sit-on-top touring kayaks. The doubles are wider boats and extremely stable, sacrificing some speed. Your host will determine the best distribution of single and double kayaks depending on the makeup of the group.

Both the singles and doubles are fine for tall people, there is no constraint on the legs. There is no weight limit for participants, since this is not an expedition-style kayak trip, and you won't be carrying luggage, camping and other equipment.

Sure can! Over 70% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion and are non-compulsory on this trip. Of course, if you feel that your guides provided an exceptional experience then you are welcome to tip as much as you feel is appropriate. You should factor in tipping 10% on top of the bill in any bars and restaurants during the trip.

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 July and August: 24-27°C October: 23-24°C

Weather conditions can be very changeable in the Mediterranean, with wind and sea conditions having a significant impact on the choice of kayaking routes. Some flexibility in the route planning is built in, with your guides taking decisions based on the conditions each day to offer you the best experience possible.

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

Cretan water is clear and safe to drink. You'll be able to refill at the hotels and guesthouses throughout this trip. Be sure to bring along a reusable water bottle or two to carry your own supply on the hikes and kayak stretches. Your guide will ensure there is enough water for the group on the longer days where refill spots are scarce.

We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

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

May 2024

Saturday • 18th May 2024

to Saturday • 25th May 2024
1 Booked • 7 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 8th June 2024

to Saturday • 15th June 2024
3 Booked • 5 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 6th July 2024

to Saturday • 13th July 2024
2 Booked • 6 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 14th September 2024

to Saturday • 21st September 2024
4 Booked • 4 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 5th October 2024

to Saturday • 12th October 2024
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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