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Western Crete Cycling Tour 14-day Level 3
Crete is rightly considered to be one of the most beautiful destinations in Greece. And this tour combines history, culture, mountains, beaches, lakes, good food, lots of raki and Cretan music! You will begin in Heraklion, the capital, and you will follow the coast passing through Agios Nikolaos, Ierapetra, Tsoutsouros and finally Rethymno. On the way you will visit the most important archaeological sites of Crete, Knossos and Phaestos, the impressive remains of the Minoan civilization which flourished about 4000 years ago. In addition you will have the chance to relax by the beach, taste the local food in the numerous taverns and restaurants, but mostly just immerse yourself in Cretan hospitality.
This tour is of moderate difficulty. It is created for recreational cyclists; however, you must have a standard/good level of fitness to feel comfortable. The daily distance is around 50km (check daily program) and the daily total climb averages no more than 600m with the exception of one day 860m.
Please book your bikes when you book the tour: [email protected]
Slow Tours offers a number of other Cycling Tours in Europe
You arrive in Chania, for many, the most beautiful city on Crete, with it's picturesque harbor, old town and castle. Chania has a long history and had a huge impact on the region during Venetian times. It has a truly unique character that you are sure to fall in love with.
Omalos-Cycling to Palaiochora 52Km | +800m -1834m or Hiking the Samaria Gorge 14Km, 5-7hr walk
In the morning we transfer you by minibus to Omalos in the heart of the “Lefka Ori” (the famous White Mountains). From here you have 2 options: The first option is to begin cycling directly and passing through fantastic mountainous scenery you will end up in Palaiochora. This route has several ascents and descents, with a final downhill section that you are sure to find exciting. The second option is to hike the fantastic Samaria Gorge, the longest gorge in Europe, with its incomparable beauty. Once you reach the coast and you are transported by boat to Palaiochora. Samaria gorge is the 2nd most visited attraction in Crete after Knossos, a designated National Park and is home to unique wildlife and many rare species. Hiking here is an unforgettable experience, however be aware that it takes 5-7hr of walking on uneven ground so correct footwear is essential and the physical fitness to complete the hike. Please note that Samaria Gorge is open from May up to end of October.
Enjoy the sandy beach in Palaiochora, take private boat trip to the ancient town of Lyssos (a magical location that can only be reached by boat), or stronger cyclists can ride to Sougia (34Km | +920m) and then arrange private boat transfer back.
Palaiochora - Elafonissi - Inachoria 15Km | +560m or 34Km | +1000m
Today you have 2 options. The first is to take the boat and arrive at one of the highlights of this trip, the beach of Elafonissi. The boat departs every day (except Sundays) from Palaiochora at 10am and returns back at 4pm. Enjoy the golden sand, swim in the crystal-clear waters, enjoy your lunch in a taverna, and then ride up to Inachoria. The 2nd option is to ride directly to Inachoria, adding an extra 19km to your trip. The route is mountainous on small, quiet roads and has a unique beauty, however you should be aware that the ascent is around 1000m. Upon reaching Inachoria you can either visit Elafonissi by bike or leave it for the next day to avoid the return journey. Inachoria is a picturesque group of mountain villages in south-western Crete. It took its name from the fact it consists of 9 villages (Enniachoria in Greek) and is a tranquil destination for the discerning traveler. There you will find taverns and traditional Cretan houses all set in an outstanding natural environment. Important: Due to weather conditions, the boat might not be able to transfer you to Elafonissi and in which case the only option is cycling directly to Inachoria. Of course, in case of emergency you can contact us (24hrs) and we will provide help with transportation.
There are many options for this day. Of course, the first is a relaxing day on Elafonissi beach. Stronger riders can cycle to Kandanos village and back (54Km | +1000m return journey), a historic small town in the mountains where you can enjoy the local culture. Another option is to cycle north to Topoliano Gorge and visit the Saint Sofia cave (10Km), this is an amazing place to visit as you will discover a small church among stalactites and stalagmites deep in the cave.
Inachoria - Kissamos 40Km | +675m or 49Km | +943
We suggest 1 of 2 routes. One is 9km longer and has an extra 300 metres during the ascent. Both routes will take you along the west coast of Crete and passing through spectacular landscapes you will eventually reach Kissamos (or astelli), a coastal town that has managed to retain its character despite regional tourism.
There are plenty of options on this additional day. You can take a boat trip to Balos, one of the most popular beaches on Crete, or perhaps Agria Gramvousa island could be of interest. You can even cycle to the amazing beach at Falasarna and visit the ancient town or perhaps you prefer to enjoy the beaches around Kissamos such as Mavros Molos, (just in front of the town), Livadia or Telonio.
Today you follow the northern Cretan coast and cycle to the capital, Chania. On the way there is an optional visit to Karavitakis winery near Pontikiana village (an extra 10Km and +200m) for wine tasting, or perhaps a stop at the Agios Ioannis cave with an amazing church in it (an extra 3km and +110m). Overnight in Chania.
Chania 53km | +665m
This day a cycle tour of the Chania Perninsula is an absolute must. Amazing scenery, unspoilt beaches and fascinating monasteries all await you. Gouvernetou monastery is particularly to be recommended. Stavros village in the north offers green waters and sandy beaches, with some nice taverns for your lunch.
Chania - Georgioupoli 44Km | +780m
Today the tour continues heading east to Georgioupoli, a small coastal town, with a wonderful beach. It is known for its church which has been built on the rocks in the sea just in front of the town. On the way it is strongly recommended to pass through ancient Aptera (adding 10km and 170m of climbing), one of the most important archaeological sites on Crete. You can visit the ancient Greek theatre, the ruins of the ancient Greek city from 8th century BC. There is an Ottoman tower (Koule) about 1Km away, situated imposingly on the top of the hill, a fantastic example of 19th century military architecture.
You can visit Dourakis winery in Alikampos (20Km and +370m each way) for wine tasting or cycle to the villages of eastern Chania Region (25Km and +550m). Of course, you could choose to just relax in Georgioupoli and recharge your batteries.
Kournas Lake - Rethymno 38Km | +516m
Start cycling south for your last day on your bike and within a short time you will arrive at Kournas lake, one of very few freshwater lakes on Crete. This is a lake of unique natural beauty, with crystal clear waters where you can swim, sunbath, rent canoes, kayaks or pedalos, and later enjoy your lunch at one of the taverns. You then continue on to Rethymno, the provincial capital, which has a long and famous history. The city expanded after the Venetian conquest and there is a great deal of period architecture on offer. Wander through the old town on the small lanes which meander down to the “Fortezza”, the Venetian citadel. Small shops, bars and tavernas complete an atmospheric environment. Just don’t forget sample the raki once again together with Greek meze!
You can enjoy the long beach in front of the town and the walk in the centre. Alternatively, cycle to ancient Eleftherna (47Km and +685m) a major archaeological site (city was founded in 9th century BC) and has an amazing museum. 5Km further up the road and a visit to the 1000 years old Arkadiou monastery (52Km | +770m) where the Greeks blew themselves up so as not to surrender to the Ottomans in 1866. Today it is a European Liberty Monument as designated by UNESCO.
We Greeks don’t like to say goodbye. Instead we prefer to say "Εις το επανιδείν" which means that we hope to see you again some time!
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