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Western Crete Cycling Tour 8-day Level 3
Crete is rightly considered to be one of the most beautiful destinations in Greece and this tour combines its history, culture, mountains, beaches, lakes, good food, lots of raki and Cretan music! It begins in Omalos, a plateau high in the mountains, then heads down to the sea passing the famous beach at Elafonissil, it then follows the west coast of Crete, passes through historical Chania and ends up in Rethymno.
This tour is of moderate difficulty and has been created for the recreational cyclist, however, you must have a standard/good level of fitness to feel comfortable. The daily distances are between 40 and 50km (check daily program) and the average daily climb is around 700m (with some exceptions). On some days optional longer/harder routes are provided for the stronger cyclist
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 harbour, 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 5-7hrs 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.
Palaiochora - Elafonissi-Inachoria 15Km | +560m or 34Km | +1000m
Today you again 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 tavern 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.
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 Kastelli), a coastal town that has managed to retain its character despite regional tourism.
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 - 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 the 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.
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 taverns complete an atmospheric environment. Just don’t forget sample the raki once again together with Greek meze!
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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