Crete’s South-West Coast

In the footsteps of the Ancients

Holiday Highlights

Elafonisi Lagoon | Crystal waters fringed by beautiful beaches – an ideal place for sea bird-spotting.
Lissos | The ruins of an Ancient Greek spa town, set atmospherically against a remote beach.
Azoyires | An idiosyncratic village offering waterfalls, a monastery and Ottoman Turkish ruins.
Beaches galore | Crete is famous for its turquoise seas – relax and take in the view.
Crete’s South-West Coast. 7 nights
Crete’s South-West Coast. 7 nights

Holiday information


A walking holiday in south-west Crete

Highly rewarding coastal walks lead across spectacular terrain, revealing stunning views and the island’s rich history. Your luggage is transported ahead as you walk self-guided from one welcoming hotel to the next.
Crete offers some of the best coastal walking in Greece, with magnificent panoramas ahead, perfumed paths at your feet, and a world of mythology and history at your fingertips. 

As you make your way along the island's south-west coast, you'll find panoramic mountain trails, splendid Minoan palaces, old towns with Venetian mansions and forts, sandy beaches, remote hill villages, dramatic gorges, winding coastal paths, frescoed monasteries and delightful fishing villages all vying for your attention.



The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and take your pick of the walking options on non-itinerant days. Pay locally for all taxis, buses and boats, unless stated otherwise.
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 15 15 18 22 26 30 33 33 30 25 21 17
    mm 88 90 68 29 16 3 0 0 8 45 63 104
  • Arrival in  Chryssoskalitissa
    Night 1: Glykeria Hotel or Xasteria Rooms (the first of two nights here).
    As your first night’s accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of walking.
  • Linear walk from Elafonisi to Chryssoskalitissa: 13.5km, 4hrs; ascent 175m / descent 140m
    Beginning with a short transfer to Elafonisi Lagoon, this easy walk takes you around the island at the tip of the lagoon before returning along quiet roads and tracks to reach Chryssoskalitissa Monastery. Home to a variety of seabirds, the lagoon is fringed by beautiful sandy beaches and lapped by crystal-clear, turquoise waters in which you can swim. 
    Linear walk from Elafonisi to Chryssoskalitissa: 13.5km
    Elafonisi Beach
  • Chryssoskalitissa to Paleochora: 10km, 4hrs; ascent/descent 270m
    Your route takes you past the famous sands of Elafonisi before continuing around the island’s south-western tip and past the ruins of the ancient city of Vienna on one of Greece’s most picturesque coastal paths. During spring and autumn this walk – one of the classic hikes on Crete – offers beautiful views and wonderful flowers. Your destination is the town of Paleochora (reached following a short transfer from Krios beach) and the Hotel On the Rocks or the Hotel Aris.
    Chryssoskalitissa to Paleochora: 10km
    Arrival in Paleochora
  • Linear walk from Paleochora: 17.5km, 6hrs; ascent 365m / descent 735m
    We provide a taxi transfer to your starting point, Azoyires, an idiosyncratic village complete with waterfalls and a monastery, and recommend that you start your day with an ascent to the ruined Turkish fort of Koules Spaniakos. You return to Azoyires via the same route, taking time along the way to visit the Cave of the 99 Holy Fathers, where an ascetic community once lived. Leaving Azoyires, you head along dappled trails to reach the Anidri gorge. The path through the gorge brings you out at the coast, some 5km east of Paleochora, and you return to your hotel along a quiet road.

    For an easier, shorter day (11km), you could omit the out-and-back ascent to Koules Spaniakos.
    Linear walk from Paleochora: 17.5km
    En route to Paleochora
  • Paleochora to Souyia: 15km, 5.5hrs; ascent/descent 505m
    Your final destination is the fishing village of Souyia, at the end of another superlative day’s walking that begins along the coast then heads past the ancient ruins of Lissos and through a wild gorge. Your efforts will be rewarded with views to the Libyan Sea, the chance of swimming from quiet beaches, and the idyllic ancient spa of Lissos. In Souyia, you stay for three nights at the Syia Hotel Apartments.
    Paleochora to Souyia: 15km
    The gorge on the route from Paleochora to Souyia
  • Choice of routes around Souyia: 10km to 15km
    We suggest a number of options for your time in Souyia.

    Linear walk through the Samaria Gorge: 15km, 5hrs; ascent 80m / descent 1250m
    One of Greece's first national parks, the renowned Samaria Gorge provides the setting for our first recommended route, one of Europe's 'classic' trails. The gorge's popularity is well deserved – it is truly spectacular, with a rich diversity of landscapes, flora and fauna. However, this path is probably the busiest in Crete, so set off early to avoid the crowds. NB the Samaria Gorge does not open until early May.

    Linear walk through the Irini Gorge: 12km, 3.5hrs; ascent 50m / descent 640m
    This dramatic walk begins with a short bus journey then descends through the spectacular Irini Gorge back to Souyia. The gorge has only recently been opened up for exploration and easily rivals the more famous Samaria Gorge, but (so far!) receives far fewer visitors. The ravine has been pierced through the mountains by millennia of water erosion and supports many birds and other wildlife.

    Circular walk via the Cave of Polyfemos: 10km, 4hrs; ascent/descent 490m
    A shorter, out-and-back option which offers you the chance to embark on your own Greek odyssey and follow in the footsteps of Homer's hero by following a scenic path high above the coast to the cave of Polyfemos – the cyclops who, in Greek legend, captured Odysseus and his men and held them captive.

    Beach day
    Of course, a final option is simply to relax! Souyia is a small seaside village with a long history and signs of its distant past can still be seen as you wander its narrow streets, including the remains of a 6th-century basilica on the site of the present church. There is also a lovely long beach – a mixture of sand and pebbles.
    Linear walk through the Samaria Gorge: 15km
    The circular route around Souyia via the Cave of Polyfemos
    Linear walk through the Irini Gorge: 12km
    Circular walk via the Cave of Polyfemos: 10km


You stay in a variety of comfortable hotels, all offering a warm welcome. The star ratings given below are our own as the hotels have no official classification.

In some places, we work with more than one hotel, as shown below. All are hand-picked by us and, unless there is a price implication (in which case we will contact you to discuss your options), we will tell you which one we have booked for you on your booking confirmation.

Extend your stay

Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter. For general information on pricing, see the 'your holiday price explained' page.
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  • 7 nights: 28 April 2024 - 30 June 2024, 01 September 2024 - 19 October 2024, 26 April 2025 - 30 June 2025 & 01 September 2025 - 12 October 2025

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    28 Apr - 15 May 2024 £885 £340
    16 May - 23 Jun 2024 £950 £360
    1 - 30 Sep 2024 £1010 £390
    1 - 12 Oct 2024 £865 £340
    26 Apr - 15 May 2025 £925 £355
    16 May - 23 Jun 2025 £990 £375
    1 - 30 Sep 2025 £1055 £410
    1 - 5 Oct 2025 £900 £355
    3rd & 4th person discount -£55 to -£57
    Single traveller supplement £55 to £57

    Includes accommodation, meals and services integral to the holiday as described, plus walking notes and maps, but no travel from the UK, nor any connecting travel from the airport unless stated below.

    Book your flights through us and we'll find the best route and times to suit you. Please contact us to find out more about our flight booking service. We can also book connecting travel - see below.

  • Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    Syia Hotel Apartments, Souyia (B&B) Double room Single room
    28 Apr - 30 Jun 2024 £68 £136
    01 Sep - 19 Oct 2024 £68 £136
    26 Apr - 30 Jun 2025 £71 £142
    01 Sep - 12 Oct 2025 £71 £142
    Chania (you can fly direct or via Athens)
    As an alternative to flying, we can arrange rail travel from London

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend Athens. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Birmingham - Chania jet2,  Ryanair,  TUI 
    Outward route Airline
    Bristol - Chania jet2,  TUI 
    Outward route Airline
    Nottingham East Midlands - Chania Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Leeds Bradford - Chania jet2,  Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Chania easyJet,  TUI 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Chania British Airways 
    Heathrow - Chania (via Athens) Aegean Airlines 
    Outward route Airline
    Luton - Chania easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Chania jet2,  Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Chania easyJet,  jet2,  Ryanair,  TUI 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend Athens. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    This list of flight options should be used as a guide only, and you should check each airline’s website for current routes, frequency and schedules. Not all flights operate daily, and may not run for the entire season. You should also heed the latest flight arrival time and earliest flight departure time stated in the connecting travel section, as it may not be possible to arrange connecting travel outside these times. Please do not book your flights until we have confirmed your accommodation to you. Alternatively, our expert reservations team will be happy to offer advice and to make flight bookings for you for any of the options listed above. We charge £35 per person for our flight booking service. Your flights are then covered by our package-booking conditions, which give you greater protection in the event of delay or cancellation, as well as providing ATOL cover.

  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together. If you are travelling solo or as a party of 3 or more and our arrangements include a taxi, please contact us for prices; additional passengers often pay less.

    Where a price range is given, the price you pay depends on your date of travel.

    Connecting travel options - flying via Chania

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    direct taxi airport to hotel (1h30) £46-£48 flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    direct taxi hotel to airport (2h) £33-£34 flexible
What is included
  • 7 nights
  • 1 dinner
    2 picnics
    7 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • GPS navigation
  • transfer on day 2

If you've experienced this holiday first hand, why not write a review?

We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, we include a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >



If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help. You might also find our General FAQs section helpful.
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from A to B, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. If/when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation, meaning that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.

    For more detailed information, see our walking holidays in Europe page.
  • Yes, prior to going on holiday you will be able to download GPX tracks so that you can follow your route on your smartphone or dedicated GPS device if you wish. It’s entirely up to you whether or not you use them – our detailed, step-by-step route notes remain the principal means of guiding you from A to B – but we provide them as a secondary means of navigation for additional reassurance when walking.
  • We can book a wide range of routes from the UK with a variety of airlines. As well as being more convenient for you to book all elements of your holiday together, it also means that we’ll accept liability for your travel arrangements, so if things go wrong, such as the airline going bust, we’ll make suitable alternative arrangements for you. The fee for this service is £35 per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). More information on flights >
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted to book your own flights to London (or elsewhere in the UK), we can make all onward travel arrangements (including flights) from there. Alternatively, if you are booking your own flights to an airport in continental Europe that’s appropriate for your holiday, we can book onward rail travel and/or taxis. More information about how we can tailor holidays for customers outside the UK >
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.

    More information about the booking process >
    Information about accommodation, general practicalities and more >
    Booking conditions >
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can incur a five or six-figure bill.

    Many insurers offer travel insurance (you can find details on our insurance page of a policy that you may like to consider if you are a UK resident), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies – including falling ill with Covid-19 while on holiday – and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.

    When you purchase a policy, be sure to check that it covers the activities you'll be doing on holiday and that it is adequate for your own individual needs.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. If you’re a UK citizen, you need a full British passport to travel to Greece, but not a visa (please note, however, that a new travel authorisation system is being introduced). If you are a citizen of another country, you’ll need to check requirements with the national embassy or your own consulate.

    Current information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice for UK citizens can be found through the Travel Health Pro website. You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). You should also apply for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) if your EHIC has expired (if you have a still-valid EHIC, you can use this until it expires).
  • The most commonly spoken language is Greek. The currency is the Euro. Greek time is GMT/UTC + 2. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on BST + 2.
  • For information on the practicalities of travel now that the UK is no longer part of the European Union, visit
  • The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides up-to-date, country-by-country travel advice, as well as information on security, local laws, passports and visas for UK citizens.

    If you live outside the UK, see our essential travel information page for a list of relevant websites.
  • You are the best judge of your child’s/children’s capabilities. We are happy to take bookings for families of older children/teenagers if they walk regularly, love the outdoors and are comfortable with the distances and ascent/descent involved. Please note that the bedrooms at most of the accommodation we use will normally only sleep a maximum of 3 people, and sometimes only 2.
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