Traditions & History of Crete

Hill-top villages, complete relaxation & outstanding natural beauty

Holiday Highlights

Stunning gorge walks I The Sirikari, Irini and Samaria gorges offer some of Europe’s most scenic walking.
Ancient sites I Discover millennia’s worth of history at the sites of Ancient Phalasarna and Polirinia.
Agia Lake I A haven for birdwatchers, and with magnificent botanical gardens nearby.  
Nopigia I Secluded pebble beaches and inviting seas make an ideal picnic spot.
Traditions & History of Crete. 7 nights
Traditions & History of Crete. 7 nights

Holiday information


A centre-based walking holiday in Crete

Receive first-rate hospitality at a relaxing traditional hotel with a pool on this self-guided, single-centre walking holiday. With car hire included and walking notes provided, you’re free to enjoy varied routes – including some of Europe's finest gorge walks – as well as scenic drives and cultural visits.
In the splendid west of the island of Crete, dominated by the magnificent White Mountains soaring up to 2,500 metres, the lush hillsides are watered by springs and rivers and are scored with dramatic gorges, while the white, sandy beaches of the coast are never too far away. There is a palpable sense of history and tradition here, with Byzantine chapels, historic villages and the fascinating Venetian town of Chania providing constant reminders of the historic struggle of the islanders.

The walks and driving tours that we recommend take you on a pleasant exploration of the local countryside, where you discover ancient monuments, secluded valleys and groves, bustling markets and tavernas, quaint hill-top villages and cascading waterfalls. You will be rewarded with spectacular views over the bay of Kolimbari, the Rodopos Penisula and the surrounding countryside. You can visit the small church of Agia Paraskevi and, in Chrysavgi, discover a traditional shop selling honey, wine and Cretan delicacies.


Walking & more

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and are free to add extra nights. There’s no fixed itinerary, so take your pick of our suggested walking routes as the mood takes you.
  • 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
  • Choice of routes: 4km to 7.5km

    Village circuit: 7.5km, 2.5hrs; ascent/descent 285m
    This gentle warm-up walk leads from the door of your hotel through ancient olive groves, small vineyards and four traditional Cretan villages.

    Ano Vouves circuit: 6.5km, 2.5hrs; ascent/descent 210m
    Also beginning from the hotel, this second circular route ascends to a ridge for expansive views over the White Mountains before continuing to the neighbouring village of Ano Vouves, where a 3,000-year-old olive tree – the oldest in Crete – is located.

    Palea Roumata Valley: 4km, 1.5hrs; ascent/descent 120m
    Palea Roumata is a beautiful, narrow valley with plenty of shade, making it a good option for a hot day. (Drive from the hotel to starting point: 18km/30mins)
    Walk amid wildflowers and olive groves
    Village circuit: 7.5km
    Ano Vouves circuit: 6.5km
    Palea Roumata Valley: 4km
  • Choice of routes: 11.5km or 12km

    Sirikari Gorge: 11.5km, 4.5hrs; ascent/descent 475m
    A beautiful walk that takes you up, and then back down, the lovely gorge of Sirikari, one of the easiest gorges to walk in Crete and not as busy as the larger Samaria Gorge. You have the prospect of spotting griffon vultures along the way. (Drive from the hotel to starting point: 33km/45mins)

    Ravdoucha to Nopigia: 7km, 3hrs; ascent/descent 275m
    This out-and-back walk follows a panoramic path above the coast, descending via a few deep gullies to reach the pebble beaches of Nopigia. Pause for a picnic and a swim before returning the same way. (Drive from the hotel to starting point: 15km/25mins)
    En route from Ravdoucha to Nopigia
    Refuel at a beachside taverna
    Sirikari Gorge: 11.5km
    Ravdoucha to Nopigia: 7km
  • Choice of routes: 11.5km or 15km

    Irini Gorge to Souyia (grade 2): 11.5km, 3.5hrs; ascent 50m/descent 640m; shorter option: 6.5km
    Smaller and less popular than its more famous neighbour, the Samaria Gorge, Irini promises a delightful walk through shaded glades and rocky river beds accompanied by birdsong. After emerging from the gorge, you continue along a quiet road to Souyia, where you can explore for a while before catching a taxi back to your car. Alternatively, you could get a taxi to collect you from the mouth of the gorge, saving 5km. (Drive from the hotel to starting point: 37km/1hr)

    Samaria Gorge (grade 2-3): 15km, 5hrs; ascent 80m/descent 1250m
    More testing, and requiring a very early start in order to avoid the crowds, this is nevertheless a superb walk, one of the European classics. The descent takes you through a rich variety of landscapes, criss-crossing streams on stepping stones to arrive at Agia Roumeli, from where ferries depart for Souyia and Sfakia. NB the gorge does not open until early May. (Best reached by taxi or bus, approx. 1hr 15mins)
    On the route through the Samaria Gorge
    Irini Gorge: 11.5km
    Samaria Gorge: 15km
  • Choice of three routes

    Green Crete: 91km (full day)
    Perfect for garden lovers, birdwatchers and anyone who enjoys dramatic scenery, this drive heads deep into the mountains and blends natural beauty with Cretan history. Beginning by the shores of bird-rich Agia Lake, you take in the magnificent Botanical Gardens (where we provide notes for an optional walk), then continue to the mountain village of Zourva. Return via Theriso – once the stronghold of Greek resistance, with two museums dedicated to the fight for freedom and independence – and its stunning gorge, perhaps detouring via Chania for an early dinner before making your way back to Elia.

    Coastal Crete: 62km (half day)
    Taking in the lovely north-west coast, this drive leads you through Kolumbari with its fish and seafood restaurants and its monastery before following the coast to visit the Cadets Memorial with its little-known story of local heroism. After lunch, we recommend a short walk through the Deliana Gorge (5km/1hr) before you make your way back to the hotel.

    Ancient Crete: 104km (full day)
    Revealing some of Crete's ancient treasures, this tour begins in Kissamos with its town museum of Minoan and Roman artefacts and goes on to Falassarna with its fascinating site of Ancient Phalasarna. Also featured are Polirinia, the hill-top settlement dating back to the Dorian period (1000 BC) (including an optional walk of 4km/2hrs to inspect the archaeological site), and the rock formations of Porta Midi.
    Enjoy a walk in the magnificent botanical gardens
  • Notes for a town trail included
    For a break from walking, head to Chania and explore this quaint coastal town with its waterfront restaurants, ideal for watching the world go by while enjoying a pleasant lunch of seafood delicacies. Chania has had a diverse and turbulent past and this is particularly evident  in the Old Venetian quarter and the several interesting museums. We provide notes for a town trail, guiding you to the most interesting sights and best places to eat.
    Take a stroll along the harbour in Chania


You spend your week at a lovely hotel with a pool and gardens.
Elia Traditional Hotel
  • Rural hotel



Extend your stay

Prices & travel options
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  • 7 nights: 01 April 2024 - 30 June 2024, 27 August 2024 - 31 October 2024, 01 April 2025 - 30 June 2025 & 26 August 2025 - 31 October 2025

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

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 30 Apr 2024 £870 £320
    1 May - 23 Jun 2024 £950 £330
    27 Aug - 15 Sep 2024 £1100 £330
    16 - 30 Sep 2024 £1085 £330
    1 - 24 Oct 2024 £870 £320
    1 - 30 Apr 2025 £905 £335
    1 May - 23 Jun 2025 £990 £345
    26 Aug - 15 Sep 2025 £1145 £345
    16 - 30 Sep 2025 £1130 £345
    1 - 24 Oct 2025 £905 £335
    3rd & 4th person discount -£200 to -£295
    Single traveller supplement £200 to £300

    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.

    Price includes: 7 days' category C car hire (eg Hyundai i20 or similar with air conditioning and manual transmission)

    Drive time between the airport and the hotel: Chania 0h45, Heraklion 2h15

    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.

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Elia Traditional Hotel, Ano Vouves
    Deluxe: 01 Apr - 30 Jun 2024 £18
    Deluxe: 27 Aug - 31 Oct 2024 £18
    Deluxe: 01 Apr - 30 Jun 2025 £19
    Deluxe: 26 Aug - 31 Oct 2025 £19

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

    Prices include an additional day's car hire
    Elia Traditional Hotel, Ano Vouves (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 30 Apr 2024 £97 £156
    01 May - 30 Jun 2024 £103 £162
    27 Aug - 15 Sep 2024 £110 £169
    16 Sep - 30 Sep 2024 £103 £162
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2024 £97 £156
    01 Apr - 30 Apr 2025 £101 £162
    01 May - 30 Jun 2025 £107 £168
    26 Aug - 15 Sep 2025 £114 £175
    16 Sep - 30 Sep 2025 £107 £168
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2025 £101 £162
    Chania or Heraklion
    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,  you may need to fly to an airport not listed. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Belfast Intl. - Heraklion jet2 
    Outward route Airline
    Birmingham - Chania jet2,  Ryanair,  TUI 
    Birmingham - Heraklion jet2,  TUI 
    Outward route Airline
    Bournemouth - Heraklion TUI 
    Outward route Airline
    Bristol - Chania jet2,  TUI 
    Bristol - Heraklion easyJet,  jet2,  TUI 
    Outward route Airline
    Cardiff - Heraklion TUI 
    Outward route Airline
    Nottingham East Midlands - Chania Ryanair 
    Nottingham East Midlands - Heraklion jet2,  TUI 
    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Heraklion easyJet,  jet2 
    Outward route Airline
    Exeter - Heraklion TUI 
    Outward route Airline
    Glasgow - Heraklion jet2,  TUI 
    Outward route Airline
    Leeds Bradford - Chania jet2,  Ryanair 
    Leeds Bradford - Heraklion jet2 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Chania easyJet,  TUI 
    Gatwick - Heraklion British Airways,  easyJet,  TUI 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Chania British Airways 
    Heathrow - Chania (via Athens) Aegean Airlines 
    Heathrow - Heraklion (via Athens) Aegean Airlines 
    Outward route Airline
    Luton - Chania easyJet 
    Luton - Heraklion easyJet,  TUI 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Chania jet2,  Ryanair 
    Stansted - Heraklion jet2,  TUI 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Chania easyJet,  jet2,  Ryanair,  TUI 
    Manchester - Heraklion easyJet,  jet2,  TUI 
    Outward route Airline
    Newcastle - Heraklion jet2,  TUI 
    Outward route Airline
    Norwich - Heraklion TUI 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  you may need to fly to an airport not listed. 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.

What is included
  • 7 nights
  • 2 dinners
    3 picnics
    7 breakfasts
  • route notes and maps
  • GPS navigation
  • category C car hire

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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