Crete & Santorini Hiking Adventure

  • 11 Days
  • Avg Group Size: 12
  • Activity Level 4
    • Activity Level 4

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  • Trip Start: Chania
  • Trip End: Thessaloniki
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Hike the ‘Home of the Greek Gods’, sea kayak Santorini, discover the beaches of Crete, and savor the delights of ancient Greek culture!

Experience the very best iconic Greece has to offer on this 11-day hiking adventure. Starting in the rugged White Mountains of Crete, you will hike parts of the E4 (the European Trail) staying in the mountaintop village of Omalos, before making your way down to pristine beaches, stopping for lunch at charming Tavernas along the way. Skipping over to the beautiful island of Santorini with its breathtaking sunsets and whitewashed villages perched atop dramatic rock faces, you will hike coastal tracks, explore ruins from the Bronze Age, and swim and sea kayak the iconic turquoise waters. The journey doesn’t stop there! Next, it’s a flight up to the mainland to the city of Thessaloniki, a fascinating blend of Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman influences. The adventure reaches its pinnacle (literally!) hiking amidst the home of the Greek Gods, the legendary Mount Olympus, to conquer Greece’s highest peaks. 

Trip Highlights

Crete's White Mountains


Mt Olympus


Mt Skolio


Coastal Tracks


Samaria Gorge




Explore Chania

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Explore Heraklion

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Beautiful beaches

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Archaeological Museum of Thira

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Wine tasting

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Download Our Handy Trip Itinerary

Our Trip Itinerary contains all the exciting details you can expect to do on our trips. Get a clear picture of the adventures on this trip.


Crete & Santorini ~ Itinerary

Trip Start: Chania Trip End: Thessaloniki

Download our Handy Trip itenary

Our Trip Itinerary contains all the exciting details you can expect to do on our trips. Get a clear picture of the adventures on this trip

  • Day 1Arrive in Chania, Western Crete

  • Day 2Hike the White Mountains, climb Mt Gingilos

  • Day 3Hike the Samaria Gorge Crossing to the seaside village of Agia Roumeli

  • Day 4Hike from Agia Roumeli to Marmara and boat to Loutro

  • Day 5Coastal Hike to Sfakia, Explore the Crete capital, Heraklion

  • Day 6Explore Ancient Akrotiri and sea kayak Santorini

  • Day 7Explore Santorini at your leisure, optional hike to Caldera

  • Day 8Fly to Thessaloniki, visit vineyards, arrive at the foot of Mt Olympus

  • Day 9Hike Mt Olympus

  • Day 10Reach the summit of Mount Skolio

  • Day 11Travel to Thessaloniki, Adio Greece!

  • Day 1

    Arrive in Chania, Western Crete

    We’ll meet in the lobby of our hotel early in the evening in Chania, on the west part of the island of Crete. Our adventure begins with an orientation evening stroll around charming old Chania town before stopping for dinner at a traditional Cretan tavern.

    Kydon Hotel, Chania (Dinner)

  • Day 2

    Hike the White Mountains, climb Mt Gingilos

    Get ready to enter the White Mountains! We will get plenty of the fresh mountain air as we gear up for today’s high ascent of Mt Gingilos. This legendary 2080-meter (6824-foot) peak towers over Samaria and part of the E4 - the official European trail connecting the West to East. Its north face, a near vertical slope of solid rock may look daunting, but we will follow the path around the back, to reach the summit with only a little scrambling! Bearded vultures, the biggest birds in Europe, glide past this cliff top, often at midday on their foraging trips – it’s well worth keeping an eye out for them! We will reach the mountaintop village of Omalos, at an altitude just over 1000 meters (3281 feet), and enjoy the famous Cretan hospitality, meeting characterful locals in their rustic, family run, mountain hotel. After dinner, settle into a well-earned night’s rest in peace and quiet, with the occasional jingling of goats’ bells heard in the distance.

    Hotel Gigilos Omalos or Neos Omalos, Omalos (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Hiking: Omalos to Mt Gingilos: 9km (5.6 miles), 6 hours; Elevation +1080 meters (3,543 feet)

  • Day 3

    Hike the Samaria Gorge Crossing to the seaside village of Agia Roumeli

    “Kalimera!” We awaken in the heart of the White Mountains, enjoy a traditional Cretan breakfast, and set off to hike the longest gorge in Europe, the Samaria Gorge. Hiking through forests of scented pines, we reach the narrowest point, the "Iron Gates", where the rocks on each side reach an altitude of 600 meters (1969 feet). After a 16km (9.9 miles) descent we’ll reach the welcoming seaside resort of Agia Roumeli on the South Coast, with its fine pebble beach and sparkling turquoise sea - perfect for a refreshing dip!

    Pachnes B&B, Agia Roumeli (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Hiking: 16km (9.9 miles), 6.5 hours

  • Day 4

    Hike from Agia Roumeli to Marmara and boat to Loutro

    A wonderful coastal hike awaits us! After an early rise, we leave the peaceful village in the cool morning breeze, walking on sand and shingle up to the picturesque chapel of St Pavlos (Paul), said to mark the place Saint Paul landed on Crete. A freshwater spring flows out of the pebbles right next to the chapel! We will pause for a refreshing swim before hiking on to the mesmerizing Marmara Beach. Here we will take another dip in the clear blue water before enjoying a superb lunch at a local taverna overlooking the azure sea. After lunch we will travel by water taxi to the tiny and remote seaside settlement of Loutro.

    Molos Apartments or Kyma Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Hiking: 11km (6.8 miles), 4-5 hours

  • Day 5

    Coastal Hike to Sfakia, Explore the Crete capital, Heraklion

    Today we will follow the coastal path to Chora Sfakion, stopping for a swim at quite possibly Crete’s best beach, Freshwater Beach. Also known as Sweetwater Beach, its water is impossibly deep blue due to the clear freshwater springs flowing through the small pebbles and into the sea. From Chora Sfakion we will drive to the port city of Heraklion, the capital of Crete. In the evening we’ll explore this historic city by foot before a dinner of delicious Greek cuisine.

    Olive Green Hotel, Heraklion (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Hiking: 6.6km (4.1 miles), 3 hours

  • Day 6

    Explore Ancient Akrotiri and sea kayak Santorini

    It’s just a 2-hour ferry ride to arrive in Santorini. We will drop our luggage at the hotel and set off for a wander around the streets of Fira. After lunch our expert local guide will show us around the Archaeological Museum of Thira and the Bronze Age site of Akrotiri, where the Minoan empire flourished. Their frescos and architectural styles are astonishing even today. Now to view Santorini from a different perspective – by sea kayak! We’ll paddle past beautiful cave houses carved into the coastal rock and explore amazing sea caves. To the east we’ll kayak past the aptly named White Beach, with its dazzling white rock cliffs, before reaching the vivid russet rock formations of Red Beach (also aptly named!) We will take time out at Kampia Beach to snorkel and explore the marine life of the crystalline Aegean Sea. Our epic day will end with a delicious meal of traditional Greek fare in a local taverna.

    El Greco Resort & Spa, Fira, Santorini (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Kayaking: 5 hours

  • Day 7

    Explore Santorini at your leisure, optional hike to Caldera

    Wake up to a rest day in sensational Santorini! There is the option to hike the volcanic Caldera trail first thing in the morning to catch the sunrise. Alternatively, meander through the bougainvillea laden streets of lively Fira, and the blue-domed churches and white-washed sugarcube houses of the nearby village of Oia. Tonight, sip a chilled ouzo watching the sun set over the Aegean Sea, and enjoy a romantic dinner in Fira or the Oia.

    El Greco Resort & Spa, Fira, Santorini (Breakfast)

    Hiking: Optional Caldera Hike: 11km (6.8 miles), 5 hours

  • Day 8

    Fly to Thessaloniki, visit vineyards, arrive at the foot of Mt Olympus

    Today, we leave the islands and fly to Thessaloniki on mainland Greece. From here, we will drive through picturesque vineyards, stopping for some wine tasting and to enjoy lunch among the vines. We’ll stop off at the beautiful Agia Kori waterfalls before arriving at Litochoro in the foothills of Mt Olympus. After checking into our guesthouse, we’ll take an orientation walk around quaint Litochoro and enjoy dinner at a local taverna.

    Arhontiko Aphrodite Hotel or Villa Pantheon Hotel, Litochoro (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

  • Day 9

    Hike Mt Olympus

    This morning we’ll transfer to Prionia at an altitude of 1100 meters (3609 feet), from where we begin our hike up to the ‘Home of the Gods’. The route from Prionia to the Spilios Agapitos mountain hut is the most widely used hiking trail on Mount Olympus and part of the E4 European Path. For the most part we’ll be hiking through thick forests of pine, beech and fir trees. We continue to climb and make our way up to reach the mountain hut to overnight at Spilios Agapitos at an altitude of 2100 meters (6890 feet).

    Refuge A, Spilios Agapitos (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Hiking: 5km (3.1 miles), 4 hours; elevation +1000 meters (3281 feet)

  • Day 10

    Reach the summit of Mount Skolio

    After an early morning rise and breakfast, we follow the European path E4 until we reach Skala Peak at 2866 meters (9403 feet). We will then hike to reach Skolio at 2911 meters (9551 feet), the second highest peak in Greece (only 8 meters (26 feet) less than Mytikas). This is 4-5 hours hiking (and/or scramble!) on narrow paths with an altitude gain of 800 meters. After summitting we’ll head back, following the same path towards the Agapitos Mountain Hut, and transfer back to the village of Litochoro for our well-earned farewell feast.

    Arhontiko Aphrodite Hotel or Villa Pantheon Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Hiking: Skolio: 11km (6.8 miles), 9 hours; elevation +/- 811 meters (2660 feet)

  • Day 11

    Travel to Thessaloniki, Adio Greece!

    After a mighty Mediterranean breakfast, and a “Greek” coffee, we’ll travel back to the center of the lively city of Thessaloniki to say goodbye “Adio”!


Crete & Santorini Adventure Departure Dates

  • Upcoming
  • 3 months
  • 6 months
  • 1 year
USD $7499/per adult
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Useful Info

Where does the trip start?

On the first day of the trip we’ll meet you at Kydon Hotel in Chania at 6pm. You are welcome to book your pre-trip stay at this hotel directly or any other hotel in Chania, though you must make your own way to Kydon Hotel at the pre-designated time.

Where does the trip end?

Your trip ends after breakfast and we can drop you off at either at a hotel of your choice in Thessaloniki City Center around 10:30am, or the Thessaloniki Airport around 11am, in time for flights below.

What flights would you recommend?

Arrival: We recommend arriving in Chania by 4pm.  Many guests like to arrive a day or two early to accommodate potential flight delays and/or explore the city prior to your trip start.

Departure: Flying out on the last day of the trip, you can depart from Thessaloniki Airport Makedonia any time after 2pm.

How much luggage can I bring on this trip?

You are allowed one piece of luggage on your trip, plus a daypack. Your main piece of luggage should not exceed 50 pounds (23 kilograms) and can be anything from a duffle bag to a sports bag with wheels or a suitcase. You’ll also want a good quality backpack sized 25-30 liters (2000 cubic inches) to use throughout the days.

You'll also need an overnight trekking pack for the overnight hike on Mount Olympus, though your daypack could double as your overnight trekking pack if you bring along a 30-40 litres size (2000- 3000 cubic inches). Your overnight trekking pack needs to be large enough to carry your sleeping bag, rain jacket/pants, warmer layers, camera, some snacks, a packed lunch, some water (1-2 litres) and any other personal items inside, and your other gear will be stored in Litochoro.

Tell me about the overnight hike on Mount Olympus?

The route to Spilios Agapitos mountain hut is the most widely used hiking trail on Mount Olympus and part of the E4 European Path. We'll start in Prionia, the highest point accessible by car, and hike through thick forests of pine, beech and fir trees, making our way up to an altitude of 2.100 meters where Spilios Agapitos sits.

The following morning we'll continue up to Skala peak to climb Mount Skolio at 2,911 meters (9,551 feet) – the second highest peak in Greece and only 8 meters (26 feet) less than Mytikas. It takes approximately 4-5 hours hiking and/or scramble on narrow paths with an altitude gain of 800 meters. After summitting we'll head back, following the same path towards Agapitos Mountain Hut.

During the trek on Mount Olympus you’ll be spending the overnight in a mountain lodge, known locally as rifugio’s. All rooms have individual beds (no double beds), and share bathrooms. The rooms are mixed gender and 8 beds per room, so you will be sharing a room with others, no single rooms are available. Meals are served in the restaurant.

The refuge is powered by a generator and solar panels, therefore lights are switched off at 10pm and are turned on at 6am. It is not permitted to wear boots in the facility, and you will be requested to leave your walking shoes at reception on arrival, and wear sandals/slippers. There are two large communal areas for eating and resting, and on warmer days the refuge also has a magnificent patio area built on the balcony, providing a most perfect vantage point for some of the most beautiful sunrises seen in Greece.
You’ll be carrying a day pack of around 25-40 litres (cubic inches) in volume, and needs to be large enough to fit the following gear inside: your sleeping bag, clothing for the overnight, camera, some snacks, a packed lunch, some water (1-2 litres) and any other personal items inside.

How fit do I need to be?

As an Activity Level 3-4 trip, you’ll need a solid level of fitness, with moderate to strenuous hikes of 3-9 hours, including two summit hikes with elevation gains and losses of up to 1000m. Although the paths are quite well-kept, the terrain often tends to be very stony and rocky on the mountains. You will be hiking on tarmac roads, footpaths, mountain trails, so be prepared for a few steeper passages. While you don’t have to be extremely fit, you should be in the habit of doing regular aerobic exercise, ideally involving some up hills and down hills and perhaps even carrying a pack! With a little preparation before your trip begins, you’ll enjoy the active and outdoor nature of your trip all the more. Please head to our Fitness Guide for great tips on how to prepare along with a workout plan!

What is not included?

Flights to and from trip start/end points
Pre/Post accommodation
Optional extra activities
Travel insurance
Gratuities for your guides
Rental gear

Is tipping expected in Europe?

Tipping is not expected in Europe however you might want to tip a little extra if you feel someone gave really fantastic service, but it's not really necessary. Many of our people also choose to tip their Active Adventures Europe trip leaders and local guides and we recommend USD$20 per day, per guest, per Trip Leader/guide. You are welcome to tip an equivalent amount in the local currency. There are plenty of ATM’s and banks in the larger towns of Europe.

How do rooming arrangements work?

Trip prices are based on shared arrangements (typically two guests per room), unless otherwise stated. For solo travelers, we’ll pair you with another person of the same gender to share rooms and if there’s no one suitable to share with, there’s no forced single supplement. However, if you specifically request your own rooms, you can opt to pay the single supplement. Solo travelers who book within 90 days of departure, where there are no other solo travelers willing to share, will be required to pay the single supplement. 

For Family Vacation bookings, families consisting of four guests traveling with children aged 17 and under will be automatically assigned one shared room. However, the following alternative rooming allocations are available:

  • Families consisting of four guests with all children aged 13 and above are welcome to opt for additional rooms as per advertised double occupancy adult rates.
  • Families consisting of four guests with at least one child aged 12 and under are automatically assigned a shared room. However, families can opt to pay the adult rates for all guests in their family to have an additional room.
  • The same principles apply for families consisting of more than four guests.

Rooming preferences are subject to availability and must be communicated in writing at time of booking. Automatic assignments as per this policy will be applied in the absence of any specification provided by guests. Any request for additional rooms during trips will be at guests’ own expense and subject to rates made available by the accommodation provider at the time. All minors (guests aged 17 and under) must be accompanied by at least one adult.

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Trip Inquiry


Crete & Santorini Hiking Adventure

USD $7499/per adult
$500 USD deposit per person required to secure your place on the trip

What To Expect

  • Place your booking
  • Receive your confirmation email & details to set up your Travel Wallet
  • Our dedicated team will keep you up to date all the way to the departure date



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