AORI - Original Walks, Hikes and Treks in Crete ORIGINAL WALKS, HIKES & TREKS IN CRETE

Crete walks: View from Zanarokefala Crete walks: Sheep near Katsivelli Crete walks: Melindaou Crete walks: Mitato near Katsivelli Crete walks: View on the Ginglios Crete walks: Sheperd Yannis in Pirou Crete walks: View to Agia Roumeli Crete walks:Chapel on Agios Pavlos beach Crete walks: View to Agios Pavlos

Trekking through the White Mountains

An exclusive one week summer trek to the White Mountains to discover the world of the few remaining proud shepherds from Sfakia and their traditional sheep–breeding and cheese making.

In high summer, as the heat is intense on the coast, a breath of pure, fresh mountain air, far above the hustle and bustle of the sea side resorts. Some serious mountain hiking followed by a couple of restoring days on the shore of the Lybian sea.

In the heart of the White Mountains we will walk on old trails made by the shepherds and their animals through very wild and isolated areas. We will hike up through a lunar landscape with bizarre rock formations known as “high desert” until we reach small green valleys called “madares” where flocks of sheep and goats are taken up to graze in the summer months.

Very few people know this area and attempt to walk there on their own… There are no roads crossing the mountain range and the area has remained totally unspoiled, with some amazing and unique species of plants and insects living in this part of the White Mountains above 2000m which is unique in the world.

In the valley of Pirou, we will be welcomed in his “mitato” (shepherds hut) by Yiannis, a young man from the village of Anopoli who left his isolated community at the age of 17 to live and work in Athens. 12 years later, he leaves his successful life in the capital and returns to the White Mountains to tend the family herd and make the delicious traditional Graviera cheese…

Day 1: Arrival - Night in Chania

Day 2: Bus to the Omalos plateau – walk up the Gingilos peak with impressive wiews into the Samaria gorge. (4 to 5 hours walk on a good trail with 800m ascent). Night in a pension on the Omalos plateau.

Day 3: Kallergi - Melindaou - Pirou
(6 to 7 hours walk with about 900m ascent). Night in Pirou in the hut or in a tent. A traditional shepherds meal with fresh goat or lamb meat will be prepared for us.

Day 4: Exploration of the area. Immersion in the shepherd´s world and participation in milking the sheep and cheese making. Night in Pirou.

Day 5: From the nearby valley of Katsivelli, hike up to the summit of the Lefka Ori (White Mountains): Pachnes (2453m), then we will head down south to the summit of Zaranokefala detouring around many sinkholes forming a sort of labyrinth, before descending towards the village of Agios Ioannis. The views are simply stupendous on this walk, as we find ourselves 1900m directly above the sea and 1000m above the Eligias gorge… The hike is quite long (about 8 hours, ascent 500 meters - descent 1500 meters), not dangerous or vertiginous but it requires endurance and a bit of experience in walking in mountainous terrain. Night in comfortable village lodgings with hot showers in Agios Ioannis.

Day 6: Selouda - Agios Pavlos - Agia Roumeli
(3-4 hours walk - 800m descent). A more relaxing day; we go down a ancient mule track to Agios Pavlos where we can enjoy a rewarding swim next to a 12th century chapel on a dream beach. Later in the day we continue on the coastal E4 path to the village of Agia Roumeli, well known as beeing at the exit of the Samaria gorge. Night in a pension in Agia Roumeli.

Day 7: Agia Roumeli - Chania.
Boat to Sfakia in the morning and mini-bus or taxis to Chania. (Possibility to stay longer in Agia Roumeli and take the evening boat).

Period from mid–may to mid-september


© 2011 Anne Deckel