Guided Walking Weeks at Crete Family Villas

25 April - 2 May 2017 and 19 September - 26 September 2017

The countryside around Pendamodi is perfect for walking, with its rolling hills cloaked in vineyards and olive groves, and our central location gives easy access to some of Crete's main cultural and natural attractions. For these reasons, we have decided to use our villas as the base for two guided walking holidays in the spring and autumn of 2017, led by Jocelyne's brother Ghislain, who knows the area extremely well.

The exact itinerary is of course dependent on local conditions at the time but there will be five full-day walks, taking in a variety of terrain, and one free day. The main aim of the walks is to enjoy and appreciate the countryside rather than to test your endurance, but naturally a reasonable level of fitness and stamina are required, as are suitable footwear and clothing. Daily distances covered range from 9 km to 15 km and whilst there are no steep climbs, some of the walks involve steady ascents and/or descents as well as some rough paths.

For these special walking weeks, accommodation in our villas can be booked by couples and singles on a per-room basis. Each room has its own bath or shower room, although in some cases these may be adjacent rather than en-suite. Breakfast is included throughout; other meals are payable locally. For dinner we will visit authentic local tavernas; where there are no suitable taverna stops for lunch, you will have the opportunity to purchase a picnic. Private minibus transfers to and from the starting and finishing points of our walks are included, except for Day 2 when we walk directly from our villas.

Itinerary

Tuesday: Transfer from Heraklion Airport to Crete Family Villas. Remainder of the afternoon at leisure.

Wednesday: A relatively easy day walking in an around the village of Pendamodi, enjoying the bucolic landscape characterised by olive groves and vineyards. We spend about 3 hours walking, plus some time visiting a local winery and a raki destillery, including the opportunity to sample their wares.

Thursday: A 40-minute minibus transfer south takes us Selia Mitato and the Forest of Rouva. Our 11-km walk through woodland and shrubery takes us to a pictureque rural chapel and we will enjoy a picnic lunch at a local beauty spot.

Friday: A 15-km walk taking in archaeological sites and spectacular views, as a short transfer takes us north-east to the village of Archanes. From here, we walk via the lesser-known Minoan sites of Phourni and Anemospilia to Mount Ghioutas, to marvel at the panoramic views down to the coast from the sanctuary at its peak, before returning to Archanes.

Saturday: A well-earned day of rest to enjoy the gardens and swimming pools at our villas in Pendamodi or to further explore the surrounding area at your leisure.

Sunday: Our minibus takes us to Crete's most important archaological site, Knossos, considered to be Europe's oldest city and the centre of the Minoan civilisation. After an opportunity to visit the site, we walk through surrounding farmland, woodland and small villages to the Roman aqueduct of Fountana (approx. 12 km in total).

Monday: We head to the south coast by minibus for a 10-km walk, starting at the seaside monastery of Iera Moni near Koudouma. From here, we walk to the the chapel of Spilia Agios Antoniou, built inside a natural cave overlooking the sea, before continuing to the sleepy seaside village of Agios Yiannis, where we have time for a leisurely taverna lunch and a swim.

Tuesday: Transfer back to Heraklion Airport for your flight home.

Prices: €885 per person in April, €955 per person in September, based on 2 people sharing a room. Single occupancy supplement €220.

Includes 7 nights, accommodation in twin/double rooms at Pendamodi villas on B&B basis, five full-day walking excursions with walking guide/interpreter, transfers where required and picnic lunch on Day 3.

Not included: Lunch/dinner/drinks (picnics and taverna meals payable locally), entrance fees to archaeological sites, optional tips/gratuities to guide/driver/interpreter/waiterst, travel and medical insurance.

For travellers from the UK, flight-inclusive holiday packages are available through Cachet Travel, who also offer similar itineraries in Western Crete and Turkey.