Walking and hiking tours are the perfect ways to discover Crete, allowing visitors to explore tranquil and undisturbed locations off the beaten-track!
Crete is a mountainous island and its history was greatly shaped by this geography. A perfect way to understand the Cretan way of life is by exploring its countryside, and a base in Agios Nikolaos is perfect for this purpose!
The best places for walking tours and excursions
Just 10km southwest of Agios Nikolaos lies the beautiful Kritsa Gorge, where a 4km hiking path winds through a narrow (sometimes just 1m wide) passage in the mountain. Starting in one of the oldest and most picturesque villages in Crete, Kritsa, the trail snakes through the gorge before finally opening up into a fragrant valley full of olive groves, where walkers can visit the traditional village of Tapes for a welcome rest!
To the north, looming over the town of Elounda, is the wild mountain of Oxa, crowned with the ruins of the ancient city of Naxos. Starting at Ellinika village a variety of dirt tracks and ancient paths ascend the mountain with stunning views of the Mirabello Bay and Spinalonga peninsula. Legend says that the ancient peoples of Naxos hid their treasure in 9 wells scattered across Mount Oxa…and their location remains a secret to this day!
Whilst the world-famous Samaria Gorge is 230km from Agios Nikolaos, the less famous but equally mesmerising Richtis Gorge is just 60km away and offers a beautiful 4km hiking trail surrounded by rich, fragrant foliage including wild lavender, oleander and sage. The trail starts in the village of Exo Mouliana and ends at Richtis beach, passing the stunning Richtis Waterfall as it cascades 20m down the cliff-face.
For adventurous walkers, a taste of the European Long Distance Path (number 4) is a unique opportunity. The E4 route starts in Spain and ends in Cyprus, taking in some of its most beautiful scenery in Crete in its middle section. An 18km section runs from Selakano to Prina (48km & 20km from Agios Nikolaos respectively), passing through pine forests and vineyards, and offering panoramic views of the Mirabello Bay to the north and the Libyan Sea to the south.
For summertime walkers, remember to head out early in the morning in order and avoid the midday heat whenever possible!