WESTERN CRETE BIKING TOUR (SELF-GUIDED TOUR)

780.00

Excluding flights

  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Daily Distance: 40 – 50 km
  • Daily Climb: 700 m

Available bikes:

  • Trekking Bikes
  • Road bikes
  • E-bikes
  • Tandem bike

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Description

About this holiday

Crete is rightly considered to be one of the most beautiful destinations in Greece and this tour combines its history, culture, mountains, beaches, lakes, good food, lots of raki and Cretan music! It begins in Omalos, a plateau high in the mountains, then heads down to the sea passing the famous beach at Elafonissil, it then follows the west coast of Crete, passes through historical Chania and ends up in Rethymno.

This tour is of moderate difficulty and has been created for the recreational cyclist, however, you must have a standard/good level of fitness to feel comfortable. The daily distances are between 40 and 50km (check daily program) and the average daily climb is around 700m (with some exceptions). Of course, if you need help, we provide 24h telephone support so we will step in and provide all necessary assistance. On some days optional longer/harder routes are provided for the stronger cyclist.

For those seeking a more “in depth” Cretan experience, the tour is also offered with 2 overnights at each waypoint. For these extra days we suggest a variety of cycling routes, boat trips, daily excursions and various other alternatives.

Customized programs can be created for you at an additional charge depending on the number of participants, duration and component parts of the tour.

Why choose this holiday?

Crete is a unique destination and cycling is one of the best ways to explore it. The island has a huge amount to offer and appeals to discerning travelers who want a unique experience. History combined with fitness, leisure and natural beauty, all in one.

Self-guided biking tour

Participating in a self-guided biking tour is one of the most pleasant ways to discover a destination in depth. Upon your arrival, we will supply you with your GPS device with routes, maps, road book, etc., and of course your bike with all necessary equipment such as panniers, service kit, locks etc.  From then on you will have the freedom to spend your time in any way you wish. Whether you decide to wake up early or start later, you cycle at your own pace and stop anywhere that catches your interest on the proposed route. In this way you are not obliged to follow a specific schedule but can just follow at your own tempo.

In addition, each day we take care of your luggage transfer, so you don’t have to carry anything extra with you, and of course we provide 24h telephone support in case of emergency just to be sure everything rolls along smoothly.

Sustainable travel

Arcas Travel Services believes in sustainable and responsible tourism, and is committed to having the lowest possible environmental impact. By employing only local guides and using only regional services we provide a form of tourism that benefits the community. The visitor also benefits by being able to come closer to authentic local cultures and traditions due to our unique local knowledge. We think tourism should be about respect and benefit to the local inhabitants and that responsible travelers will get more out of their holiday by giving a little bit back to the special places and people that they meet. To help offset the carbon emissions Arcas also donates 10 euros per client which is shared between forestry commissions in the Peloponnese for reforestation after the deadly fires of 2007.

DAY BY DAY ITINERARY

DAY 1: Arrival-Chania

You arrive in Chania, for many the most beautiful city on Crete, with its picturesque harbor, old town and castle. Chania has a long history and had a huge impact on the region during Venetian times. It has a truly unique character that you are sure to fall in love with.

DAY 2:  Omalos-Cycling to Palaiochora (52Km +800m/-1834m descent) or Hiking the Samaria Gorge (14Km, 5-7h)

In the morning we transfer you by minibus to Omalos in the heart of the “Lefka Ori” (the famous White Mountains). From here you have 2 options: The first option is to begin cycling directly and passing through fantastic mountainous scenery you will end up in Palaiochora. This route has several ascents and descents, with a final downhill section that you are sure to find exciting. The second option is to hike the fantastic Samaria Gorge, the longest gorge in Europe, with its incomparable beauty. Once you reach the coast and you are transported by boat to Palaiochora. Samaria gorge is the 2nd most visited attraction in Crete after Knossos, a designated National Park, and is home to unique wildlife and many rare species. Hiking here is an unforgettable experience, however be aware that it takes 5-7h of walking on uneven ground so correct footwear is essential. Please note that Samaria Gorge is open from May up to end of October. Extra Day: If you choose to take the 15-day trip you could enjoy the sandy beach in Palaiochora, take private boat trip to the ancient town of Lyssos (a magical location that can only be reached by boat), or stronger cyclists can ride to Sougia (34Km/+920m) and then arrange private boat transfer back.

DAY 3: Palaiochora-Elafonissi-Inachoria (15Km/+560m or 34Km/+1000m)

Today you again have 2 options. The first is to take the boat and arrive at one of the highlights of this trip; the beach of Elafonissi! Enjoy the golden sand, swim in the crystal- clear waters, enjoy your lunch in a taverna, and then ride up to Inachoria. The 2nd option is to ride directly to Inachoria, adding an extra 19Km to your trip. The route is mountainous on small, quiet roads and has a unique beauty, however you should be aware that the ascent is around 1000m. Upon reaching Inachoria you can either visit Elafonissi by bike or leave it for the next day to avoid the return journey. Inachoria is a picturesque group of mountain villages in south-western Crete. It took its name from the fact it consists of 9 villages (Enniachoria in Greek) and is a tranquil destination for the discerning traveler. There you will find tavernas and traditional Cretan houses all set in an outstanding natural environment. Important: Due to weather conditions, the boat might not be able to transfer you to Elafonissi and in which case the only option is cycling directly to Inachoria. Of course, in case of emergency you can contact us (24h) and we will provide help with transportation. EXTRA DAY: There are many options for this extra day. Of course, the first is a relaxing day on Elafinissi beach. Stronger riders can cycle to Kandanos village and back (54Km/+1000m return journey), a historic small town in the mountains where you can enjoy the local culture. Another option is to cycle north to Topoliano Gorge and visit the Saint Sofia cave(10Km), this is an amazing place to visit as you will discover a small church among stalactites and stalagmites deep in the cave.

DAY 4: Inachoria-Kissamos (40Km/+675m or 49Km/+943)

We suggest 1 of 2 routes. One is 9km longer and has an extra 300 meters during the ascent. Both routes will take you along the west coast of Crete and passing through spectacular landscapes you will eventually reach Kissamos (or Kastelli), a coastal town that has managed to retain its character despite regional tourism. EXTRA DAY: There are plenty of options on this additional day. You can take a boat trip to Balos, one of the most popular beaches on Crete, or perhaps Agria Gramvousa island could be of interest. You can even cycle to the amazing beach at Falasarna and visit the ancient town or perhaps you prefer to enjoy the beaches around Kissamos such as Mavros Molos, (just in front of the town), Livadia or Telonio.

DAY 5: Kissamos-Chania (46Km/+444m)

Today you follow the northern Cretan coast and cycle to the capital, Chania. On the way there is an optional visit to Karavitakis winery near Pontikiana village (an extra 10Km and +200m) for wine tasting, or perhaps a stop at the Agios Ioannis cave with an amazing church in it (an extra 3km and +110m). Overnight in Chania. EXTRA DAY: This day a cycle tour of the Chania Perninsula is an absolute must. It is a ride of around 53Km and a total climb of 665m. Amazing scenery, unspoilt beaches and fascinating monasteries all await you. Gouvernetou monastery is particually to be recommended. Stavros village in the north offers green waters and sandy beaches, with some nice taverns for your lunch.

DAY 6: Chania – Georgioupoli (44Km/+780m)

Today the tour continues heading east to Georgioupoli, a small coastal town, with a wonderful beach. It is known for its church which has been built on the rocks in the sea just in front of the town. On the way it is strongly recommended to pass through ancient Aptera (adding 10km and 170m of climbing), one of the most important archaeological sites on Crete. You can visit the ancient Greek theatre, the ruins of the ancient Greek city from 8th century BC. There is an Ottoman tower (Koule) about 1Km away, situated imposingly on the top of the hill, a fantastic example of 19th century military architecture. EXTRA DAY: You can visit Dourakis winery in Alikampos (20Km and +370m each way) for winetasting or cycle to the villages of eastern Chania Region (25Km and +550m). Of course, you could choose to just relax in Georgioupoli and recharge your batteries.

DAY 7: Kournas Lake – Rethymno (38Km and +516m)

Start cycling south for your last day on your bike and within a short time you will arrive at Kournas lake, one of very few freshwater lakes on Crete. This is a lake of unique natural beauty, with crystal clear waters where you can swim, sunbath, rent canoes, kayaks or pedalos, and later enjoy your lunch at one of the tavernas. You then continue on to Rethymno, the provincial capital, which has a long and famous history. The city expanded after the Venetian conquest and there is a great deal of period architecture on offer. Wander through the old town on the small lanes which meander down to the “Fortezza”, the Venetian citadel. Small shops, bars and tavernas complete an atmospheric environment. Just don’t forget sample the raki once again together with Greek meze! EXTRA DAY: You can enjoy the long beach in front of the town and the walk in the centre. Alternatively, cycle to ancient Eleftherna (47Km and +685m) a major archaeological site (city was founded in 9th century BC) and has an amazing museum. 5Km further up the road and a visit to the 1000 years old Arkadiou monastery (52Km/+770m) where the Greeks blew themselves up so as not to surrender to the Ottomans in 1866. Today it is a European Liberty Monument as designated by UNESCO.

DAY 8: Departure

We Greeks don’t like to say goodbye. Instead we prefer to say «Εις το επανιδείν» which means that we hope to see you again some time!

 

ACCOMMODATION

All of our cooperatives are 3*hotels/rooms/apartments and they are selected very carefully. They all meet several standards set by us concerning cleanness, breakfast, location, services and are operated by locals! According to the number of persons and the needs of each participant, we choose the most suitable room for you. For singles or couples, we arrange the stay in a standard room. If you are a family, we will take care of you to stay in an Apartment or Junior Suite where possible so you will have plenty of space and you will be all together. *In case of non-availability, we will book for you a hotel of similar quality among our several cooperators in each destination. ** Upgrades have an extra charge, depending on room type and hotel.

PRICING

Price: From €780p.p./€1250p.p(8 days/15 days) for double room.

 Price  Includes:

  • Accommodation for 7 / 13 nights (3 / 6 overnights with breakfast ),
  • Luggage transfer between hotels
  • Transfer for bikes & bikers to Omalos on day 2
  • Gps and Maps with routes (1 piece for 2 paricipants)
  • Complete information about the area
  • 24h telephone support

Single Supplement: 140€ p.p. / 265€ p.p.

Bike rental

  • Trekking bike 80 €/week
  • Road bike 120 €/week
  • E-bike 280 €/week
  • Tandem 240€/week
  • Helmet 10 €/week

Price does not include:

  • Flight tickets
  • Excursions on your free time
  • Entrance tickets for archaeological sites & museums etc.

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