48.50 miles Instead of biking Rethymno to Hania on Day 8

CRETE SELF-GUIDED bike tours on Greece’s largest island.
BIKE TOURS EAST TO WEST HERAKLEION TO HANIA The East-West route starts in Herakleion in the east and ends in Hania in the west.  Choose this route if after the bike tour you want to take one-day hikes in the Samaria Gorge or Imbros Gorge or a multi-day hiking tour along the car-free Libyan Sea coast.
Hania is the most convenient departure point for these hikes with a local guide or self-guided .
BIKE TOURS WEST TO EAST HANIA TO HERAKLEION The West-East route starts in Hania in the west and ends in Herakleion in the east.
Choose this route if you want to go to Santorini after the bike tour because only Herakleion has boats to Santorini.
In high season there is also air service.
Although the West-East rides cover the same terrain as the East-West rides, the ascents are a bit harder when biking eastward.
With its breathtaking mountains and seascapes, Crete is a dynamic destination for cyclists accustomed to ascents.  As Europe’s most southern terrain, Crete makes a desirable cycling destination during winter months when colder temperature s prevail in the rest of Europe.
Due to its extensive road network Crete offers a variety of overnight destinations and cycling road choices, not simply the standard routes we have posted in the East to West or West to East itineraries.
We work with you to choose the optimum route for your travel schedule and cycling ability.
Crete was the first civilization on European soil with its ancient Minoan palace cities that you can bike to, such as, Knossos, Phaestos or Malia.  There are unheralded ruins of equal interest, such as the mysterious Armeni Minoan cemetery and Fourni in Arhanes.   Crete is celebrated for its indigenous cuisine that epitomizes the healthy Mediterranean diet.  Look in the Extras tab about signing up for a Cretan cooking class or wine tasting, an ancient tradition extending back to the Minoan era.  There are wineries to visit throughout the island.
Before or after your self-guided tour, we recommend booking the Athens Add-on that immerses you in the culture of Athens and the Attica region with exciting activities:  Historic Central Athens bike tour (90% traffic free), Acropolis & Acropolis Museum with professional guide, Temple of Poseidon coastal cycling, Attica wine tasting, Temple of Artemis.
Dates Duration 9 nights, 10 days for standard route.  Possible to add or subtract days; minimum 5 nights Add-ons yes, Libyan Sea Coast Hiking tour, Athens Day Tours – see Add-On tab Arrival City Arrival transfer yes, depending on Itinerary.  For Athens, see Extras tab Tour Start Point Tour End Point Minimum Age Total Mileage 453 km, 281 miles for 10 day standard route.  Mileage depends on optional routes sought and itinerary destinations .
Highest Elevation 890 meters, 2920 feet (Tzermiado) Rating.
Itinerary East to West Below is our standard East-West itinerary, but it can be adjusted to add or subtract days or substitute overnight destination s, as these examples indicate:  Opt for an 8 day tour by starting in Arhanes instead of Tzermiado.  Split in half the long 94 km, 58 mile route from Rethymno to Hania on Day 10 by staying in the lovely traditional town of Vamos.  The same can be done for the Zaros-Rethymno route by an overnight in Spili, a town beloved for its Venetian-era fountain with 19 lion heads.  Overnight in Zaros two nights in order to bike the second day in the south and visit the Matala caves, Minoan Phaestos and Roman Gortyna ruins.
Consider overnight in Axos with engaging agro-tourism activities at Enagron.  Lots of possibilities.


Thursday January 01, 1970

If you travel to Crete by sea via an overnight ferry from Piraeus (Athens’ port)

you will travel with the bikes.  If you travel to Crete by air or by sea from a port other than Piraeus, the bikes we will be waiting for you in Crete.  On your arrival, you will be met by a CycleGreece agent.  Depending on your itinerary, you will either start biking to your first destination from the port or airport, or you will be transferred to your hotel.
Leave your luggage in the hotel and it will be transferred to your next destination.
Day 1:  Tzermiado    The Lassithi Plateau, one of the highest farming areas in Greece, once had 20,000 windmills which only a generation or so ago were still in use, which gives you an idea of how traditional this region is.  Today’s ride calls for an ascent of 2283 feet 695 meters to the plateau.   30 km, 18.60 miles.  Consider a 14 km, 8.60 miles detour on the flat coastal road to the Minoan palace city of Malia.
Day 2:  Tzermiado Make a grand loop of the plateau, stopping at Lassinthos Eco Village and at Diktion Cave to marvel at the gigantic stalactites and stalagmites.  Cretans believe Zeus was born in this cave.
25 km, 15 miles    If you did not visit Malia yesterday, consider doing so today if you are up for an almost 3,000 foot descent/ascent to the coast.  Stop for lunch in Krasi, known for fresh drinking water springs.
54 km, 32 miles Day 3: Arhanes  Head west, over mountain ridges, cycling on back roads with goats and donkeys.  Listen for the cheery sound of their bells.  En route make an optional 4 km detour to the Nikos Katzantzakis Museum, home of the author of Zorba the Greek.
In Arhanes, you will admire the traditional architecture of the “arhontiko,” the preserved old villas.  Located only 15 km south of Herakleion, Arhanes is famous for its local cuisine and wines.  See the Extras tab for a cooking class and wine tasting.  44 km, 27 miles Day 4: Arhanes  Bike a back road to reach Knossos, the capital of the peaceful Minoan Empire.
Admire King Minos’ throne; a replica was made for the chief judge at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.  25 km 15 miles  To avoid Herakleion’s urban traffic, we recommend taking at taxi or bus from Knossos to Herakleion Archaeology Museum with its famed Minoan frescos and the enigmatic Phaestos disc.   There’s likely time for an afternoon Arhanes loop 24.50 km, 15 miles Today you will plunge into the interior of central Crete to Zaros located in the Psiloritis Mountains at 1394 feet 425 meters.  Zaros is known for its bottled mineral water, fresh trout and the E4 (European) hiking path.   En route don’t miss the Monumental Olive Tree at Panasos.
Optional afternoon hike in the Rouvas Gorge.
55.52 km, 34.50 miles If you opt to spend a second night in Zaros, the next day an inviting bike ride awaits you to the Matala caves, Minoan Phaestos and the Roman ruins of Gortyna.   78.50 km.


Thursday January 01, 1970

48 miles Day 6: Rethymno  Back country roads

lots of climbing, breathtaking scenery characterizes today’s ride.
The day’s final destination is Crete’s best kept secret, Rethymno, a Venetian era city with an Ottoman overlay.  You must visit the Fortezza, the grand Venetian-era fort overlooking the city.   77.20km.


Thursday January 01, 1970

48 miles Instead of biking Zaros to Rethymno on Day 6

if you want to linger in the mountainous countryside instead of the city, you can opt to bike Zaros to Spili to enjoy its fountain of water spewing from the mouths of 19 lions heads.  Continue the next day Spili to Rethymno.
Day 7: Rethymno   A bike ride into the low portions of the Psiloritis Mountains.
Visit Melidoni Cave and learn its poignant history.
Lunch on the seacoast at Panormos.  Stroll Rethymno’s car-free alley-like streets or along its fourteen kilometer sandy beach.  67.70 km, 42 miles Day 8: Hania   The ride to Hania passes the Minoan cemetery at Armeni with its fascinating tombs of unknown origin.  Halfway en route is the gorgeous sea at Giorgiopoli (Georgetown).  The final leg entails a climb over Malaxa village at 1500 feet high.     78 km, 48.50 miles Instead of biking Rethymno to Hania on Day 8, if you want a shorter “smell the roses” tour and an overnight in a traditional village, you can opt to bike Rethymno to Vamos and continue the next day to Hania.  This option allows a detour to Ancient Aptera and Koules Fortress.
Day 9: Hania    Ascend from sea level to 1860 feet through the enchanting Therissos Gorge road.  On the way back stop at a family winery for lunch, or visit a delightful botanical park created by two brothers when their cherished olive fields burned down.

Stroll Hania’s beautiful harbor with Venetian architecture

  Take time for shopping in Hania – handmade knives or gold jewelry.
51 km,  31.60  miles Day 10: Departure.

There are daily flights from Hania to Athens Airport

including ones that leave early enough to enable you to make a connecting flight home.  Overnight ferries to Piraeus depart at 9:00 pm.   Leave your bikes and gear at the hotel.
Below is our standard West to East itinerary, but it can be adjusted to add or subtract days or substitute overnight destinations, as these examples indicate:  Opt for additional cycling days with an overnight in charming little Vamos located between Hania and Rethymno.  In Vamos, you can experience a traditional Cretan cooking class.  Or spend two nights in Zaros and on the second day, cycle a loop to Roman ruins, the Minoan palace city of Phaestos and seaside Matala made famous by Joni Mitchell in her song Cary.  Consider overnight in Axos with engaging agro-tourism activities at Enagron.
If you travel to Crete by sea via an overnight ferry from Piraeus (Athens’ port), you will travel with the bikes.
If you travel to Crete by air or by sea from a port other than Piraeus, the bikes we will be waiting for you in Crete with a CycleGreece agent.  Leave your luggage in the hotels and it will be transferred to your next destination.

Day 1: Hania On arrival by air or sea

a CycleGreece agent meets you with your bikes.  You are in the area of Akrotiri peninsula, so go cycle there!  Descend the stone step path to Catholikon, an abandoned monastery.   After exploring Akrotiri, take a back road route to enter the city of Hania.
Stroll Hania’s beautiful harbor with Venetian architecture.
Roam the car-free old city and its Jewish quarter with finely preserved synagogue.  56 km, 35 miles , (13 km shorter when arriving by air) Day 2: Hania Ascend from sea level to 1860 feet through the enchanting Therissos Gorge road.
On the return route stop at a family winery for lunch and wine tasting, or visit a delightful botanical park created by two brothers when their cherished olive fields burned down.

Take time for shopping in Hania for handmade knives and gold jewelry

51 km, 31.60 miles Day 3: Rethymno The halfway point en route to Rethymno is the seaside town of Giorgiopoli (Georgetown) whose most alluring feature is its beautiful beach.
If you have time, you might want to take a dip.  Start swooning when you reach the old car-free city of Rethymno with its dreamy Venetian-Ottoman appearance.   Be sure to walk up to the towering Fortezza fortress.
78 km.

48.50 miles Instead of biking Hania to Rethymno on Day 3

if you want a shorter “smell the roses” tour and an overnight in a traditional village, you can opt to bike Hania to Vamos and continue the next day to Rethymno.  This option allows a detour to Ancient Aptera and Koules Fortress.
Day 4: Rethymno A bike loop in the lower hills of the Psiloritis Mountains.  Visit Melidoni Cave and learn its poignant history.
Visit a family owned olive oil farm for olive oil tastings.  Visit the ceramics village of Margarites, one of four centers in Crete practicing ancient pottery techniques.
Visit a Mycenae-style tomb.
Lunch on the seacoast at Panormos.
67.70 km, 42 miles Back country roads, lots of climbing, breathtaking scenery characterizes today’s ride.  Very little traffic as you head upward and inward into the Psiloritis Mountain region — don’t miss the Monumental Olive Tree in Panasos.
This day’s climbing is the specific case where the East to West route is easier.  There likely won’t be enough time today to take an hour hike in the Rouvas Gorge, but consider it before you set off tomorrow.
77.20km.

48 miles Instead of biking Rethymno to Zaros on Day 5

if you want to split up the mileage and visit Spili to enjoy its fountain with water spewing from the mouths of 19 lions heads, you can opt to bike Rethymno to Spili.   Continue the next day Spili to Zaros.
If you opt to spend a second night in Zaros, the next day an inviting bike ride awaits you to the Matala caves, Minoan Phaestos and the Roman ruins of Gortyna.
78.50 km, 48 miles Day 6: Arhanes After so much climbing, it is now time to descend into lower terrain.  Head for Arhanes, a town anyone with taste and class will admire,especially its traditional architecture of the “arhontiko,” the preserved old villas.  Located only 15 km south of Herakleion, Arhanes is famous for its local cuisine and wines.  See the Extras tab for a cooking class and wine tasting.  49.50 km  30.80  miles Day 7: Arhanes Bike a back road to reach Knossos, the capital of the peace Minoan Empire.
Admire King Minos’ throne; a replica was made for the chief judge at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
25 km 15 miles by bike but to avoid Herakleion’s urban traffic, we recommend taking at taxi or bus from Knossos to Herakleion Archaeology Museum with its famed Minoan frescos and the enigmatic Phaestos disc.   There’s likely time for an afternoon Arhanes loop 24.50 km, 15 miles Day 8: Tzermiado Head east, over mountain ridges, cycling on back roads with goats and donkeys.
Listen for the cheery sound of their bells.
En route make an optional 4 km detour to the Nikos Katzantzakis Museum, home of the author of Zorba the Greek.  Tzermiado is the largest village on the Lassithi Plateau, one of the highest farming areas in Greece that once had 20,000 windmills, in use only a generation or so ago.
44 km, 27 miles Day 9: Tzermiado Make a grand loop of the plateau, stopping at Lassinthos Eco Village and at Diktion Cave to marvel at the gigantic stalactites and stalagmites.
Cretans believe Zeus was born in this cave.
25 km, 15 miles   Consider visiting the Minoan palace city of Malia, if you are up for an almost 3,000 foot descent/ascent to the coast.  Stop for lunch in Krasi, known for fresh drinking water springs.
54 km, 32 miles Day 10: Departure A thrilling descent of 2283 feet 695 meters from the mountainous Lassithi region to the coastal areas near Herakleion.  A CycleGreece agent meets you at the end of the ride to transfer you to either your Herakelion hotel or the airport or the port, depending on your itinerary.  Leave the bikes with the agent.
There are daily flights from Hania to Athens Airport, including ones that leave early enough to enable you to make a connecting flight home.
Overnight ferries to Piraeus depart at 9:00 pm.
Leave your bikes and gear at the hotel.
4 nights Guided Libyan Sea Coast Hiking Add-On.
Day 1 of the Libyan Sea Coast hiking tour is Day 8 of Self-Guided West to East Crete cycling tour.
— starts with vehicle transfer from Chania to Omalos Day 1: Samaria Gorge, Soughia A steep wooden staircase takes us to the beginning of the astounding Samaria Gorge, said to be Europe’s longest gorge.
A descent through this national park may well be the highlight of your trip.
Wildlife unseen elsewhere, cold fresh water mountain springs, narrow cliff walls 3 meters (10 feet) wide in places and the abandoned Samaria village are a few of the marvels that make this ravine Crete’s most beloved hiking trail.
At the end of the trail we take the ferry to Soughia.
18 km, 11 miles.
4-5 hours walking Day 2: Agia Roumeli There were over 200 Asclepion healing centers spread throughout Ancient Greece, and one is located at Lissos, the destination of today’s hike.
The area also has a fresh spring and seemingly dozens of Roman tombs from 60 AD.
Return back to Soughia for a boat to Agia Roumeli.
We are deep in Sfakia territory, Crete’s most rebellious region against the Turks, the center of resistance during foreign domination, and the most culturally engrossing.
10 km, 6.2 miles.
5 hours Day 3: Loutro We hike from Agia Roumeli to Loutro, two towns accessible only by foot or boat.
At Agia Pavlos we stop to swim, get a bite to eat, jump off the big boulder into the sea, and inspect St.
Pauls’ pastel pink Byzantine church.
As a car-free village on the sea, Loutro is very quiet and serene.
10 km, 6.2 miles, 5 hours.
Day 4: Loutro Today’s hike is through the beautiful Aradena Gorge that comes to the abandoned village of Aradena where it is worth admiring the traditional Cretan architecture of days past.
The path consists of an old stone track known as kalderimia with wide steps conducive to mule traffic.
The ascent is 1968 feet, 600 meters and descend the same route.
15 km, 9.3 miles.
6 hours.
Day 12: Departure Morning ferry to Hora Sfakia, then vehicle transfer to Hania, the tour’s departure point.

If you are not staying overnight in Hania

plan for an evening ferry or flight.
If your departure from Crete is from Herakleion, additional transfer fees apply.
Cost.
1300 euros per person for 1-2 persons.
1200 euros for 3-4 persons.
250 euros single supplement Day 12 airport transfer to Hania (additional fees apply for transfer to Herakleion).
Travel insurance — see Extras tab.
1-2 riders 10 days 2850 euros per person 8 days 2220 euros per person 3 riders 10 Days –  2700 euros per person 8 Days –   2100 euros per person 4 riders 10 Days – 2580 euros per person 8 Days –  2010 euros per person Single Supplement 10 Days – 900 euros per person 8 Days – 750 euros per person The above costs are based on the two standard Itineraries (East-West, West-East).  Cost may vary if Itinerary varies.
See Accommodations3-4 star hotels, primarily family owned and operated, ranging from boutique hotels to seaside upscale hotels.
Tasteful, clean, air-conditioned, private bath, abundant hospitality, comfort.
All accommodations are standard doubles with option for upgrade.  All accommodations serve breakfast, usually buffet style.
Tour prices are based on double occupancy.  See Accommodations tab to request more info about tour’s accommodations Arrival Transfer:  East to West Day 1 transfer from Herakleion to bike start point (Hersonissos) to Tzermiado.   Option to transfer on Day 1 directly to hotel on any itinerary.
Departure transfer: Transfer arranged for any itinerary to port or airport.
Luggage transfers:  All luggage transfers based on itineraries listed (cost may change depending if transfers change) Bikes:   Specialized road bike or hybrid bike.  Triple chain ring, 27 gears.
Road bike has carbon fiber fork.
Hybrids have front suspension.
Electric bike or carbon Tarmac bike are available as an upgrade on request.  Regular pedals or toe clips on request.  You are welcome to bring your own clip-in pedals and shoes.  Se e a nd Bike gear:   2 water bottles, helmet, handlebar pouch, odometer, lock, rear rack on request.
For hygienic purposes we encourage you to bring your own helmet.
Bike toolshand pump, patch kit, tire irons, spare tube, multi-tool.
One set per group.
Meals:  Breakfasts are included at each hotel.  Mobile phone:  one per couple with 10 euros phone card.  One phone per group.
Trip packet useful and interesting information about the region CycleGreece jersey:  short sleeved, rear pockets, locally made :   17” x 13”,  43cm x 33cm • Arrivals to or departures from Crete • All meals except breakfasts • Private licensed guide at Knossos – see Extras tab • Travel insurance – see Extras tab Participants are required to sign our.
Participants are required to agree to the.
E-bikes for a 10 day tour cost 300 euros.   See and for more info.
Upgrade to a Specialized Tarmac Sport, carbon fiber frame and fork.
Cost is 400 euros for an 8 day tour.  See and for more info.
For travel insurance for U.
S citizens, we are official agents of .  Contact us to receive a policy quote.   Cost of coverage depends on various factors including your state of residence, your age, your days of travel.   Travel insurance is not provided for flights booked using frequent flyer mileage.  Some policies require booking within 15 days of paying your trip deposit, such as, cancel for any reason or coverage for pre-existing medical conditions.
Visiting famous ancient ruins without a professional guide is like watching a movie with the sound turned off!   The guides we work with make the archaic stones and temples come alive.   Three hour tour with licensed guide to Knossos and Herakleion Archaeology Museum.  190 euros per group, excluding 16 euros entry fee per person.
Traditional Cretan Cooking Class Learn to make such Cretan delicacies as lemon­mint tzatziki, vine leaves stuffed with bulgar, or chicken with olives, raisins & onions in orzo.  Participation in meal preparation and, of course, eating!  4 hours.  From 80 euros per person to 150 euros per person depending on location and number of participants.
Wine Tasting Experience the passion and expertise of a family run winery serving organic wines.  Choice of wine tasting alone, wine with cheese platter, light lunch, full lunch.  All choices include tour of the winery.  Costs range from 7 euros per person to 35 euros per person.  Contact us for details.
Samaria Gorge Guided Day Hike Descend Greece’s most famous gorge that is a national park with a local guide who shows you its secrets and charms.  Cost is 380 euros per couple.  Inclusions:  skilled guide.

Transfer from Hania hotel to park entry

Samaria entry fee, picnic lunch, sea transfer to Hora Sfakia, land transfer to Hania hotel, port or airport.
Also ask about guided day hike to Imbros Gorge.
An indicative hotel for Crete self-guided tour is Kalimera Arhanes located in the traditional town of Arhanes, famed for its food and restored villas known as arhontiko.
Request Links to Crete Self-Guided Accommodations.
Click to open in Google Maps.
Download Crete Self-Guided Tour Details PDF Crete Self-Guided Photo Gallery.
Libyan Sea Coast Hiking Add-on4 Nights.
Stroll car-free Hania, a romantic Venetian & Ottoman era city Examine the Minoan palace cities of Knossos, Phaestos and Malia Walk the expansive grounds of Rethymno’s fabulous Fortezza Opt for a Cretan cooking class in a traditional village Cycle the rural roads of the Psiloritis Mountains and hike the Samaria Gorge Monumental Olive Trees.
Request Distance/Elevation Profiles For Crete Self-Guided.
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