Crete Walking Holidays | Hiking & Painting | Langdale Group Tours

Highlights

Client Reviews

" We both had an excellent time in Crete, and it was one of those holidays that one looks back on and wishes one were still there. We were lucky with the weather, not too hot and not raining. You were both delightful hosts and looked after us all beautifully and nothing was too much trouble for you both and for Camille and lakavos (who we thought were delightful). I loved the boat trip and hope to get a good picture from the mountain scenery and we both particularly enjoyed the last two walks. I find a walk plus something interesting to see is an excellent combination. We were both very happy with the accommodation and looked forward to the breakfasts! It was the sort of holiday we both enjoy, good food, interesting and fun companions, plenty of physical and mental stimulation and a swimming pool. What more could one wish for. "
- Caroline
" We both very much enjoyed our holiday in Crete, and thank you very much for the care that you took in looking after us and everyone. The apartments were very appropriate and comfortable, their proximity to the tavernas was excellent, and the "gemuetlichkeit" of everyone walking and dining together was a joy - one of the features that one hopes for in a group activity! "
- John
" I again really enjoyed this holiday. The location was perfect for me and I thought having the alternative of painting at a location to a more onerous walk was a good one. The company and food, as last year, were excellent. "
- Gill
" As always we thoroughly enjoyed our holiday with Langdale and appreciated David's attention to the little details that made a good holiday an excellent one. "
- Peter and Jane
" We both enjoyed every minute and look forward to your next trip. The location was perfect and the timings – before the busy visitor time arrives! The mix of painting and walking worked really well. The artists among us had a perfect range of scenery and subject matter to use. Also good for the walking and choice of routes. "
- Howard and Lorna
" We did find our trip to Crete enjoyable and particularly liked being with a group in the evenings for stimulating conversation. Ida found the painting with Camille gave her fresh inspiration to try new methods. We had no problem with the location or accommodation and soon mastered the busses. The idea of walking one of the gorges is good and ‘rest days’ do allow for individual exploration. We are actively considering our plans for next year and you may very well see us again. Thank you for yours and Denise’s kindness and consideration. Please pass Idas’s thanks on to Camille for her patience, and mine to Iakovouos. "
- Ida & Geoffrey

Holiday Overview

Our guided walks take you on a pleasant exploration of the local countryside at the west end of Crete, where you can discover Ancient and Byzantine monuments, secluded valleys and groves, traditional cafes and tavernas and quaint hill-top villages. Walkers can expect a route rich in archaeological, historical and botanical features, with spectacular views over the bay of Kissamos, the Gramvousa Peninsula, the Rodopos Peninsula and the surrounding countryside.

The routes we take are typically unknown to all but locals, and as there is no need for transport - we leave only a green footprint behind.

  • Your own comfortable apartment with swimming pool and breakfast served in your apartment
  • Quiet coastal location
  • Relaxed guided walks along the coast, local villages and rolling hillside
  • Off shore cruise and explore Garmvousa Island
  • Learn about local fauna and flora
  • Introduction to Cretan culture, history and archaeology
  • Swimming pool and local uncrowded beach
  • Optional painting workshop
  • Local English speaking guide and tour leader
  • Optional visit to the Venetian harbour and old town of Chania
  • Dinners in local tavernas
  • Free time in the afternoons to relax by the pool or further explore the area

Painting Workshop

The Workshop will be run by Camille, an English artist who speaks Greek, English, French and a bit of German. She has had several solo shows and taken part in many group exhibitions. Her work is in private and public collections and she has carried out many private commissions. She paints in oil on canvas or in watercolour or mixed media on paper. Her style is semi- abstract and full of colour, although her classical drawing skills are more apparent in her watercolours.

The morning walks should help create a relaxed and supportive mood between members of the group so that when we meet to paint or draw in the afternoon, the atmosphere will be perfect. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced painter the workshop should be a wonderful opportunity to gain fresh inspiration and to paint new subjects in the company of like-minded people. There will be an emphasis on support and exchange of ideas during the week. Basic drawing and painting materials will be provided (charcoal sticks, pastels and soft pencils, watercolours/acrylic paints and suitable paper).

Tuesday 15th May: Fly to Chania

Arrive at the airport under your own arrangements for the flight to Chania.

On arrival at the airport look out for the taxi driver who will be displaying a board showing your names. Then transfer to the village of Nopigia where you will be met by our agents, Camille and lakovos of Active Crete. Settle into your apartment.

We have arranged for a complimentary welcome pack of provisions to be placed in your apartment, including bottled water, bowl of local fruit, local home-made biscuits, a bottle of wine and a bunch of sweet-smelling herbs.

Please note that there is an extra charge of five Euros a day in the unlikely event of needing the air-conditioning.

Dinner has been arranged at Taverna Porfyra at 8:00pm for the group arriving from Gatwick, to be joined later by the group from Manchester. The restaurant is a five minute walk from the hotel.

Accommodation: Cormoranos Apartments

Meals: Dinner,

Wednesday 16 May: Platanaki - Korfalonas - Kissamos

Breakfast is delivered to your apartment.

Meet at 9:00 for the Platanaki – Korfalonas – Kissamos walk. From our hotel we walk to the sea and then along the beach to the Platanaki and Korfalonas areas, crossing the little river of Korfalonas and continue further until we cross another small stream and reach Kissamos where we visit the local archaeological museum, old fishing port and local traditional shops selling honey, wine, tsikoudia, herbs etc. It is a chance to stock up with any shopping needed for your apartment. Optional light lunch in Kissamos before returning by the regular bus service.

The first painting workshop (optional) is from 17:30 to 19:00 and held at the studio to discuss the painting programme, try pencils and pastels and do some warm up exercises in drawing/sketching eg: still lives/views of the sea/painting from sketches or photographs taken on the first walk. Beginners will be introduced to drawing materials and encouraged to start sketching. Dinner in local taverna.

Walking: 2.5 hours approx. with afternoon spent at leisure

Accommodation: Cormoranos Apartments

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner,

Thursday 17th May: Kolymbari – Astratigos – Afrata

Breakfast is delivered to your apartment

Setting out from the hotel we walk to the public bus stop of Nopigia and take the bus to Kolymbari where we commence our walk. Uphill to the west on the Rodopos peninsula to find the trail to the picturesque village of Astratigos, a small village at an altitude of 900 metres without any shops but with beautiful views to Chania Bay. We walk further to the north of the peninsula and arrive in Afrata, another small village with a tavern and a traditional café. Time for a coffee break.

From here to the Gonia Monastery the views to the Chania bay are spectacular. The city of Chania and the island of Ag. Theodoroi are visible. Our next stop is at the famous Gonia Monastery built between 1618 and 1634 in its present location. The monastery was heavily damaged by Ottoman bombardments on many occasions throughout its history, including the Great Cretan Revolution (1866–1869) against the Ottoman Empire, evidence of which can be seen today by the remaining cannonball lodged in the monastery wall.

The monastery contains numerous Byzantine artifacts from the 15th and 17th century including Cretan icons by painters of the famous Cretan school of icon painting (which influenced El Greco). It also has numerous relics and other rare religious treasures from the Byzantine period and ancient inscriptions on the walls.

Optional lunch either in one of the many tavernas at the seaside of Kolymbari or in Nopigia. Return to the hotel by public bus.

The second painting workshop is from 17:30 t0 19:00. Meet at the studio to collect paints and materials and then walk east along the bay to find a shady spot from which to sketch the rocks, trees and sea. For beginners this second workshop is the chance to try painting in colour, using shading to add depth. The receding rocky coastline is an excellent subject for the study of perspective and tone to create distance and for all artists it is a chance to paint ‘en plein air’.

Dinner in Taverna Porfyra.

Walking: 3.5 hours approx. with afternoon spent at leisure

Accommodation: Cormoranos Apartments

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner,

Friday 18th May: Cruise from Kissamos to Gamvousa Island and Balos Bay

Breakfast is delivered to your apartment.

Meet at 9:00 and travel by taxi to the harbor at Kissamos for the cruise to Gamvousa Island. This takes about one hour. Look out for steep cliffs, rocky outcrops and incredible secluded beaches. We pass a large cave, which is thought to be an ancient shipyard. Next the boat sails between the islet of Agria Gramvousa and Cape Vouxa (Trypiti). The landscape is breathtaking, against the backdrop of Balos lagoon, and Imeri Gramvousa island.

We go ashore at Gramvousa where we stay for about 2 hours to walk to the highest point of the island, atop a steep rock, at an altitude of 137 meters, dominated by the famous ruined castle of Gramvousa, built by the Venetians in 1579. The castle played a significant role in the history of the wider area. We walk around the castle battlements and return to the port by the same path.

Next we sail for the lagoon of Balos, about 20 minutes away to visit a beach regarded by some as one of the best beaches in the world. This exotic beach-lagoon is situated between the Gramvousa peninsula and Cape Tigani and we can swim in the clear, turquoise green waters or relax on the pink sandy beach and admire the natural beauty, the rocks and the cliffs rising above us.

During this trip there will be ample time for sketching, either on the boat or at the beach. By now beginners will have found the confidence to tackle more varied subjects. Help is at hand from the resident artist, Camille Marquand.

Dinner in local taverna.

Walking: 2 hours of walking approx.

Accommodation: Cormoranos Apartments

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner,

Saturday 19th May: At Leisure - Optional Visits

Breakfast is delivered to your apartment.

For those interested in exploring the area further, a good choice would be a visit to Chania to see its picturesque Venetian harbour, old town, indoor market, artisan workshops and to enjoy ambling around the narrow streets. Camille and lakovos will provide you with maps of Chania and point out various points of interest. There is a regular bus service from near hotel to the centre of Chania (4.50 Euros). Also of interested could be a visit to the British war cemetery in Souda, 5 km from Chanis. Best to go by taxi from Chania at 7-8 Eoros a taxi.

Another possibility is Rethymnon to see its delightful harbour and labyrinth of quaint narrow streets and shops. The old town quarter is regarded as one of the best-preserved Venetian and Ottoman old towns.

If you don’t mind the longish drive, you may be tempted to spend the day at the famous archaeological site of Knossos near Heraklion.

Dinner in local taverna.

Walking: Optional.

Accommodation: Cormoranos Apartments

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner,

Sunday 20th May: Polyrrhenia - Kissamos

Breakfast is delivered to your apartment.

Starting from the hotel at 9:00 this circular walk takes us to the open air theater and little chapel of Panagia Myrtidiotisa in Nopigia and then along a rough path over stones and rocks towards the quaint medieval chapel of Agios Vasilios on the Spatha peninsula. The blue sea is always beside us and we should encounter herds of sheep and goats along the way. Great views of the Gramvousa peninsula across Kissamos bay, with the Spatha mountain on our right. Walk along Nopigia beach back to our hotel.

Free time in the afternoon. This evening there will be a painting exhibition of your work to review, discuss and appreciate the week’s work and developments in a relaxed way.

Farewell dinner in local taverna.

Walking: 3 - 4 hours, with some scrambling

Accommodation: Cormoranos Apartments

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner,

Tuesday 22nd May: Return Flight to the UK

Check out of the hotel for transfer by private coach to Chania for our return flight to the UK.

Meals: Breakfast,

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