Hiking in Paleochora, Crete

From 15/06/2012 to 26/06/2012

Our original plan for this time was a discover Holland tour, unfortunately the weather Gods were not on our side, yet again.
Everything was going great until 5 day’s before we were going on tour we checked the weather forecast and it looked real bad. For the next two weeks it looked like one good day to three bad.  Later we found out that it was worst than predicted, with a couple of severe storms thrown in for good measure.
So we found a couple of last minute tickets on Ryanair flying from Dusseldorf, Germany to Hania, Crete, packed our hiking boots and off we went. We stayed in Hania one night and the following morning we took a 90 minute bus ride South to Paleochora. We have been here many times before back in 1999 to 2003. We found that the town had hardly changed and some of the locals recognized us even after all these years. Paleochora is a great place to visit and if you would like any information about the place please contact us, we would be happy to share all we know.

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Coming in for a landing. The airport is just under us.

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Acclimatizing.

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The change of plans was already beginning to feel right.

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The storms over Holland were far from our minds.

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Our first hike was down the Samaria gorge. We had to take the first bus from Paleochora for the ride to the top.

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At the top getting ready to begin.

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The way down.

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Trees growing right out of the rock walls.

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Monique enjoying the hike.

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More trees growing out of sheers walls.

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Coming up to the most narrow point of the gorge. Click to view larger.

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One of several makeshift bridges we had to get over. Real Indiana Jones stuff.

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And this is the most narrow point of the gorge.

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Nearing the end.

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At the end of our hike we stopped for an iced coffee before catching the ferry back to Paleochora.

Our second hike we took the ferry from Paleochora to Sougia and hiked back along the coast. It turned out to be the best hike of our vacation.

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The ferry that just dropped us off at Sougia.

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The hike begins.

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Looking back from where we came. On the whole day we only saw a handful of other hikers.

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Up and up we went.

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The trek led us to the top of that ridge, middle left.

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Monique enjoying the hike.

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The view back towards Sougia.

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The first sign we saw of the E4 hiking path. Before now we didn’t an actual hiking path existed. Later we found out that the E4 hiking path goes right across Crete. We think it would be a very interesting hike. Maybe something for the future when time and budget permit.

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Some places the goat trail was difficult to see.

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Looking down at Ancient Lissos. Click to view larger.

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Climbing down was a bit tricky at times.

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Looking back up.

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A natural spring in Ancient Lissos.

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Last view of Ancient Lissos. Click to view larger.

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View towards Paleochora. You can just make out the goat path, center of picture. Click to view larger.

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Paleochora in the distance.

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Paleochora zoomed in.

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There are many secluded beaches along this coast.

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Later in the afternoon it was getting quite hot. For this hike you need several litters of water.

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The Eastern most beach that can be accessed with a wheeled vehicle from paleochora. And its a nudist beach.

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We came from the lowest dip center right of picture.

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Today we rented a car and rode inland for a while before we stopped and hiked around a bit. The original plan was to hike to a very high mountain above Samaria gorge but the wind was way to strong for to attempt something like that. This is looking East towards Paleochora. Click to view larger.

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The little jeep we rented for the day.

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This stone pit was used to process olives.

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There are many great hikes in Western Crete.

This day we took the bus halfway to Chania and tried to follow a hiking path. We got lost off-coarse but no problem the locals were very helpful. Even when I spoke Greek to them they replied in English so Monique could understand. How thoughtful.

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Another great day and another great hike. This is looking back at the village were the bus dropped us off. Click to view larger.

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Great views and fresh air from high above. Click to view larger.

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Heading North.

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Kissamos bay from high in the hills. Click to view larger.

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A sad reminder of our past. A memorial for all the people executed by the Germans on 28/08/1944.

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We just hope the person(s) in that car made it.

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Another smaller and lesser known gorge.

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A nicely shaded rest stop.

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And another small lesser know gorge.

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Our favorite beach in Paleochora. There is a beautiful sandy beach on the Western side of the peninsula but we prefer not to have sand everywhere.
Monique is sitting up reading, under the fifth umbrella, front.

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Our dusty Meindl leather boots. A good investment indeed. They keep our feet warm in the snow and cool in the heat of Crete.

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We thoroughly enjoyed our hiking vacation in Crete and would highly recommend it to anyone willing to do this. Even though our first love is touring on our bikes, we feel this time the decision to go hiking instead was the right one. We just had enough of cycling in cold rainy weather with strong head winds. Our motto, if you can’t enjoy it, why do it.
Paleochora is a great destination for a relaxing holiday or an active one.
This was not the last time they will see us.