Welcome to today’s edition of hiking in Crete. If you have never been to Crete before, let me tell you, it has everything for everyone. If you want to relax at the beach, hike, explore caves, learn traditional cuisine, or discover the culture, there’s all that and more.
Among the Greek islands, Crete is the most fertile and abundant one. The climate is favorable for many fruit trees, including bananas and avocados. And if you didn’t know, the island is famous for the high-quality olive oil it produces yearly, for the fresh food, and for clean spring water. If you want to learn how to choose a good olive oil, look at this post I wrote while volunteering in Crete during the olive harvesting. I helped harvest the olives and witnessed how the olive oil is made. Let me tell you, harvesting is hard physical work.
Today we will explore Cave Lera and Seitan Limania, which are accessible hiking routes, and I am sure you will enjoy the gorgeous views it offers. Crete is a place that makes you return again and again since there is always something else to discover. You will miss the vibe of this island, and you’ll soon find yourself booking a flight.
Being one of the biggest Greek islands, it isn’t easy to visit the whole island just in one 7-day holiday. However, even so, you can visit quite a bit. I was living in a small town near Chania with some friends. We had a car for a few days and decided to hike up to Cave Lera. We left pretty late from home, around 2 pm, and it gets darker sooner at 5:30 pm in winter. The drive from Chania was around 20 min, nothing crazy. It was finally a sunny day after lots of rain and cloudy days.
Hiking to the cave is nothing complicated, and fast-paced can be done in 40 min. While you go up in altitude, the view is breathtaking. And the scent of thyme follows you around as you continue to walk. Lots of wild goats patrol the mountains. You will see them around often. Many different flowers and aromatic herbs can be seen in the mountains. Hence, the renowned Cretan Thyme Honey can be found in many shops.
When we arrived at the cave, we were surprised to find out how big it was. There were many different rooms inside with fantastic rock formations. As pitch-black inside, we used our phones for visibility, but the light was too weak. The rocks are of different textures and are shiny. Maybe they are precious stones. We probably spent an hour or more exploring it, and after, we watched the sunset from up there. So incredibly beautiful.
On another day, we decided to go to Seitan Limania, a charming beach between rocks. It started raining while we were on the road, but we went there anyway. You have to hike down the mountain to get to this beautiful beach when you get there. Even though it was November, the water was not so cold, and one of my friends swam, and I got in with my feet. After a while, the sun came out, and it was lovely. Coming to this secluded beach during the summer must be nice but crowded. Winter is perfect as nobody is around, just you and the goats. There’s nothing near, no restaurants or shops, so bring food if you want to spend the day here.
On the way to this beach, we stopped at the Agia Triada monastery as it is on the way. You should visit even if you are not into monasteries but design, architecture, and esthetics. This place is so beautiful. I found it so peaceful and relaxing. And I loved the color of the walls and the many cats living there. The monks living there are welcoming, and they even showed us around. They grow their food on the lands next to the monastery.
Crete is my favorite island, and I will always return. I hope you’ll enjoy these places and start your hiking explorations in Crete. There are still many places left to discover. Happy hiking!