Exploring West Crete’s Enchanting Paths

Unveiling the Wonders of Nature from Folia Hotel

Nestled in the charming village of Agia Marina, the Folia Hotel offers an idyllic base for visitors looking to explore the scenic landscape of West Crete. With its picturesque coastline, lush countryside, and enchanting pathways, this corner of the island offers a wealth of natural beauty, fascinating history, and unique culture to discover. In this blog post, we will guide you through some of the most captivating paths and trails that West Crete has to offer.


Samaria Gorge – The Ultimate Hiking Experience

Begin your adventure with a trip to the Samaria Gorge, one of the longest and most famous gorges in Europe. This spectacular 16 km (10-mile) trek takes you through a unique ecosystem, from the high mountains to the shores of the Libyan Sea. The trail starts at the Xyloskalo Plateau and descends through the White Mountains, offering breathtaking views and a chance to spot the endemic Cretan wild goat, known as the “kri-kri.”


Agia Marina – Stalos – Platanias Coastal Walk

If you prefer a coastal walk, step out of Folia Hotel and embark on a leisurely stroll along the seafront. You can follow the coast from Agia Marina to Stalos and on to Platanias. This 5 km (3.1-mile) walk offers stunning views of the crystal-clear waters and golden sands, while charming tavernas, beach bars, and local shops provide the perfect opportunity to sample Cretan hospitality.


Balos Lagoon and Gramvousa Peninsula

Venture off the beaten track and explore the remote Balos Lagoon and Gramvousa Peninsula. Accessible by boat or a 7.5 km (4.7-mile) hike, this unspoiled paradise features white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and the remains of a Venetian fortress atop the rugged cliffs. The hike may be challenging, but the rewarding views of the lagoon and surrounding landscape are well worth the effort.


Agia Irini Gorge – A Peaceful Alternative

If you’re looking for a less crowded alternative to Samaria Gorge, consider the Agia Irini Gorge. This 7.5 km (4.7-mile) hike meanders through serene landscapes of lush vegetation, steep cliffs, and ancient plane trees. As you follow the trail, you’ll pass by the abandoned village of Agia Irini and encounter the gorge’s emblematic stone archway, the “Portes.”


Ano Vouves – Ancient Olive Tree Trail

Discover the history and beauty of Cretan olive cultivation by visiting Ano Vouves, a charming village located just a short drive from Agia Marina. Here, you’ll find the Monumental Olive Tree of Vouves, which is estimated to be over 3,000 years old. A 4 km (2.5-mile) circular trail takes you around the village, through olive groves, and past ancient stone structures, offering a glimpse into the region’s rich agricultural heritage.


Falassarna Beach and Ancient City

Travel to the northwest coast of Crete to find the stunning Falassarna Beach, known for its golden sands and pristine waters. The area is also home to the ancient city of Falassarna, with ruins dating back to the Minoan era. A 3 km (1.9-mile) coastal trail connects the beach to the ancient city, allowing visitors to admire both the natural beauty and archaeological treasures of this enchanting location.


Polirinia – Ancient Hilltop Settlement

Just 49 km (30 miles) southwest of Agia Marina lies the historical site of Polirinia, an ancient hilltop settlement that dates back to the Dorian period. A moderate 2.5 km (1.6-mile) trail takes you up to the ruins, where you can explore remnants of ancient walls, a Roman aqueduct, and even a Venetian fortress. The panoramic views from the top encompass the Kissamos Bay, the Gramvousa Peninsula, and the surrounding mountains.


Milia Mountain Retreat and E4 European Walking Path

A true gem in West Crete’s countryside, the Milia Mountain Retreat is an eco-friendly village set amidst chestnut and plane trees. The surrounding area boasts a network of trails that are part of the E4 European Walking Path. With routes ranging from 3 to 15 km (1.9 to 9.3 miles), there are options suitable for all skill levels. The trails offer a delightful mix of dense forests, lush valleys, and sweeping views of the Cretan landscape.


Aptera Archaeological Site

Last but not least, visit the ancient city of Aptera, where you can explore ruins dating back to the Minoan, Roman, and Byzantine periods. Located just 63 km (39 miles) east of Agia Marina, Aptera offers a fascinating insight into the island’s history.


Imbros Gorge

Is a beautiful canyon located on the island of Crete in Greece. It is situated in the southwestern part of the island, in the region of Sfakia. The gorge is approximately 11 kilometers (7 miles) long and varies in width from a few meters to 50 meters (164 feet). The vertical walls of the canyon reach up to 300 meters (984 feet) in height.

The Imbros Gorge is a popular hiking destination for tourists and locals alike, as it offers stunning natural beauty and a relatively easy trek compared to the more famous Samaria Gorge. The hike through Imbros Gorge typically takes about 3-4 hours to complete and follows a well-marked trail. Along the way, hikers can enjoy unique rock formations, lush vegetation, and the chance to spot various bird species and other wildlife.


Meskla Gorge

Is located near the charming village of Meskla, which lies approximately 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of Chania, Crete’s second-largest city. Meskla Gorge is a must-visit destination for those seeking to escape the crowds and experience the untouched beauty of Crete’s natural wonders. With its idyllic landscape, rich history, and welcoming local charm, Meskla Gorge promises an unforgettable adventure for all who venture within.


These trails and paths around West Crete showcase the region’s diverse natural beauty and captivating history.

From the Folia Hotel in Agia Marina, you are perfectly situated to explore all these enchanting destinations, creating a truly unforgettable Cretan adventure.