Western Crete cycling holiday

“A self-guided Western Crete cycling holiday spanning mountain and coastal scenery, culture, history and Cretan cuisine. Enjoy a unique itinerary crafted for travellers that prefer a more immersive experience.”


Western Crete | Self-guided cycling | Chania | Omalos | White Mountains | Samaria Gorge | Palaiochora | Elafonissi beach | Inachoria | Kissamos | Aptera | Georgioupoli | Kournas Lake | Rethymno |

Description of Western Crete cycling holiday

If you want to explore a destination in depth, a self-guided cycling tour is a great way to do it. That’s certainly the case with this journey around Western Crete, taking you from mountain plateau to picturesque beaches, through historical Chania to Rethymno, with the option to extend the trip by adding overnights at every way station.

You’ll climb into the saddle in Omalos, amid the famed ‘White Mountains’, headed for Palaiochora. An alternative option on this day is to hike through the stunning Samaria Gorge, which is one of Crete’s most popular natural attractions, and the longest in Europe. The following day, you can either cycle directly to Inachoria, or visit the spectacular beach at Elafonissi beforehand, shortening the route.

Over the next few days you’ll follow a coastal route, with opportunities for island boat trips, wine tasting, or visiting historic sites such as the church in a cave at Agios Ioannis. As you approach your final destination, Rethymno, you’ll pass Kournas Lake, one of the few freshwater lakes on Crete, and a fantastic place for swimming, pedalo excursions or simply dining out at a tavern with lake views. In Rethymno you’ll find plenty of traditional bars and restaurants, an inviting stretch of beach, and interesting archaeological sites such as the ancient city of Eleftherna or the 1000-year old Arkadiou monastery within easy reach.

For convenience, this tour includes comprehensive maps, as well as 24-hour support and luggage transfers between accommodations. Plus, as it is self-guided, you have total freedom to detour from the suggested routes, and if you prefer, you can easily extend the trip by a few days to slow the pace down a little.

Note that daily riding distances and ascents make this trip most suitable to recreational cyclists of at least moderate fitness.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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Check dates

2021: 13 Mar, 20 Mar, 27 Mar, 3 Apr, 10 Apr, 17 Apr, 24 Apr, 1 May, 8 May, 15 May, 22 May, 29 May, 5 Jun, 12 Jun, 11 Sep, 18 Sep, 25 Sep, 2 Oct, 9 Oct, 16 Oct, 23 Oct, 30 Oct, 6 Nov, 13 Nov

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

We believe in sustainable and responsible tourism, and we are committed to having the lowest possible environmental impact. As this is a cycling tour, we use the bike and the power of our feet, which is the most eco-friendly way of travelling, keeping the environment un spoiled. On top of that, we inform our guests not to litter on the destinations they visit, to recycle when it is possible and in general to follow responsible travel guide lines. In the winter time, we organise days where the companies members go to the nearest beaches and gather litters, in order to keep the beach clean and avoid any trash ending in the sea waters. We also as a company, gather plastic caps and donate them to a local club that helps children with special needs by buying them special trolleys.

The Impacts of this Trip

By employing only local guides and using only regional services we provide a form of tourism that benefits the community. We use local small companies- most of them family owned- for our tours, such as local hotels, restaurants, suppliers etc. The visitor also benefits by being able to come closer to authentic local cultures and traditions due to our unique local knowledge. We think tourism should be about respect and benefit to the local inhabitants and that responsible travellers will get more out of their holiday by giving a little bit back to the special places and people that they meet. But the most important thing for us, is that your presence here gives us a strong negotiation card for pressing the local authorities for the development of our area, such us constructing cycling streets, increase the local recycling program, improve social buildings etc.. Also, all of our employees in the office are locals.


3 Reviews of Western Crete cycling holiday

4.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 03 Nov 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The cycling routes set on GPS meant that I was always on small side roads, never on highways. Despite the massive amount of elevation, biking Paleochora to Kefali to Elafonisi was totally worthwhile as a first day. Bonus windsurfing at Elafonisi beach!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be proactive finding out whether your hotel *actually* offers breakfast and at what time, especially if traveling in the shoulder season.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. Promoted lower-impact way of seeing places (although bags were still moved by a car), and used a lot of small independent hotels. Panorama in Kefali village was a definite higlight.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Amazing. Would recommend to a similarly active cycling friend.

Reviewed on 27 May 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Wild flowers by the roadside - unexpected. Breakfast at the Riverside Hotel in Georgioupoli. My wife getting to the top of the hills before me, relaxed and breathing due to the great decision to use an E-bike. Do it if you have reservations about the hills! Lovely people. Laminated luggage tags made by Maria at the Patrakis Seaview in Palaiochora. Whole house to ourselves in the mountain village of Kefali. Courtesy of Irene at the Panorama Apartments.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Think about two nights at Palaiochora. Cycle down from Omalos on the first day. Catch a bus back up the mountain early next morning and walk the Samaria gorge, finishing with a boat ride back to Palaiochora. If travelling in early 2019 then check out the roads - one on the way to Kissamos was washed out by the February storms and we had to find an alternative - which was easy to arrange and a pleasant ride. Also, check out the boat availability from Palaiochora to Elafonissi. Consider an E-bike if you have reservations about the hills.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Lots of involvement of local people : accommodation, cycle provision, restaurants, taxi drivers, ice cream vendors, .....

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very good. One or two small improvements could be made to make it excellent.

Reviewed on 26 Sep 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Staying in the mountain village, Kefali (Inachoria). The accommodation was perfect (renovated local house with balcony). The hosts of Panarama where very welcoming and also ran a great Restaurant. Nice relaxed place to stay at the end of a days cycle.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

We did the 6 day cycle over 2 weeks, so allows you soak up some of the local sights on the rest day. Plenty of additional information provided Re circular cycles from the towns. On the rest day in Paleohora, we took the local 06:00 bus (€7) back to Omalos to walk the Samaria Gorge (€5). You end up in Ag Roumeli, where u can take the ferry back to Paleohora (€17). Great day
out if you have your walking boots. The bike provided were perfect for the terrain, light hybrids (Trek) with 18 gears.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. Local hotels, bike rental and taxis to ship luggage.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Superb. Really enjoyed the cycling and didn’t encounter too much traffic on the back roads except when approaching the larger towns and beach resorts. I’d highly recommend taking 2 weeks if u have the time.

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