Alternative Crete - Walking and Painting - 27th September to 4th October 2016
This holiday offers a relaxing and creative experience in an unknown and peaceful part of Crete well away from the main tourist areas. Accommodation is in comfortable apartments in the small fishing village of Nopigia on the northwest coast east of Kissamos Bay near the Rodopos Peninsula. Here you can experience peace and tranquillity and a taste of the 'other Crete', far from the crowds of the main tourist resorts.
- Relax in a stunning coastal location
- Enjoy gentle guided walks
- Learn about the local fauna and flora
- Discover Cretan culture, history and archaeology
- Join in optional painting workshops
- Dine in local tavernas
- Enjoy your own private apartment
The walking programme is confined to mornings and walks will typically take around four hours along paths well off the beaten track and known only to the locals. This time includes stops for photos, admiring the views and interpretation by the guide. Actual walking time will be around three hours covering a distance of between four and six miles.
Our local English-speaking guide will give you an insight into the Cretan way of life and introduce us to the archaeological and historic features in the Kissamos area.
A feature of this holiday is the inclusion of painting and drawing workshops run by an English artist in the afternoons. You can choose to join the classes or simply spend the time relaxing on the beach, by the pool or further explore the surrounding area.
The family run apartments are air-conditioned and located 50 metres from the long sandy beach of Nopigia. They are well furnished and include a double bedroom, living room, shower, kitchenette and large balcony. Perfect!
Breakfasts are provided in your apartments or around the swimming pool and dinner each evening will be in traditional tavernas in the village.
This is a perfect time of year to visit Crete after the heat of the summer. Average temperatures are around 25°C during the day and 15°C at night.
Camille, a multilingual English Artist, will run the workshops. She has had several solo shows and 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, her classical drawing skills are most 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 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).
Lakovos, our guide, a multilingual Greek engineer, has been a walker all his life. His first contact with the wonderful mountains and landscapes of Western Crete was as a child. He has a detailed knowledge of the local fauna and flora, endemic plants and where to find the best herbs in season: oregano, thyme, rosemary, mountain tea and greens. As well as a detailed knowledge of the local history and culture.
Our guided walks take us on a pleasant exploration of the local countryside at the western end of Crete, there are Ancient and Byzantine monuments, secluded valleys and groves for us to discover, traditional cafes and tavernas, quaint hill-top villages and amazing green and rocky landscapes.
Our walks are rich in archaeological, historical and botanical features and you will be rewarded with spectacular views over the bay of Kissamos, the Gramvousa Peninsula, the Rodopos Peninsula and the surrounding countryside.
Walks are completely unknown except to the locals and leave only a green footprint, as there is no need for transport.
Each morning you have the option to join our daily walk. After each walk we’ll return to the apartments; the afternoons are free for you to enjoy relaxing, exploring the beach or maybe swimming.
Daily painting workshops will run from 17:00 until 18:30 after which there will be time to freshen up before heading off to a local taverna for dinner.
Day 1 - Tuesday 27th September - Fly to Chania (D)
Arrive at the airport under your own arrangements for the flight to Chania. Please check-in at least two hours before departure time, using your passport and e-ticket.
On arrival transfer by minibus to the village of Nopigia and check into your apartment.
Dinner in a local taverna, where we’ll meet for a welcome reception with our walking guide and resident artist for a description of the week’s programme.
Day 2 - Wednesday 28th September - Platanaki – Korfalonas - Kissamos (BD)
Our first walk takes us along the seashore and beach to the Platanaki and Korfalonas areas. Crossing the little river of Korfalonas we continue until we reach Kissamos town. Here we can explore the local archaeological museum and traditional shops selling honey, wine, tsikoudia and herbs. We’ll return to our apartments by the regular bus service. Actual walking time around 2 hours plus visits.
Day 3 - Thursday 29th September - Ancient Mythimna – Agios Georgios – Villa Trevizan (BD)
From the apartments we walk through olive groves to the ancient Mythimna archaeological site. We continue to the medieval church of Agios Georgios, built on the ruins of an ancient Roman temple, the remains of which can still be seen today. We continue across the southern end of the village of Drapanias on soil tracks to the ruins of the famous 16th Century Villa Trevizan, named after a Venetian feudal family who once governed the area. Actual walking time around 3 hours.
Day 4 - Friday 30th September – Drapanias – Potamida (BD)
Today’s walk takes us first to the village of Drapanias, skirting around it. We continue uphill to an old track leading through olive groves to the little chapel built into a cave - once home to the Hermit Agios Ioannis. Continuing on this track we head over a small riverbed and past a magnificent mulberry tree. At the sides of the path grows a rare type of mint amongst caper flowers and many other plants. Walking downhill we reach another cave chapel - Michael the Archangel - nestling under the shade of a plane tree from which the old church bell hangs. From here we take the road to Potamida in the valley and turn back towards the sea, passing on our right the famous natural clay marls that tower above the fields. Actual walking time around 3 hours.
Day 5 - Saturday 1st October – Free Time - Optional Visits (BD)
For those interested in exploring the area further, we can recommend a visit to Chania to explore its picturesque Venetian harbour, Archaeological and Naval museums, and fabulous indoor market.
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.
Day 6 - Sunday 2nd October - Kotsiana – Rokka (BD)
Today’s track leads us to Ano Drapanias past a medieval Venetian tower and continues through open countryside over the hill to Kotsiana. Walking through the village we follow an old track towards a giant rock, which dominates the landscape. Just below its crown is the picturesque village of Rokka. Above the 18th/19th Century houses is the site of the remains of an ancient village, whose rooms, streets, steps and tombs were cut into the rock. From there the view south across the Rokka Gorge should form a lasting memory. We return down a kalderimi (old stone road) passing an ancient wall, and peach, plum and mulberry trees amongst the olive groves. Actual walking time around 3 hours.
Day 7 - Monday 3rd October - Nopigia – Panagia Myrtidiotisa – Agios Vasilios (BD)
Our walk from the apartments, takes us past an open-air theatre to the little chapel of Panagia Myrtidiotisa in Nopigia and then along a rough path over stones and rocks towards the little medieval chapel of Agios Vasilios on the Spatha Peninsula. The blue sea is always beside us with great views towards the Gramvousa Peninsula across Kissamos Bay. The Spatha Mountain will be on our right before walking along Nopigia Beach back to our hotel. Actual walking time around 3 hours.
Day 8 - Tuesday 4th October – Fly to UK (B)
Private transfer to the airport for the return flight to the UK.
B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner
Cormoranos Apartments, Nopigia 3*
Less than 40 metres from the beach, the Cormoranos Apartments are a neat little oasis of comfortable apartments set amongst lush gardens with an inviting swimming pool surrounded by cool green lawns, exotic palms and colourful splashes of bougainvillaea.
All apartments are kept spotlessly clean. Bed linen and towels are changed twice weekly and there is a communal washing machine. There are shops, tavernas and a mini market in Nopigia. Chania is 40km away and Kissamos 5km.
Please note that the following flight details are the latest known and are subject to confirmation. All times are local.
Connecting flights from other UK airports can be arranged on request.
|Outbound Gatwick - Tuesday 27thSeptember 2016|
|Depart Gatwick, UK
Arrive Chania, GR
|Outbound Manchester - Tuesday 27thSeptember 2016|
|Depart Manchester, UK
Arrive Chania, GR
|Inbound Gatwick - Tuesday 4thOctober 2016|
|Depart Chania, GR
Arrive Gatwick, UK
|Inbound Manchester - Tuesday 4thOctober 2016|
|Depart Chania, GR
Arrive Manchester, UK