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How about an unforgettable odyssey in the cradle of European civilization? Crete is ready whenever you are. With a kayak as our primary mode of transport, we’ll navigate the crystal-clear Aegean Sea, hike through the otherworldly Samaria Gorge, and marvel at the phenomenally preserved remnants of the Bronze Age Minoan civilization. And don’t forget the food: delicious Greek cuisine will make our taste buds so happy. We’ll make our evenings complete in authentic taverns, surrounded by Greek tunes and friendly locals. No doubt about it, this will be an adventure of a lifetime!

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Adventure highlights

  • Kayaking beginners welcomed

    The calm Aegean Sea paired with expert guides is an ideal setting for first-time kayakers

  • Your Big Fat Greek Adventure

    Your life doesn’t have to be in ruins to join this tour, but you can count on iconic and significant ruins of the Bronze Age

  • Visit celebrity hippie caves

    Explore Matala’s nomadic homes of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Janis Joplin, and Cat Stevens


Ditch the overcrowded Santorini and Mykonos, the island of Crete is the true star of the Greek archipelago. By joining this 8-day kayaking and hiking tour, you will paddle through the waters of the Aegean Sea, marvel at spectacular scenery daily, and soak in the local atmosphere. Don’t worry if you’ve never kayaked—this trip is beginner and family-friendly! Explore this wonder of an island, taste the delicious Greek food, and spend nights in family-owned inns. You’re just a few clicks away from spending the next summer in Greece!

  • Your Crete adventure officially begins at 10 am, which is when you’ll meet your guides or the company staff at the Heraklion Airport! Drive to Knossos, a city in ancient Greece, the capital of the legendary king Minos, and the center of Minoan civilization.

    Keep on driving across Crete down to the beach town of Matala on the south coast. There will be a kayak outfitting session followed by welcome drinks while viewing the incredible sunset. Get to know your guides and your team over your first delightful dinner together at an authentic Greek taverna, where you will review the itinerary for the trip and get answers to any questions you may have.

    Meals: Dinner
    Accommodation: Family-owned inn
    Distance: 16,1 km/10 miles

    Knossos Palace ruins
  • After breakfast, everyone will be outfitted with a paddle, PFD (personal floatation device) and a sprayskirt, and then head to the beach for a basic kayaking instruction session. The protected bay in Matala provides you with an ideal intro location, surrounded by the famous “hippie” caves—which were once home to Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan, and many others in the ‘60s.

    Following a morning paddle session, paddle to two neighboring beaches, Red Beach and Kommos Beach. After enjoying lunch at Kommos Beach, return to Matala for some cliff jumping into the bay and a highly-recommended Sunset Hike. The day ends with a delicious meal (as always) and a chance to experience the exciting nightlife of Matala.

    Meals: Breakfast and dinner
    Accommodation: Family-owned inn
    Distance: 16,1 km/10 miles

    Hippie caves Matala
  • Early start today! Visit the breathtaking site of the Minoan Palace of Phaistos on your way to the trailhead for the Samaria Gorge—a must see for everyone visiting Crete. This incredible national park draws thousands of visitors every day, but your guides have designed the itinerary to be able to experience the Gorge after the vast majority of hikers have already headed down.

    While most visitors to the Samaria Gorge rush to catch the last ferry, you will spend the night in Agia Roumeli, a charming and traditional town where the Gorge ends. Celebrate your accomplishments over dinner on a seaside terrace of your hotel on the beach, and fall asleep to the sounds of waves crashing against the shore.

    Meals: Breakfast and dinner
    Accommodation: Family-owned inn

  • Wake up to the gentle ringing of goat bealls from the herds on the hillside. Depart from Agia Roumeli in your kayak and head along the coastline to Agios Pavlos for a cappuccino stop. The small 10th-century Byzantine chapel built in honor of St. Paul is a remarkable site. From there, continue along the coastline to Marmara Beach, a fantastic lunch stop offering additional cliff-jumping opportunities from the wind-carved marble rocks.

    Paddle to the water-access-only town of Loutro, where you will spend the next two nights. Rounding the point to catch your first glimpse of this idyllic town has been a highlight of the trip for all past participants! No more details are necessary—you’ll just have to see it for yourself.

    Meals: Breakfast and dinner
    Accommodation: Family-owned inn
    Distance: 12,9 km/8 miles

    Loutro, kayaking in Crete
  • Today you have multiple options! From Loutro, you may continue up the coastline to Sweetwater Beach, where freshwater springs bubbling out of the sand provide a truly unique experience. After stretching your legs, enjoy a refreshing swim stop and a cup of cappuccino. You can then paddle on to Hora Sfakion for your lunch stop before paddling back to Loutro.

    Another option is a challenging full-day hike up into the traditional villages in the hills, and then descending through the beautiful Aradena Gorge before walking back to Loutro through ancient olive groves. Then you join up for another Sunset Hike to the Turkish fortress overlooking the harbor followed by dinner at yet another bayside taverna.

    Meals: Breakfast and dinner
    Accommodation: Family-owned inn
    Distance: 16,1 km/10 miles

    Sweetwater beach in Crete
  • You can either paddle to Hora Sfakion or hike the trail which follows the coastline. You will then continue paddling or shuttle by van along the coast to the Venetian-era fortress at Frangokastello for a brief tour before continuing the journey along the coast to the town of Plakias.

    Plakias has an upbeat nightlife and some great shopping opportunities as well as one of your guides’ favorite bakeries on the island—the Cretan Specialty. Dinner is on your own tonight as there’s a large selection of fantastic restaurant possibilities in town. Maybe even go dancing at a local nightclub, but remember that it’s an early paddling morning tomorrow!

    Meals: Breakfast
    Accommodation: Family-owned inn
    Distance: 25,7 km/16 miles

    Frangokastello in Crete
  • Heading out of Plakias, next stop is Palm Beach! This is where Cretan palms line a picturesque stream joining the sea. An optional short paddle up the inland freshwater creek provides a glimpse of river turtles and local birds.

    After lunch, paddle on to the beach at Agios Pavlos. At this point, you can opt to shuttle the last section or paddle the final 7-mile (11-kilometer) stretch (making the total day mileage +20 miles / +32 km!). In the evening, celebrate with a final dinner overlooking the harbor at Agia Galini.

    Meals: Breakfast and dinner
    Accommodation: Family-owned inn
    Distance: 32,2 km/20 miles

    Sunset in Crete
  • Those wishing to complete the paddling circle may choose to launch early in the morning and paddle across the bay from Agia Galini to Matala (approximately 8 miles / 13 km in an open water crossing). Others can sleep in and board a van to Matala where you’ll have a brief stop to pick up any luggage you may have chosen to leave at the hotel, unload boats, and do some last-minute shopping.

    The van will depart for Heraklion between 11 am and noon, giving you enough time to visit the renowned Heraklion Archeological Museum before catching late afternoon and evening flights back home.

    Meals: Breakfast
    Distance: 12,9 km/8 miles

    Two kayakers in Crete
  • As with all adventure travel, some activities are dependent on appropriate wind and water conditions. But fear not, your guides have many alternative activities available in case the weather is not cooperating.

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Meet your guides

Taylor Sweitzer
Taylor Sweitzer
Taylor has been extremely fortunate to grow up in an adventurous family that exposed him to the wonders and beauty of the outdoors since day one. Throughout the years, his passion has blossomed to encompass several different outdoor activities and he has found himself guiding a variety of trips all around the world. Being with The Northwest Passage has provided Taylor with the unique opportunity to pursue moments in time that help to make life rich.
Andrew Leary
Andrew Leary
Andrew has worked professionally in the outdoors since 2005—he is the Greece kayaking guide and Lead Climbing Guide for the Northwest Passage. Doing everything from guiding urban youth in Chicago, ski patrol and avalanche mitigation in Utah, to working numerous collegiate outdoor programs, Andrew has many interests. He is a certified Wilderness EMT and ACCT Challenge Course Manager whose passion runs deep for rock climbing, backcountry skiing, and board games.
The Northwest Passage
The Northwest Passage
The Northwest Passage
Northwest Passage was founded in 1984b on the belief that there is no better way to fully experience the world than by engaging with it on its own terms. Whether that means clambering over a pressure ridge on one of their North Pole expeditions or exploring a sea cave by kayak in Crete, they have an adventure of a lifetime that fits your activity and skill level. Northwest Passage has a family of guides who are passionate about sharing their love of the outdoors with others, and provide a supportive environment that enables travelers to stretch their perceived boundaries.
5.00 (6 reviews)
Betty T. (source: Guide’s website)

Crete was more than I expected. It just got better every day. I will never forget the Samarian Gorge-the options of kayaking or hiking was so nice. My hope is that I can do another adventure trip with NWP. You are all the BEST! Thank you, thank you.

Linda D. (source: Guide’s website)

As the tour busses go by with large crowds, I am so grateful for our personal, delightful, challenging yet nurturing kayaking and hiking group. This brings the Crete people and land and heritage to a very personal level. I couldn’t imagine any other way to go. Thanks

Susan H. (source: Guide’s website)

Thanks for the introduction to Crete- its stunning landscapes, seascapes, villages and people. Your appreciation of this land permeates the whole experience. I leave feeling competent, healthy, exuberant. May others find much joy in your good hands.

Kathy V. (source: Guide’s website)

Experiencing a week of sea kayaking in the Mediterranean is what drew me to this trip. We do not do much sea kayaking in Ohio! Being in the water and paddling past spectacular scenery was exactly what we had hoped for. An added bonus was the quality of people we met on this trip – a good group of like-minded people set on a good adventure! And did we have an adventure! Thank you!”

Chip B. (source: Guide’s website)

A wonderful trip for the “old” and “young”. I hope to play with you guys again. Beautiful country, scenery, the joy of visiting this wonderful country and seeing it from a “fluid” perspective. A wonderful experience. If visiting a foreign land, seeing its special beauty and enjoying the wonderful hospitality of its people is important, this trip is for you! Thanks.

Amy & David R. (source: Guide’s website)

A fantastic time! Experience Crete to its fullest. Do everything you can. When in doubt- go for it! Special thanks to Rick and the guides for making every day special. A fantastic honeymoon. Ignore any reservations about a group vacation for a honeymoon- we had a blast! The NWPassage made an already terrific trip special and there’s plenty of flexibility in the schedule. Be sure to bring an extra memory stick and recharger for your digital camera!

Things to know

  • What you get on this adventure:

      • Experienced kayaking guides with extensive knowledge of the area
      • 8-day sea kayak Crete tour
      • Accommodation (7 nights in family-owned inns, based on double occupancy, single supplement available)
      • Transportation during the tour
      • Support vehicle
      • Most meals (breakfasts and all but one dinner)
      • All kayaking equipment
      • Instruction
      • Entry fees for the archaeological sites of Knossos, Phaistos, and Samaria Gorge National Park

    What’s not included:

      • Transportation to the meeting point (Heraklion)
      • Lunches
      • Drinks and one dinner
      • Full medical, baggage, and trip cancellation insurance
      • Airport taxes
      • Single supplement (available to add upon checkout)
      • Guide gratuities — optional
  • This sea kayaking tour in Crete is beginner-friendly! If you’ve never tried kayaking before, this tour is a fantastic way to learn the basics as you will have a professional, experienced guide by your side. Everything is included in this tour—all necessary equipment as well as kayaking instruction. Daily distances are easily achievable for reasonably fit people and you can expect calm waters on this trip. An eager spirit and a smile is all you need!

    You will also have some days where you can rest from kayaking and go for a hike instead.

  • All kayaking equipment will be provided to you by your guides. Here’s a list of personal equipment and clothing you need to bring:

      • Day pack large enough to carry everything you might need throughout the day (around a 25-40L bag)
      • Water bottle or hydration bladder (2L capacity)
      • Footwear
      • Clothing that lets you move comfortably
      • Spare clothes for layering
      • Waterproof rain jacket
      • Sunhat
      • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
      • Sunglasses
      • Camera — optional (but recommended)

    Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.

  • Group sizes and prices:

      • For this sea kayaking tour in Crete, the usual client-to-guide ratio is 7:1.
      • The maximum group size is 15.
      • The cost does not decrease as the group grows.

    Sea kayak Crete tour can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

    Min. age requirements:

      • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
      • Minors older than 8 may be permitted to join the sea kayak Crete tour on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

    If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • To get to your sea kayak tour in Crete, fly into Heraklion International Airport (HER), the primary airport on the island of Crete. Make sure to be there by 10 am as that’s when your guides or the company’s staff will come pick you. That’s when your Crete adventure begins!

  • We highly recommend that you cover all your bases with both emergency medical and travel insurance. With medical insurance, if you have an accident or medical emergency on or off the mountain, you’ll avoid paying out of pocket for costly expenses. This covers everything from hospital treatments to emergency air transportation and more.

    Travel insurance covers canceled flights, natural disasters and other scenarios that may interrupt your travel plans.

    We also expect you to respect local regulations and take measures to protect yourselves, your guides, and the communities you’re traveling to. For more information on travel recommendations and restrictions in Greece, please refer to Greece’s Foreign Travel Advice.

    If you need assistance selecting the right insurance for your group, let us know and we will be happy to help!

  • A 30% deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The remaining amount is paid 3 months (90 days) prior to departure. Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies.

      • If Client cancels the Booking anytime prior to thirty (30) calendar days prior to the departure date, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of 50% (fifty percent) of the total amount of the adventure.
      • After that deadline, Client is not entitled to any refund. Any reimbursable expenses arising out of the Booking incurred by Guide prior to the date of cancellation (including but not limited to plane tickets, car rental payments, and lodging or transportation fees) are non-refundable as soon as they are incurred by the Guide.
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