Looking for recommendations for a 2 day hike around Chora Sfakion & White Mountains in September Share and discuss the many routes and paths in the mountains, along the coast, and on the plains of Sfakia. Post your walk description, add photos, and discuss safety. Use information at your own risk.

Rhys Rogers
Posts: 1
Joined: 14 Aug 2017, 11:39

Looking for recommendations for a 2 day hike around Chora Sfakion & White Mountains in September

by Rhys Rogers » 14 Aug 2017, 12:28

Hi Forum members,

I am travelling with one friend to Crete for a few days in September and would like to do some hiking around the area of Chora Sfakion and Loutro or in the White Mountains. We arrive in Heraklion on the afternoon of Saturday the 9th September, and get a rental car to drive to Chora Sfakion that evening. We will have the rental car for the duration of our stay.

We are from New Zealand and I am particularly interested in visiting Crete because my Grandfather was stationed there during WW2. I believe he retreated from Greece to Crete, then marched south over the White Mountains before being evacuated after the paratroop invasion from somewhere near Chora Sfakion. He was later Captured in Africa and spent 19 months in POW camps in Italy before being repatriated to NZ. I will try to find out more about his time in Crete before my trip.

We are looking for some advice on accommodation and hiking that we could do in the White Mountains or around Chora Sfakion on the 10th and 11th of September. If possible, I would like to hike some part of the route of the Allied retreat across the White Mountains, and/or to see some other WW2 sites or locations.

We are in our early thirties and in reasonably good shape (we both ran a half marathon recently). We have also done a fair bit of Hiking in NZ, mostly to 2 or 3 day hikes with full packs, but this has typically been on fairly well marked trails. We would like to look at the option of doing an overnight hike, but would also consider doing day hikes and driving in between if you think this will be a better idea for the available time. We will have boots, packs and sleeping bags but not much other equipment so it would be good if there was a way to rent a tent or cooking equipment if this is needed, or alternatively we would also consider paying for a guide to assist with equipment, logistics and route finding.

Rhys Rogers

Posts: 49
Joined: 11 Nov 2015, 17:42

Re: Looking for recommendations for a 2 day hike around Chora Sfakion & White Mountains in September

by jan » 15 Aug 2017, 12:16

One day hike you might consider is from the north end of Askifou plateau, across the plateau and down the Imbros Gorge. From the bottom of that gorge you can walk, hitch a lift of (maybe) catch a bus to Chora Sfakion (which, by the way, is called Sfakia locally). It isn't a difficult walk but it's part of the route which your grandfather would almost certainly have taken on his retreat with the Allied troops.

From Sfakia catch the 0700 bus (to Chania) and ask to be dropped off at the Panorama Taverna at Kares-Askifou on the main road at the north end of the Askifou plateau. In the village just beneath the taverna is a museum of military equipment of various vintages, including lots of items abandoned by those Allied troops. It's a fairly amateur affair but none the worse for that. The bus driver may well divert though the village and even closer to the museum than the taverna is, but either way you won't have far to walk. See http://www.cretanbeaches.com/en/history ... war-museum

After the museum you can follow paths, tracks and minor roads across the plateau southwards. A little road walking will bring you to the first of the access points to the Imbros Gorge. The Gorge itself is a popular walk so you won't be alone - but then, neither will your grandfather have been!

Do equip yourself with a decent map, whether for this walk or others in the area. The Anavasi 1:25000 Crete 11.11/11.12 Lefka Ori /Sfakia/Pachnes is the one to go fo. Yyou should be able to pick up a print copy of the current (2016) edition in Sfakia but if you have a compatible GPS you can buy the digital version online from http://www.anavasi.gr/product.php?lang=en&id=203 which would give you a chance to study this and other routes before you leave NZ.



Posts: 49
Joined: 11 Nov 2015, 17:42

Re: Looking for recommendations for a 2 day hike around Chora Sfakion & White Mountains in September

by jan » 16 Aug 2017, 17:04

I've just seen Erno's post on the main forum saying that accommodation in Sfakia is becoming fully booked this mornth and next.

If you can't find a room in Sfakia itself, as you have a hire car you could try Anopolis - O Platanos taverna in the main square or the Anopolis Taverna and Rooms just 100m further on. Both have websites, and both offer good local cooking.

Alternatively if you want to do the walk I described above, the Panorama taverna has excellent rooms and good food. If you overnight there and leave your car you can catch the bus back from Sfakia at the end of the day. it will be full (overfull) with walkers returning from the Samaria Gorge via the ferry, but I've never heard of anyone being left behind.

Posts: 17
Joined: 18 Nov 2015, 12:49

Re: Looking for recommendations for a 2 day hike around Chora Sfakion & White Mountains in September

by langsten » 26 Aug 2017, 07:39

Rhys Rogers.

Two points.

1) For a description of the route the allied troops took from northern Crete to Sfakia, see: Dalidakis, George K. and Peter Trudgill, "Sfakia: A History of the Region in its Cretan Context", Heraklion, Crete, Mystis Editions, 2015, pp. 263-273. (The book is available from Amazon UK, and at bookstores in Crete.) This account also includes information about the role of Sfakians in support of the retreat of the allied forces. The following pages describe Sfakia under German occupation. And the whole book is a good read on the history of Sfakia.

2) A slight variation on the walk Jan is suggesting. You could start from Komitades, walking up the Imbros Gorge and across the Askifou plateau. Overnight at the Panorama Taverna. From there you could walk across to Kali Laki and down the Sfakiano Gorge, the route followed by some of the German troops who attacked and occupied Sfakia for the duration of the war.


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