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Family Crete Kayak Adventure: Matala to Loutro

Family Crete Kayak Adventure: Matala to Loutro
When you add up the world class kayaking, local cuisine, fascinating culture, warm hospitality and incredibly comfortable climate, it’s easy to see why this award-winning trip has been our most popular year after year. Come experience it with your family!
Family Owned Inns
Kayak, Hike
8 Days, 7 Nights
Skill Rating
Van Supported
Single Supplement


Guides, ground transportation, support vehicle, lodging, most meals (breakfasts and dinners), and entry fee into Samarian and other Gorges.

Not Included

Air or ferry to Heraklion, lunches, drinks and one dinner, personal clothing and accessories, full medical, baggage and trip cancellation insurance, airport taxes and gratuities. Single supplement $700.

Upcoming Dates:

June 9-16, 2024
June 16-23, 2025
June 24 - July 1, 2025
July 2-9, 2025



Day One – Matala: No matter which route you take to get to Heraklion, the trip will officially begin at 10:00 a.m. at the Heraklion airport.  We will meet you at the airport in the arrivals section.  You then set off for Matala where you settle into your room and have lunch (be sure to ask the guides about the best gyros pita in town!). During the afternoon you can explore the waterfront, shopping scene and ancient ruins of this beautiful beach town. In the evening The Northwest Passage guides outfit you with paddling gear. The group then gets to know one another a little better over sunset cocktails. You round out the evening with a delicious seaside dinner, and an opportunity to sample Matala's nightlife. (D) Day Two – Matala: After breakfast we hold an introductory kayak lesson, and then immediately put the new skills to use as we paddle to the world famous Red Beach. Along the way we explore the beautiful coastline and poke inside some cavernous sea caves. After lounging, swimming and maybe grabbing a drink on Red Beach, we paddle over to Kommos Beach to enjoy a seaside lunch. We then paddle back to Matala, capping off today’s kayak mileage at seven. After landing our kayaks, the afternoon is yours to lounge on the beach, explore the area trails or go cliff jumping in Matala Bay! This evening we hike up a seaside hill for an unparalleled view of the Mediterranean coast, and watch the sky blaze through the color spectrum as the sun slips beneath the horizon. (B, D) Day Three – Matala: After breakfast you have the option to hike amongst the hills and beaches, or paddle along the headlands, bluffs and coves to the very beautiful Vathi Beach. We return to Matala for lunch, and spend the afternoon checking out the ancient Roman catacombs, swimming, cliff jumping, hiking and/or paddling. (B, D) Day Four – Roumeli: After an early start we set off for the Samaria Gorge, Europe’s deepest gorge and one of the world’s most astounding natural wonders. After reaching the top of the Samaria Gorge we have lunch and stock up on hiking snacks. We hike the gorge through pine forests, across mountain streams and between towering canyon walls. Words cannot capture the majestic beauty of this incredible place. You simply have to hike it to believe it! We stay the night in Roumeli, the seaside town at the bottom of the gorge that is only accessible by trail and by boat. Tonight we enjoy well deserved cold drinks and maybe a dip in the sea before dinner. (B, D) Day Five – Loutro: After breakfast our fleet of kayaks await us. We paddle first to Agios Pavlos, a 1,000 year old Byzantine chapel that marks the spot where St. Paul was shipwrecked. We linger on the beach at the nearby taverna to enjoy a cappuccino before setting off for our lunch stop, Marmara Beach. Again, we relax at Marmara, taking time to snorkel, lay out and do some more cliff jumping. We then paddle on to Loutro, our home for the next three nights. Loutro, like Roumeli, is another beautiful south coast town that is only accessible by hiking trail and by boat. We settle into our rooms at Loutro and then head off for dinner. We can even go for a starlight paddle in the stunning protected bay. (B, D) Day Six – Loutro: Today we have the option to hike on the world famous E4 trail, hike the Ariadne Gorge or paddle to some of the area's beaches. Sweetwater Beach is a very popular beach approximately one hour away by kayak or trail. This smooth stone beach is known for the freshwater springs that gurgle up through the rocks onshore. Sweetwater is also a great place to grab a snack and a coffee before going on to the town of Chora Sfakia or back to Loutro for lunch. Dinner is on your own tonight, and options abound. (B) Day Seven – Loutro: It's hard to believe but we've already come to our last full day of the trip. So we make sure to pack it full of adventure. If you fancy a challenge, and didn't hike the Ariadne Gorge the day before, we highly recommend this full-day hike down an awe inspiring natural wonder. Along the way you'll pass traditional Cretan villages and a bluff-top monastery with panoramic views of the sea and surrounding mountains. Of course the sea offers unlimited kayaking adventure possibilities as well if you choose to paddle instead. This evening we go for another sunset hike, stopping to admire the seascape from the ruins of a Venetian fortress. Afterwards we celebrate the memories we've made at our farewell dinner. (B, D) Day Eight: After breakfast, we will make a short paddle from Loutro to the port town of Hora Sfakia and from there, shuttle back up to Heraklion. We may have a chance to visit the renowned Heraklion Archaeological Museum before heading to the airport to catch departing flights. The Northwest Passage plans to have you back to the departures terminal of the Heraklion airport by 4:00 PM on this final day of the program. When booking travel please allow enough time to comfortably navigate check-in and security.(B) **This itinerary is subject to change.
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