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Tour Highlights

  • Explore some of the world's most exquisite coastlines on the idyllic Greek island of Crete

  • Swim in the crystal clear waters of one of the Mediterranean's most southernmost islands

  • Take in the dramatic views of Crete's coastal cliffs and stunning 'White Mountains' which rise to over 2,400 metres

  • Relax in beautiful accommodation at Hotel Porto Loutro on the Hill at the end of each day

Discover the stunning coastlines and crystal clear waters of one of Europe’s southernmost destinations with an unforgettable swimming holiday on the idyllic Greek island of Crete. From dramatic coastal cliffs to isolated coves, bays and beaches, the island is full of spectacular locations to explore and enjoy.

Our base for the week is the remote coastal village of Porto Loutro, which can only be reached by boat, hiking or, of course, swimming! Hotel Porto Loutro on the Hill, which offers modern and comfortable rooms with sea views, is located just metres from the water’s edge and is the perfect place from which to enjoy the tranquillity of this island paradise.

With a range of stunning coastal swims, beautiful natural scenery and a long and rich history which dates back to the Minoan civilisation that occupied the island as far back as 3,650 BC, this trip is a wonderful opportunity to discover this truly fascinating part of the world.

Who is this trip for?

This trip is ideal for the swimmer who wants to be based in one of Europe’s most remote villages, situated right on the water’s edge. The trip features idyllic coastal swimming, along with a chance to discover some of the amazing underwater vistas which make this coastline so special. Swimmers should have a basic understanding of open water swimming and be capable of completing the average daily swim distance of around 5km.

What's included?

  • Fully guided swimming holiday in Greece, Crete
  • Swim guides and full safety escort on all swims
  • Technique coaching and video analysis
  • Six nights accommodation
  • Six breakfasts
  • Lunch on Day 5

What's not included?

  • Travel to and from the start of the tour
  • Lunches (excluding Day 5)
  • Evening meals

Related Links


Day 1

We meet on the lovely outside terrace of our hotel. We enjoy a welcome drink overlooking the village of Porto Loutro before our safety briefing and a description of our upcoming adventures. We then head down the hill for a short acclimatisation swim before heading out for dinner in one of the tavernas on the water’s edge.

Day 2

After breakfast our boat takes us to the start of our morning swim. Beginning at Sweetwater Beach, we swim west beneath the E4 coastal walk bringing us back towards Porto Loutro. Looking towards shore you are sure to spot hikers on the trail above observing your stroke. You will also get a chance to see how you swim as we will pause to record your swimming stroke before returning to Porto Loutro for lunch.

It’s time for a circumnavigation swim this afternoon. The harbour signal light is located on an islet at the mouth of the bay. Swimming around this rocky outcrop, this short swim features stunning underwater scenery and a unique view of Porto Loutro. We finish the swim on the town beach with a technique session. You will get a chance to practice some of the drills that your guide may recommend when you view your swim video later in the evening.

Day 3

Today we visit the coastal village of Agia Romeli at the foot of the famous Samaria Gorge. The village can only be reached by boat or hiking trail unless, like us, you plan to swim into the town!

The morning swim starts at Agios Pavlos where the apostle St Paul is said to have landed during bad weather on his voyage to Greece in 1st century AD. Swimming through the crystal clear water we follow the coastal edge of the Samaria National Park.

We have a longer lunch today to give you time to explore the town. There is a selection of lively Greek tavernas for lunch or you can stretch your legs hiking to the Turkish fortress. There are spectacular views of the town and sea from this ridge. Look inland to admire the Samaria Gorge and the exhausted hikers making a beeline for a cooling dip in the sea.

We follow the sheer cliffs on the west of the town to Damata beach and its pine trees for our second swim of the day. During the swim you pass by the stunning Fournoti cliffs, home to the only known Hypericum aciferum plant in the world, that you can spot growing on the cliff side.

Day 4

This morning we jump in the water in front of the hotel. Leaving the village behind we slip through the narrow channel between Crete and the Porto Loutro signal light. We continue around the peninsula to Marmara beach. Watch the water change colour as you get closer to the white marble pebbles that make up the beach. This craggy coastline will keep you distracted for our longest swim of the week.

After our post-swim snacks you can travel back to Porto Loutro by one of our escort boats, relax on Marmara beach or enjoy lunch in one of the cliff-top tavernas serving traditional Cretan cuisine, overlooking the beach. You could venture into a nearby gorge, or relax, or follow the E4 track back to the hotel. The choice is yours.

Day 5

Today is a day of stunning coastal swimming in the remote area between Sfakia and Frangokastello. This is real opportunity to stretch out and put into practice what you have picked up during the trip so far. We start at the sea caves by Agios Pavlos and swim down a remarkable stretch of coastline, finishing at Koutelo with its beach taverna where we stop for lunch. In the afternoon, we carry on westwards as we swim to Kritamos, which is situated in the shadow of the historical Frangokastello Castle on the E4 path.

Day 6

This morning starts with a hike along the E4 route until we arrive at the sandy Sweetwater beach. The route grips the edge of the cliff, guaranteeing a bird’s eye view of yesterday’s swim. On arrival we meet up with our support boats and swim east towards the town of Sfakia. The coastline is dotted with a series of interconnected caves for you to explore. You have free time for lunch in Sfakia, a town is famous for its cheese pie. Treats from the bakery in the town are also highly recommended.

It’s more caves, inlets and exploring for the afternoon swim. Heading east from Sfakia port, we head towards Filaki. This dramatic stretch of coastline is pocketed with cracks, caves and caverns.

Day 7

After the exertions of the week, it’s time for a relaxing swim on the beach just outside our hotel before the trip finishes at 11:00.

Trip Schedule

Start Point: Hotel Porto Loutro On The Hill, Porto Loutro, Crete

Start Time: 17:00 on Day 1

Finish Point: Porto Loutro, Crete

Finish Time: 11:00 on Day 7

Trip Information

Equipment Checklist

In addition to your daily non-swimming clothes, we also recommend that you bring the following items:

Item Item
Swimming Costume (x2) Towel
Swimming Googles* (x2) Sweater / Fleece
Sunhat and Sunglasses Waterproof Jacket
Waterproof Sun Cream Walking Shoes / Sandals
Small Daypack Aqua Shoes / Sandals

*Try to bring one clear lens and one tinted lens for different light conditions.

Please note that SwimTrek will supply swim hats and provide water and electrolyte drinks in shared water bottles on your safety boat. If you prefer to use your own drink bottle, please feel free to bring one along. If you would like to use a wetsuit, rash vest or fins during your swims, please ensure that you bring these with you.

Swimming Distances

Swim Distance
Sweetwater Beach – Porto Loutro 3km
Agios Pavlos - Agia Romeli 3½km
Porto Loutro – Marmara 4km
Koutelo - Kritamos 2km
Sfakia - Filaki 2km
Porto Loutro circumnavigation 1½km
Agia Romeli - Damata 2km
Agios Pavlos - Koutelo 3km
Sweetwater beach – Sfakia 3km

Swimming Conditions

Swimming in the sea is a fantastic experience, however you should be aware that certain marine life such as sea lice, jellyfish, sea urchins and coral could be present during the swims. In all cases we will work on reducing your contact with these creatures, however if you suffer from anaphylaxis, please consult the office prior to booking.

Walking Distances

Walk Distance
Porto Loutro – Sweetwater Beach 3km
Agia Romeli Fort 2km

Most walks take place on recognised paths and tracks of the E4, however there may be cases where we walk along trails or other unsealed surfaces and care should be taken in these areas. Please note, if you prefer not to do the planned walks, you will have the opportunity to travel by boat instead.

Temperatures

Month Water Temperature* Air Temperature*
May 18-20˚C / 64-68˚F 23-25˚C / 73-77˚F
August 24-26˚C / 75-78˚F 28-30˚C / 82-86˚F
October 23-25˚C / 73-77˚F 20-22˚C / 68-71˚F
  • Please note that these temperatures are indicative and should be used as a guide only. The water temperatures in early May can feel colder than indicated due to the mixing of thermoclines and water, which reduces the surface water temperature.

Weather Caveat

For safety reasons, we rely on decent weather conditions when carrying out our swims. As a consequence, open water swimming holidays require a certain degree of on-trip flexibility which can result in changes to the planned itinerary. These changes often add a touch of uniqueness to your trip and will be communicated to you by your SwimTrek guides as quickly as possible.

Group Size and Boat Support

This trip has a maximum group size of 15. The group will be split into a maximum of three groups, based on speed, with each group being accompanied by their own safety vessel/escort. 

Boat support on this trip includes one main safety vessel and two inflatable boats to be piloted by your SwimTrek guides and a local boat pilot. Please note that this boat support is subject to change without notice and cannot be guaranteed.

Getting There

The trip is based in Porto Loutro which can only be reached by ferry, water taxi or hiking. The easiest way to reach the hotel is to fly into Chania Airport and then take a public bus or local taxi to Sfakia Port, followed by a ferry or water taxi to Porto Loutro. It is also possible to fly through Athens and catch a ferry to Sfakia Port, however please note that this option results in a significantly longer journey time compared to travelling via Chania.

While we have outlined various travel options below, they are subject to change and should be used as a guide only. We suggest that you use www.skyscanner.net to search for alternative flight options for this trip. Whichever route you choose to take, we recommend confirming your flights and other travel arrangements as early as possible in order to avoid price rises and availability issues.

Option 1: Travelling via Chania

A small selection of the airlines which fly into Chania from various European cities are included below:

Airline Departure Airport
Aegean Air Berlin, Frankfurt
British Airways London Heathrow (Saturday to Saturday)
EasyJet London Gatwick
Norwegian London Gatwick, Stockholm, Oslo
Ryan Air Bristol, Dublin, London Stansted, Manchester
Thomas Cook Airlines Brussels

Transfer From Chania Airport to Sfakia Port

If you would like to arrange a private transfer from Chania airport directly to Sfakia port this can be arranged through Eleni at info@taxisfakia.com. The cost of this service depends on the number of passengers (please see the table below), and is payable locally on departure. The driver will be waiting in the arrivals hall where you collect your luggage, holding a sign with SwimTrek clearly displayed.

Number of Passengers Total Price
1–4 Passengers €85
4–6 Passengers €140

Public Transport From Chania Airport to Sfakia Port

You can also take a bus from Chania Airport to Chania town which takes 30 minutes and costs approximately €3. From here you will need to change buses for your onward travel to Chora Sfakion (the duration and cost is approximately 2 hours and around €9). You can find more up to date information on KTEL or calling the travel office on: +30 2821 091288.

From Sfakia Port to Porto Loutro Hotel

From Sfakia port, you will need to travel by ferry to the Porto Loutro. The ferry takes approximately 20 minutes to reach the village and, once you arrive, the hotel is directly in front of you. Tickets and the timetables for the ferries can be found at the following website: Anendyk.

Option 2: Travelling via Athens

A small selection of the airlines which fly into Athens from various European cities are included below:

Airline Departure Airport
Aegean Air Berlin, Frankfurt, London Heathrow, Madrid
EasyJet Brussels, Berlin London Gatwick, Manchester
Lufthansa Frankfurt
Ryan Air Berlin, Brussels London Stansted

Travel from Athens International to Chania

From Athens airport, you will need to make your way to Piraeus port either by taxi or the subway. The easiest way to reach the port is by local taxi, with the journey taking approximately 45 minutes and costing between €45 and €65 depending when you travel.

Alternatively, you can travel via the subway. The station is a 200m walk from the airport and you will need to take the M3 line from Proastiakos Stathmos Aerodromiou to Monastiraki Metro Station (this takes 45 minutes), then the M1 line from Monastiraki Metro Station to Pireaus. Once here, make your way to the 826 line to AG. Dionysios. From here, the port is approximately a 15-minute walk from the station. For ticket information, please use the following website: Oasa.

Once at the port, Anek Lines run an overnight ferry to Chania that arrives at 06:00 in the morning. Tickets costs €40 for a return ticket. For guests who choose this option, we recommend that you arrive in Athens on the Saturday in time for the evening ferry departure. All ferry tickets should be pre-booked online. Tickets and ferry timetables are available at: Anek Superfast.

Transfer From Chania Airport to Sfakia Port

If you would like to arrange a private transfer from Chania airport directly to Sfakia port this can be arranged through Eleni at info@taxisfakia.com. The cost of this service depends on the number of passengers (please see the table below), and is payable locally on departure. The driver will be waiting in the arrivals hall where you collect your luggage, holding a sign with SwimTrek clearly displayed.

Number of Passengers Total Price
1–4 Passengers €85
4–6 Passengers €130

Public Transport From Chania Airport to Sfakia Port

You can also take a bus from Chania Airport to Chania town which takes 30 minutes and costs approximately €3. From here you will need to change buses for your onward travel to Chora Sfakion (the duration and cost is approximately 2 hours and around €9). You can find more up to date information on KTEL or calling the travel office on: +30 2821 091288.

From Sfakia Port to Porto Loutro Hotel

From Sfakia port, you will need to travel by ferry to the Porto Loutro. The ferry takes approximately 20 minutes to reach the village and, once you arrive, the hotel is directly in front of you. Tickets and the timetables for the ferries can be found at the following website: Anendyk.

Practical Information

Accommodation

Our accommodation for the week is located on the hill overlooking our small village home of Porto Loutro. Hotel Porto Loutro on the Hill offers modern and comfortable rooms with sea views. All rooms are well-decorated and equipped with air conditioning and en suite bathrooms and are sold on a twin share basis. There are a limited number of single supplement rooms which can be reserved during the booking process, subject to availability. The hotel also features a bar-restaurant, sauna and sun terrace.

If you would like to book additional nights’ accommodation at the start or end of your trip, please contact the hotel directly via email: onthehill@hotelportoloutro.com.

Meals

All breakfasts are included in your trip price as well as one lunch, however the other lunches and dinners are at your own expense. This gives you a fantastic opportunity to explore and experience the local cafes and restaurants of your choice over the course of your trip. The average cost of a two course dinner in a local restaurant is €20-€25.

Extra Expenses

You should bring extra money with you to cover such items as lunches, dinners, drinks, entertainment, souvenirs, etc. The local currency is the Euro (€). Please note that there are no ATMs in Porto Loutro. You will need to withdraw cash in Chania or Sfakia before you arrive as many bars and restaurants in Porto Loutro only accept payments in cash.

Passports and Visas

Greece is part of the European Union. Non-residents of Greece require a full passport to enter the country, which should be valid for six months beyond the expected length of stay. Citizens of most countries, including all E.U. member states, U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand do not require a visa to enter Greece. Please note that visa regulations are subject to change and we advise that you check your own visa requirements prior to travel.

Health Information and Recommended Vaccinations

For comprehensive health information for people travelling to Greece, including all recommended and required vaccinations, please visit www.travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries. Please note that this information is subject to change and you should re-check this site regularly prior to your trip.

Travel Plugs & Electricity

For a useful source of information on the different electrical outlets, electrical plugs, and electric sockets, please visit ElectricalOutlet.org.

  • I started on my first trip a bit nervous about open water sea swimming and initially only swimming breast stroke- by the end of that trip I was swimming all the swims freestyle and loving it! This enjoyment and freestyle swimming continued and was reinforced on my 2nd trip! Our guides Ricky and Eoin were outstanding- helpful, kept us safe, shared their local knowledge, awesome caves and swims with us as well as being great fun!

    Nicola W, UK - 2017
  • This was an outstanding experience. It had it all.

    Andrew K. UK- 2017
  • Had an amazing week with Swim Trek. We were a bit nervous about the distances and how we would cope in the open water but we felt looked after and safe all week. The whole trip was excellent and we will be booking another adventure with swim trek next year.

    Michael, H. UK- 2017
  • Swimtrek continues to surpass its already high standards

    Steve M, UK-2017
  • A wonderful experience; beautiful location, exceptional guides, lovely accommodation and friendly locals.

    Angela, M, UK-2017
  • A splendidly peaceful and beautiful getaway destination alongside brilliant guides and good company.

    Elizabeth, W. UK-2017
  • What an amazing week - a beautiful location and a great place to swim and our Guides were excellent. A week spent swimming is very good for the soul.

    Rosanna M, UK - 2017
  • Superb location, wonderful sea and outstanding guides; what's not to adore?!

    Jacqui, O. 2017- UK

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Accommodation

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Hotel Porto Loutro On The Hill

Hotel Porto Loutro on the Hill sits just a short walk from the water’s edge and the local tavernas and relaxed atmosphere that define the laid-back Greek village of Loutro. The hotel offers modern and comfortable rooms with sea views, air conditioning and en suite bathrooms, and also features a bar-restaurant, sauna and relaxing sun terrace.