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TRIP OVERVIEW

7 days
SwimTrek for Family
3km/day
Moderate

Tour Highlights

  • Enjoy a week in the remote village of Porto Loutro, which can only be reached by boat

  • Enjoy a classic SwimTrek holiday for you and your family to swim together on

  • Relax in beautiful accommodation at Hotel Porto Loutro on the Hill

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

  • Enjoy the perfect setting for a family holiday and for your teenagers to swim with other children their age

  • Take on a range of coastal swims along Crete’s dramatic and stunning ‘White Mountains’ cliffs

Discover the stunning coastlines and crystal-clear waters of one of Europe’s southernmost destinations with this ideal swimming holiday to enjoy as a family. Based on the idyllic Greek island of Crete, there’s plenty to explore for both adults and teenagers to discover. 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 shorter 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 with your family.

Who is this trip for?

Designed for families who want to swim together, this trip offers the chance for adults to bring children as young as 12 to enjoy the full experience of a swimming holiday. A classic SwimTrek break, our Crete Discovery trip features plenty of idyllic coastal swimming, an accessible way to enjoy open water swimming for a variety of abilities. Our Teens trips conveniently operate during school holidays and provide the opportunity for teenagers to swim with others of their own age as well as with their family. Swimmers should have a basic understanding of open water swimming and be capable of completing the short swims distances of an average 3km daily.

Please note that adults that are not travelling with their own teenage children or are part of a party with at least one teenage child are not permitted on this trip. Equally, teenagers must be accompanied on the trip by at least one adult.

What's included?

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

What's not included?

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

with teens

Daily Itineraries

Please note that the below daily itineraries are an example of the swims that may take place during the course of your trip, however, actual swim locations and distances will vary according to local weather and sea conditions. Your SwimTrek guides and local boat pilot will determine the most suitable swim locations each day and will communicate the plan with all guests as soon as possible.

Day 1

We’ll meet on the lovely outside terrace of our hotel. As a group we’ll enjoy a welcome drink overlooking the village of Porto Loutro before our safety briefing and a description of our upcoming adventures. There’s then time to 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 watching as you swim. There’s also some time to improve your technique as we will pause to offer you a chance to have your stroke recorded returning to Porto Loutro for lunch.

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

Day 3

Today we visit the coastal village of Agia Roumeli 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 beach, 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 to enjoy 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 interesting craggy coastline is a great place 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, 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 Chora Sfakia and Frangokastello. This is a 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 along the dramatic coastline as we swim towards Kritamos.

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, giving you 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. During our lunch break, there is free time for lunch in Sfakia, a town that 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 the port at Chora Sfakia, 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 11am.

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

On this trip you'll swim on average 3km per day. This is usually divided between two separate swimming sessions of 1km to 2km each - one in the morning, and another in the afternoon. On day 4 there will be one longer swimming session of 3km.

Swim Distance
Sweetwater Beach – Porto Loutro 1½km
Agios Pavlos - Agia Roumeli 2½km
Porto Loutro – Marmara 3km
Koutelo - Kritamos 1km
Sfakia - Filaki 1km
Porto Loutro circumnavigation 1½km
Agia Romeli - Damata 1km
Agios Pavlos - Koutelo 2km
Sweetwater beach – Sfakia 2km

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*
July 24-27˚C / 75-81˚F 25-29˚C / 77-84˚F
  • Please note that these temperatures are indicative and should be used as a guide only.

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 International 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 direct to 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

Flights to Chania

To search for available flights into Chania International Airport, please visit Skyscanner .

Transfer From Chania International Airport to Chora Sfakia Port

If you would like to arrange a private transfer from Chania airport directly to Chora 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
5–8 Passengers €140

Public Transport From Chania International Airport to Chora Sfakia

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 Chora Sfakia Port to Porto Loutro Hotel

From Chora Sfakia, you will need to travel by ferry to Porto Loutro. Tickets cost approximately €5 for a single journey or €8 for a return. 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 www.anendyk.gr. Please note, foot passengers do not need to book tickets in advance. Notos Mare also offer a 24/7 taxi boat service, depending on availability, with prices starting from €35 (one way). To enquire about availability and rates, please contact them on info@notosmare.com or +30 693 809 4767.

Option 2: Travelling via Athens

Flights to Athens

To search for available flights into Athens, please visit Skyscanner .

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.

Once at Piraeus Port, Anek Lines run an overnight ferry to Chania that departs at 21:00 arrives at 06:00 the next morning. Tickets costs from €82 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. Ferry timetables are available at : www.anek.gr/en/.

Transfer from Chania to Chora Sfakia

If you would like to arrange a private transfer from Chania directly to Chora Sfakion 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 (one way)
1–4 Passengers €85
5–8 Passengers €140

Travel From Chora Sfakia to Porto Loutro Hotel

From Chora Sfakia, you will need to travel by ferry to Porto Loutro. Tickets cost approximately €5 for a single journey or €8 for a return. 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 Anendyk. Please note, foot passengers do not need to book tickets in advance. Notos Mare also offer a 24/7 taxi boat service,depending on availability, with prices starting from €35 (one way). To enquire about availability and rates, please contact them on info@notosmare.com or +30 693 809 4767.

Practical Information

Accommodation

Our accommodation for the week overlooks 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 offered on a twin share basis. There are a limited number of double bedrooms and rooms for single occupancy which can be reserved during the booking process, subject to availability. The hotel also features a bar-restaurant and sun terrace.

Rooms for Families

We will room your family using a mixture of twin, triple, double and single rooms as is appropriate for the makeup of your party. Please note that sometimes a triple room may be a twin room with an additional bed added. We will do our very best to give you rooms next to each other (adjoining) or request interconnecting rooms but these cannot be guaranteed.

Pre/Post Trip Accommodation and Trip Extension Options

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

Food and Drink

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.

Money, Extra Expenses and Tipping

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 Chora Sfakion before you arrive as many bars and restaurants in Porto Loutro only accept payments in cash. Please note, the Greek Ministry of Tourism has introduced an Overnight Stay Tax. This is payable upon arrival at the accommodation at a rate of €0.50 per room, per night.

Travelling with your Family

This camp is specifically designed to suit families with teens who want to swim together. To join this camp, there must be at least one parent/guardian over 18 years old accompanying and at least one child aged 17 or under on the date of departure. This camp is not suitable for adults travelling without children, or unaccompanied minors. The maximum adult to teen ratio in one party is 1:4. SwimTrek guides on Family Trips are hand picked but they are not child-minders. Parents and guardians booking on a SwimTrek for Families experience take full responsibility for their children, though our guides are always on hand for their safety in the water. If a child decides to sit out a swim or exit the water early, a parent/guardian may be asked to accompany them on the boat.

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 all EU member states, the US, 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.

Travelling with Children

Some countries, including the UK, require documented proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. You must contact the relevant country embassy or consular office well in advance for information on exactly what may be required. Please refer to your government issued travel advice for further information.

Travel Insurance

We consider comprehensive travel insurance to be essential, and we strongly recommend that you purchase insurance which includes, but is not limited to, cover for illness, accident, emergency repatriation, ambulance, air ambulance, helicopter rescue services, cancellation, lost luggage and delays. Your travel insurance should also cover you for open water swimming and any other activity listed in your trip itinerary (including races and competitions, where applicable). Please read your policy details carefully and remember to take them with you on your trip for your own reference. For further information about travel insurance, please visit: www.swimtrek.com/travel-insurance.

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 worldstandards.eu.

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