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Crete is a wonderful destination for those who crave a mix of history and breathtaking nature on their vacation. Recently I enjoyed a week in Crete, where I explored the island on several day trips by car. One of the day trips led me to Spinalonga island and the Richtis gorge hike on the eastern part of Crete.
This da trip is easily doable if you are staying in Heraklion or Agios Nikolaos which are easily some of the most beautiful cities in Greece.
Note that you will need to have a car and at least one friend with you to repeat this experience.
Spinalonga is a small island quite close to the shores of Crete. During the Venetian occupation, a fort was built on the island for defense purposes. In later years Spinalonga was used as a leper colony. Nowadays the island is uninhabited, however, it is a popular tourist destination.
The island of Spinalonga is easily accessible from a town called Plaka. There is a regular boat to the Spinalonga island, and the tickets can be bought right there. It takes around 7 minutes to reach the island by boat and costs 8 Euros. An additional 8 Euros will be required as an entrance fee for the island itself. Note that the working hours of the island ends at 16:30, so you’ll want to be there sometime earlier.
If you haven’t rented a car, a day tour to Spinalonga island can be bought online or at many hotels in Crete.
To ensure that you get to the Spinalonga island, check out these guided tours as well:
Richtis gorge is green and lush, with rich wildlife. A small stream runs through the gorge and at one point it turns into a waterfall. The hike in the gorge is 4 kilometers long and has medium difficulty. As the path leads over the stream several times, it is recommended to go on the hike with waterproof shoes.
How to hike Richtis gorge
There are several options, how to hike Richtis gorge. The gorge path starts at village Exo Mouliana, and ends in Richtis beach. There is a road from the village to the beach as well. You can choose any combination of the roads, and I’ll tell how my group did it.
We were two couples traveling in a car. One couple started at the top of the gorge and hiked it all the way down to the waterfall. The other couple went by car to the beach and hiked the gorge up until the waterfall. We all met at the waterfall and hiked the gorge down to the Richtis beach together. Then we got into the car at the Richtis beach and drove back to the village.
What to take with you on the hike
- Waterproof boots
- Swimsuit for a quick swim at the waterfall
- Some snacks for the hike
- Sunscreen and a hat
- Check out this list of commonly forgotten items that you should take on a one-day hike!
Map for Spinalonga and Richtis gorge day-trip
Have you been to any of the Greek islands? Do you plan day trips yourself, or do you prefer to go on organized trips?