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8 Day Culinary and Walking Holidays in Agios Ioannis, Crete

Sfakia and Apokoronas, Crete

Cooking and Walking Holidays in Crete

This holiday includes an amazing week of gastronomy and hiking in western Crete, during which, you will get to experience both parts of learning to cook the local recipes in the north and hiking the international trails in the south. Join this inspiring cooking holiday in Crete for a wonderful chance to discover the authentic cuisine and local culture of this unique Greek island. You will get a chance to hike on the White Mountains, visit beautiful caves, and observe the remarkable local wildlife. Do not miss this chance to benefit from the unique legacy that this lovely area provides.


  • Traditional Greek cooking workshops
  • Natural cosmetics workshop on olive oil soap
  • Excursions and tastings at the local artisan producers
  • Boat trips to coastal settlements and hikes to caves, settlements, and beaches
  • Cycling trip around the surrounding rural area
  • Wide array of local dishes and meals
  • 7 nights accommodation


7 days with instruction
Airport transfer included: Chania International Airport ("Ioannis Daskalogiannis")
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While still in the north part of western Crete, you will get to stay in traditional cottages or luxury villas depending on your choice of accommodation. Both options represent top of the range choices. In the south, your accommodation is located at the village of Agios Ioannis, right at the foothills of the White Mountains. Agios Ioannis is one of the smaller villages in Sfakia with only 15 inhabitants and is well hidden in the forest at an altitude of 800 meters. It is an ideal place for those who love nature and hiking. Antonis will be your host for the week. Youll stay in a comfortable new-build guesthouse with individual small houses, in a unique location in the forest.


Day 1 - Arrival in Chania

You will be picked up from Chania International Airport (CHQ) and transferred to your accommodation in the area of Apokoronas, a leafy region in the northern coast of Crete with numerous villages between the olive groves and vineyards. Upon arrival, there will be a small reception with drinks and meze along with info on the schedule of the week. The evening will be free to explore the village by foot or bicycles.

Meals included: snack.

Day 2 - Honey bees, olive oil soap

After breakfast, you will take part in a cycling trip to the local apiary, where you will learn about the local flora combinations and the types of honey produced in the area. You will sample honey and buy supplies for the following cooking workshop. Protective equipment will be provided, as well as an option for car transfer. Lunch will be served at the local kafeneio (caf) or at the beekeepers garden with wine and raki, herbal tea, and honey sweets. After the visit, you will take part in an olive oil soap workshop, where you will have the chance to make your own handmade soap, using fresh olive oil. The evening will be free to spend as you like.

Meals included: breakfast and lunch.

Cycling or walking involved: 40 minutes.

Day 3 - Cooking workshop

After breakfast, the morning will be free to spend as you like. In the afternoon, you will visit the olive farm at the village of Litsarda, where you will pick vegetables and attend a cooking workshop. Dinner will be served together with the group, under the olive trees.

Meals included: breakfast and dinner.

Cycling or walking involved: 40 minutes.

Day 4 - South Crete

After breakfast, you will depart for the region of Sfakia, in south Crete. On the way there, you can enjoy the drive through the White Mountains into Chora Sfakion. At noon, you will visit the village where you can enjoy lunch or coffee. Agios Ioannis, a tiny village of just 15 inhabitants, will be your new home for the next days. Dinner will be served in the guest house.

Meals included: breakfast and dinner.

Walking involved: 40 minutes.

Day 5 - Aradena

After breakfast, you will go to Aradena bridge and start the hike through the gorge with a downhill trail. If you do not wish to hike through the gorge, you may opt to take a lift down to the village of Livaniana. From then on, you can follow an easy trail, for about 30 minutes, to Marmara Beach where you will meet the rest of the team as soon as they reach the end of the gorge. There you can swim, rest or visit the local taverna. Afterwards, you will head back to Livaniana and get a lift back to the village of Agios Ioannis. Dinner will be served in the guesthouse.

Meals included: breakfast and dinner.

Walking involved: 3-hour hike through the gorge and 40 minutes each way from Livaniana to Marmara Beach.

Day 6 - Loutro

After breakfast, you will travel to Livaniana, where you will follow a trail to Lykos Beach and on to the village of Loutro, an isolated village that can only be reached by boat or on foot. You will sail the southern coast of Crete to Agia Roumeli, the coastal entrance to the longest gorge of Crete. There you can swim, explore the entrance to the gorge, get something to eat or buy some honey. Afterwards, you will take the ferry back to Loutro, hike to the village of Livaniana and get a lift back to Agios Ioannis. Depending on your arrival time, you will enjoy a freshly cooked dinner either on the beach of Lykos or back at the guesthouse.

Meals included: breakfast and dinner.

Walking involved: 3 hour hike through the gorge and 40 minutes each way from Livaniana to Loutro.

Day 7 - White Mountains hike

On the last day of the holiday, you will follow a trail to a cave in the White Mountains. Hiking all the way through a dense forest, you will reach a plateau from where you can admire the views of the Libyan Sea before reaching the cave. In the late afternoon, you will take part in a cooking workshop, focused on preparing a traditional barbecue.

Meals included: breakfast, light lunch, and dinner.

Walking involved: 1 hour each way.

Day 8 - Departure

After breakfast, you will depart for Chania International Airport (CHQ) or city center, depending on your further travelling arrangements.

Meals included: breakfast.

Included excursions

  • Discover Lykos Beach
  • Discover Marmara Beach
  • Explore the village of Livaniana
  • Sail to Agia Roumeli
  • Visit Aradena bridge
  • Visit local artisans
  • Visit the olive farm at the village of Litsarda
  • Visit the village of Agios Ioannis
  • Visit the village of Loutro


Crete is the fifth biggest island in the Mediterranean Sea and lies on the southern frontier of Europe, combining wonderful seaside sceneries alongside a mountainous terrain. With a strategic geographical position, Crete has always been a cultural crossroads with many Venetian, Arabic, and Turkish influences. It is a culinary haven for anyone looking to discover authentic cooking and eating. It is also a magnificent island with dramatic scenery and thousands of years of history.

The district of Apokoronas is in north western Crete, just on the foot of the White Mountains. A leafy, fertile region dispersed with numerous tiny villages where little has changed with the passage of time and tourism. Many of the residents still follow a very traditional and tranquil way of life. Local businesses are concentrated around artisan food products, farming and livestock. You will gain an insight into the local life and enjoy the wonderful bounty of the region.


Greek cuisine is a combination between the Italian and the Arabic cuisines. The people still eat what their ancestors ate hundreds of years back. They eat wild edible greens collected during long walks, snails, and different bean varieties. They use barley rusks instead of bread with their meals, make kalitsounia, little pies with dough rather than filo pastry, and fry them. They prefer the local cheeses and herbs, avoid veal, and celebrate with lamb or goat. Cretans eat cheese with honey and put olive oil everywhere, even in desserts. And, of course, they continue to cook at home in the same simple way their great grandmothers did. The result is a naturally sustainable way of life.

In Crete, the diet consists of mainly pulses, vegetables, and fruits. Dairy comes next; fish, chicken and eggs follow; and red meat is eaten only occasionally. Traditionally, Greeks used to eat meat only a few times each month, most likely on a Sunday and usually in the form of a stew or casserole with plenty of vegetables, accompanied by handmade pasta or rice. Grilled or roast meat was served during celebrations. Elaborate desserts were only prepared during festive periods as well. Food is not only a mean of survival here; it is the foundation of the entire Greek culture. People are truly dedicated to eating and drinking and will spend long hours preparing and even longer sitting with family and friends to enjoy a meal.

Things to do (optional)

  • Attend local village events
  • Converse with the locals
  • Explore the nature and wildlife
  • Go hiking or cycling
  • Guided visit to archaeological sites
  • Pick fresh fruits and vegetables from the farm
  • Shop for fresh food at the local markets
  • Visit the coast and relax on the beach
  • Windsurfing

What's included

  • 2 Greek cookery workshop
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • All fees for the activities and workshops
  • All transfers to and from excursions
  • Boat trip to Agia Roumeli
  • Cheese, wine, and honey tasting sessions
  • Daily meals as specified in the itinerary
  • Handmade olive oil soap workshop
  • Visits to local artisan producers
  • Wine and raki with cookery workshop meals

What's not included

  • Airfare
  • Beverages other than those specified
  • Meals other than those specified
  • Travel insurance

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Arrive at Chania International Airport (CHQ). Hand Picked Greece will pick you up from the airport. The pick-up is included in the price.

Airport: Chania International Airport ("Ioannis Daskalogiannis") Airport transfer included: Chania International Airport ("Ioannis Daskalogiannis") No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 100% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.

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8 days / 7 nights
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This retreat is available all year round and can be customized upon request.

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