Mediterranean Kayaking Tour - Crete

Eight-Day Kayaking Tour of Crete from The Northwest Passage

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Kayaking Between Crete’s Ancient Wonders and Beachfront Cafés

Even from a distance, you can make out the dark pockets in the sandstone cliffs next to the seaside village of Matala on Crete’s southern shore. The cliff is riddled with ancient caves, some of which are large enough to shelter sleeping nooks. Nowadays, these caves are famous for being the 1960s refuge of wandering hippies such as Joni Mitchell, who sang about "scratchy rock and roll beneath the Matala moon" in her song "Carey." Rick Sweitzer, the executive director of the adventure-tours company The Northwest Passage, fell in love with Crete during the same era as Mitchell and began designing tours to share the island's splendors.

An eight-day kayaking trip explores Matala Bay and other hidden treasures along the Cretan coast. After five to six hours of paddling per day—which always includes a cappuccino break—you’ll feast on Greek specialties such as moussaka, beef stew, and stuffed grape leaves before settling into a cozy, family-run inn.

Days 1–2: After catching your own flight to Heraklion International Airport on Crete's northern coast, look for a sign labeled "NWP" to meet up with staff. The trip starts with a tour of the nearby Palace of Knossos, an ancient Minoan palace that predates the Trojan War. Afterward, head on to Matala, where guides outfit you with a paddle, a life vest, and a spray skirt for basic sea-kayaking lessons in Matala Bay.

Days 3–6: Each day, the group of 6–17 kayakers paddles between seaside inns and small restaurants known as tavernas, leaving plenty of free time for swimming and sunbathing. You’ll visit historic sites along the way, including Minoan ruins and Agios Pavlos, an 11th-century Byzantine chapel where St. Paul is said to have shipwrecked. Head inland to hike the Samariá Gorge, a national park filled with rare kri-kri goats. Other stops includes the coastal town of Chora Sfakia and an optional trek on the E4 European Long Distance trail, which runs west all the way to Spain.

Days 7–8: The trip winds down in Loutro, a cluster of whitewashed houses accessible only via sea. On the final evening, guides will lead a sunset hike to the ruins of a Venetian fortress on top of a nearby ridge. The next morning, hop on a shuttle or hitch a lift with a passing dolphin back to Heraklion. If time allows, you can pop into the city's archeological museum before boarding your plane ride home.

See the full itinerary for more information.

Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.

What You Get

Read about different purchase options here

Eight-day kayaking tour of Crete, valid for tours starting May 5, May 9, May 13, May 17, or October 10, October 14, or October 18

  • $1,799 for a Travel with a Friend package (two Groupons required)
  • $2,274 for a Solo Traveler package
  • $3,598 for a package for two

Book by: 5/1/12

Included in all options:

  • Stays in family-owned inns
  • All breakfasts and all but one dinner
  • All kayaking equipment
  • Guides and kayaking instructors
  • Ground transport and support vehicle
  • Attraction entry fees

Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.

8 Questions

The Fine Print

  • Book by 5/1/12 or promo value expires
  • Valid for trips departing on 5/5/12, 5/9/12, 5/13/12, 5/17/12, 10/10/12, 10/14/12, or 10/18/12
  • Limit 1 per person, 2 more as gifts
  • Limit 1 per visit
  • Valid for option purchased
  • Must cancel in writing
  • Cancel 60 days or more in advance & $100 fee applies; 59-30 days & fee of 30% the Groupon price applies; 29-15 days & fee of 50% the Groupon price applies; 14 days or less & fee up to Groupon price applies
  • Date transfers available for cancellations 15 days or more in advance
  • Valid for standard double-occupancy accommodations
  • Must sign waiver
  • Not valid with reward points.
  • Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.

Other Details

What It's Worth

Eight-day kayaking tour of Crete, valid for tours starting May 5, May 9, May 13, May 17, or October 10, October 14, or October 18

  • $1,799 for a Travel with a Friend package (two Groupons required; up to a $2,999 value)
  • $2,274 for a Solo Traveler package (up to a $3,470 value)
  • $3,598 for a package for two (up to a $5,990 value)

Book by: 5/1/12

Included in all options:

  • Double-occupancy accommodations in family-owned inns
  • All breakfasts and all but one dinner
  • All kayaking equipment
  • Guides and kayaking instructors
  • Ground transport and support vehicle
  • Attraction entry fees

Getting There

  • By plane: fly into and out of Heraklion International Airport (HER), where you’ll meet Northwest Passage staff

Traveler's Tips

  • Participants should bring some synthetic or quick-drying shorts and shirts.
  • Those unaccustomed to kayaking may want to bring open-fingered gloves to protect their hands.
  • Many small Greek shops do not accept credit cards, and ATM access is limited, so convert your currency to Euros in advance.
  • If you're bringing your own kayaking gear, or if you need your gear in an unusual size, let staff know in advance.
  • A support van follows the group, making it easy to switch between paddling and riding in the van at any point.

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