Alternative tourism in Crete
Thanks to the morphology of the landscape and the combination of mountain and sea, the prefecture of Chania is a veritable paradise for those who seek adventure and the alternative forms of tourism which have become very popular in recent years.
The European rambler trail, E4 Alpine, which begins in the Pyrenean Mountains and traverses Greece, continues in Crete from Kasteli of Chania and ends up in Zakro of southern Lasithi.
It cuts across almost the entire mountain range of the prefecture of Chania, with trails which offer unique opportunities to nature lovers and hikers.
In the semi mountainous and mountainous regions the traveller will stumble upon traditional villages with stone houses and narrow roads, forgotten by time.
In villages which are better organized opportunities make themselves available for alternative forms of tourism, such as that of agro-tourism and ecotourism.
This allows the visitor to stay in traditional - usually renovated - rural lodging, and become familiar with Cretan nature and the Cretan way of life in the countryside and to taste authentic, local products. Vamos in Apokoronas, Milia and Spilia in Kisamos are villages of such a nature which attract hundreds of visitors worldwide.
Mountain climbing and climbing pose quite a challenge for those intrepid enough. In Chania there is an active Alpine Club while there are also four mountaineering refuges in the White Mountains sited in Kallegri of Omalos (altitude 1680 m) and with a capacity of 40 people, in Volikas of Keramia (altitude 1430 m) with a capacity of 30 people, in Svourihti the "H. Houliopoulos" (altitude 1970 m) whose capacity is 22 people and in Tavri Askifou (altitude 1200 m) whose capacity is 46 people.
The White Mountain range also offers one the opportunity to traverse it with mountain skis in the winter.
Mountain biking and parapente also provide a challenge for those interested, while the mountainous inlands are suitable for hunting during some periods. One can also take pleasure in observing rare species of birds in the wetlands of the lake of Agia.
The endless beaches of the prefecture give the visitor the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of water sports besides swimming such as that of sailing, kayaking, surfing, water skiing and diving under the supervision of organized diving centres, while for those who love fishing they have many opportunities to relish in it.
As if that was not enough, from Agia Marina to Kisamos there exist quite a few organized campsites for lovers of camping (unorganized camping is prohibited in Crete).
Finally, a large number of athletic activities are available in suitable organized public and private venues.
Conferencing, also a type of alternative tourism, is made available by the Polytechnic Insitute of Crete and the Technological Training Foundation of Chania, the Mediterranean Agronomical Olive and Subtropical Plant Institute of Chania, the Centre of Architecture of the Mediterranean, the Orthodox Academy of Crete in Kolympari, the Foundation of Agia Sophia, the National Foundation of Research of "Eleftherios K. Venizelos" etc...