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Hiking Up an Appetite in Crete
Adventure-approved excursions for right now.  By Costas Christ 
Photo: Fish market in Crete

The Plan: Hiking, touring fish markets and olive groves, savoring three-hour meals

Days: 7

Outfitter: Crete's Culinary Sanctuaries (www.cookingincrete.com)

Cost: $2,100
 
Why Go: In the U.S., weight-loss hucksters call it the "Mediterranean Diet," but in the mountains of Crete, a salubrious mix of healthful eating and outdoor activity is just called "living." Life, apparently, is good—many locals go strong past a hundred. Each September the region's grape harvest reaches its peak and the crowds of summer tourists clear out, leaving thousand-year-old hillside trails all but empty. Trekkers collect wild thyme, sage, and oregano, experience local wine-making festivities, and select fish fresh from local markets (pictured) before sharing customary two- to three-hour meals with villagers. (Unsolicited advice: When they pull out the Cretan lyre, playing wallflower is not an option.) Your take-home? Enough souvenir recipes to last at least another century.
 
Need to Know: Don't bother counting calories: You'll burn plenty on an 11-mile (18-kilometer) hike between the narrow, thousand-foot (305-meter) walls of Samariá Gorge to seaside ruins, coastal grottoes, and white-sand beaches.

Photograph by Steve Outram/Getty Images

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