The Guided Tour
The Plan: Hiking, touring fish markets and olive groves, savoring three-hour meals
7Outfitter: Crete's Culinary Sanctuaries
$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 ImagesPick up the September 2005 issue for more great adventure travel ideas!Subscribe to Adventure today and save!