CRETE IN A NUTSHELL

Crete

March-October

1.100

7 Days

Endlessly scenic beaches, Venetian old cities, castles and palm trees, wild canyons and unique archaeological sites, cosmopolitan resorts and traditional boutique hotels and one of the world’s healthiest diets, the Mediterranean diet. Crete, the largest island in the country, is not by chance one of the most famous tourist destinations in the world.

Even though some say that you need a lifetime to explore the island and all its treasures, follow us on a 7 days journey from turquoise beaches to mountaintop villages and participate in activities such as wine and olive oil tastings, ceramic workshops and trekking.

  • Chania: Taste the flavors of Crete, on a culinary walking tour of the old Venetian Port and city.
  • Chania: We will visit the workshop of a well-known local ceramist, and see him create.
  • Chania: Dip your toes at one of the most famous beaches worldwide
  • Chania: Enjoy an organic from farm to table slow food lunch
  • Rethymnon: Get a hands-on experience at a ceramic workshop
  • Rethymnon: Trace the heroic history of the island at The Holy Monastery of Arkadi
  • Rethymnon: Travel through time and discover what rural life was like on Crete back in the late 19th century
  • Rethymnon: Experience a Shepherds working day high up in the mountains, followed by a traditional lunch outdoors
  • Rethymnon: Dive deeper into the town’s history through its flavors.
  • Rethymnon: Explore the cave where Zeus, the father of the Ancient Greek Gods grew up
  • Heraklion: With a knowledgeable guide, we explore Knossos the largest Bronze Age Archaeological site on Crete and which is considered Europe’s oldest city.
  • Heraklion: Visit a traditional oil press, and taste the excellent produce of the area.
  • Heraklion: Learn about the wine varieties at traditional family winery (wine tasting)
  • Elounda: Indulge into a private sailing trip to historic Spinalonga island
  • Agios Nikolaos: Stroll around this charismatic port town
  • Heraklion: Enjoy a mouth-watering dinner with traditional Cretan music and learn traditional dances.

What to Know

What’s Included

  • Breakfast daily, all lunch and dinners as outlined in the itinerary.
  • Private sightseeing (including all entrance fees) as outlined in the itinerary.
  • All the activities as outlined in the itinerary.
  • Comfortable private transportation with driver. Other modes of transportation include 4 WD vehicle .
  • Snacks and refreshments along the way.
  • Tipping & porterage taken care of .
  • Airport meet and greet service.
  • Departure transfer.

Not Included

  • International flights
  • Visas
  • Airport taxes
  • Laundry
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance

Day 1 Arrive in Chania/Crete

Start / End Points

After exiting the customs please look out for your English speaking driver. He will be holding a sign with your last name. Transfer to your accommodation. At your hotel, you will be met by one of our group members with a “welcome package” and last minute arrangements. Our team member will give you suggestions of things to do in Crete during your free time.

Free time to rest.

Pick up at 19:30 for an evening walking tour of the old harbor and dinner. ( Dinner is at Tamam restaurant).

Chania is the second largest city in Crete, a place where different civilizations have flourished throughout the centuries. Wandering around the Old Town’s maze-like alleys with the beautiful Venetian mansions, the fountains and the elaborate churches will help you discover well-preserved historical monuments.

The city of Chania is built – according to the archaeological research – on the ruins of ancient Kydonia, which according to the mythology was founded by king Kydon and was one of the most important cities Of Crete, as Homer mentioned, whereas Kydonians are supposed to be a pre-Hellenic tribe. Chania is a wonderful mixture result of Eastern and Western civilizations.

Overnight Chania
Included Meals: Dinner

Day 2 Chania

Hotel pick up at 9:00 and drive to Elafonisi beach. Driving through small traditional villages and crossing the Topolia gorge longwise we reach our first stop… the cave of Agia Sofia, a cave with stalactites, stalagmites and a small chapel at its entrance. Our next stop will be Crete’s most exotic beach.

Elafonisi is a long peninsula which is separated and creates a long beach and an islet opposite it. It has been included in the protected areas Natura, as it is full of dunes with sand lilies and cedars. Also, Elafonisi is visited by the endangered turtles caretta caretta and many species of rare animals.

The island was once occupied by pirates, but now it attracts thousands of visitors. This is reflected in the name of the island. Elafonisi means “Treasure Island” in Greek, named after the treasures that pirates stored here. Who knows, maybe you’ll be lucky to find a hidden treasure when you come here.

Late lunch at a hidden gem, a once-abandoned village but now an eco-retreat before driving back to the city. Free evening for shopping etc.

Overnight Chania
Included Meals: Breakfast /Lunch

Day 3 Rethymno

Our day starts at 8:30 as we drive to Rethymno city for a 2 hours city tour.

Conquer the historical city of Rethymnon (just like many, many others before you). Hear tales of previous conquerors like the Byzantines, Venetians, Ottomans, and pirates, and trace the footsteps of aristocrats, sultans, and warriors as you walk the winding streets of this fascinating city. After the Fall of Rethymno by the Ottomans, Gazi Deli Huseyin Pasha, the commander-in-chief of the Ottoman army in Crete and the conqueror of Rethymno, founded in the area many buildings which still exist today, such as a mosque, a poor-house, a library and a school.

See the colors and taste the flavors that only locals know in this amazing city walk.

Next, we will drive to the picturesque village of Margarites. After lunch, you will have an olive oil tasting inside an olive grove and make your own flavored olive oil (with herbs) to take back home. Following we will explore this ancient village packed with old monasteries and archaeological sites. Surrounded by two parallel gorges with rich flora, aromatic plants, trees, herbs, and flowers.

You will learn about the local herbs and have the opportunity to collect your own mountain tea.

Pottery is one of the oldest arts developed in Crete from 3000 BC first Minoan times and is associated with the creation of products based on the four elements of nature: earth, water, air, and fire.

Especially, the village of Margarites is the most important and well-known pottery center of Crete. In the area, there are plenty of clay deposits which explain the long occupation of the residents with this art. We will visit a ceramic workshop for a hands-on experience before we drive back to the city of Rethymno.

Overnight Rethymnon
Included Meals: Breakfast /Lunch

Day 4 Rethymno

Hotel pick up at 9 to spend a day with the shepherd’s up on the island’s highest peak Psiloritis.

We will drive to the village of Anogia. Now we’re getting into Crete’s mountains, 740 meters up on the north face of Mount Psiloritis to be precise.

It’s a short hop from here to the stunning Nida Plateau, the Ideon Cave (mythology: Zeus grew up here), the observatory at the top of the Skinaka as well as the ancient settlement of Zominthos. Among others, Anogia is the birthplace of the famous Greek singers Nikos Xylouris and Psarantonis.

After a short walk through the traditional village, we will drive to the cave where Zeus was born and spend the day with the shepherds tasting homemade cheese and raki and having a traditional lunch which consists of lamb on the spit.

Overnight Rethymnon
Included Meals: Breakfast /Lunch

Day 5 Heraklion

Pick up at 9:00 and drive to Heraklion. Check into your hotel.

Next, we follow in the footsteps of long-ago Minoan kings on a 2-hour Knossos tour. With your licensed guide, tour the remains dating to the 2nd century BC. Explore what were the royal quarters, storerooms and central court of the palace, the power base of Europe’s first civilization; and hear about the mythical Minotaur that roamed a labyrinth here.

Our next stop is a picturesque village built on the slopes of mount Giouhtas, 15 km. south of the city of Heraklion. Situated in the center of the most important wine-producing region of Crete, it has a 5000 years old history, while excavations conducted in the last 50 years have brought to light a lot of sites dating back to the Minoan period.

The village is also very famous for its typical Cretan architecture. Most of the houses have been restored recently and it has won the second award as “the best-restored village in Europe”.

After a stroll around the village, we will drive to the abandoned village of Vathypetro, where there is a Minoan villa with a wine press, one of the most important monuments of the Minoan era.

This is considered the most ancient installation for treading grapes in the world (3.500 years old), and a great proof of the exceptionally longstanding winemaking tradition of the region.

Here, among the most beautiful agricultural landscapes of Crete, we will enjoy lunch at a unique farm that serves only organic products.

Next, we will learn all about the local wine varieties at a traditional family winery, with specialized knowledge of winemaking and fresh ideas for modern processes of farming and wine production. We will walk between the vineyards, smelling the blossoms, diving deep into the nature’s miracle, tasting awarded local ‘’Vidiano’’, ‘’Muscat of Spinas’’, and some international varieties like ‘’Grenache Rouge’’, ‘’Syrah’’, ‘’Mouverde’’, that earn a special taste because of the local Terroir.

The tour will end with a drop off at your hotel in Heraklion.

Overnight Heraklio
Included Meals: Breakfast /Lunch

Day 6 Lasithi

We start our day with a pick up at 9:00

Today we will visit the area region of Lasithi, and travel to the seaside town of Aghios Nikolaos. Admire the pretty harbor and Lake Voulismeni — said to be bottomless — and enjoy lunch here before you venture onwards to Elounda.

Here, ride a speedboat to nearby Spinalonga Island, home to a ruined 17th-century Venetian fortress and one-time leper colony. Step ashore on the rocky island and enjoy a guided tour of the fortifications and citadel.
We will enter through the gate in the walls and explore the preserved houses, buildings and lanes from the Ottoman era. Hear how the village was used to quarantine lepers between 1903 and 1957, and how they lived here isolated from the outside world. Afterward, enjoy time to swim in the turquoise waters before we head back to Heraklion.

Overnight Heraklio
Included Meals: Breakfast

Day 7 End of our Tour

Free morning for shopping or to visit the much worthy Archaeological museum of Heraklion.
Pick up and drop off at Heraklion airport.

Included Meals: Breakfast

PLAN YOUR TRIP