EXPLORING CRETE, CULINARY TRAILS, THE MINOANS & WILD NATURE

Crete

All Year Round

3.000

11 Days

How simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. All that is required to feel that here and now is happiness…” Nikos Kazantzakis, this great son of Crete once stated.

Noted as the cradle of Minoan civilization, Crete will never disappoint you. According to Mythology, goddess Rhea hid the newborn Zeus here, and it was here that Zeus disguised as a bull, took Eyropa so that they may enjoy their love together.

Crete is more like a small country than another Greek island.Rising like two broad shoulders from the sea,Crete is the largest Aegean island and the southern part of Europe.

A crossroad between 3 continents Europe , Asia and Africa. Somewhere here, pirates, refugees,merchants, ambassadors, artists and intellectuals,peasants, craftsmen and sailors in love knitted their fates together.

A blessed land where all the languages of the world have been heard and multilingual prayers have raised into the Cretan sky.

But Crete is also world-renowned for its mouth-watering cuisine and is a food lover’s paradise.It’s fertile soils and unpolluted waters make for an endless supply of locally sourced fresh vegetables, fruits,cheeses,meats and seafood not to mention the regional herbs , the green “gold” of the island the outstanding olive oil and honey.

The Cretan diet is a factor of health and longevity and you’ ll have the opportunity to taste and explore it through our tour.

We will be staying at luxury traditional Eco-lodges,visit the world-famous archaeological sites, participate in cooking and pottery classes, hike gorges and discover the treasures of Cretan nature.The tour includes among others , visits to traditional wineries, wine tasting of numerous varieties of wine and dinners in local homes .

We will sail the crystal blue waters on a sailing boat and dive in secluded uninhabited coasts.

  • Chania : 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 : We visit an olive oil press that uses traditional methods of production. (oil tasting).
  • Chania : Participate in a cooking workshop and an introduction to seasonal cooking and the culture of Cretan gastronomy.
  • Trek one of the most famous places to see on Crete , the Samaria Gorge, Europe’s largest gorge.(The path is 16km long and although it is maintained and in good condition, it takes approx. 7 to 8 hours to do it). Alternative you can hike the Imbros Gorge which is a 2 hours hike).
  • We will visit The Holy Monastery of Arkadi in Rethymnon.
  • Travel through time and discover what rural life was like on Crete back in the late 19th century
  • Take a jab at making your own bread in a wood-fire oven, then enjoy a home cooked meal made with organic products
  • Rethymno : Dive deeper into the town’s history through its flavors.
  • With a knowledgeable guide, we explore Knossos the largest Bronze Age Archaeological site on Crete and which is considered Europe’s oldest city.
  • We will visit a traditional oil press,and taste the excellent produce of the area.
  • We will indulge into a private sailing day trip to charismatic Mochlos and historic Spinalonga island.
  • 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

Tour starts in Chania/Crete. The tour ends in Heraklion/Crete . If you want to extend your trip , please inform us upon booking about your starting and ending point so as to be quoted the final price .

Check in time at your hotel in Chania is after 14:00 so we recommend choosing a flight that arrives in the early afternoon.

Check out time upon departure is 12:00 p.m. We will meet you at the airport and you will enjoy your private transfer to the hotel. We have also arranged private transport back to the airport on your last day .

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 .

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. In the evening, enjoy a sunset tour around the old Venetian port sampling the local cuisine and participating in a wine tasting.

Overnight Chania
Included Meals: Dinner

Day 2 Chania

Walking tour of Chania through the eyes of a local. We will stroll through traditional authentic neighbourhoods in the heart of the city and visit carefully selected specialty food stores.

We will start our day with an aromatic Greek coffee and go on to tempting bakeries and olive, cheese and honey sample tasting.
We will visit shops that have been run by the same families for generations and get useful tips on “the Mediterranean diet”.

We will take you to secret corners, historic locations and truly local venues where the Greeks go shopping, eating and drinking. Our tour will end with mouthwatering bites in the vibrant central food market and last but not least with a few sips of homemade spirits.

In the afternoon we will drive out of the city towards the HOLY TRINITY MONASTERY .The Patriarchal and Crusading Monastery Agia Triada (Holy Trinity) of Jagarolon is one the most significant monastic complexes from the end of the Venetian Occupation of Crete, with a rich offering to the history and education of Crete. A monastery which for centuries produces fine wines and olive oil. We will have time to admire the small artefacts museum with icons and many heirlooms that have survived after repeated catastrophes confirming the great wealth of the Monastery and taste its products.

Our tour will take us further inland towards the picturesque province of Apokoronas and we will visit the workshop of a well known local ceramist.

We will have the unique experience of watching him transform clay into fine work of art in his workshop which is an excellent example of traditional architecture.

On our way back we will stop at the traditional village of Gavalohori ,one of the most authentic and unspoilt Cretan villages where we will stroll and enjoy local food at a tavern.

Overnight Chania
Included Meals: Breakfast /Lunch /Dinner

Day 3 Chania

After breakfast we depart for Kissamos region where we visit an olive oil press that uses traditional methods of production and learn everything around Crete’s “green gold” olive oil.

Next on your trip we will drive to a traditional village for a cooking workshop and an introduction to seasonal cooking and the culture of Cretan gastronomy..

The afternoon will find us swimming in one of the best beaches in Greece .

Overnight Chania
Included Meals: Breakfast /Lunch

Day 4 Samaria Gorge-Rethymno

Today we will drive to Omalos plateau to start our descend through the Samaria gorge.

The Samarian Gorge is one of the longest ravines in Europe. The protected environment, the abundance of water, the topography and the climate that ranges from alpine to subtropical, make Samaria a paradise for wildlife. There are plenty plant species from century old trees, to wild flowers and herbs, some of them very rare like the Cretan maple, orchids, dittany and others.

Rare species of birds like vultures and eagles, and mammals like the Cretan ibex, known as Kri-Kri, live here. After exiting the gorge we will drive to the city of Rethymno.

Overnight Rethymnon

Included Meals: Breakfast /Picnic in the Gorge

Day 5 Rethymno

Go beyond the guidebook and get to know the real Crete! You could read pages of history, but they won’t tell you the stories of Rethymnon like we’ll tell you – that’s a task best left up to locals.

Today’s walking tour of the old town of Rethymnon will show you the city the way locals see it. From the classic historical sites to the local craftsmen and vendors that make Rethymnon the city is, we’ll show you everything you need to understand the city the way the locals do.

Next, it’s time to discover Crete through its incredible flavours. Learn the secrets of the famous Cretan diet, sampling local bites such as traditional koulouri, a sesame seeded bread ring (similar to Turkish simit), and cheese and olives (naturally), and sip some local wine (which has been cultivated heresince 1600 BC!).

We will visit the workshop of one of the last remaining pastry artisans on the island and taste his unique sweets.

Overnight Rethymnon
Included Meals: Breakfast /Lunch

Day 6 Rethymno

After breakfast our guide will meet you at your hotel and you will drive out of the city towards the mainland.

Our first stop is at Margarites Village which is well known for its pottery.We will stroll around this very charming village and enjoy the many pottery studios.The tradition of pottery goes back many generations in this village and we will visit an elder to show you how the pots are hand thrown.

Next we drive towards Amari region and participate in a hands-on cooking class in a picturesque mountaintop village (Name of Village Thronos). Discover all the techniques required to make the perfect loaf of bread— from preparing the dough to how to heat a wood-fire stone oven!

While our breads slowly bake,we will indulge into a mouth watering late lunch all from the owners production and grasp the opportunity to explore this remote region.

With the help of a local (The local is the father of the lady that owns the place), we’ll marvel at a quaint Byzantine church from the 11th century., and we’ll also spend some time exploring the nature around us and learn all about Cretan herbs and their use in everyday life — from medicine to cooking!

Overnight Rethymnon
Included Meals: Breakfast /Lunch

Day 7 Knossos-Matala

Our day starts early as we drive to Knossos the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and which is considered Europe’s oldest city.

With a knowledgeable guide we will walk around and learn facts about the Minoan civilization .We will drive on to the Royal Villa, the Small Minoan Palace at Agia Triada and Gortys site .

We will swim and have lunch at Matala . Matala is a seaside village in south Crete, near Phaistos, the second-largest Minoan Palace in Crete.
Matala became famous in the Sixties, when hippies came here from all over the world to live in the celebrated caves of Matala next to the beach.

In the afternoon we will check in at our hotel which is located in a rugged but very advantageous location at the center of the Asterousia spine,mountains , in front of the peculiar in shape peak of Kophinas. Bare stone is the predominant feature here. The association of the location with its peak ,determined the nature and history of the peak itself, given that it functioned as one of the many peak sanctuaries on Crete.

Overnight Kapetaniana, South Heraklio
Included Meals: Breakfast /Lunch

Day 8 South of Heraklion

Free day to relax and enjoy the area.

Overnight Kapetaniana, South Heraklio
Included Meals: Breakfast

Day 9 Elounda

After breakfast we drive through magnificent landscapes .We pass gorges and a forest , a picturesque plateau which sits on the southwest rear on the high peaks of the Lassithi mountains .

We have lunch in Kritsa town , one of the most picturesque towns in Crete, built amphitheatrically on a rock hill. In Kritsa people keep the old Cretan customs and the traditions and the town is considered one of the most important centers of the Cretan folk and weaving art.
Kritsa produces one of the most distinguished virgin olive oils in Crete and Greece. It is processed and bottled by the local Agrarian cooperative and is internationally awarded for its quality and taste.

We will visit the traditional oil press and taste the excellent produce of the area. Check in at our hotel in Elounda.

Overnight Elounda
Included Meals: Breakfast /Lunch

Day 10 Elounda

After breakfast we will indulge into a private sailing day trip to charismatic Mochlos and historic Spinalonga .

At the northern entrance of Elounda Bay, at a key position for controlling the natural harbor lies the small island of Spinalonga. The Venetians had built on this island one of their strongest fortresses.

Spinalonaga may be the only castle in Greece that its modern history is more interesting : it was used as a leper colony during the first half of the 20th century. It is notable for being one of the last active leper colonies in Europe. The last inhabitant, a priest, left the island in 1962.

Spinalonga is featured in the British television series Who Pays the Ferryman? and Werner Herzog’s experimental short film Last Words. It is the (unnamed) setting of Ali Smith’s short story, The Touching of Wood (in Free Love and Other Stories, 1995). It is also the setting for the 2005 novel The Island by Victoria Hislop, the story of a family’s ties to the leper colony; the book was adapted for television by Mega Channel Greece.

Spinalonga (Crete) is an island where were isolated lepers, humans with the Hansen’s desease. Here took place the story of Victoria ‘s Hislop novel “The Island”.

Overnight Elounda
Included Meals: Breakfast /Lunch

Day 11 End of tour

Our tour concludes after breakfast, with a departure transfer to the airport.

Airport Transfer (1.hour)
Included Meals: Breakfast

PLAN YOUR TRIP