Crete, a junction between Europe, Africa and the Middle East, with a history enriched by many significant cultures, colorful ever-changing landscapes and the mild climate has as much to offer in winter as in summer. The Alkyonides-days in January and the relaxed and friendly people create a warm, hospitable destination for all those that truly want to know Crete.
Day 1 : Flight to Heraklion
Arrival at Heraklion airport where you meet your guide and are transferred to your 5* hotel. After room allocation we all meet for a welcoming cocktail and to go over the programme for the next few days.
Day 2 : Market, Knossos- Archaeological Museum.
The day begins with a visit to the market of Heraklion, which takes place every Saturday. Farmers, stockbreeders and merchants of all kinds set up their benches and create a very colourful atmosphere and offer almost anything needed in a household at bargain prices. Next on the agenda is a tour around the ancient palace of Knossos followed by a visit to the Archaeological Museum in the centre of Heraklion. This is where the largest collection including the most famous Minoan artefacts is displayed. The Bull’s Head, the Discus of Festos , the wonderful frescoes and the myth they each hide are guaranteed to fascinate every visitor Afterwards, we visit the centre of Iraklio.
Day 3: South of Crete, Gortys-Festos-Kaliviani-Zaros (approx. 150 km)
Today you head south through the inland of Crete taking a short walk into the past of European history. The landscapes are decorated with olive groves and vineyards. In the middle of such a scenery you come across the former Roman capital of Crete, Gortys. This is where the oldest law texts in Europe were found. In the largest valley of Crete, Messara, used by the Romans over 2000 years ago as a wheat field and ruled 4000 years ago by the brother of King Minos, King Rhadamanthys, you find the second largest Minoan Palace, Festos. The Kaliviani monastery is your next destination. The story of this monastery goes back to the 15th century. The last stop for the day is made in Zaros, a beautiful small lagoon at the food of Mt.Psiloritis. Here the visitor can taste the salmons and trout that are bred at that very place.
Day 4: Day with free time
This day is free for you to spend as you wish.
Day 5. Rethymnon-Kournas-Fodele (approx. 180 km)
You depart in the morning and follow the north coast towards the west.
First stop in the beautiful town of Rethymnon, where the traces of the Venetian and Turkish occupation are most evident. From here you continue to the Lake Kournas, set in s beautiful scenery surrounded by mountains. On the way back you visit Fodele, a small traditional village in the middle of orange and mandarin groves also well-known as the birthplace of the famous painter El Greco.
Day 6. Lasithi-Plateau, Monastery of Kera (approx. 140 km)
The Dikti Mountains in the Eastern part of Crete rise up to 1900m. At a height of 800m you come across the Lasithi Plateau that stretches out for 9km and is 6km in width. Because of its safe location, the fertile soil and the mild climate in summer, the Plaeteau was used even during the Venetian occupation. The Venetians used developed a watering system with 10,000 wind mills that, from a distance, looked like daisies. Due to development and new technologies the wind mills have not been used for decades and only few remain. The landscape alone and the famous Dikti Cave, which is where - according the myth – the great God Zeus was born, make this an unforgettable day. On the way back you visit the nunnery of Kera with the impressive Byzantine frescos.
Day 7.: Unknown Crete (approx. 80 km)
Today you travel to the inland through small villages and visit Angarathos, one of the most interesting monasteries of Crete. From there you continue to picturesque village of Thrapsano and visit a pottery, where techniques from ancient times are still used. Next stop Peza. The valley of Peza spreads out between the Dikti Mountains and Mt Psiloritis. This is Crete’s oldest wine producing area. You can Visit one of the wineries where the staff introduces you to all process involved in wine production from the harvest, to bottling of the different varieties. You can also learn about olive trees and the processing of olive oil. The tour ends with a wine tasting. Final destination for the day is Archanes, a beautiful village with an interesting history dating back to ancient times.
Day 8: Flight home
Transfer to the airport and flight home.