With this program you get acquainted with Crete without having to change hotels during your stay. Our professional guide, who will speak your native language, takes you on a new and interesting tour every day. You will get to know the ever-changing landscapes, the historical and archaeological sites and best of all the hospitality of the Cretans.
Day 1: Flight to Heraklion
Arrival at Heraklion airport where you meet your guide and driver. Upon arrival at your beach hotel you are greeted with a welcoming cocktail and have a small discussion about the itinerary. After rooms have been allocated you can relax at the pool or beach until dinner time at the hotel’s restaurant.
Day 2: Knossos museum
Today we visit the famous palace of Knossos which is only 5 km from Heraklion city. This was the residence of King Minos and his daughter’s Ariadne who gave Theseus the string to find his way out of the labyrinth after killing the Minotaur. After Knossos we return to the centre of Heraklion to visit the archaeological museum where all the artefacts found in Knossos and all other excavation sites in Crete like the bull’s head and the discus of Festos are displayed. Before returning to the hotel we have time to walk around the centre of Heraklion so you can get acquainted with the city.
Day 3: Lassithi plataeu. (aaprox. 120km)
Early in the morning we head east towards Lassithi and high up into the Dikti mountain range (1900m) to the The Lassithi plateau lies at a height of approx 800m and is 9km long and 6km in width. Due to its sheltered position, fertile land and mild climate the Venetians used the plateau to build an irrigation system that consisted of over 10,000 windmills. Only a few of these still operational but the ascension into the mountain range and the landscapes of the plateau alone are worth the visit. In Dikti we also visit the cave where, according to the myth, Zeus, the king of the Greek gods was born.
Day 4: Sitia-Vai-Toplou-Kato Zakros. (ca.310 km)
Today we head east past the popular tourist resorts Hersonissos, Stalida and Malia, to Agios Nikolaos. A bit further east and we arrive in Sitia. This town was built by the Venetians in the form of an open-air theatre and was intended to be the capital. On the far north-eastern peak lies the only palm tree forest in Europe around the sandy beach of Vai. From here we continue to the Monastery “Moni Toplou” situated at the top of a hill between Vai and Sitia. This is one of the richest monasteries in the area and is famous for is icons by the painter Ioannins Konares. We then make a short stop at the smallest of the four Minoan Palaces in Kato Zakros before returning to our hotel.
Day 5: Ida Mountains-Festos-Gortys-Matala. (approx.230 km)
Today’s excursion combines beautiful landscapes, history, archaeology & swimming in the Libyan Sea. Through the passage of Agia Triada we drive to Gortys, the old Greek-Roman capital of Crete, founded in 90BC. From there we continue to the second largest Minoan palace of Festos which lies in the luscious valley of Messara with the vineyards, olive groves and fruit trees. We then visit the famous beach of Matala to relax and have a swim. Matala is a unique fishing village known for its ancient caves. Around the west side of the Ida Mountains, the highest mountain range of the island, we reach Spili, the traditional village with the fresh spring waters. From Spili we head north to the small port town of Rethymnon. A walk through the narrow streets of the old town with the oriental architecture and the Venetian port is highly suggested.
Day 6: Samaria Gorge. (approx. 300 km)
This is definately a day to remember. Today we walk through Samaria, Europe’s longest gorge (18km). We begin early in the morning and reach the Omalos plateau (1100m), the entrance to the gorge. From here we descend for about 300m into the gorge and walk along the riverbed to the Iron Gate where the vertical wall rise up more than 100m high and are only 3m apart. After a 4-6 hour walk through magical settings we reach Agia Roumeli on the south coast for a refreshing swim and a meal. A small ferry takes us from Agia Roumeli to Chora Sfakion in the afternoon where our bus will be waiting.
Day 7: Cretan Folklore Night
A special feast has been organized for us in a traditional village with music, dancing, Cretan dishes and wine. A professional group of dancers and musicians is in charge of the entertainment and is more than happy to see us join in!
Day 8: Flight home
Transfer to the airport or extra week at the hotel upon request.