Let us make adventurous or relaxing your holidays in Crete
Visit this green plateau in the middle of the Dicti Mountains which was once peppered with thousands of white windmills. First stop the pretty nunnery of Kera Kardiotissa which is home to a famous icon of the Holy Mother and frescoes from the 13th and 14th century.
Driving south, we reach the Plateau of Lassithi and after a short climb will bring you to a very special place in Greek mythology, the Dicti Cave, where Zeus, the father of all Greek gods, was born. The cave is also famous for its impressive stalactites and stalagmites. The village of Tzermiado will be our stop for lunch and we will eat at one of the local tavernas.
The tour will be completed with a visit to the Minoan Palace of Knossos where the fist civilization in Europe started 4000 years ago. Knossos Minoan palace was built on ruins dating from Neolithic times. It was multi-storey and had an intricate plan, which is why the Palace is connected with thrilling legends, such as the myth of the labyrinth and the Minotaur.
A day that combines the Greek mythology, the Minoan civilization and the Byzantine period in only one tour.
At Elounda, a famous resort with the most five star hotels in Greece, we take the boat and cruise along the bay to the island of Spinalonga.
The guided tour on the island will fascinate you, as you learn the tragic history of this island which was once a Venetian fortress and was then the isolated home of many lepers up to 1957. The Venetians constructed a very impressive fortress with forty cannons which has been guarding the strategic bay of Mirabello since the 15th century.
We get on board again and head for the sandy bay of Kolokitha. Here you will have time for swimming in the crystal clear waters while, in the meantime, the BBQ will be cooked by the crew. It will be served on board at just the right time. The boat will take you back to Elounda after a fantastic day.
Are you in search of "Paradise lost"? Chrissi Island is the answer! A short drive to the east of Crete, takes us to the south coast with the picturesque town of lerapetra, which is also the warmest and southernmost part of Europe.
Here we'll catch the boat that will carry us over the ever-changing colors of the crystal clear waters of the Libyan Seas to the little island of Chrissi. If we are lucky, we will be accompanied by dolphins a few meters away from the boat.
Suddenly there it is... the last land before the African coast, the golden Isle. This semi-tropical paradise has fantastic beaches, consisting of millions of multicolored crushed seashells, sparkling under the sun.
There is plenty of time for you to do some sunbathing, or to relax on the sand dunes under the shade of the trees. Walking through a beautiful cedar tree forest, probably the last existing in Europe, is a real pleasure. The island is now protected as an "area of Intense Natural Beauty" as it looks like the last paradise on Earth!
A perfect day away from the busy modern resorts whatever you do on Chrissi Island, one thing is for sure: you'll live Robinson Crusoe's life for a day!
Driving west, after a short breakfast stop near Rethymnon, we reach the port of Kissamos. Here we take our boat for a pleasant one hour sail along the coastline.
Arriving in the port of the ex-pirate island of Gramvousa we hear how, during the Turkish occupation, the residents of the island started looting passing boats thus giving the island its pirate reputation. It is a protected biotope, and is host to more than 400 plant species and over 100 birds species and is home to the Mediterranean seal Monachus Monachus and the sea turtle Caretta Caretta.
Don't miss out on a visit to the impressive Venetian Castle on the top of a steep rock. There is plenty of time for swimming or lunch on board. Our boat then departs for the Blue Lagoon of Balos, a shallow and warm water lagoon which brings to mind similar lagoons in the Caribbean. Gramvousa is one of the most beautiful beaches in the whole world. Enjoy a fantastic swim and relax for approximately three hours before boarding for the return sail.
Make an exception to lazy wakeup so that you can enjoy the outstanding walk through the famous and beautiful Samaria Gorge, the longest in Europe. Breakfast on the outskirts of Rethimnon will be our first stop.
The 18 Km hike starts in Xyloskalo. You will discover a unique wide variety of fauna and flora, and you will also see the Kri-Kri, the wild Cretan goat. The isolated, deserted village of Samaria makes the ideal place for a rest before you continue to the 'Iron Gates', the point where the canyon walls are so close that they almost touch each other.
The walk ends at the fishing village of Ayia Roumeli, with plenty of tavernas for you to enjoy a tasty meal and that well-earned drink.
Relax and swim in the turquoise waters of the Libyan Sea, before taking the boat which follows the coastline to the village of Chora Sfakion where the coach will be waiting to take you back to your resort, via Imbros Gorge and the Plateau, and the villages of Askifou and Vrisses.
We start start our day in the village of Mohos, an original, lively Cretan village where the way of life has hardly changed at all over the centuries. You can have a coffee in one of the original Kafenions and take a walk around the village itself to find out what Cretan village life is like..
Our next stop is the Diktean Cave, the most important and famous of the 3000 caves on the island, which is believed to be the birthplace of Zeus, father of the Greek Gods.
Moving downhill, we come across the village Psychro where we will find a famous pottery centre. Here we can see a traditional potter at work as he shares some of the secrets of his craft.
We stop for lunch at Tzermiado, the capital of Lassithi Plateau. The Nunnery of Panagia Kera is our last stop. It is believed that the founding of the monastery is connected with the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary, from which it takes its name (Kera means Our Lady).
Don't miss a relaxing day exploring from the Ancient Greek Gods to traditional village life.
Participate in a guided tour to the Palace of Knossos, the political and ceremonial center of Minoan civilization, followed by a guided tour to Heraklion Archaeological Museum, which houses artefacts from all periods of Cretan prehistory and history, covering a chronological span of over 5,500 years from the Neolithic period to Roman times. The singularly important Minoan collection contains unique examples of Minoan art, many of them true masterpieces. The Heraklion Museum is rightly considered to be the museum of Minoan culture par excellence worldwide.
The final attraction of the day is a walk with your guide to explore the streets of the town of Heraklion itself. You will have free time for shopping in the vast array of shops and will be able to enjoy browsing through the vegetable market or having lunch in one of the local restaurants. Free time for last minute shopping around the centre or rest for refreshment.
Kournas, Chania, Rethymnon
Leaving Heraklion, and heading northwest Further west lays Chania, Crete's second largest city of the island. The town is divided into the old town within the Venetian city walls which is an attractive maze of narrow streets, old mansions and arcades, and the new town which is considered to be one of the most beautiful towns in Greece.
Get in touch with the Orient as you browse through the cross-shaped indoor market which is the ideal spot to find some unusual presents and souvenirs. "Leather Street" is a great place to look for those leather bargain. Lunch can be enjoyed in one of the many waterfront tavernas which overlook the old Venetian harbor.
A short a visit to Rethymnon will allow you to shop for antiques in the narrow streets of the Old Town, to gaze up at the Turkish minarets and to stroll along the Venetian port down to the fortress. You'll never believe one island could have such contrasting sights, and colors!
And continue to the one and only fresh water lake on Crete, Kournas. Lake Kournas lies in a valley, in a beautiful area between the hills and the surrounding mountains and is reminiscent of a lake in the Alps. Here you can walk around the lake and see how the colour of the water changes according to the time of day, you can have a refreshing swim in the shallow water and enjoy a meal in one of the numerous tavernas close by, enjoying the lovely views.
The current name “Koufonisi” is related to the many pits and caves shaped by the sea and the rain in the soft rocks. As excavations revealed, the island flourished the Roman times. During ancient times, it was an important spot for sponge fishing and the processing of Tyrian purple, the renowned red dye used by the Ancients and Byzantines.
Excavations during the last century brought astonishing findings to light. Among others, a stone theatre, the southernmost ancient theatre in Europe with a capacity of 1,000 seats and an important settlement which was looted and destroyed during ancient times. On the north side of the island, there is a beautiful little church dedicated to St Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors.
We depart from Makrys Gialos and heads to Koufonisi. sailing in the turquoise blue waters of the Libyan Sea, and the ship will anchor off the coast, giving you the chance to swim in the crystal clear waters.
Through this route we explore the south-eastern Crete.
We head to Agios Nikolaos and stop in the traditional village of Kritsa, one of the most famous villages of Crete with its narrow picturesque alleys and its traditional shops. Afterwards we ascend through a beautiful route with magnificent views and end up at the Katharos Plateau at an altitude of 1250 meters where we stop for coffee in a traditional cafe.
Later on we cross the forest of Selakano and end up in the Sarakina Gorge which will surprise you with its beauty.
Continuing and after our amazing meal, we reach the southernmost end of eastern Crete, the village of Myrtos with its amazing beach where you can have a swim in the crystal clear waters of the Libian sea. Returning through a very beautiful route we arrive at your hotel. This route will leave you with the very best memories.
Through this trail we will explore the central part of Crete and we will walk on 2 plateaus reaching an altitude of 1150 meters. We will follow a beautiful route through lush olive groves and reach the ruins of the Roman aqueduct in Lyttos and then we will make our first stop at the traditional village of Kastamonitsa where we will have coffee and walk in the narrow streets and get to know the architectural tradition of central Crete.
Afterwards we will start our ascent using dirt roads, and passing by the monastery of Agia Anna, we will reach the Limnakaro Plateau at 1150 meters altitude, where you will also get to know the architecture of “mitata”, the stone made refuges of the local shepherds.
Our next stop is the cave of ZEUS where mythology says that the father of the gods was born.
Right after you will enjoy an authentic Cretan meal, in one of the best local taverns. Then we will go through Seli where you will be surely enchanted by the landscape and the pictures you will take from here will be the best of your holiday. Then we descend to the traditional village of Krasi with its 2000 year old plane tree and the ancient natural water spring. Finally, through a beautiful route with a very nice view we get back to the hotel full of memories for the rest of your life.
Why not discover the real Cretan Folklore Night? In a mountain village we meet friendly Cretan folk who invite us to taste a glass of the local Cretan firewater "Raki".
A stroll around the lovely village will allow you to catch a glimpse of the rural life of a Cretan village and, at the same time, put you in the mood for the evening ahead. Once we get to the taverna, where the wine flows free and unlimited, you will enjoy a tasty Cretan meal accompanied by the melodies of the Lyra and the Bouzouki (Cretan and Greek traditional music instruments).
You will see the many different traditional costumes and witness the grace of the Cretan dancers performing a variety of Cretan and Greek folklore dances. It might sound unbelievable, but this really is your chance to watch "Zorba the Greek" dancing on the top of a wineglass, on top of a bottle.
As you get in the mood, why not join in and learn a few of the Greek steps? If you want to eat, drink and dance like a local, this is a fabulous evening you shouldn't miss.