The highlights of Crete
A journey around the island exploring and discovering the cultural past, unique landscapes, local products and cuisine combined with an insight of the modern life.
Day 1 Chania – Aptera – Kournas – Myriokefala – Argyroupoli - Rethymno
We will start our day with Aptera an archaeological site which is connected with a myth. The Muses defeated the Sirens during a musical contest that took place in the area. We will see there the ancient theater, the roman cisterns, public buildings and a monastery while enjoying the magnificent view. By the lake of Kournas, the only natural lake of Crete, we will have a break. Our next stop will be at Myriokefala with the church of Panagia a very well-known pilgrimage on the 8th of September every year. Our lunch we will have in Argyroupoli a small village in the mountains. There, we will have the opportunity to wander through the small streets and taste a little bit of the Cretan hospitality. Before we arrive at the hotel, we will visit the old town of Rethymno with its beautiful venetian atmosphere. Dinner and overnight in Rethymno.
Day 2 Rethymno – Arkadi – Eleftherna – Margarites – Axos – Anogia -Heraklion
The monastery of Arkadi played a very important role in the Cretan history and it is a famous pilgrimage as well. We will have enough time to explore the very well restored complex, which is an excellent example of the Cretan Renaissance. Not far away from Arkadi, lies the archaeological site of Eleftherna with its museum. The finds that are exhibited there, as well as the nearby necropolis, prove the information given by Homer in his Iliad, which is a human sacrifice as a penalty of war during a burial. In the little village of Margarites, famous for its traditional pottery, we will have our lunch break. At the foot of Psiloritis, the highest mountain of Crete lie Axos and Anogia. In the first village there are small churches scattered along the main road and the second one is famous because of many song writers and singers of the traditional Cretan music. Dinner and overnight in Heraklion.
Day 3 Heraklion – Archaeological Museum – Knossos – Archanes - Heraklion
The highlight of the Minoan Civilization is the palace of Knossos. We will wander through the mythological Labyrinth and we will admire the amazing architecture of the Bronze Age. The Throne Room, the Royal Apartments, the Grand Staircase, the Corridor of the Procession and the Magazines are some of the important stops during our tour. In the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, we will marvel at the masterpieces of the Minoan World that is pottery, jewelry, writing and wall paintings, which will help us understand even better the cultural achievements of this era. The picturesque village of Archanes is going to host our lunch break. In the afternoon during our walking tour, we will see the most important buildings of the center of Heraklion.
Day 4 Heraklion – Agarathos – Winery – Epanosifi – Agios Myronas – Heraklion
South of Heraklion are the biggest vineyards on the island of Crete with a lot of small and bigger wineries. In this area lies the Monastery of Agarathou, which was totally rebuilt in the 19th c. Underneath a pomegranate tree was found the icon of Virgin Mary and because of this the church is dedicated to her. We cannot leave the area before visiting one of the many wineries. The next place we will stop at, is the Monastery of Epanosifis which is dedicated to Saint George. The whole complex looks like a traditional Cretan village. After our lunch break, we travel to the village of Hagios Myronas named after the local saint. The homonymous church is built at the place that he spent his life praying and where he was also buried.
Day 5 Heraklion – Panagia Kera – Lasithi Plateau – Psychro – Selinari – Agios Nikolaos
On our way to the famous Lasithi plateau is located Panagia Kera with beautiful wall paintings dating to the 14th c. In its courtyard is still today a column, the evidence of the miracle connected to the icon of Virgin Mary. We will visit the cave of Psychro full of stalagmites and stalactites where the famous Greek god Zeus was born according to mythology. Lunch break in a local taverna. Driving around the plateau we will see some of the remaining watermills. On the way to Agios Nikolaos is the pilgrimage of Saint George close to the water spring of Selinari. There is still enough time in the late afternoon to walk around the “bottomless” lake in the middle of the town.
Day 6 Kritsa – Spinalonga - Sitia
In the morning we will admire the wall paintings of the three aisled church of Panagia Kera in Kritsa. They are dated to three different periods from the 13th to the 14th c. From the fishing village of Plaka a small boat will take us over to the island of Spinalonga. This Venetian fortress became the shelter of all the lepers from all over Greece in the beginning of the 20th c. The best-seller “The Island” written by Victoria Hislop made this place famous all over the world. Returning back to Plaka we enjoy our lunch break in one of the tavernas by the sea. Our journey to Sitia will take us along the north coast of Crete. It is worth spending some time walking through the streets and participating in the rhythm of the local life in the small town where we spend the night.
Day 7 Sitia – Toplou – Vai – Etia – Lithines – Kapsa - Ierapetra
We start our day with the monastery of Toplou which lies at the northeast end of the island of Crete. In its church and museum, we will marvel at fantastic icons from the 15th up to the 18th c. In the area is the famous palm forest of Vai with hundreds of the indigenous kind phoenix Theophrasti Greuter. Off the main road toward Makrigialos, is the villa of Etia one of the few remaining residences of the venetian period in the countryside. Our next stop is the church of Panagia in Lithines. We will have a nice lunch break by the sea and in the afternoon, we will visit the monastery of Κapsa, which was built on the slope of a mountain facing the Libyan Sea. It became a big monastic community in the end of the 19th c. We will spend the night in Ierapetra, the largest town on south coast which is mainly inhabited by fishermen.
Day 8 Gortyn – Kalyviani – Matala - Gerakari
Zeus and the princess Europe spent their first night together under a plane tree in Gortyn, according to mythology. There we will see the church of Saint Titus and the roman odeum with the oldest codified law in Europe. On the plain of Messara is situated Kalyviani a monastery famous all over the island for its philanthropic activities. Its church is dedicated to Panagia and every year on the 15th of August it is visited by thousands of pilgrims. In the small fishing village of Matala we will have our lunch break. The place became known because of the flower children who lived in the roman rock carved tombs in the 70s. Dinner and overnight in Gerakari a village in the mountains.
Day 9 Meronas – Spili – Preveli – Plakias – Fragokastelo - Chania
The church of Panagia in Meronas is decorated with wall paintings dated to the 14th c. and bears the coat of arms of the famous Kallergi family, which played a very important role in the beginning of the venetian period. We will have a short break in Spili famous for its 25 water springs. Our next stop will be at the monastery of Preveli built on the south coast of Crete. In the church there is a reliquary, with a fragment of the Holy Cross, and because of this there is a big celebration every year on the 14th of September. Lunch break in Plakias. Our journey will continue along the south coast and in Fragokastelo we will stop to take a look at the venetian castle. Still today the local people talk about “Drosoulites” the ghosts which appear there.
Day 10 Chania – Rotonda – Gonia – Ano Vouves - Chania
Rotonda is the most interesting monument of the early byzantine period, from both an architectural and decorative perspective and is dedicated to the archangel Michael. Outside of the village of Kolymbari, is the monastery of Gonia a famous pilgrimage of western Crete on the 15th of August. There we will spend some time admiring several icons from the 15th - 18th c., beautiful examples of the Cretan School of Iconography. One of the oldest olive trees on the island is in Ano Vouves. It is believed to be over 2500 years old. In a nearby olive oil factory, we will have the opportunity to hear and learn more about the golden liquid and its therapeutical properties. Returning to Chania we will have a short walking tour to see the most important monuments of the old town from the Market Hall to the Venetian Harbor.
Day 11 Chania – Botanical Garden – Souda Bay – Agia Triada – Venizelos’ Tombs - Chania
We will spend the morning in the Botanical Gardens south of Chania. There we will see a rich vegetation of three different climate zones and we will focus on the Cretan plants and herbs. In the afternoon we will drive around the Souda Bay where we will stop at the war cemetery of the allied forces from the WWII. The monastery of Agia Triada we will visit next, is the one of the largest ones on the island with a beautiful Cretan-venetian architecture. A magnificent view of the whole town of Chania we will enjoy from the Venizelos’ tombs.
Day 12 Depart from Greece – Chania
According to the schedule of your return flight you will be taken to Ioannis Daskalogiannis (airport of Chania).
Deluxe bus transportation for airport transfers and for the tours according to the program - 50-seats bus.*
… overnights, on HB basis in 4* or 5* hotels .
Professional qualified English-speaking tourist guide throughout the tour.
The whispers set.***
Full liability insurance.
All legal taxes and VAT.
Possible tips and personal expenses.
Meals outside of package.
The Overnight Stay Tax, which is 3,00€ per room, per overnight in 4* hotel and …€ per room, per overnight in 5* hotel.
What is not clearly described as included in the program.
* According to Covid-19 protocols, the capacity of the tourist bus must be at 65% of the seats.
** The cost of entrance tickets is based on the prices given by the Ministry of Culture up to now. If the prices of the entrance fees change, the cost will be adjusted accordingly.
***Losses or destruction of the whispers:
The following charges without VAT apply for the loss or destruction of the equipment:
- Receiver € 75.00
This tour package can be combined with:
1 day cruise to Poros, Hydra and Aigina
1 day cruise to Mount Athos.
3 nights Iconic Aegean Sea Islands cruise.
4 nights Iconic Aegean Sea Islands cruise.
We can design shorter or longer itineraries according to your interest.
You may combine the above program with any itinerary regarding Cyprus, Israel, Italy and Turkey.
We bear no responsibility in case of unannounced and unexpectedly closed archaeological sites, museums, churches or monasteries,
We recommend to be dressed with respect towards the religious places we are going to visit – covered knees and shoulders.
We also strongly advise you to always wear a hat, comfortable shoes, sunglasses and have sunblock with you.