Experience the best of beautiful Crete with a 14-night self-drive tour which will take you from the vibrant city of Heraklion to the rolling vineyards of Pediados region. Visit the world-famous Archaeological Museum, enjoy mouth-watering Cretan cuisine and taste local wines. Crete boasts lush green hills, mountain peaks and hospitality which provide an idyllic backdrop for relaxation in a small bay.
Arrival at Heraklion airport Nikos Kazantzakis. Collection of rental car and drive to the hotel for your first overnight.
Visit the ruins of the Minoan palace of Knossos before driving in the Pediados vineyards region, since Minoan times famous for its wines. Wineries welcome visitors for wine tastings. Drive to the ancient Minoan farm Vathypetro and see the oldest winepress. The lively capital Heraklion hosts the Archaeological Museum and other; make a city walk as there are more place of interest waiting to be discovered. Sit down and relax on a terrace and let the world pass by.
Drive high up to Lassithi Plateau and enjoy the green scenery. Stop in the rural village Krasi to see the oldest and biggest plane tree in Crete. Visit the Byzantine monstery Kardiotissa with its rare icons. Enjoy, at Seli the gate to the Lassithi Plateau, a truly fantastic view over the plain and walk up to see the inside of an old stone grain mill. See the villages located around the plain and stop at the Dicti Cave also associated with the birth of Zeus (Jupiter). A stroll in a village is an opportunity to experience day to day life with its coffee-houses and grocery shops.
Departure with luggage
Drive to the whitewashed village of Kritsa which is famous for its handicrafts and Byzantine church Kera. The picturesque harbour town Saint Nicholas invites for a stroll in the narrow streets and along the small lake. Enjoy the amazing views on the Gulf of Mirabello en stop in Elounda or Plaka to sail to the famous island Spinalonga, well known because of Victoria Hislops’ bestseller “The Island”. Go on to Sitia and marvel the view on the sea and the archaeological site of Gournia.
Explore today the far east point of Crete and pass a dessert like landscape. Stop at the Toplou monastery with high bell tower, lovely court yard and impressive icons. Visit the ruins of the Minoan palace of Kato Zakros and the beautiful palm forest and beach of Vai.
Unwind yourself in Sitia, a small Mediterranean port town.
Arrive at the south coast crossing the mountains Tripiti and Orno. Make a stroll along the beach boulevard and old neighbourhood in the city of Ierapetra. Enjoy pure Crete and views on the Cretan mountains and its southern coastline when driving onto Matala.
Take a day-off for relaxation on the beach! However a drive to Kommos archaeological site and beach is interesting or cross the wild Asterousia Mountains and lay down on one of the lonely beaches. Smell herbs and teas in a local shop at Kousses.
Visit the significant sites of the Minoan palace Phaestos and Roman town Gortys with its famous law stones, amphitheatre and the ruins of the first Christian basilica. Drive on the south slope of Mount Ida to Zaros and make a pause at the pond. Make an inspiring visit to Kalivianni convent, a unique example that identifies faith and worship with social offer and charity. Stop in Vori and visit the Ethnological museum exhibiting agriculture and household items from earlier ages.
Head up north west and make on the way stops to see some nice places.
Make a break in Aghia Galini, a picturesque village with shops, taverns and cafe’s. Stop in the impressive Kourtaliotiko Gorge; to hear the mysterious sound blowing through the narrow. Enjoy noon break at the seaside village Plakias, and see the ancient Venetian Fort at the beautiful sandy beach in Frangocastello. Parallel and high above the Imbros Gorge drive on to the north coast.
Through the ages, western Crete and the beautiful Lefka Ori mountains were inhabited by various nations and tribes. This makes this region an interesting place to stay and to discover.
Visit Hania, the old capital of Crete. Stroll through the Leather Market down into the old Venetian, Ottoman, and Jewish quarters, wander through the back streets of this medieval town and take the chance to visit the Municipal Market Hall, full of local products, honey, herbs and spices. Drive up the peninsula Akrotiri, and admire at Venizelos’ tomb the view on the gulf and city of Hania.
Enjoy a scenery route to south western Crete. Visit Chrisoskalitissa Monastery idyllic located above the sea and wade to Elafonissos island. Return to the north along the west coast and stop at the long sandy beach of Falassarna.
Make the trip through an impressive ravine to the village of Therissos, the birthplace of El. Venizelos, first prime minister of Greece. In the nearby village of Meskla there is a nice 14th century Byzantine church.
A wonderful trip through small villages, green and wild mountains leads south to the small village of Paleochora, with shops, taverns and beaches.
The Lefka Ori (White Mountains) are an ideal place for walking trips:
Follow the beautiful green mountain road up to the Omalos plain at approx. 1200 m. Here, at the Xyloskalon, is the entrance of the 18 km long Samaria Gorge.
Walk the Aghia Irini-Gorge (8 km), and drive to the coastal village of Sougia with crystal clear water and long beach.
The Imbros Gorge (7 km) runs parallel to Samaria Gorge and its narrowest part has only 1.60 m.
Note that the starting and end point of the walks are not close to each other. If all drivers want to walk, it is not possible to pass the gorges unless you take a taxi back to the starting point.
Departure with luggage
Drive a scenery route through the lush green landscape and small villages to Rethymnon. Taste homemade fresh yoghurt with honey in Vrisses. Stop near Georgioupolis at Lake of Kournas the only natural lake in Crete. Refresh at the village Argiroupouli surrounded with high trees is abundant in water.
Visit the Arkadi Monastery; due to the holocaust it suffered in 1866, it is like a memorial for the freedom of the Turkish occupation. See in Margarites small pottery workshops, and discover near Zoniana the Sfedoni cave with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. The mountain village of Anogia is well known for goat and sheep breeding. On Nida plain, are traditional stone huts of the shepherds. Enjoy the evening in the picturesque town of Rethymnon. It still maintains its old aristocratic appearance with a mixture of Venetian and Turkish influences.
Departure with luggage
Departure day. Drive to the airport drop off rental car.