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The Highlights Of Crete (12 Days)

Heraklion International Airport (HER), Crete (0)
from/per person  349
  • Self Drive Tours
  • 12 Days


The Highlights Of Crete

Visit Crete and experience Greek Hospitality. This Crete Self drive tour includes accommodation on multiple sites of the Island and a rental Car. You will have the chance to explore by yourself various places all over Crete.  We will equip you with trip suggestions and routes to explore. This package is ideal for travelers visiting Crete for the first time or Island lovers who desire flexible schedule during their stay.

The all-year mild climate will make it pleasant for you to experience both nature and local places. Varied landscapes all rich in Mediterranean flora and fauna. 

For Walkers there are treks through known and unknown gorges and secluded paths as well. High rugged and barren mountains, fertile plains and deep gorges. Culture lovers will have the chance to visit museums, archaeological sites, monasteries and churches often located at the most beautiful spots. Visit the modern and busy capital city of Crete Heraklion or travel back in time when driving among traditional villages located at the interior of the Island. The small town of Agios Nikolaos is ideal for a romantic walk. You will also have time at the west to discover Chania’s and Rethymno’s Venetian fortresses and former Turkish mosques.

Between stops, you will always enjoy the wonderful Mediterranean climate and sea. There are beautiful sandy beaches, and many small hidden bays as well located between the cliffs.

While you are staying in different places you can adjust the schedule according to your needs and still enjoy both history and highlights across the island. This Crete Self Drive Tour will always be

  • Accommodation: C’ *** and/or B’ ** class, standard rooms with shower and toilet
  • Board Basis: Bed & Breakfast
  • Check-in at 14:00 (early check-in possible upon availability) / Check-out by 12:00
  • Tourist road map of Crete
  • Route suggestions and vacation tips
  • Car Rental: Overnights x 24 hours Rental days Group A, 1.0cc or equivalent
  • Flexible day of arrival – You start the program the day you choose
  • Any service not mentioned
  • Meals and drinks not mentioned
  • Travel and cancellation insurance
  • Fuel
  • Flight ticket
Additional Addons:

The following add-ons are available as Upgrade Supplements for this tour:

  • Accommodation Board: Half-board upgrade supplement
  • Air conditioning is provided with an additional charge payable at the Hotel
  • Car Rental: Group upgrade supplement


Accommodation Basis: Bed and breakfast

Hotels: C’ *** and/or B’ ** class, standard rooms with shower and toilet

Car rental

11 x 24 hrs Rental Car cat. A with AC (type Renault Twingo 1.0cc or similar) www.sixt.gr

Day 1 Heraklion airport, Heraklion area (approx. 25 km)
Upon arrival at Nikos Kazantzakis airport of Heraklion pick up rental car and map of Crete. This is the start of a nice holiday on the island Crete. You drive to the hotel for your first overnight.
Overnight in Gouves-Malia area
Day 2 Knossos, Archanes, Peza, Heraklion (approx. 60 km)
Visit the ruins of the Minoan palace of Knossos and continue south towards the vineyard of Crete. The villages Archanes and Peza are already since the Minoan period famous for its vineyards, stop at a winery for wine tasting. Visit the ancient Minoan farm with winepress at Vathypetro. In the city of Heraklion you can visit the archaeological or historical museum and enjoy a drink at a cozy terrace on the always busy city square of the island’s capital.
Overnight in Gouves-Malia area
Day 3 Anogia, Zoniana, Sfedoni, Axos (approx. 150 km)
Drive high up to Ida Mountain and visit the mountain village of Anogia, well known for goat and sheep breeding. If you continue towards the Nida plain, you will see an impressive, rocky landscape and the traditional stone shepherds’ huts. At Zoniana, you discover the Sfedoni cave. Your way back to the hotel is a ride through orange tree plantations.
Overnight in Gouves-Malia area
Day 4 Fodele, Arkadi Monastery, Margarites, Rethymnon (approx. 110 km)   Departure with luggage
Enjoy the panoramic view when driving to Rethymnon. Visit the village of Fodele, birthplace of the famous painter El Greco. Very interesting is the Arkadi Monastery, known as a memorial for the freedom of the Turkish occupation. In the lovely village of Margarites, built next to an impressive gorge, you can see small pottery workshops. Discover the enjoyable center of Rethymnon town. It still maintains its old aristocratic appearance, a mixture of Venetian and Turkish influences. Make a walk on the boulevard with palm trees and along the sandy beach.
Overnight in or nearby Kavros-Georgioupolis
Day 5 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.
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.
Day 6 Vrisses, Chisopigi Monastery, Hania, Kournas (approx. 110 km)
In Vrisses you can taste homemade yoghurt with honey. Further west, close to Hania town, you visit the lovely monastery of Chrisopigi. Hania, the former capital of Crete, has a pleasant old city center. Stroll around the small, narrow roads and walk along the Venetian harbour. Of course, you visit the indoor market hall where you can buy local goods. Make a stop at Kournas Lake, to enjoy a good meal or a drink at a terrace near the lake side.
Overnight in or nearby Kavros-Georgioupolis.
Day 7 Plakias, Preveli Monastery, Spili Agia Galini, Matala (approx. 130 km)   Departure with luggage
Visit the village of Argiroupolis with its waterfalls. On your way to the south you pass traditional villages and the impressive Kotsifou gorge. In the seaside resort Plakias you make a swim or enjoy fresh fish in a local tavern. Visit the beautiful located Preveli Monastery before driving the striking Kourtaliotiko Gorge. The springs with the Venetian lion heads you see in Spili. The fishing village Agia Galini, built on a hill slope, has an inviting square with terraces. The first Christians lived in the holes of Matala, which got well known when the hippies settled there in the 70’s.
Overnight in or nearby Matala.
Day 8 Phaestos, Agia Triada, Kousses, Vori, Zaros (approx. 70 km)
On the fertile Messara plain are the ruins of the Minoan palace of Phaestos, the kings’ villa Agia Triada and the old Roman town of Gortys surrounded by olive trees. All kind of herbs are for sale in the village Kousses. The folklore museum of Vori has a collection of old agricultural tools and household items. A beautiful route through the outskirts of Mount Ida leads to the village Zaros with its artificial lake and trout farms. On the south coast are the settlements Kali Limenas and Lendas with their quiet beaches.
Overnight in or nearby Matala.
Day 9 Ano Vianos, Mirtos, Ierapetra (approx. 130 km) Departure with luggage
On route you will see plenty of greenhouses. The villages Tsoutsouras and Keratokambos are favorite holiday destination for the locals. Not far from the village of Ano Vianos is the memorial site of Amiras, to honor the murdered civilians of nearby villages during WOII. Mirtos, a charming place at the sea, has a good beach. Ierapetra, the most southern town of Europe has on the seashore a nice boulevard with traditional taverns, and a nice old quarter to stroll around.
Overnight in or nearby Ierapetra
Day 10 Kalamafka, Panagia Kera, Saint Nicholas, Elounda, Spinalonga, Gournia (approx. 120 km)
Cross the island from south to north and stop at the view point near Kalamafka, where both the Gulf of Mirabello and the Libyan sea can be seen. In the church Panagia Kera you see nice Byzantine frescoes. Around the lake Voulismeni beats the heart of the picturesque town of Saint Nicholas. The route along the Gulf of Mirabello offers spectacular views on the bay. From Elounda and Plaka you can sail to the islet Spinalonga, a Venetian fortress also used as leper colony. Along the Minoan settlement Gournia, you head back to your hotel in the sunny south.
Overnight in or nearby Ierapetra
Day 11 Sitia, Toplou Monastery, Kato Zakros (approx. 195 km)
Cross the island and drive to the small port town Sitia, where many steps and stairs lead to streets and alleys. In the desert like landscapes of East Crete stands the Toplou Monastery with its imposing bell tower. The famous palm beach of Vai on the north eastern coast line is the only natural palm forest in Europe. The Minoan Palace of Kata Zakros, is idyllically located near the bay and the beach of the homonymous village.
Overnight in or nearby Ierapetra.
Day 12 Day of departure (approx. 90 km) Departure with luggage
Drive to the airport drop off rental car and departure by plane.