Discover east and west Crete with stay at two places. See the famous Minoan civilisation and a rich cultural heritage left behind by various rulers. Visit bronze age palaces, classical cities, monasteries and medieval forts, complemented by dramatic mountain ranges, scenic coastlines and delicious local food and wine.
Arrival at Heraklion airport and transfer to hotel and check in for 4 overnights.
You walk in the open-air museum Lychnostatis that offers an insight into the authentic Cretan life. In a guided tour through the compound you will marvel the Cretan architecture, and old traditional life style. A stroll in the garden shows the fruit trees, and the bright coloured flowers. Visit the Byzantine Kardiotissa monastery and enjoy at Seli the views on the plain of Lassithi, where are only a few windmills left. Drive around the plain and a stroll in the village Psychro to see daily life. On the way back you visit of an olive oil ‘fabrika’ to get an introduction about the procedure of pressing olives to olive oil.
Guided visit in the Minoan palace of Knossos. In the vineyards region Pediados you visit a winery for a wine tasting. You see on a city walk the centre of Heraklion with its Venetian port, Morosini fountain and market street. Very interesting is the visit of the Archaeological Museum with the biggest collection of Minoan items.
Optional A: In the evening is the opportunity to visit a Cretan folklore evening with music and dances including dinner and house wine.
A scenery route through the spectacular ravine of Saint George. See the rare frescoes at the Byzantine church Kera and walk in the traditional mountain village Kritsa. Enjoy the views on the azure blue Gulf of Mirabello before arriving at Elounda. You sail by boat to the islet Spinalonga for a guided tour through the Venetian, Ottoman fort and leper colony. Enjoy some free time and lunch in Elounda. Enjoy the picturesque town of Saint Nicholas the capital of Lassithi. A port connected to a lake with a string of shops, coffee shops ideal for a stroll or a chance to lean into the afternoon.
Departure with luggage.
Across the island to southern Crete. You see the Messara plain filled with olive trees and visit Gortys the old Roman town, with its law stones and basilica. Very inspiring is your visit to the Kalivianni convent, which has a social character by providing shelter to girls and elderly; see here also the lanes with colourful flowers. Noon break at the seaside village Matala where you have free time for a swim in the Libyan Sea. In Spili you see the springs with the Venetian lion heads.
Check in at hotel for 3 overnights.
Drive in a beautiful scenery and visit Arkadi monastery one of the island's most famous monasteries due to the holocaust it suffered in 1866. It is like a memorial for the freedom of the Turkish occupation. Particular interesting is the sightseeing on the site of Elefterna an ancient city-state and the tour in the museum with a collection of goods from main land Greece and Egypt. The village Margarites is famous for its pottery workshops with colourful ceramics. Enjoy a guided city walk in the old centre of Rethymnon with Venetian facades and Turkish buildings.
Relax and enjoy the facilities of the hotel or join the optional tour.
Optional tour B: Sightseeing tour by coach and you visit on foot the city of Chania with its alleys, Venetian port and indoor market. Beautiful is the drive through the narrow gorge leading to the rural village Therissos, on foot of the White Mountains. See in the village Argiroupolis the small water falls under the plane trees.
Free time till departure transfer to Heraklion airport.