Make a group tour to Crete, the cradle of the western civilisation and follow the steps of the Minoans. Discover one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean. Visit significant archaeological sites and numerous Greek-orthodox churches and monasteries. Exciting myths of immortal gods and heroes accompany you when traveling through striking scenery.
Arrival at Heraklion airport and transfer to hotel.
Check in rooms and rest day at leisure to enjoy the facilities of the hotel.
During this tour you will be taken back 4.000 years to the time of the oldest civilisation in Europe. The Minoan Palace of Knossos, centre of the Minoan Civilisation, will leave you breathless as you wonder over the technology and facilities of that period. In Heraklion you have a guided sightseeing tour on foot in the city centre along Saint Minas cathedral, the daily market in 1866 Street, the Saint Titus church, and Liberty Square. At the Heraklion Archaeological museum you see valuable items from the four Minoan palaces in Crete.
A scenery drive along olive groves brings you to southern Crete. You visit Gortys, the old Roman town with its famous law stones, Roman amphitheatre and the ruins of the Saint Titus Church - the first Christian basilica on the island. From Gortys it is not far to a modern winery to see the procedure of making wines, and taste if you do like.
You visit the Kalivianni convent a place of faith and worship with social offer and charity, there is a reception centre for girls and a home for elderly people. Admire the flowers and colourful bougainvillaea along the drive. Continuing your journey on to the village of Matala, a former hippie village surrounded by rocks and caves. Here, you can enjoy a refreshing swim in the Libyan Sea leaving you time to enjoy a leisurely Cretan lunch at a beach tavern.
Drive to western Crete. See on your way the flowering oleander along the road, the rocky mountain slopes and enjoy the beautiful views on the Aegean Sea. Next to a beautiful green ravine lies the colourful village Margarites well-known for its small pottery workshops. You get the chance to observe a local potter at work, and you will be guided in the history of the Cretan ceramics from the Minoan period till the present. In green scenery you encounter Eleftherna, an ancient city-state. Enjoy a guided visit through the site and the extraordinary museum showing funds from Eleftherna, which had flourishing trade with the mainland and Egypt.
You visit the city of Rethymnon which has a mixture of Venetian and Turkish influences, dominated by the Venetian fortress. In a guided walk through the picturesque neighbourhoods' you see significant buildings, the Venetian harbour and day to day life.
You get acquainted with the modern procedure of olive oil in a nowadays unit. Each year pressing tons of olives into the gold coloured olive oil.
Then further on for a guided tour in Arolithos Traditional Museum to get an insight into the authentic Cretan life. You will see the Cretan houses, homemade weavings and embroideries, and workshops of local arts.
Get also an introduction to Cretan cooking and diet. You will participate in a cooking demonstration/ lesson by preparing your Cretan lunch for today.
Travel via the national road and through the spectacular ravine of Saint George to Saint Nicholas. We visit Bio Aroma a vertically integrated unit around the area of herbs, with its own organic crops, a distillery for the production of essential oils, workshop 100% handmade herbal cosmetics with a museum and botanical garden. Further on to Elounda, a quiet fishing village sheltered within the Gulf of Mirabello. From here by boat (20 min.) to the island of Spinalonga, a former leper colony. The Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman Empires have all left their mark on Elounda's heritage. During a walking tour of approximately 1-hour through the narrow main street you will get an insight into the difficult situation in former times. Spinalonga inspired the author Victoria Hislop to write the bestseller ‘The island’. Enjoy free time in Elounda to make a stroll along the shops and harbour side, and/or to have a lunch in a tavern.
Enjoy the panoramic views over the coastline and the Mirabello of Gulf when driving by coach to Saint Nicholas. The small lake in the centre is the landmark of this picturesque harbour town. Walk around and take delight in the panoramic view on the lake and the harbour, and make as well a stroll in the narrow streets with a string of shops and stores offering a large assortment of typical goods and fine jewellery.
You visit the village Mirtia for a guided tour of Nikos Kazantzakis Museum dedicated to the great Greek writer, poet and philosopher, and author of the world famous book Zorbas the Greek. After this interesting visit, you will board the coach for a drive through the island's hilly countryside filled, since 4000 years, with olives orchards and the most famous vineyards.
Your next stop is near a winery, and walk (approx. 200m) along the vineyards and olive groves. In a guided visit we see the vineyards, hear about the different types of grapes, cultivation and harvest process, and see in the ‘cellar’ the oak barrels with its valuable wines. Here you enjoy a nice wine tasting accompanied with local Cretan snacks.
Free till departure transfer coach to Heraklion airport. Assistance at airport upon check in.