Trip Type : Small Group Tour
Exploring Crete: Archaeology, Nature & Food tour

Exploring Crete: Archaeology, Nature & Food

Peter Sommer Travels
5.0 . Excellent
100%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
13 days
From: $ 4,861 $ 374 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Crete is the largest of the Greek islands whose renowned Classical cities and the rich remains of the Roman, Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman cultures, lead us right through to its turbulent 20th century history
  • Visit prehistoric Minoan palaces
  • This tour includes a series of walks, bringing you into direct contact with its coasts, mountains, gorges and fertile plains, as well as its historical villages and towns

Short Description

Our Exploring Crete tour is the ideal opportunity to experience this fascinating island to the full. You will visit its most important ancient sites, including the famous prehistoric Minoan palaces, but also veer off the beaten track to explore many of Crete’s hidden gems.

To take full advantage of the island’s extraordinary beauty and its unique wealth in spring flowers, our tour of Crete includes a series of walks, bringing you into direct contact with its coasts, mountains, gorges and fertile plains, as well as its historical villages and towns.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
Off the beaten track trips will stretch your comfort zone. They don't always feature tourist highlights, but dive deeper into local life and culture.
Itinerary Focus Off the Beaten Path
3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Lodging Level Premium - 4 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Heraklion
End City Heraklion

Trip Includes

  • Full board accommodation (except one lunch and two dinners)
  • High standard 3-5* hotels
  • Airport transfers on first and last day of tour
  • Entrance fees & tips on land
  • Excursions with expert guides

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Itinerary

Day 1:

Arrival in Iraklio (Heraklion). Transfer from airport about 15 minutes away. Welcome drinks and dinner in a traditional taverna.

Day 2:

After touring the Venetian walls of Iraklio, we visit Crete’s most famous archaeological site, the great Minoan palace of Knossos. Lunch and wine tasting in the lush Peza region, the heart of Cretan wine-making. Free afternoon in Iraklio.

Day 3:

North along the coast to the extensive remains of the Minoan Palace at Malia and its surrounding town, founded over 4,000 years ago. We drive up into the Dykti mountains to the celebrated Lasithi Plateau, 1,000m above sea level and famous for its white-sailed windmills. In the afternoon we take a panoramic walk to the stupendous Dyktaian cave, a geological wonder, where according to legend Zeus himself was raised. Our village hotel to the east is situated in a picturesque mountain village.

Day 4:

Morning drive to the spectacular Zakros Gorge, or Gorge of the Dead, in the romantically wild east of the island. We walk (approx. 4km) through the gorge to the tiny coastal plain of Kato Zakros, site of a Minoan town and palace which we explore. On the way back to our hotel, we stop for coffee on the seafront of Siteia.

Day 5:

We explore the incredibly well- preserved Minoan town of Gournia and the scenic Hellenistic city of Lato boasting wonderful views over the gulf of Mirabello. We visit the Byzantine/ Venetian church of Panayia Kera with its famous frescoes and head west through central Crete into the Asterousia Mountains, towering above the rugged southern coast.

Day 6:

A morning visit to the beautifully located Minoan town of Agia Triada, which may have been a summer residence of the Bronze Age rulers of southern Crete. In the afternoon, we explore the Minoan palace at Phaistos, the most impressive of its kind, in a panoramic setting overlooking the huge Mesara Plain and the snow-topped peaks of Mt. Ida.

Day 7:

We investigate the island’s Roman capital, Gortyn, with an array of excavated buildings and other largely unexcavated ruins scattered among the olive groves. We continue into the western half of Crete, to enjoy lunch and a tasting at a famous winery in the most fertile part of Crete. We end the day at a lovely seafront hotel in the beautiful Venetian city of Chania.

Day 8:

Free day, yours to relax or explore the lanes and vistas of Chania. You are free to choose your own options for lunch and dinner.

Day 9:

A stunning drive along the edge of the White Mountains to Souyia on the south coast. We walk (approx. 3km) through a rocky gorge across to rarely visited Lissos, one of the loveliest ancient cities in Crete, set in a cove only reachable by foot or boat.

Day 10:

A morning drive to the Akrotiri peninsula to visit the small monastery of Gouverneto. We walk down a magnificently scenic hillside to view the famous ‘Bear Cave’ and its chapel overlooking a gorge leading to a rocky cove below. After a village lunch, we explore the vast Classical and Roman city of Aptera, overlooking the grand bay of Souda. We end the day in the grand Venetian city of Rethymno, where we stay in a 16th century palazzo.

Day 11:

We explore the highlights of Rethymno: its archaeological museum, Venetian castle and Ottoman mosque. Southeast to Eleftherna, one of the oldest most important ancient cities, set in the beautiful Amari valley and still undergoing excavation.

Day 12:

After dropping by the Late Minoan cemetery at Armenoi, we return to Iraklio to visit the Archaeological Museum, one of the world’s most important exhibits of prehistoric art and artefacts, a magnificent showcase of the Minoan culture. Afterwards, we head out for another lunch-and-wine-tasting and a visit to the Minoan town surrounding Knossos Palace. The day concludes with a final gourmet dinner.

Day 13:

Transfer to Heraklion airport about 15 minutes away.

Availability

Checking price
Price From $ 4,861
Price Per Day: $ 374 per day
Check Availability
  • Single Supplement (Single Occupancy): $ 700

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Details

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 18

Maximum 18 Persons

Trip ID#:

expcrepet

Trip Excludes

  • International airfares
  • Personal Expenses

Meals Included:

All meals except one lunch and two dinners

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