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Knossos Palace and Archeological Museum

(Full day from 35 Euro/Person*)​

1.

Let us take you to a short drive from Heraklion city center to the Knossos Palace that dates from 2500 BC. A 2-3 hour guided tour will show you galleries and rooms where the great Minoan civilization thrived and developed during this period

Phaistos Palace – Gortis –Matala beach

(Full day from 45 Euro/Person*)

2.

Let us begin the journey driving you to the Central Southern Crete with our first stop to the Palace of Phaistos at the end of the Mesara plain.

Lassithi Plateau - Dikteon Andron cave

(Full day from 45 Euro/Person*)

3.

We will take you on a 1 hour drive from Heraklion city towards the Dikti Mountain for a memorable visit to the renounced Lassithi Plateau

Arkadi Monastery-Rethymno–Preveli Monastery & beach

(Full day from 45 Euro/Person*)

4.

This is a visit is to the north-west of the island. We will drive you to the impressive Monastery of Arkadi, a site not to be missed.

Chania-Gramvousa-Balos Lagoon

(Full day from 55 Euro/Person*)

5.

Chania is a city on the northwest coast of the Greek island of Crete. It’s known for its 14th-century Venetian harbor, narrow streets and waterfront restaurants and is the second largest city of Crete.

Omalos Plateau -Samaria Gorge-Sfakia

(Full Day from 55 Euro/Person*)

6.

The Samaria Gorge, the largest in Europe, is located in the southwest of Crete (Chania) and is one of the main sights of Crete.

* Minimum 4 Persons

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This Royal Palace is wonderfully decorated with frescoes depicting various scenes in vibrant colours.

We will drive you back to Heraklion for lunch to a local tavern and follow with a 2.5 hour guided tour on the unique Minoan civilization Archaeological Museum that houses the original pieces from Knossos Palace as well as other archaeological sites including frescoes and ancient jewellery.

At the end you may enjoy a pleasant stroll to the nearby town center shopping streets with lots of coffee places, local herbs and souvenir shops to choose from.

 

Tips: Wear walking shoes, trainers or flat shoes, a sun hat and don’t forget your sunscreen

To the north lies Psiloritis, the highest mountain in Crete (2,456m) and to the south of Phaistos are the Asterousia mountains beyond which lies the Libyan Sea. The palace of Phaistos and the city was one of the most important centres of Minoan civilization, and the most wealthy and powerful city in southern Crete. With a total area of 8400 m2 Phaistos is the second largest palace of the Minoan world after Knossos. The remains of two palaces were discovered, two building phases, similar to Knossos. Nowadays parts of both palaces (first & second building phase) are visible (due to the different orientation of the new palace). The fact that few rooms or ruins of buildings of the old palace period are preserved give us interesting information about the architectural style, in some cases even better than Knossos.

We continue our trip to Gortys or Gortyna a municipality and an archaeological site, the Roman capital of Crete, a flourishing Minoan town between 1600-1100 BC and one of the strongest and most ancient towns of Crete. There is evidence of human occupation in Gortys as far back as the Neolithic era (7000 BC). The period of its great prosperity, however, coincided with the Hellenistic era. Gortys exceeded in force and prosperity the other cities of Crete and took the hegemony of the island, dominating the entire valley from Messara to Levina and later in the 2nd century after the destruction of Phaistos extended its power to Matala.

Now it is time for lunch and relaxation after a fast dive in the famous village of Matala & beach located at the exit of a small valley, where there is formed a large enclosed bay overlooking the Libyan sea. In front of the bay there is a wonderful sandy beach, with fine pebbles and crystal clear deep waters.

Although it has become a popular tourist destination it still retains the charm and character of the quiet fishing village it started as at the beginning of the 20th-century, and the laid-back lifestyle of the hippies of the 60’s and 70’s lives on. Half the beach is fringed by tamarisk trees, leading the eye on to impressive formations of sandstone rock cliffs with their famous caves sliding into the sea at an odd angle, creating one of the most unusual beachscapes on the island.

The safe natural harbor on the Bay of Matala is blessed with a gently sweeping sand and pebble beach, the place in legend where Zeus swam ashore in the guise of a bull with Europa on his back. 

Tips: Wear walking shoes, trainers or flat shoes, a sun hat, have your swimming suit and a towel and don’t forget your sunscreen.

Famous for its white-sailed windmills that have been used since the early 20th century to irrigate the land.  Winters can be harsh with snow in the mountains until late spring.  Lush and green with its breathtaking views it is an ideal place for nature lovers.

There, ooverlooking the village of Psychro in the Dikti Mountain at an altitude of 1020 m we will take you to one of the most important internationally known caves, the incredible Dikteon Andron cave in which, according to legend, Zeus was born, with its ancient stalagmites and mythological and archaeological interest for a 1-1.5 hour tour. Subsequently, we will drive you around the picturesque local villages of the plateau and serve you lunch at a traditional restaurant with breathtaking view of the plateau and the surrounding mountains

On the way back on the northern slope of Dikti Mountain we will stop for a short visit to the monastery of Panagia Kera Kardiotissa which dates back to 1333a.d.  The monastery is steeped in history with traditions and legends regarding the miraculous icon of Theotokos (Virgin Mary) making it one of the most religious centers of Crete.

Tips: Wear walking shoes, trainers or flat shoes, a sun hat and don’t forget your sunscreen.

Located in the heart of Crete, is the most famous historical Monastery on Crete, well known for the resistance against the Turks. It is said that the Byzantine emperor Arcadius founded it in the 14th century. You can visit the impressive church which is dedicated to Christ the Saviour and a small historical Museum.

Then we continue our trip to the popular town of Rethymnon mixed with old and new.  A guided tour of the old town is a perfect opportunity to visit the past since Rethymnon combines rarely united features: the old town’s charm and history, with proximity to a long sandy beach and the old fort.

Although it is the third largest town in Crete, Rethimnon never feels like a city, instead, it has a provincial air; it’s a place that moves slowly, a very romantic place and the most important preserves much of its Venetian and Turkish appearance.

The opportunity and time for shopping and lunch break to a traditional tavern is also scheduled.

After lunch, our last stop is at the south of Prefecture of Rethymnon, the Monastery of Preveli next to the famous Preveli palm tree steam and sandy beach. The monastery consists of two main building complexes, the Lower (Kato) Monastery of Saint John the Baptist and the Rear (Pisso) Monastery of Saint John the Theologian, which is in operation today. The Monastery has a glorious history due to the active and leading involvement of its fellow monks in all national endeavors for freedom and education of our people. Thus, it merits specific recognition and respect throughout the island of Crete. The Monastery of Preveli is a religious center and consequently the place of gathering and social contact of the population. 

Tips: Wear walking shoes, trainers or flat shoes, a sun hat, have your swimming suit and a towel and don’t forget your sunscreen.

The city has two major gates: the airport in Akrotiri and Souda harbour, which is the biggest natural harbour of the Mediterranean.

Arriving at the city of Chania we will see the Cathedral of Chania, the Trimartiri the church of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary. By the sea at the port we will pass the mosque of Hassan Pasha and the lighthouse. A little further we reach the Fortetsa and along the old port where is the big Arsenal. Once it was a shipyard to which a second floor was added later on. Ascending we reach the Turkish sector of Splantzia. The lanes and a few of the houses are still there. At the square we will find the church of St. Nicholas which was converted from an old temple.

Consequently, we will walk with you to the nearby Public Food Market an impressive building, in the town center, built at the beginning of the past century (1911) and houses grocery stores, butchers’ shops, a fish market and numerous vegetable shops. There we will take time for shopping and lunch break in a traditional tavern. After that, we may take a short stroll to the Public Gardens, next to the Market, ideal for those in search of shade and tranquility. The old city has preserved to a great extent the distinctive atmosphere and charm of the Venetian, and Turkish periods.

We continue our journey on a 50 min driving west to Kissamos port were the boat to Gramvousa is waiting for us.

The island of Gramvousa with its pure and impressive scenery, the turquoise waters, the magnificent landscape, its long history and the Venetian fortress at the top of the island, which is a major attraction to visitors. The small harbor used to be the shelter of the Cretan Pirates. The Cape and the islets of Gramvousa host more than 100 species of birds and 400 species of flora the area is protected under the Natura 2000 program and staying overnight is not allowed. Once on the island we will have the time to visit the Venetian castle built on the hill of the mountain. Alternatively you can wander around the area, swim in the crystal waters of the western cove, near the church of the Holy Apostles. The beach with the fantastic turquoise color, has white sand and rocks in places. Some tamarisk trees are near the beach, offering natural shade. Close by is the small harbor of Gramvousa the Balos Lagoon were we will take a last stop. Balos is surely the mostly photographed beach in Crete, a very favourite subject of all tourist guides. It is also famous for its turquoise waters, the wild natural beauty and the beautiful exotic scenery. The natural beauty comprises a great variety of rare plants and animals which are unique in this part of the world. A significant distinctiveness of the lagoon is the seasonal fluctuation of the sea level and its salinity. The sea is very shallow and warm. In many places the sand has a lovely pinkish colour, because of millions of crushed shells. Beyond the rocks at the boundaries of the lagoon, the water is deeper and colder. The lagoon and the wider area, with rare species of flora and fauna, are protected under the Natura 2000 program. 

Tips: Wear walking shoes, trainers or flat shoes, a sun hat, have your swimming suit and a towel and don’t forget your sunscreen.

The gorge starts at Xyloskalo (1227 m. above sea level) on the Omalos Plateau and runs for 18 kilometres down to the seaside village of Agia Roumeli on the south coast of Crete.

The Samaria National Park is exceptionally rich in plant and animal life. In the gorge you will find unique species protected under international law. It is said that there are 450 plant species in the gorge. Descending the 600 wooden steps you will be intrigued by the beauty and serenity of this massive gorge which is shadowed by the White Mountains. The trail thins out to a mountain path winding through the gorge where you can see the caves which once sheltered Cretan partizans during war periods but are now left to the rare Cretan “Krikri” goat. The magnificent wild scenery and flora that you will see along the way is unrivalled anywhere in Crete.

On our way we find the old houses of the old village of Samaria (its people were relocated when the gorge was declared a national park). The village is a good opportunity to see the traditional architecture and rest for a while. When you get to this point you are almost halfway and the time is perfect for a snack. There are drinking water springs and toilets at various points.

The small fishing village of Agia Roumeli at the end of the Gorge is built on the ruins of Tara which was a strong and independent town in ancient years. There is time for lunch and a refreshing swim in the crystal clear waters of the Lybian Sea before a short ferry boat cruise along the south coast ending at Sfakia which is the capital of the province. 

Tips:  Good walking shoes, sun cream and a hat are essential. Also a light salty snack and a small water bottle that you can refill in the springs inside the Gorge are all you need to carry with you. You may also need to bring your swimming suit and a towel.