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Crete Roundtrip - 8 days tour

 

Day 1. Arrival / Rethymnon. 
Arrival at Heraklion airport. Transfer to hotel for dinner and overnight. Check in at hotel for 7 overnights.

Day 2. Lassithi, Mallia / RethymnonHeraklion
In a guided tour through the compound of Lychnostatis open air museum you will marvel the Cretan architecture, a restored wind mill, a trashing floor and work shops of weaving, ceramics, fragrance distillery and plant dyeing wool activities. A stroll in the garden shows the fruit trees, the bright colored flowers and aromatic herbs. After the museum visit, re-board the coach to travel to Dicti Mountain and the Lassithi Plateau (850 m). On your way to the Lassithi Plateau (850m) visit the Kera Kardiotissa Nunnery, a 14th century Monastery housing late Byzantine frescoes. At Seli, the gateway to the Lassithi Plateau, stands a significant group of windmills and from here you will enjoy a fantastic view over the plateau. In the chalet style restaurant, viewing the plain, you can taste delicious local specialties. Continue by coach as you travel through the fourteen-(14) small villages located around the plain. Visit Psychro, were a path is leading to the Dicti Cave. Going up a steep cobble path it is fifteen minutes on foot or by mule to the entrance of the cave, which is at an altitude of 1025m. The cave has several chambers with fine stalactites and stalagmites, and is also associated with the birth of Zeus (Jupiter). On the return journey travel via Mochos you can revel in the wonderful view over the Bay of Mallia.

KnossosDay 3. Heraklion / Rethymnon.
During this tour you will be taken back 4.000 years to the time of the oldest civilization in Europe. The Minoan Palace of Knossos, center of the Minoan Civilization, will leave you breathless as you wonder over the technology and facilities of that period. After this fascinating tour, you will board the coach onto Heraklion for the Museum visit. You will have a guided tour through the extraordinary Archaeological Museum, viewing the unique items from the Minoan culture. Guided visit in the Saint Catherine church nowadays a museum with a large icon collection. Heraklion, the capital and business center of Crete is a colorful and lively place in the pedestrian quarter you find the Byzantine Saint Titus church and the Lions Square with the Morosini fountain.

SpinalongaDay 4. Spinalonga, Elounda, Saint Nicholas / Rethymnon
Day at leisure or follow our optional tour to Spinalonga: Travel via the national road and through the spectacular ravine of Saint George to Saint Nicholas. We visit BioAroma is 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. In a walking tour of approximately 1-hour through the narrow main street you will get an insight about the difficult situation in former times. Spinalonga inspired the author Victoria Hislop to write the bestseller 'The island'. When coming back in Elounda there is free time 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 Bay when driving by coach to Saint Nicholas. The small lake in the center 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 lot of shops and stores offering a large assortment of typical goods and fine jewelry.

Day 5. Gortys, Matala / Rethymnon.
Departure with luggage. A scenery drive along olive groves brings us to Southern Crete. We visit Gortys, the old Greek-Roman town with its famous law stones, Roman amphitheater and the ruins of the Saint Titus Church - the first Christian Church 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. (To reach the entrance of the winery there is a walking distance of approx. 200 m hill upwards) 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. (If clients do have interest and there is time available we may stop as well at the archaeological site of Phaestos.)

ChaniaDay 6. Chania / Rethymnon
We drive along the Souda Bay and pay a short visit at the Allied Cemetery. Going up the peninsula Akrotiri we stop at the Profitis Ilias Hill with the graves of Venizelos. From here we have a beautiful view over the bay and the town. Chania has seen and survived many invaders, but has also tasted civilizations that left their marks on building faces, castles, walls, antiquities, monasteries and churches. Enjoy a guided walk along the monuments of ancient and modern ages, the Venetian Harbour, the Old Town, and the picturesque neighborhoods' with their traditional life. Free time to browse the shops and famous indoor market which is built in a holy cross shape. A large variety of Cretan goods such as, leather, honey, cheese, yoghurt, olives, oil etc. are offered at the shops. Very surprising is the village Argiroupolis, which is surrounded with unexpected green forests, and abundant in water with small springs and waterfalls. Argiroupolis is built on the ruins of the ancient city of Lapa. We see here still an old mosaic, and enjoy the village life.

Day 7. Rethymnon/ Rethymnon.
Day at leisure to explore Rethymnon on your own.

Day 8. Departure.
Free time till departure transfer coach to Heraklion airport.