The southernmost Greek island is a beguiling mix of stunning beaches and hidden coves, mountains and pretty villages, ancient cities and modern holiday havens. Join us to uncover its secrets on a sun-soaked escorted tour.
- A guided tour of Hania’s historic Venetian port
- Visit historic Heraklion and ancient Knossos
- Discover Crete’s history and heritage on included and optional tours into its mountainous interior
- Seven nights’ half-board accommodation at a four-star hotel
- Return flights from the UK to Crete
- Comfortable, air-conditioned coach travel throughout
- Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced Tour Manager
Fly to Crete and meet our Tour Manager at the airport. A coach will be waiting to carry you the short distance to your hotel in the island’s former capital, Hania (Chania). Once there you’ll have time to relax and unwind before dinner is served.
The sheltered curve of Hania’s beautiful bay has been home to islanders since the Neolithic. Traces of the ancient Minoan city that once stood here can be seen in the old town, while the harbour’s warehouses, arches and narrow waterside buildings owe their elegance to four centuries of Venetian rule. After a guided tour of the town, you’ll be free to explore until we return to the hotel for dinner. But don’t miss the chance to return to Hania’s harbour, later, to see the lights of the tavernas reflected in the waters of the bay.
Join today’s optional excursion to discover the rugged, sun-baked beauty of the Cretan landscape as we climb towards Psiloritis (better known as Mount Ida), the island’s highest mountain. We’ll visit the little villages of Anogia, Zoniana, Drosia (famous for its honey and its excellent tavernas) and Fodhele (surrounded by citrus groves and thought to be the birthplace of the artist later known as El Greco).
Step back in time and uncover the secrets of the mighty Minoan civilization as we visit the ruined palace at Knossos. Painstakingly excavated and preserved, the complex was a cultural, commercial and religious centre for almost 2000 years, and was home to around 100,000 people – quite apart from legendary King Minos and his mythical Minotaur. Astonishingly it had pressurized piped water, a sewer system and even shafts built into the buildings as a form of ancient air conditioning. Returning to the modern world, we’ll take a tour of Heraklion, the current capital, and perhaps have time to see the priceless treasures from Knossos now stored in the Archaeological Museum.
Our last optional excursion takes us into the White Mountains, where the Samaria Gorge cuts through the rock landscape on its way to the island’s south coast. We’ll stop in Omalos, at the head of the gorge, to stroll the Botanic Gardens, and visit man-made Lake Agia, which many consider the best birding site in the whole of Crete.
Explore Crete’s south coast, today, as our final included excursion takes us to Vrisses, the Venetian ruins at Frangokastello and the fortified hilltop monastery at Preveli. You’ll have time to relax on the golden sands of Plakias beach before returning to the hotel through the steep rocky passage of Kourtaliotiko Gorge.
Spend your last day in Crete relaxing. Soak up the sun beside the pool or on the beach, or perhaps head into Hania one last time.
Transfer back to the airport to check in for your flight home at the end of a fascinating and relaxing week.