As a strategic gateway to the eastern Mediterranean, Crete has been ruled by a number of great powers, from the Minoans, one of Europe’s first civilisations, to the Byzantine, Roman and Ottoman empires. This tour explores Crete’s scenic and cultural highlights, including the Palace of Knossos, an incomparable monument of ancient Minoan society.
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Fly from London (regional connections available) to Heraklion with easyJet. Transfer to the Hotel Theartemis Palace in Rethymno (or similar) for 3 nights. Welcome drink. (N)
Morning visit to Arkadi fortified monastery, celebrated due to the Cretan resistance that took place here against Ottoman rule. Continue to ancient Eleftherna village for a tour and a visit to its museum before returning to Rethymno for a guided walking tour, taking you past the facades of Venetian and Turkish buildings to the old port. (B)
This morning, visit the ancient site of Aptera and make a poignant visit to the second world war memorials. Continue to the Venizelos tombs and the port of Chania, with its Venetian harbour. Afternoon at leisure. (B)
Morning drive to the ancient Minoan Palace of Knossos, the centre of Europe’s first civilisation. According to myth, it was home to King Minos and site of the legend of Theseus slaying the Minotaur in the labyrinth. Continue to Crete’s capital, Heraklion. Afternoon visit to the Archaeological Museum, which contains an excellent collection of Minoan artefacts. View the Venetian harbour, Lions Square and city walls. Stay 4 nights at the Hotel Aquila Atlantis (or similar). (B)
Morning visit to the Church of Panagia Kera to view the finest Byzantine frescoes in Crete. Continue to Elounda and take a boat to Spinalonga island. Formerly a leper colony, the legacies of Greek, Ottoman, Byzantine and Venetian occupation over the centuries have left their imprint on this fortified island. Return to Heraklion for an afternoon at leisure. (B)
Morning visit to the Roman town of Gortys, home to the first Christian basilica. Continue to the Messara plain and visit the Minoan palace of Phaestos. Drive across the plain to the seaside town of Matala. Time at leisure for a swim in the Libyan Sea or lunch in a local tavern. (B)
Full day at leisure or optional tour to the nearby village of Tylissos, a small Minoan settlement located under high pine trees and with beautiful views of the vineyards and mountains, and the Cretan village of Arolithos to view traditional houses and art workshops. (B)
Morning at leisure. Afternoon flight to London with easyJet. (B)
As per itinerary – B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner, N: No meals.
This tour is based in 4- and 5-star accommodation.
This itinerary can be taken privately on a date that suits you, for which guideline prices are shown. Alternatively, it can be tailored to your exact requirements. Please call 020 3411 2135 or email Info@CoxandKings.co.uk.
This tour can be booked / reserved online by clicking on one of the coloured links below.
CRH2018: 7 Nights