The island of Crete was the homeland of
the Minoan civilisation 4,000 years ago.
The Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Venetians
and Ottomans all left behind their legacy
as well. The rich cultural blend that is
Crete today mirrors these past influences.
Visit Bronze Age palaces, classical
cities, monasteries and medieval forts,
complemented by dramatic mountain
ranges, scenic coastlines and delicious
local cuisine, accompanied by experts Dr
Konstantine Politis or Dr George Manginis.
View more climate information & imperial units
Morning flight from London to Heraklion with
British Airways and transfer to the hotel. After
an introductory lecture and welcome dinner,
stay 4 nights at Capsis Astoria Hotel. (D)
Visit the ancient Minoan Palace of Knossos,
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. Its history dates back more than
4,000 years. Exclusive visit to Villa Ariadne, the
mansion built by British archaeologists at the
beginning of the 20th century and later used by
occupying German forces in the second world
war. Drive along the Venetian aqueduct to the
area where General Kreipe was kidnapped by
Patrick Leigh Fermor in 1944. (B)
Morning visit to the Archaeological Museum to
see the collection of Minoan items, followed by
a walking tour of Crete’s capital, Heraklion. In
the afternoon, visit the Historical Museum and
the Heraklion Museum of Visual Arts. (B)
Drive east to the Mirabello Gulf and visit the
Minoan town of Gournia. Exclusive visit to the
INSTAP study centre, founded by archaeologist
Harriet Boyd who discovered the town in
1901. Visit the port town of Agios Nikolaos
before driving on to Elounda for a boat ride to
Spinalonga island. Take a walking tour of this
forbidding islet, formerly a leper colony. (B)
Walk up to the site of Rizenia for a breathtaking
view, before visiting the Roman capital Gortys
with its law stones and amphitheatre. Saint Paul
preached here in the first Christian Church. Visit
the Minoan palace of Phaestos, magnificently
situated above the fertile Messara plain and Ida
mountain. After a break in seaside Matala, stop
in Spili to see the water springs with Venetian
lion heads. Continue to Rethymno and stay at
Theartemis Palace Hotel for 4 nights. (B, D)
Drive south to visit Armenoi, an interesting
Minoan cemetery. Continue to see the rebuilt
convent of Agia Irini, a delightful place with a
restored cloister, stables and wine press. After
a private guided tour with a nun, lunch will be
served in the convent. Return to Rethymno for
a walk through the charming old quarter to
see the Venetian harbour, narrow streets and
squares with Turkish and Venetian architecture.
Continue to the Museum of Contemporary Art
of Crete. (B, L)
Visit the village of Roustika with Venetian
houses and its two-aisled church with well-kept
frescoes. Continue to Souda for a poignant visit
to the second world war cemetery. Visit the
Venizelos tombs and the city of Chania, with its
Venetian harbour. Take a walking tour of the old
city centre and visit the Maritime Museum. (B)
Scenic drive to the village of Margarites, famous
for its pottery workshops. See the local potter at
work and learn the history of Cretan ceramics
from the Minoan period to the present. Nearby
is the village of Eleftherna where you will have
an exclusive guided visit of the archaeological
site, which is still under excavation and not open
to the public. Visit Arkadi monastery, famous
for its resistance against the Turkish occupation.
Farewell dinner at a tavern. (B, D)
Return to Heraklion airport for a flight to London
with British Airways. (B)
As per itinerary – B: Breakfast,
L: Lunch, D: Dinner, N: No meals.
A collection of expert-accompanied tours
focusing on creativity in its many forms. All RA
tours are open to everyone and can be viewed
This tour is fully escorted
throughout by the lecturer, as well as an
experienced local guide.
Based in 3- and 4-star
This tour involves some long walks
over uneven ground and therefore requires a
good level of fitness.
Dr Konstantine Politis
is a Greek archaeologist
and well-published scholar
specialising in the early
early Islamic periods.
Educated in Greece, the
United States, Belgium and Britain, he has
worked extensively for the British Museum, the antiquities ministries of Jordan, Syria, and Oman, and recently at Athens University.
Located in the heart of Heraklion town with more than 40 years of tradition in hospitality, the Capsis Astoria Hotel offers a full range of facilities and a relaxing environment. The swimming pool (open from May-October) is located on the sixth floor of the hotel with panoramic views over the city. Breakfast is served in the Zefyros Bar & Restaurant and snacks, lunch and dinner are also served throughout the day. Guestroom facilities include air conditioning, satellite television, a safety deposit box, minibar, hairdryer and complimentary wireless internet...
Dr Konstantine Politis is a Greek archaeologist and well-published scholar specialising in the early Byzantine-Christian and early Islamic periods. Educated in Greece, the United States, Belgium and Britain, he has worked extensively for the British Museum.
Regional air connections are available from within the UK. Please contact your travel consultant for current prices from your nearest city.
We can also arrange flights from overseas, simply give us a call to find out more.
If you choose to take the tour without flights arranged through Cox & Kings, please contact one of our travel consultants prior to booking the flights to ensure that you are aware of the tour timings and all the implications of not booking through us. We strongly advise you not to book flights independently of Cox & Kings if significant charges would apply in case of cancellation.
Flight details may be subject to change prior to departure.
This tour can be booked / reserved online by clicking on one of the coloured links below.
GMC2016: 8 Nights