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The Wonders of Ancient Crete

Private Travel | General Interest 8 Days & 7 Nights Lead-in price: £3790

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.

The Cox & Kings signature experiences

  • Beekeeping experience & honey tasting
  • Visits to the archaeological sites of Knossos & Eleftherna
  • Boat trip to the isle of Spinalonga, once home to a leper colony
  • Wine tasting with traditional Cretan lunch
  • 4- & 5-star accommodation throughout
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Superior Group Tour in brief

Day 1: Fly to Heraklion • Rethymno

Fly from London (regional connections available) to Heraklion with British Airways. Transfer to Theartemis Palace in Rethymno (or similar) for three nights. Welcome drink. (N)

Day 2: Aptera • Venizelos • Chania

Full day excursion visiting the ancient site of Aptera and meet a beekeeper for an introduction to beehives and their cultivation. Continue to the town of Chania with its Venetian harbour. Also make a poignant visit to the Allied Cemetery, containing second world war burials. (B)

Day 3: Arkadi • Eleftherna • Rethymno

This morning, visit the fortified monastery of Arkadi. Near Eleftherna, visit the MAE museum with its impressive collection of artefacts from Greece, Cyprus and Egypt. Continue to Rethymno for a guided city walk. (B)

Day 4: Phaestos • Matala • Heraklion

Full day tour across the island to the Messara plain and visit Phaestos, the second Minoan palace. Continue to Matala, a pretty seaside town, and enjoy a swim or relax on the beach. Continue to Heraklion, stopping en route at the archaeological site of Gortys. Stay 4 nights at the Aquila Atlantis Hotel (or similar). (B)

Day 5: Knossos • Wine tasting

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. Then drive into the Pediados region south of Heraklion, Crete’s most famous wine producing area. Visit a wine domaine for an introduction to Cretan wine, with tasting and a traditional lunch. Afternoon at leisure. (B, L)

Day 6: Kera • Spinalonga • Heraklion

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. 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 via the port town of Agios Nikolaos. (B)

Day 7: Heraklion

Morning at leisure to relax by the pool or explore Heraklion’s old town. Afternoon guided visit to the Heraklion Archaeological Museum with its collection of Minoan treasure. Farewell dinner at a local restaurant. (B, D)

Day 8: Fly to London

Morning at leisure. Afternoon flight to London with British Airways. (B)

Meal basis:

As per itinerary – B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner, N: No meals.

Important information Superior tour

This tour is based in 4- and 5-star accommodation.

Private & tailor-made travel

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 to speak with a Cox & Kings consultant or enquire online.

Superior group tour accommodation

  • Theartemis Palace Hotel
    Theartemis Palace Hotel

    Hotel Theartemis Palace is located a short walk from the historic centre and sandy beach of Rethymno. Guestrooms are elegant and comfortable and public areas are furnished with antiques. Features: 245 rooms, outdoor pool, hot tub/jacuzzi, fitness centre, bar, restaurant, complimentary Wi-Fi. Room amenities: Balcony, air conditioning, heating, hairdryer, desk, safe, telephone, minibar, television.

  • Aquila Atlantis Hotel
    Aquila Atlantis Hotel

    The Hotel Aquila Atlantis is located less than 200 metres from the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion and just under 6km from the archaeological site of Knossos. The hotel's outdoor swimming pool has unobstructed views across Heraklion harbour. In the impressive atrium of the hotel you will find the main restaurant, elegantly decorated and an ideal place to enjoy fresh local dishes. Features: 164 rooms & suites, restaurant, lounge bar, swimming pool, Wi-Fi. Room amenities: Air conditioning, satellite television, coffee facilities, minibar. Please note that gentlemen are kindly requested to respect hotel regulations and wear long trousers in all hotel areas during the evening.

Superior group tour extensions

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Dates & prices


Main Costs

Flexible Prices & Itineraries
For a quote based on alternative accommodation standards or flight options, or to tailor this itinerary, please call 020 7873 5000 or send an email enquiry

Guaranteed Departures This departure is guaranteed to run.

Terms & Conditions: Guaranteed departures will run except in the circumstances where travel to the destination is advised against by the FCDO or entry restrictions relating to Covid preclude travel.

Additional Information

Please call 020 7873 5000 for more information or to make a booking.

Prices above are per person in pounds sterling (£), based on two people sharing a twin-room. The prices which were valid at the time of publication, may be subject to change, particularly as a result of variable flight costs. You will be informed of any such changes prior to booking.

  • What's Included
    • International flights (and domestic flights if applicable)
    • UK departure and overseas airport taxes
    • Accommodation, Itinerary & meal basis as described
    • Local Transfers in an air-conditioned vehicle
    • Fully escorted by an English-speaking guide throughout
    • Entrance fees unless otherwise stated

Destinations on this tour

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