Did you know that Crete is home to Europe’s oldest city? From Heraklion, head to the famous ruins and archaeological site of Knossos – the former capital of Minoan Crete.. Uncover the real Crete during visits to its quiet corners. We’ve partnered with non-profit organisation MEET to bring you an ecotourism experience in the delightful village of Agios Ioannis. Spend an evening dining in a local restaurant to the soundtrack of live traditional music and stay the night in a guesthouse with a welcoming local family.. Get off the beaten path – literally – during a visit to the charming fishing village of Sougia. Hike, swim, or relax on the beach with a cold drink in hand.. Visit the colourful port town of Chania and discover one of its most loved commodities during a visit to a local winery for a wonderful tasting experience.
The island of Crete has so much history and natural wonder to offer to a curious traveller. And in seven days on its shores, you’ll see what’s known as Europe’s oldest city, taste some of the region’s best food and wine, and discover some of the world’s most picturesque beaches. From Heraklion, visit the famous archaeological site of Knossos, hike through forests and gorges, unwind in the secluded seaside village of Sougia, and sip wine in the vibrant port city of Chania to show you what makes the island so special. So quintessentially ‘Greece’ and so full of life, the best of Crete is waiting.
Breakfast Included: 6 Lunches Included: Dinner Included: 1
Welcome to Crete! Greece’s largest island delights with clear waters, charming villages and a tangible history. Your island adventure begins with an 6pm welcome meeting where you’ll meet your local leader and fellow travellers. After the group meeting, perhaps head out for dinner with the group, and get your bearings around the capital with a leader-led orientation walk of Heraklion.
Knossos / Agios Ioannis
This morning head out of the city to the renowned archaeological site of Knossos, considered to be Europe’s oldest city. Explore the ruins with your leader and soak in hundreds and thousands of years of history within its walls. Then it’s time to check out some quiet corners of Crete – continue to the tiny coastal town of Chora Sfakion (sometimes referred to as Sfakia) and the historic village of Anopolis for some short stops, then carry on to Aradaina, teetering on the edge of a gorge, and learn about the history of this dramatic area. Your final stop for the day is the delightful village of Agios Ioannis, nestled into the foothills of the White Mountains. Your well-earned dinner this evening will be a lively affair – feast on local specialties accompanied by a wonderful live performance of traditional music, a perfect introduction to village life in Crete. Spend the night in a traditional guesthouse
South Coast / Sougia
Bid farewell to Agios Ioannis and drive back to Chora Sfakion where you’ll board our private boat along Crete's stunning south coast to the village of Sougia. This is Crete at its very best – an undiscovered sweep of beach overlooked by brooding mountains. It’s almost too pretty to believe, but believe it, you’re here! Upon arrival in Sougia the afternoon is yours to spend at leisure, and it’s certainly not hard to find something amazing to do. You may like to explore one of the coastal trails, take a swim in the warm waters, or just lay back on the beach and let life tick along around you with a drink in hand.
Agia Irini Gorge / Sougia
Rise early and board a local bus bound for the Agia Irini Gorge, carved through the west side of the White Mountains. Set off on a shady hike through the gorge as your leader shares stories of the area’s historical past and how it once hid Greek rebels during the Turkish Occupation. The hike is expected to take around three hours and you’ll be rewarded with fantastic views along the way, plus the chance to spot the unique flora and fauna of the region, including endangered Cretan wild goats, cypress, pine, and dittany trees. The rest of the afternoon is yours to spend as you please in Sougia.
Say goodbye to Sougia this morning and catch a local bus to Chania. Beachside, colourful and full of culture, Chania is definitely a traveller’s favourite. On arrival, get a feel for the place during an orientation walk with your leader. The rest of the afternoon is free for your own explorations in Chania. Perhaps take a walk through the city markets, the Ottoman neighbourhood and Jewish quarter, passing by the workshops of traditional artisans. The town is also bursting with excellent restaurants, so be sure to ask your leader for dinner recommendations this evening.
Start the day with a ‘kalitsounia’ workshop and experience firsthand how one of the most famous Cretan pastries is made. Kalitsounia is commonly had as an appetizer or for breakfast and you can choose your fillings according to your taste: Cretan ‘mizithra’ or ‘anthotyro’ cheese, legendary Cretan greens or choose a sweet filling instead. It’s tasty, nutritious and you can take them with you to enjoy later in the day. Enjoy some free time at leisure in Chania, perhaps taking the time to visit any spots you may have missed yesterday, or simply sitting back with a coffee and watching the locals go about their business. This afternoon meet up with your group again and get to know one of Crete’s most celebrated commodities during a visit to a nearby winery for a wine tasting. Take your time discovering the grape varietals grown in Crete, sampling a range of small-batch vintages. This evening you may like to head out to a local restaurant for a final dinner and use your newfound knowledge of Cretan wine to pair with your meal.
With no activities planned for the day, your adventure on Crete comes to an end after breakfast this morning. If you’d like to spend some more time exploring the island, just get in touch ahead of time and we can assist in arranging some additional accommodation to extend your stay (subject to availability).