Crete, Greece’s largest island, is renowned for its varied terrain, ranging from fine-sand beaches at Elafonisi to the White Mountains. It is rich in history, bearing the imprints of Minoan palaces, Byzantine monasteries, Venetian towns, and more. The island is also famous for its unique gastronomy, charming villages, vibrant cities, and the warm hospitality of the locals.

The program

Day 1: Arrival and Explore Heraklion

Arrive in Heraklion, Crete’s capital, and largest city. Settle into your hotel and explore the bustling city center, making sure to check out the Morosini Lion Fountain and the Koules Fortress by the harbor.

Day 2: Heraklion – Knossos Palace and Archaeological Museum

Dive into ancient history with a visit to Knossos Palace, the center of the Minoan civilization. Then, head to the Heraklion Archaeological Museum to see the Minoan artifacts, including the famous Phaistos Disc.

Day 3: Day at Sea – Boat Tour to Spinalonga Island

Embark on a boat tour to Spinalonga Island, a former leper colony with its Venetian fortress. Enjoy the crystal-clear waters of the Kolokytha bay and learn about the island’s poignant history.

Day 4: Heraklion to Agios Nikolaos – Lake Voulismeni and Archaeological Museum

Travel east to the town of Agios Nikolaos. Enjoy a walk around Lake Voulismeni and visit the local archaeological museum.

Day 5: Elounda and Spinalonga Island

Visit the nearby seaside town of Elounda. Enjoy a relaxing day by the beach and take another boat trip to Spinalonga Island if desired.

Day 6: Lasithi Plateau and Dikteon Cave

Spend the day exploring the Lasithi Plateau, known for its traditional windmills and farming culture. Don’t miss the Dikteon Cave, the mythical birthplace of Zeus.

Day 7: Agios Nikolaos to Rethymno

Travel to the north coast and visit the city of Rethymno. Explore the picturesque old town, Venetian harbor, and the imposing Fortezza Castle.

Day 8: Rethymno – Arkadi Monastery and Local Villages

Visit the historic Arkadi Monastery, an important symbol of resistance for the Cretans. Then, enjoy a tour of the surrounding villages and get a taste of local life.

Day 9: Rethymno to Chania – Old Town and Venetian Harbor

Continue west to Chania, where you can explore the Old Town’s narrow alleys, the Venetian harbor, and the Maritime Museum.

Day 10: Samaria Gorge Hike

Embark on a challenging hike through the Samaria Gorge, the longest gorge in Europe, where you’ll be rewarded with stunning landscapes and diverse flora and fauna.

Day 11: Beach Day in Balos and Gramvousa

Spend a day relaxing on the beautiful beaches of Balos Lagoon and the islet of Gramvousa with its Venetian castle offering breathtaking views.

Day 12: Elafonisi Beach

Travel to Elafonisi Beach, known for its unique pink sand and clear turquoise water. It’s the perfect spot for a day of sunbathing and swimming.

Day 13: Chania – Botanical Park & Gardens of Crete and Cretan Cooking Class

Visit the Botanical Park & Gardens of Crete to learn about the island’s diverse flora. In the evening, take a Cretan cooking class to learn about the island’s gastronomy.

Day 14: Leisure Day in Chania

Spend your final full day at leisure in Chania, exploring any sites you’ve missed, shopping for souvenirs, or just enjoying the city’s charm and atmosphere.

Day 15: Departure

Bid farewell to the beautiful island of Crete. Depending on your flight time, you may squeeze in some last-minute sightseeing or shopping in Chania before heading to the airport.