Crete is Greece’s biggest island, situated between three continents and three sees. Because of its geograhical location and its respect for nature since the times of the Minoans, it can be considered as a natural paradise. This isn’t very surprising, since it is Zeus’ island. It’s mountain tops reach higher than 2000 m above sea level, gorges with many endemics (the most well known of which is diktamos), agricultural plateaus at the heart of the mountains, traditional villages, sacred Byzantine art, archaeological sites, breathtaking bays with sandy and pebble beaches and olive groves – the nectar of which is essential to Cretan cuisine, known as the healthiest Mediterranean diet and a foundation of natural cosmetics from the island plants (more than 250 endemics), which can be picked all over this small continent whilst hiking.
Day 1: CRETE – ISTRON
Arrival at the international airport N. Kazantzakis in Herakleion. Transfer to the apartment. Accommodations. A walk around the region to familiarize with the environment, through a series of bays and beaches of the peninsula with the remains of Minoan settlements. Dinner in a nearby tavern.
Day 2: AGIOS NIKOLAOS – ELOUNDA – ARETI – NEAPOLI – beach in Istron
On the second day of our visit of this small continent will embark on a full day trip. We shall head on a tour of the picturesque town of Agios Nikolaos with its lake, where Athena had a bath. We will arrive at the monastery of Areti in the heart of the hills, through the most mundane island village – Elounda – with a breathtaking view overlooking the Gulf of Mirabello and the island of Spinalonga. From there we will drive to the place Neapoli, where we will visit the old and the new olive oil press and – while tasting the best olive oil – learn about the production of it, used for food and as cosmetic nectar. On the way back we shall have dinner in the tavern on the beach while enjoying the beautiful melody of the sea.
Day 3: KNOSSOS – HERAKLEION – presentation of natural cosmetics
After a morning spent on the beach we will visit the world famous archaeological site, the largest Minoan palace Knossos. After this visit we will arrive at the island’s capital city, Herakleion, which is nearby. After a walk around the Venetian city center there will be some free time for a meal and shopping or the (highly recommended) visit of the Archaeological Museum. We will return to the apartment full of impressions, where we will have a practical demonstration of natural cosmetics by one of the domestic manufacturers.
Day 4: TOPLOU – VAI – Platanos
After a very picturesque trip to the east coast, past olive groves, with views of the numerous bays below, we will arrive at the pearl of sacred Byzantine architecture, the monastery Toplou. Religious buildings and the location of the monastery with many vineyards and plains of thyme alike will leave us in awe. It is known that one of the best wines of Crete originates from here, the production of which we will also learn about. We mustn’t forget that grapes are a component of many cosmetics, too! Not far away, we will enjoy a swim at the tropical beach Vai, which is adorned by a protected forest of palm trees, brought to the island in the time of the Minoans. Rested and refreshed, we will return and stop at a tavern with local cuisine – in which we ourselves shall chose our dishes.
Day 5: PANAGIA KERA – KRITSA – museum of natural cosmetics
Our path will lead us to the church of Panagia Kera, where we will visit one of the best preserved Byzantine frescoes of sacred art from the 13th century. We will continue on to the nearby traditional village of Kritsa, famous for its handicrafts. After a tour around the place, we will have a short rest stop. On the way back we will stop at the museum of natural cosmetics where we will take part in a presentation of the production and use of island’s plant products. Afterwards there will be enough time for swimming, …
Day 6: MIRTOS – MONASTIRAKI
This day will be devoted to the southern part of the island. We will descend through traditional villages Kalo Horio (which means ”Good Village”), Prina, Kalamafka, Anatoli and a landscape with the appearance of small Meteora to the coastal village of Mirtos along the south coast. There we will go swimming in the Libyan Sea. Full of experiences we shall go forth to the village of Monastiraki, and enjoy a real (and final) prepared-by-grandma Cretan feast under mulberry trees on a tavern terrace, which will keep you daydreaming not only at the apartement but also back at home!
Day 7: day of departure
Transfer to Herakleion airport. Return flight.
= 580 € … with 4 people registering
= 498 € … with 8 people registering
= 465 € … with 12 people registering
= 418 € … with 15 people registering
The price includes:
- Return transfer by mini bus between the airport Herakleion – apartments in Istron (70 km east) – airport Herakleion,
- In the immediate vicinity of the apartments all infrastructure is available: shops, taverns, bars, a bakery, bus station, pharmacy. The nearest beach is a 5 minute walk.
- 6 nights in an apartment (4 people / apt, separate bedroom, a fully equipped kitchen and living room with 2 beds, balcony, sea view)
- 1 hot meal / day – Cretan typical local dishes made with fresh ingredients in different, traditional taverns,
- transport by car / van or minibus,
- tours according to the program,
The price does not include:
- Transportation to and from Crete
- Entrance fees (Knossos, Herakleion Archaeological Museum, the Church of Panagia Kera … max. 15€)
- Personal Health Insurance
Note / IMPORTANT:
- Possible changes in the order of the program.
- It is compulsory to carry Health Insurance or at least an international health insurance card.
The program is owned by Elena Cretnik. All rights reserved.