This circuit offers you the possibility to visit the get acquainted with the island, focusing on archeology, nature and religion, with overnights in only two towns (Agios Nikolaos and Rethymno or Heraklio)
Welcome on flight arrival and transfer to Rethymno. Welcome drink and settle in at the hotel. Dinner and overnight stay at Rethymno.
Phaestos – Gortys - Matala
After breakfast, departure to visit the ruins of the Greco-Roman town of Gortys and the church of St. Titus, then the remains of second biggest Minoan palace, at Phaestos. Coach to the little fishing village of Matala , famous for it's caves overlooking the sea, and it's superb beach of fine sand. Lunch in a taverna and free time for a swim. Return to Rethymno for dinner and overnight stay.
Free day at Rethymno, ideal break for swimming, shopping and strolling the narrow streets of the old town.
Rethymno – Hania – Akrotiri
Breakfast, followed by bus travel to Hania. Tour of the town, where the atmosphere of the 16 th and 17 th century venetian city can best be felt: the old houses, the arsenals and the old harbour. The Turkish occupation has left the city with an oriental flavour. Visit the market. Coach to the Akrotiri peninsula and visit of the monastery of Agia Triada, and it's rennaisance church dating back to 1632. Return to Rethymno. Lunch en route. Dinner and overnight stay at Rethymno.
Free day at Rethymno.
Knossos – Heraklio – Lassithi – Agios Nikolaos
Breakfast. Coach to the archaeological site of Knossos , the famous remains of the greatest city of the Minoan civillization. Tour of the palace and the houses, built around 1400 BC. Continue towards Heraklion, the island's capital. Visit the archaeological museum to admire the unique collection of antiquities from the Neolithic to the Roman period, discovered in Crete . Travel on to the Lassithi Plateau, at 1000 m altitude, covered by windmills, over an area of 40 km 2 . Stop at the Dikti cave, a famous site where, according to the Greek mythology, Rhea hid Zeus immediately after his birth to protect him from his father Cronos. Lunch en route. Dinner and overnight stay at Agios Nikolaos.
Free day at Agios Nikolaos.
Kritsa – Elounda – Spinalonga
Breakfast. Coach to the picturesque village of Kritsa , famous for it's textiles, and tour of the triple-naved Byzantine church of Panagia Kera , dating from the 16 th century. Travel on to Elounda and crossing by fishing boat to Spinalonga. Tour of this small island, where the Venetians built a fortress, renovated in 1520 and then handed over to the Turks in 1715. Impressive ruins and chapels of the 16 th century decorate the island, which served as a leper colony from 1904 to 1958. Lunch en route. Dinner and overnight stay in Agios Nikolaos.
Sitia – Vai – Toplou
Breakfast, then coach to the charming little port of Sitia , at the easternmost edge of the island. Visit the palm grove of Vai, bordered by a magnificent beach of fine sand. Stop for a swim. Visit the Toplou monastery, standing proudly in a wild and rocky area. Lunch en route. Dinner and overnight stay in Agios Nikolaos.
Agios Nikolaos – Heraklion – Airport
Breakfast. Transfer to Heraklion airport, assistance with check-in. Return flight.