Lassithi & Agios Nikolaos / One Day Excursion

Wednesday, 10 August 2016 23:56
Published in Cretan Tradition

En route for the great plains of the Lassithi Plateau, visit the cave of Psychro, also known as the Diktean cave, named after the legend of the place of birth of the god Zeus. Return through the picturesque town of Agios Nikolaos, situated at the Mirabello gulf.

 

 


Discover some of the most beautiful parts of the east of the island. Your first stop will be the Byzantine Church of the Virgin Mary Kera (Panagia Kera) near the village of Kritsa . This church has three naves and is adorned with some of the most handsome and best preserved frescoes to be found in Crete , dating from the fourteenth century. You will see scenes from the life of Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary, together with depictions of saints and apostles and stories from the bible. The paintings are particularly well executed and are in very good condition given their age – a very special feast for the eyes!
 

The coach will then take you to the wide open spaces of the Lasithi

 

Plateau where you will see some of the white-sailed windmills for which the area was famous in days gone by. It is a very attractive sight, a patchwork of fields surrounded by the mountains. Still a very fertile area, the plateau was, in Venetian times, one of the main wheat producing regions of the island.


You will visit the Psychro Cave , also known as the Diktean Cave , where the god Zeus was born, according to legend. Certainly, archaeologists have found evidence here which shows that the cave was a major cult centre from at least Minoan times. The stalagmites and stalagtites in the cave are well worth seeing (though we recommend that you wear walking shoes to explore the cave.) 

 

 

The excursion ends with a visit to the picturesque town of Agios Nikolaos on the Gulf of Mirabello (a name given by the Ventians, meaning ‘Lovely View'). Here you will have free time to have lunch and to stroll around the town, which is built around a small lake, bottomless, according to local tales, and dramatically overhung by cliffs.

Cretan Villages - One Day Excursion

Friday, 05 August 2016 03:58
Published in Cretan Tradition

Discover the real Crete , away from the tourist bustle, in some of the picturesque villages of the region. First you will visit Roustika, which boasts a small church decorated with ancient frescoes.

Next stop is scenic Argiroupolis, a village in two halves. Your guide will take you for a little stroll through the history-laden streets of the upper village, which is founded on the ruins of the great ancient Greco-Roman city of Lappa . You will pass Venetian houses and a fine Roman mosaic floor and there are lovely views over the hillsides and the river valley. The lower village is lush and verdant, for here fresh sweet mountain water gushes from the hillside in a multitude of springs.

You will break for lunch (not included) at one of the tavernas situated on the banks of Lake Kournas , the only freshwater lake on the island.

Kournas Lake
Kournas Lake
Lastly, the coach will take you to the charming village of Gavalochori , which is famous for its architecture and its traditional silk lace production. Its excellent little museum houses, in a beautifully restored Venetian building, a remarkable collection of historic and folkloric pieces, which give a fascinating insight into the way of life in these villages over the last few centuries. Examples of different local craft traditions are exhibited, and a nearby store sells the work produced in the modern revival of these skills.

One Day Excursion Gortys, Phaestos & Matala

Wednesday, 03 August 2016 02:09
Published in Culture
Passing through the grape-producing valley of Malevisi , you will take the road towards the Messara plain, the largest and most important of the agricultural areas of Crete . Olives feature highly in the local produce, as do fruit and vegetables.
Disk of Phaestos
The Disk of Phaestos

 

Your first guided visit will be to the ruins of the ancient city of Gortys. Inhabited from at least Minoan times, Gortys came into its own during the occupation of the Dorians, and reached the height of its powers under the Romans, from 67 BC. The impressive ruins include temples, a theatre and other buildings. Most important of all are the large blocks of stone engraved with the ‘Code of Gortys'. Dating from about 500 BC, this is a law code which gives fascinating information about the structure of the society at that time. You will also visit the remains of the early Christian church of Agios Titos , built in the 6 th century. It is dedicated to Titus who was sent by St Paul to convert the island to Christianity.

 

Nearby Phaestos, beautifully situated with views out over the fertile Messara Plain, is Crete's second largest Minoan palace and is thought to have been the seat of local rulers and religious leaders who would have been under the overall dominion of Knossos . You will be given a guided tour of the extensive ruins. These are the remains of an exceedingly grand complex of buildings which display all the hallmarks of the genius of Minoan architects. The large central courtyard is surrounded by living quarters for the royal family, shrines and other cult areas where ceremonies of the Minoan religion would have been held, and the storage magazines and artisan's workshops which attest to the great wealth of this people. The considerable number of objects found here includes the famous Phaestos Disc, which is inscribed with a spiral of hieroglyphic symbols which have not yet been deciphered. The palace also includes a typical theatral area where it is easy to imagine sacred processions and dances taking place.

 

After a highly cultural morning, you will be able to relax in the seaside town of Matala . After lunch (not included), you will have free time to enjoy the clear waters and the spectacular sandy beach surrounded by cliffs which are known for the numerous caves to be found there.

This excursion takes you right to the heart of Minoan Crete. The Palace of Knossos , the largest and most imposing of the Minoan civilisation, was discovered at the very end of the nineteenth century by the English archaeologist

Gold Ornament
Gold Ornament

Sir Arthur Evans. It proved to be an exceedingly beautiful and complex building, leading to the theory that it is at the origin of the myth of the labyrinth and the minotaur. It is thought to have been the seat of the legendary King Minos as well as a major religious centre. The ruins have been partially restored to give you a good impression of what it may have been like in its heyday and the architecture can be seen to be very advanced for its time (it dates from the Bronze Age, around 1700BC), with buildings several storeys high, magnificent staircases and sophisticated natural lighting and drainage systems. Some of the huge pithoi (storage jars) which were found on the site can be seen in situ. Most famous of all are the stunning frescoes, reproductions of which adorn some of the walls. The originals can be seen in the archaeological museum in Heraklion. Your visit to this extraordinary site will be enhanced by the professional guide who will bring the building to life for you.

The excavations at Knossos brought to light thousands of artefacts, many of which are exhibited at the Archaeological Museum in Heraklion. The second largest museum in Greece , this is a veritable treasure trove of

Engravings
Tablets

Minoan finds from all over Crete . Pottery, stone and ivory carvings, jewellery and many other objects all testify to the Minoans' great love of beauty, life and nature. The delicacy of the pottery decorations, the intricacy of the metal work, the artistry evident in the minuscule carved sealstones are all quite breathtaking. You will see some very well known pieces, for example the snake goddesses, the handsome bull's head rhyton and the graceful ivory acrobat. Your guide will lead you around the museum's awe-inspiring collection to help bring into focus the artistic and technical achievements of this ancient people.

After these two major visits, you will have free time in the city of Heraklion to enjoy lunch at one of the many tavernas and to explore the streets of the town, before your coach brings you back to your hotel.

Circuit Autotour

Monday, 01 August 2016 00:09
Published in Group-Circuits

The Autotour offers you greater freedom since you pick up your car at the airport and make your way following our recommended itinerary: you are given vouchers for the hotels, where reservations have been made for you.

This program is proposed throughout the touristic period, and consists of rental of a car for one week, and one night overnights in C category hotels, in rooms with private bathrooms, on bed and breakfast basis.

On arrival at the airport, the clients receive their car and their hotels' vouchers.

All reservations should be made at least two weeks before arrival.


Day 1

Arrival at Heraklion and picking up of car at the airport. Visit the Archaeological Museum and the Palace of Knossos . Overnight stay at Heraklion.

 

Day 2

Leave Heraklion heading towards the eastern part of the island. En route visit of the towns of Hersonissos, Malia, Agios Nikolaos and Sitia. Overnight stay at Sitia.


Day 3

After breakfast visit of the town, then departure for Vai and it's magnificent palm grove. Drive on to Zakros and Ierapetra. Overnight stay at Ierapetra.

 

Day 4

Departure for Agia Galini, passing through the pretty little villages of Myrtos, Ano Viannos and Pirgos, and visit of the Greco-Roman town of Gortys, and the minoan Palace of Phaestos. Overnight stay at Agia Galini.

 

Day 5

Breakfast, then visit of the little village of Agia Galini , then departure for Rethymno. En route visits of the picturesque village of Spili and the minoan cemetery at Armeni. Overnight stay at Rethymno.


Day 6

Day of rest at Rethymno, and it's attractive sandy beach. Overnight stay at Rethymno.

 

Day 7

Departure for Hania, and visit of the village of Georgioupolis , on the way, as well as the ruins of Aptera. Overnight stay at Hania.

Day 8

Departure for Heraklion and return of the car at the airport.Circuit Autotour

Circuit Minos

Sunday, 31 July 2016 18:51
Published in Group-Circuits

Package Details

 

Day 01:

Arrival at Heraklion airport, welcome and transfer to the hotel.

 

Day 02:

Heraklion – Knossos

Breakfast, then visit at the Palace of Knossos , an important site of the Minoan civilization, impressively elegant and complex. Visit Heraklion and the Archaeological Museum which contains, among other treasures, the Snake Goddess, the Ivory Acrobat and the Disk of Phaestos. Lunch at a taverna. Afternoon free. Dinner and overnight stay in Heraklion.

Crete

Friday, 26 September 2014 03:00
Published in Media

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Circuit East-West

Friday, 26 September 2014 03:00
Published in Group-Circuits

Package Details

 

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)

 


Day 1

Arrival

Welcome on flight arrival and transfer to Rethymno. Welcome drink and settle in at the hotel. Dinner and overnight stay at Rethymno.

 

 

Day 2

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.

 

Day 3

Rethymno

Free day at Rethymno, ideal break for swimming, shopping and strolling the narrow streets of the old town.

 

Day 4

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.

 

Day 5

Rethymno

Free day at Rethymno.

 

Day 6

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.


Day 7

Agios Nikolaos

Free day at Agios Nikolaos.

 

 

Day 8

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.

 

 

Day 9

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.


Day 10

Agios Nikolaos – Heraklion – Airport

Breakfast. Transfer to Heraklion airport, assistance with check-in. Return flight.

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