Classical Crete. Archaeology, Nature, Gastronomy
FOR HISTORY AND NATURE LOVERS! This trip idea has been designed from an environmental and anthropocentric point of view, covering the most stunning parts of Crete along with some of the most authentic sites of our island’s terrain. Travelers will have the opportunity to come face to face with the unknown aspects of well-known areas of Crete as well as with less explored landscapes, where one can find the remains of ancient times scattered everywhere... Archeology, nature, history and gastronomy in their most authentic form in the island of Crete.
This trip is addressed to people who wish to make a self-guided tour in the eastern and central Crete, with our highly qualified and experienced English speaking experts for specific guided visits, with a constant support by our agency and with a very detailed road and travel-book. Our agency makes sure that you receive all the necessary amenities in order to facilitate your exploration and at the same time, retain the magic of the unexpected. Upon request, there is always the possibility for extra day tours escorted by certified guides or specialists in certain fields.
Detailed programme day by day
Welcome to Crete!
Arrival at Heraklion Airport. Transfer by taxi to the hotel at the city center. Arrival and settling into the room. There, you will be met by our partner who will welcome you and will give you all the documents for the trip (travel-book, maps). You will also make a thorough discussion on the trip.
Later, depending on the time of your arrival, you can make walks in the center of the lively city of Heraklion, or the charming Venetian port.
Travel Time: 4 km to Heraklion
Accommodation: City boutique hotel 4* in the city center, with breakfast, wifi and air-condition, excellent breakfast.
Included on day 1: Accommodation, transfer by taxi to your hotel in the city center, meeting with our representative at the hotel, discussion on the trip and delivery of the travel-documents (detailed road maps and a detailed travel book, specially edited for your day to day trip).
A gastronomical city tour in small food-boutiques: exploring the flavors of the most healthy cuisine in the world
Today after your breakfast, we will assist you to discover the most important and interesting aspects of the gastronomical culture of Crete.
The previous day, together with the road-book and the maps of your trip you will be delivered the special printed material (a specialized ‘food and boutiques’ tour book” with its maps) and the vouchers for the thematic gastronomical tour you will do, starting from… now…!
You will start your day in the historical center of the city of Heraklion, in the part that is surrounded by the impressive city walls (the well-known Venetian fortification).
This book and maps will permit you to start exploring the different aspects of our products and foods in the old food market of the historical down-town. Imagine yourself passing from the most significant and interesting small shops/boutiques of high quality products (groceries, wild herbs, dairy products, legumes, bakeries, fruit market and so many others), with pleasant and hospitable owners, who will make to you a brief presentation of their products while, at the same time, they will offer you to taste some of the most delicious raw products of freshly cooked delicacies.
In this way you will be able to feel, taste, and smell the products of the highest quality and acquaint with the locals!
Later, you can visit the Archeological Museum, which is one of the most important in the Mediterranean basin, especially after its recent renovation.
Return at the hotel and resting for next day trip!
Accommodation – the same in Heraklion
Included on day 2: Accommodation, breakfast, special booklet for your thematic trip and the food-tour described above (the programme as described above, done by yourselves, but with our documents and arrangements).
The East Crete: Agios Nikolaos, Plateau of Lassithi and … Kritsa: participation in a guided cultural programme for the Frescoes / wall paintings of byzantine art and the orthodox spirit
You are delivered your car at the hotel.
You drive from Heraklion to the East Crete. Today you will have the opportunity to discover a part of Crete that is completely different from all the other Crete. You will start your exploration from the famous Plateau o Lassithi, where you will be given the opportunity to explore incredible natural phenomena and geological formations, while at the same time, you will visit the legendary sacred cave of Zeus in the small village of Psicro: the cave o Dikteon.
Later following a picturesque asphalt road towards the capital city of Lassithi prefecture, you will arrive to Agios Nikolaos where you will be met with our qualified and highly communicative archeologist who will escort you for the following 4 hours to a guided cultural programme to the most significant churches of the area of Kritsa… Small villages, together with a stunning landscape will reveal you incredible aspects of the Cretan culture.. The description of this thematic programme of Petassos Travel is just below:
Description of the guided programme with the archeologist
Walking into the traditional village of Kritsa, we will enter into two churches. Through this visit the traveler will discover humble secrets hidden in tiny churches of Crete, travel to the medieval world of the Venetian occupied East, capture moments of daily life of the 14th/15th centuries and feel the philosophy of the Orthodox Christian church.
Introduction in the presented theme
Thousands of medieval treasures of art and spirit are scattered in the villages and the countryside of Crete. They are not hidden in the earth. They are not displayed in museums. Just opening the door of a Byzantine church and behold a gallery with art works by anonymous artists: illustrated episodes of the gospels, the saints’ lives, the holy service, the psalms, the Revelation. Saints and sinners, heaven and earth, the whole universe in the miniature of a church. The beliefs, the practice and the ontology of the Orthodox Christian church written shortly and simply on the walls, in a language that can be read even by illiterates: the language of the image.
After the end of the programme, you return to Heraklion.
Travel time: 1h30 to go + 1h00 to return
Accommodation – the same in Heraklion
Included of day 3: Accommodation, breakfast, car rental, mix insurance, special booklet for your thematic trip and escort by an archeologist (the programme as described above).
Delving Into the World of the Mythical Minoan Civilization –
A DIFFERENT MYTHOLOGICAL / ARCHEOLOGICAL TOUR
After your breakfast, you start driving towards Cnossos archeological site. You will be met with our archeologist who will escort you during the next 5-6 hours, and will reveal you the secrets of the land of the Minoans, 5000 years ago.
In particular, this programme, contrary to all the classical presentations of Cnossos ‘palace’, aspires to be a different approach of the Minoan civilization. The presentation doesn’t include the guiding inside Cnossos (which you can easily do on your own). It is made by an archeologist specialized in the Minoan era and it includes a picnic in nature, adapted to the gastronomical customs of the Minoan era.
(See below the detailed description of this thematic archeological/mythological tour)
After the end of the programme, you continue driving to the South of Crete, towards the village Kamilari, where you will stay the next 2 days. Before you arrive at Kamilari, and if you are still in a mood of exploring the gastronomical culture of Crete, we recommend you to make 2 stop-overs at two very special places in the productive area of Archanes-Cnossos.
One of the best wineries in Crete that tries to produce and preserve the old local –Cretan- varieties of wine and a small, traditional olive mill near Archanes. This olive mill is unique of its type, the only one that extracts the simple and rich juice of the olive! Everything is done handpicked! There, you will be able to make walks outside in the fields of olive trees with the escort of the owner and then taste different olive oils from the local varieties.
Arrival at Kamilari and settling into the rooms.
Travel time: Around 2h00 total driving during the day, including all the itineraries made.
Description of the thematic tour
MINOS, the King of Knossos: THE NINE-YEAR KING (ENNEOROS)
Knossos, the great city of Minoan Crete, was the seat of the legendary king of the island, Minos, son of Zeus and οoriental princess Europe. The earliest ancient sources mention the name of Minos with the word “Enneoros”, i.e. the king his term lasted nine years. Every nine years Minos ascended to the mountain edge of his earth, to receive the law of God itself, essentially to renew the sanction of his nine-year office. The scenery around the palace of Knossos provides one of the most imaginative mythical landscapes of this nine-year ritual process. On the outskirts of Knossos lay the mountain that may be climbed and the rivers that flowed from this mountain leading to Knossos and the palace of the king, forming the paths and roads of this area.
The travelers of PETASSOS have the opportunity to become acquainted with this ancient “fabulous scenery”: the landscape of mountain, rivers and roads of the region, where the town and the palace of Knossos were built up. The excursion to this historical landscape, gives the stimulus to know the ways of measuring time by the Minoans, i.e. to get to know their calendar: the power and management on Time, was as severe as the responsibility for the successful Space management, by Minos the great King of Knossos.
THE TRIP ‘STEP BY STEP’
Driving (or trekking) at the top of the mountain Yiouhtas (811m.).
Guiding in the Minoan sanctuary of Anemospilia.
Visiting the Minoan cemetery in the hilly area of Fourni where the picnic will take place
Included in the price of this daily trip of MINOS
- Presentation of the theme by an archaeologist (English speaking)
- A manual specially edited by the archaeologist for this programme
- Picnic in nature
- Everything described above
Not included in the price of this daily trip of MINOS
- Personal Insurance (upon request)
- Beverage (soft drinks)
- Transfer to the starting point of the trips & return
- Personal expenses, tips, visa’s cost, taxes
- Entrance fees to museums and organised archaeological sites, like Cnossos
- Anything not mentioned above
Accommodation: Traditional apartment at Kamilari, with breakfast, wifi and air-condition, excellent breakfast and friendly owners.
Included on day 4: Accommodation, breakfast, car rental, mix insurance, pick-nick in nature, special booklet for your thematic trip and escort by an archeologist (the progrqmme as described above).
Visit to the Archeological Sites of Messara
The reason we have chosen this traditional house for you is not only because it is cozy, comfortable, clean and with excellent hosts… it is also because it is located in one of the most significant archeological areas of Crete. The extended valley of Messara. Such a fertile plain, surrounded by the most sacred mountains of central Crete, could not but attract so many tribes and civilizations that passed from the Mediterranean the last 10000 years.. The archeological sites found and excavated in the plain of Messara are just… innumerous!
This day, we recommend you to visit the most important ones and if you desire, we could arrange for you to have a certified English speaking guide so that you have a deep plunge into the history of those sites.
Step 1: Visit to the archaeological site of Phaistos, the second most important archaeological site in Greece after Knossos. Excavations have revealed historical monuments and important remains dating back to the Minoan period, Geometric and Hellenistic times.
Step 2: Visit to the archaeological site of Gortyn. The ruins of Gortyna, one of the most powerful cities of Crete which was the capital of the island during the Roman and Byzantine periods, slightly north of Phaistos between the villages of Agioi Deka and Agios Mitropoli. Its 6000 years old history make it is one of the richest archaeological sites. The ruins of a Minoan villa found near Mitropolis indicate that the entire area has been inhabited since the end of the Neolithic period.
Return to the hotel
Travel Time: Around 1 or 2 hours in total (depending on the extra visits in villages you will chose to do, following our advices in the travel-book we will give you)
Accommodation: Same apartment at kamilari village
Included: Accommodation, breakfast, car rental, mix insurance
Heading to Rethymnon city, passing from the valley of Amari
Today you change destination. After your breakfast you start driving towards the South-west and then to the north traversing the valley of Amari. Here you are visiting some typical villages, some archeological sites and the beautiful gorge of Patsos with the sanctuary of Ermes.
Arrival at Rethimnon and settling into the room
Travelling time: 2h00
Accommodation: Charming hotel at Rethymnon with breakfast, wifi and air-condition.
Included ON DAY 6: Accommodation, breakfast, car rental, mix insurance
Ancient Eleftherna, the village of pottery and the monastery tears
After breakfast, you make some nice visits in the city of Rethimnon and you start driving to the amazing area of Arkadi, around Rethymno. First stop at ancient Eleftherna. The city was founded by the Dorians in the ninth century BC. Located at the crossroads between Kydonia, Knossos and Mount sanctuary Ida. The excavations during the years 1990-1992 in a necropolis revealed the practice of human sacrifices around 700 BC.
After Eleftherna, you continue to the village of Margarites. The people are engaged mainly in livestock, agriculture and pottery and visitors can buy different pieces of pottery and other items from traditional crafts in the village craft shops.
Continue to the Monastery of Arkadi, the most famous and historical monastery of Crete, in an idyllic location! Living history is by itself a very strong emotion.
Here, upon request, you can attend a 2-hour seminar / presentation that a very talented artist is making for the people who wish to comprehend the rich tradition of pottery in Crete dating from Minoan era. He has a workshop and a shop in the center of Margarites and he is struggling to survive the tradition of pottery that has passed to him by his grandfather. He is not doing anything folklore, that's why we are recommending him to you. You can see the video in the following link to understand what this is all about. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QW-I6ahqLtE.
Return to Rethimnon
Driving time: Rethimnon - Eleftherna: 23 km (0h30) / Eleftherna - Arkadi Monastery: 7, 5 km / Arkadi Monastery - Rethymno: 27 km
Accommodation: Same hotel
Included ON DAY 7: Accommodation, breakfast, car rental, mix insurance
End of the trip!
Breakfast. Drive to the airport of Heraklion and leave car at the parking space of the car rental company. Flight home - we hope you've had a fantastic time!
Travelling time: 82 km (1h00)
Included ON DAY 8 : Breakfast, car rental, mix insurance
HIGH SEASON - 2 pax and more: 970 euros p.p.
LOW SEASON - 2 pax and more: 905 euros p.p.
Special prices for groupes
The price includes:
- Transfer by taxi from the airport to the hotel (day 1)
- Assistance at the hotel (providing the maps and printed material for your trip and talking thoroughly about the itinerary)
- Car rental by a local high quality company – car type B (for 2 pax) / car type C (for 3 pax) / car type D+ (for 4 pax) / car type 7 seat (for 5-6 pax) / car type mini-van 9 seats (for 7-8 pax)
- Mixed insurence
- A detailed manual specially prepared for your trip (with references, texts, photos, maps and proposals for wonderful treks etc.)
- All the thematic manuals described above for the thematic programmes we include in the trip
- Thematic excursion with an archeologist: MINOS – Minoan civilization (without the entrance in Cnossos palace) with pick-nick in nature
- Thematic food-tour in Heraklion with food tasting, self-guided but organized by us
- Thematic excursion with an archeologist: for the frescoes and churches in East Crete
- Breakfast in all hotels and apartments
- Hotels or traditional apts of high quality – as mentioned above (3* and 4*)
- Phone support 24 hours a day
The price does not include:
- International flights
- Guided tours and entrance fees to natural parks, museums and organised archaeological sites, except when it is mentioned in the above offer
- Thematic guided tours as described above (extra costs are mentioned separately)
- Beverages (soft drinks), tips and personal expenses
- GPS for the car
- Personal insurance
- VAT for accommodation: 0.50 euros per day to be paid by you directly to each hotel.
- Anything not mentioned above
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT ACCOMMODATION AND CARS
The photos of the accommodation that we send you, are apartment-studios which we propose to you when we send you the proposal. The availability of the rooms depends on how quickly we will book them. It is important for you to know that it is not always possible to find available rooms. If that happens we are going to find different rooms of the same quality in the nearby villages.
Keep in mind
The accommodation that we propose to our clients is generally in areas which are less touristy. In these areas one cannot find easily typical hotels with small rooms (beds, toilet, and shower). In the regions that we suggest to our clients, there are traditional apartments, which have toilets, bathrooms and beds but also small kitchens where one can prepare a meal, balconies etc. and usually they are a lot more spacious than hotel rooms. That doesn't necessarily mean that they are more expensive. Their price depend on the region and on the services they offer.
Payment and cancellation terms
Conditions of payment
In order to confirm your reservation you have to pay a deposit of the 30% of the total price of your trip either with a credit card or with direct debit, by clicking on the link that will be provide by your local agent.
You should have paid the remaining 70% of your trip at least 30 days before your departure.
Conditions of cancellation
All cancellations need to be done by e-mail to the local agency. The money to be paid varies depending on the date of the cancellation:
- more than 50 days from the date of departure : 100 euros for the cost of the ‘planning of Dossier”
- 49-30 days from the date of departure : 20% of the price
- 29-21 days from the date of departure : 50 % of the price
- 20-8 days from the date of departure : 70% of the price
- 7-4 days from the date of departure : 90% of the price
- less than 3 days from the date of departure or after the date of departure : 100% of the price
Services not used
- All trips which are cut short, or all services concerning land, rivers, sea or air if they are not used for any reason, there will be no reimbursement by the local agent.
- It is the traveler’s responsibility to draw an insurance contract based on which he will be able to be reimbursed in case services are not rendered.