10-days | Familly vacations in the South-West of Crete: a mix of relax & activities Self-guided trip in pristine areas

A 10-day trip in West Crete, addressed to families, friends, couples and groups. It is ideally planned for people who are seeking for vacations near the sea, who want to relax in quality hotels of small scale (boutique accommodation) with excellent breakfast and great hospitality.
The region is carefully selected, to combine the relax next to crystal beaches, with the possibility of activities in nature, for all those who wish also to explore and discover off the bitten track spots.
This area is near the most beautiful and exotic places of South Crete, in the outskirts of the great natural park of Samaria, close to impressive gorges, paths of wild nature and traditional fishing villages.
Snorkeling, diving, sea canoe, river trek, fishing, hiking is some of the things that you can enjoy here!

Day 1

Welcome to Crete!

Arrival at Heraklion airport and transfer by taxi to your hotel which is located in the city center. There you will be met with our representative who will deliver you the documents for the trip (travel-book, maps) in order to make a thorough discussion with him/her about the trip.

Depending on the time of your arrival*, you could start exploring the lively city center and dine in one of the marvelous taverns or restaurants that we could recommend you (if you wish, we can also book one for you). Or we could organize for you a marvelous tasting experience with our expert, in order to be introduced to the world of olive oil and the famous Cretan gastronomy.

 

Another option (in case you arrive very early) is to start exploring on foot the unknown Heraklion (with a guide-on request or by yourselves, with our advice and our specialized booklets and maps that will allow you to plunged in amazing spots of the city).

What is this alternative visit of the unknown Heraklion?

We will help you discover the unknown and unusual parts of this city but very often neglected by most visitors. With a map of the old town (that we will give you), you will walk on a pedestrian path, laid out along the Venetian fortifications. You will pass by the most important monuments and places which reveal a history dating back more than 2000 years. You will discover the life of sailors, soldiers, politicians and traitors, musicians and writers, prostitutes, engineers, immigrants, martyrs, or popes ... you will discover the history of these people from all backgrounds, of all nationalities who have left their mark on the walls of Heraklion. Whether they were Turkish, Venetian, Cretan, Greek, Italian, Arab, French or German ... they lived here and bequeathed their history over the centuries.

At the end of your excursion (around 2 hours) you will arrive in a district occupied by artists where graffiti and paintings have transformed the rather derelict urban landscape into an open-air gallery. For 3 years these artists have been involved in a project to rehabilitate the old town under a difficult socio-economic context linked to the economic and migratory crisis **. Finally, you could choose to have a quality dinner (optional, at an additional cost) in a typical Greek / Cretan tavern/restaurant with a reputation among the locals for its grandma cuisine. In this case, we will order for you a meal around the theme: “Venetian gastronomy or eating habits during the Venetian occupation of Heraklion city”.

* it is always best to arrive as early as possible to make the most of the day.

** due to recent migratory flows from Eastern countries

 

Transfer: By taxi from the airport to the hotel: 15 minutes

Accommodation: 3 * in the center of Heraklion

 

City hotel in Heraklion

Overnight in a city-hotel located in the center of the historic Heraklion.

Continental breakfast, Free WiFi and air conditioning, 24h reception

Possibility to offer you a 4 or 5* or boutique-style city hotel, depending on your budget.

 

 

 

Day 2

Car delivery – optional visit at the archaeological museum of Heraklion – Stopover in the city of Rethymno for a visit in the beautiful venetian port - Moving to the west of Crete - Chania area

Breakfast in the hotel

Self-guided or guided tour by a certified English-speaking guide (on request with a supplement) to the famous archaeological museum of Heraklion. Just after this visit (ideal for your introduction to the rich culture and history of our island), return to the hotel in order to be delivered the car and check-out.

You start driving towards the west of Crete. Destination of the day: the city of Chania.

Depending on the time and your mood, you could make a stopover in the middle of the road to Chania, in order to visit the very interesting city of Rethymno full of workshops, monuments, small taverns!

Rethymno combines the conveniences of a large city with the beauty of an old town. Both elements will mesmerize you. Actually, it is one of the best-preserved medieval cities.

Later arrival at Chania and settling into the room(s)/apartment of your hotel.

There is also the possibility to book for you in a beautiful and comfortable small complex of apartments and villas, with swimming pool, 30 min drive from the city of Chania and 10min walk from the beautiful beach.

Included in the day

Accommodation, Breakfast, Car rental

 

ACCOMODATION

Option 1: City hotel, 3 or more stars, depending on your preferences and your budget

Option 2: A cosy and comfortable small complex of apartments and villas, with swimming pool, 30 min drive from the city of Chania and 10min walk from the beautiful beach.

Option 3: A charming 4* complex of apartments and villas, with swimming pool and restaurant, 50 min drive from the city of Chania and 10min drive from the beach.

Option 1 – In the city center of Chania

 

Option 2 – near the beach

 

Option 3 – further to the west – 4*, more expensive

 

 

Day 3

The lagon of Balos

Same accomodation

After breakfast, depart for the northwestern part of the island and the lagoon of Balos, one of the most famous beaches of Greece for its turquoise waters, its wild natural beauty and the stunning exotic landscape.

To reach Balos you can go to a certain point by car and then walk. * Alternatively: Upon request, with an additional cost, you can reach Balos by boat, setting off from Kolymbari, and passing from the beautiful beach of Menies.

On the way back to Kissamos, you can visit the wonderful region of Kastanochoria (Chestnut Villages) and dine at the village of Milia.

Return to your hotel.

Included in the day: Accomodation and breakfast, car rental

 

 

Day 4

Elaphonisi - kedrodasos – Chrysoskalitissa monastery

Same accomodation

 

Breakfast at the hotel.

Departure for the southwestern part of the island and the lagoon Elafonissi and its beautiful coves!

Take a break at the Monastery of Chrysoskalitissa

Visit Kedrodasos beach

Return to Chania.

Travel time : 4 h go and return

 

 

 

Day 5


Chania – Loutro: A single night in the fisher’s villages with the white houses, accessible only by boat or foot

Travel to Chora Sfakion, to the south, through the impressive gorge of Imbros. Arrival and meeting with the driver of the speedboat who will take you to the three incredible beaches, south of the great white mountains!

Crystal clear beaches, not accessible by car, with wild beauty that reveals the importance of this natural national park of Crete, one of the most important protected parks in Greece.

At the end of the day he will leave you at Loutro (with your luggage) to spend the night.

The hotel is very simple, equivalent to 2 * (like all hotels in Loutro) but you will not regret it thanks to the magnificent setting. In addition, the "Kakavia-fish" soup will reward you for sure !!

Travel time: Count around 1h30  from Chania to Chora Sfakion

Boat ride time: from 3 and 5 hours (the driver leaves you to a beache and comes back to pick you up to continue to the next beach.

Included in the day

Accomodation – 2* hotel in Loutro | Breakfast

Car rental | Dinner | Private speed boat ride (3-beach hoping)

 

 

 

Day 6

CHORA SFAKION - FRANGOKASTELO - PREVELI - AGIA GALINI

You wake up and take the boat to Chora Sfakion. You take the car and you drive towards the East, along the coast, passing from beautiful landscapes. You strongly recommend you to make a stopover at the famous and wonderful palm groove of Preveli with the running river and the stunning beach.

Final destination, the region of Myrthios / Agia Galini, in accommodation with a magnificent view, with swimming pool and close to the sea (there is also the option of selecting a very simple, very pleasant hotel, feet in the water, but with basic services and obviously cheaper).

Travel time: 2h-2h30

Included in the day

Accomodation, breakfast, car rental

 

ACCOMODATION OPTIONS

Area of Plakias - Damnoni - type of boutique hotel 3-4*

 

 

OPTION 2 | More expensive

VILLAS in Agia Galini, with semi-private swimming pool (equivalent to 4*)

 

 

 

Day 7

The golden dunes of Agios Pavlos

After your breakfast, you can drive not far, to start exploring the amazing beaches and sand dunes of Agios Pavlos!

Well-hidden in a sheltered bay, this place is accessible by a narrow road. One can admire the famous multi-colored rock formations that reveal the incredible geological history of Crete as well as the sand dunes.

A short hike will allow you to discover everything: sand dunes, faults, limestone formations...and endless beaches.

Return at your villas at Agia Galini

Included in the day

Same accommodation, breakfast, car rental

 

 

Day 8

Festos, Gortyna, Matala, Kommos : some of the most important archeological sites of Crete

Breakfast

Today you can visit the great Mesara valley, the most important and fertile area of Crete. This valley has always been the main granary of Crete. The warm climate combined with the fertile soil, contribute to the cultivation of early vegetables, olive and citrus trees.

Things you can do in Mesara are too many and you will never really forget the area.

Stop 1: 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

Stop 2: The archaeological site of Gortyn. Gortyna was one of the most powerful cities of Crete which was the capital of the island during the Roman and Byzantine periods and is located slightly north of Phaistos between the villages of Agioi Deka and Agios Mitropoli. Its history spanning 6000 years and it is one of the richest archaeological sites. The ruins of a Minoan villa found near Mitropolis, Kania, indicates that the entire area has been inhabited since the end of the Neolithic period.

Stop 3: Kommos antiquities and...beaches...

Travel Distances: Around 40 min from Agia Galini to the Festos site and shorter distances from Festos to the other suggested areas

 

Included in the day

Same accommodation, breakfast, car rental

 


Day  9

Free day ! relax and discovery of amazing beaches around your accomodation !!!

Nearby your hotel there are some of the most beautiful beaches of Crete!! You can profit of your last day to discover them!

Included in the day

Same accommodation, breakfast, car rental


 

 

Day 10

End of trip – flight back home

Breakfast

You drive to Heraklion. Count 2h. Flight back home

 

Included in the day

breakfast, car rental

 

The price includes:

  • Transfer from the airport of Heraklion to the hotel in the city center
  • Discussion with a representative of our agency on your trip and delivery of the maps and printed material for your trip
  • Accommodation (9 overnights), as described in the offer, as long as there is availability.
  • Breakfast every day in the hotels you stay
  • Detailed manual for your trip (day to day) and maps for the road and for the treks.
  • Car rental category ……….. (local company)
  • Mixte insurance of the car + unlimited km
  • A diner at Loutro
  • A private boat trip (3-beach hoping)
  • Phone assistance 24h/day

 

The price does not include:

  • Transfer from the airport to the hotel the 1st day
  • International flights and taxes of the airport
  • The meals, except from those mentioned in the offer (around 10-15 euros p p)
  • The boat tickets
  • Accomodation taxes
  • Visits and admission tickets inside the national parks and the archeological sites
  • Beverage, personal expenses and tips
  • Everything not mentioned above

 

 

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT ACCOMMODATION AND CARS

ACCOMMODATION

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.

 

What's more?

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 does not necessarily mean that they are more expensive. Their price depends on the region and on the services they offer.

 

Renting a car!!

Our philosophy is to cooperate with local and small companies and not with the multinational ones that reign over the tourism industry. We are trying to promote sustainable tourism and therefore these smaller "networks" are very important for the sustainability of tourism. That is the reason why we have selected local companies.

Our travel agency does its best to provide services of the highest quality so that your stay in Crete can be unforgettable, as long as nothing stands in the way of the initial implementation of your trip. That is why, given the destinations that we select being in isolated zones and not very touristy, we prefer to rent cars of high quality.

That does not necessarily mean that accidents cannot happen (e.g. breaking down or any other damage). In all cases, our agency takes no responsibility for any potential damage of the cars.

We act as mediators between our clients and the companies that rent cars in order to make the implementation of your trip much easier. We would like to remind you though that the rent car company has the full responsibility of the vehicle.

 

TRANSFER OF YOUR LUGGAGE

The following applies to the cases that we take care of the transfer of your luggage from one destination to another.

Our travel agency cannot provide you with insurance for the transfer of your luggage. Unfortunately, no matter how much we have tried it, the Insurance companies do not provide travel agencies with this kind of insurance. They (and we) recommend the travelers to include this kind of insurance within the full insurance programme they might buy for their travel as a whole.

However, to your knowledge, so far, our travel agency has never had any problem with the transfer of luggage of our travelers.

 

Payment and cancellation terms

CONDITIONS OF PAYMENT AND CANCELLATIONS

Conditions of payment

In order to confirm your reservation you have to pay a deposit of the 50% 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 for 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 p.p. 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 RENDERED

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.

INFORMATION
Duration: 10 days (9 nights)
Dates: Self-guided
Suggested period: From mid-April to the end of October
Location: West of Crete
Difficulty: None
Languages: Support in English, French, German, Spanish
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