Crete, Greece is a destination we have always loved. We are recently seeing an increased interest in vacations to this special island. After months (or years) of lockdowns, people want to travel and move again. Crete is the perfect destination to add to your future travel list! With the requests we have gotten so far in 2022, it’s a popular choice.
Our clients are interested in Crete for many reasons. Because of its mild climate, ancient ruins, natural wonders and popular food and wine offerings, it is often referred to as the Sicily of Greece. It’s the perfect size. Just big and interesting enough to be a trip on its own. One could easily spend a few days on the west end (Chania) and then to the east (Elounda). For a longer trip, you can combine it with a trip to Athens or another island. The possibilities are endless!
Getting to know Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands. It is mostly mountainous, and its character is defined by a high mountain range crossing from west to east. It also has spectacular beaches, Crete forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece, while retaining its own local cultural traits (such as its own poetry and music). Cretans are fiercely proud of their island and customs! One of the most special aspects of this island is that traditional dress and custom are seen everywhere in everyday life.
There are many popular sites on the island. Those who love history will be interested inthe archaeological sites of the Minoans. There is also the Venetian old city and castle at Rethymno. Crete has a varied and interesting history. For those looking for natural beauty, you’ll want to see the gorge of Samaria. Crete also has the beautiful smaller islands of Chrysi, Elafonisi, Gramvousa and Spinalonga. Don’t miss the Palm Beach of Vai, which is the largest natural palm forest in Europe!
A taste of Crete
One activity for clients in Chania is a hands-on journey through Crete’s culinary traditions. This activity is perfect for food lovers and cooking enthusiasts. Friendly and informal, it features a visit to the lively local market. Here, you taste local cheese and olives. After, hands-on instruction hosted at an authentic venue in the outskirts of Chania. The cooking part is at a local winery, a rural retreat or a small family-run eatery. Accompanied by a knowledgeable guide, guests discover how to prepare a number of traditional Cretan dishes under the directions of a local cook. Our experience culminates at the table with Cretan wine, we enjoy the food and the company.
Hiking Samaria Gorge
Another great tour from Chania is a light hikeing day through the famous gorge. After an hour’s drive from the town of Chania, you pass through the countryside and up the White Mountains. You reach the plateau of Omalos, starting point of the 16km (10 miles) long Samaria Gorge.
You can enter the gorge and hike just a small portion with your guide. If you want a lighter day, then head back following the same path. Or perhaps choose to leisurely explore, enjoy the spectacular views, take pictures and have a mountain tea at the local kiosk.
The rest of the day’s itinerary is completely flexible, so you can choose to be as active as you want. The area does offer a range of impressive hikes, including the lush Agia Irini gorge.
The day ends with a visit to the laid-back village of Sougia. Located on the south coast of Crete, this is a special spot! Here you can enjoy a swim by the clear waters and lunch at one of its waterfront tavernas.
Both sides of Crete
For clients looking to see both sides of the island, there is a great excursion for you. Heading from Chania to Elounda, we can add a transfer with a Guided Tour of Heraklion & Knossos. Knossos is located along the way from Elounda to Chania and makes for an ideal stop along the way.
Here you will discover the wonders of the Minoan civilization and the grandest palace they had built. While walking through the ancient streets of Knossos, you’ll hear history and tales of Greek mythology of this incredible place.
Your driver will then proceed a short distance to Heraklion. Here, you have a guided visit to the major sites of its historical center, including the magnificent Archaeological Museum. The world’s most incredible collection of Minoan art and culture is here. It is one of the most visited museums in Greece!
After your visit, you will take a break for lunch and then proceed to Elounda which is 75 minutes away.
Spinalonga, Agios Nikolaos and Kritsa
If you have only one day to explore this impossibly charming region of Crete, this insider tour is what you want.
Your private driver will whisk you to coastal Plaka. You’ll board an authentic fishing boat and set sail across for the island of Spinalonga. Fortress walls and low turrets built by Venetians hug the cliffside and once kept the island’s former legendary residents—lepers—in quarantine. Not in use since 1957, the restored place is now yours to discover.
After sailing back to Plaka, you visit the seaside town of Agios Nikolaos. Stroll its charming streets, alive with lakeside cafes and tavernas, and shop the quaint boutiques that line the turquoise bay. Stop for savory crepes beside the marina and watch for lavish yachts pulling into port.
You’ll pause briefly to marvel at the magnificent frescoes inside the 15th century Church of Panagia Kera. After, visit picturesque village of Kritsa, where blue doors dot the white-washed and colorfully painted buildings. Flowers spill into cobblestone alleys, and handcrafted treasures lie around every corner. It’s a shutterbug’s paradise and Greece as you’ve always imagined it.
Greece tailor made for you
If Crete looks like your perfect tailor made Greek vacation, contact us to learn more. These are only a few of the many ideas we have organized for clients. Crete is becoming highly requested in the upcoming year. There are so many different activities we can organize for you! We can’t wait to show you want makes this island so special.