Excursions

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Samaria Gorge

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No visit, no vacation to Crete is complete without crossing the Samaria Gorge.Samaria Gorge was acknowledged in 2010 as one of the wildest, most virgin and unique natural parks in the world and was included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) of UNESCO. Samaria Gorge Tour OverviewOur adventure starts very early in the morning since the gorge is situated on the western side of the island.Our first stop is in the vicinity of Rethimnon. We have the chance to get our breakfast before moving on to Omalos Plateau. The walk starts from Xiloskalo. At the entrance of the gorge we enter this vast canyon of 18 klm that is considered to be the longest in Europe. Canyon width varies from 2 to 40 meters and a depth of 250-600 meters. We usually need 6-7 hours to cross the rocky gorge down to the shore.

The path follows the route of Taras, a river with gurgling lucid water. It gave its name to the ancient town which was located at the end of the gorge. On the way we can get a glimpse of the caves that formed a natural shelter for the Cretans. In war times and now they are the natural habitat of the well-known wild goats, or kri-kri as they are also called. Halfway we come across the village of Santa Maria, which was abandoned by its last inhabitants in 1962.The amazingly wild and unspoiled scenery, as well as the vegetation that we come in view of during hiking, is unequalled in relation to those in other places on Crete. Highlights of Samaria Gorge hiking
  • Extraordinary rock formations,
  • Indigenous rare plants, flower and bird species,
  • Rough downward ground,
  • Impressive and primitive view,
  • Exquisite landscape that has been under no human intervention,
  • Unique sensation of awe and infinite wonder for the untouched grandeur will always be engraved on our memory.
 Three kilometers prior to our exiting this majestic gorge, we reach the Iron Gates (Sideroportes), the narrowest spot of the route, just a few meters wide, but 300 meters high ? an amazing contradiction that can cause nothing but awe. A bit later we arrive in the small fishing village of Agia Roumeli, where we have quite a long time to lunch and get a refreshing swim in the deep blue, crystal clear waters of the Libyan Sea, before boarding the ship that leads us back along the coast to the village of Sfakia, where we catch the bus for the return trip. On the way back we have the chance to admire Imbros Gorge, as well as the villages of Askifou and Vrisses.
An excursion for those who feel adventurous and are pretty fit. A tip for the ones who join in: good hiking shoes, sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, an extra pair of socks, swimsuit and a light jacket for the evening hours are essential.

Knossos Palace, Lasithi Plateau Excursion

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Visit Crete?s landmark, Knossos. It is impossible to come to Crete on vacation and not visit its landmark. For the island of Crete, Knossos has the same significance as the Acropolis for Athens.The most famous and the most impressive palace of the Minoan era, the biggest and the greatest of the decision-making centers of the Minoan Crete.Our tour in the majestic site travels us back to the past, getting us to know:
  • the Neolithic settlement,
  • the new imposing palace,
  • the four wings of the building with the ceremony chambers,
  • the public warehouses,
  • the Throne Room,
  • the Corridor of Procession with the amazing murals,
  • the Propylaea with the famous Double Horns of Consecration,
  • the Royal Chambers, the servants? dormitories,
  • the storehouses of the palace,
  • the various workshops,
  • the Reservoir Basin,
  • a stone-built theatre.
 Discover the myths of Knossos PalaceWe are about to hear great myths, relating to the Palace of Knossos, such as the myth of the Labyrinth and the story of Daedalus and Icarus.We are going to walk on Sir Arthur Evans? steps. We may feel a bit of the excitement and pride he felt when he discovered this exceptional symbol of the Minoan architecture, which even nowadays transfixes everybody with its grandeur.The miraculous icon of Virgin MaryLeaving the marvelous Palace of Knossos, we continue our tour towards the centre of the island. We visit the lovely Monastery of Kera Kardiotissa. It was named after a miraculous icon of Virgin Mary. In an idyllic landscape, the monastery, run currently by nuns, is known for its artistic and its historical importance, as well as its remarkable murals.The famous windmills of Lasithi PlateauMoving on inland and driving up to the Lassithi Plateau, we have the chance to admire the remaining famous windmills. The ditches, the ?linies? as they are known, the Venetian drainage system of the plateau that turned the arid area into the most important grain-growing region of Crete and of course the small traditional villages that still keep the scent of another era.Dictean Cave: the place where Zeus was bornThe most famous of all small traditional villages is the village of Psychro. We can admire the primeval traditional art of pottery-making by the remaining craftsmen and of course we have the opportunity to visit a very significant place for religious worship of the Minoan era, the cave of Psychro.Psychro is mostly known as Dictean Cave. It is considered as the place where Zeus, the father of the Olympians Gods, was born.Tzermiado village is known for its ideal climate which offers the healthiest life conditions for its residents.Our next stop is Tzermiado, a village that stands out not only for its natural beauty and its breathtaking view, but also for its traditional architecture. Here we can use our cameras to immortalize the exquisite landscape, get a rest or enjoy our lunch in one of the numerous authentic taverns of the area.

Knossos Palace

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Knossos Palace was built gradually between 1700 and 1400 BC. It was discovered in 1878 by Minos Kalokerinos and excavated by Sir Arthur Evans in 1900s. The intricate Palace of King Minos is the largest and the most spectacular of all the Minoan palatial centres. Why Knossos Palace is the monumental symbol of Minoan civilization
  • due to its construction,
  • use of luxury materials,
  • architectural plan,
  • advanced building techniques
  • it?s impressive size.
 The 20,000 square meters slowly unfold before you in a labyrinth-like pattern of 1200 rooms, at the center of which there is an enormous courtyard.Colorful friezes and frescoes, figures and paintings on plaster, many of which have been restored to their former beauty, fill the walls of the palace and exhibit life from this era.Varying pictures from animals and people to gods and various ceremonies depict an advanced and sophisticated society. The variety of building materials used and the marble revetment show an advanced level of technology. This is also demonstrated by some architectural and structural features, such as the light-wells and the complex drainage and water-supply systems. What you will see in Knossos Palace
  • The Corridor of the Procession,
  • ?he Horns of Concecration,
  • ?he Queen?s Boudoir (complete with one of the earliest known flushing toilet systems)
  • and you will hear the Legend of the Minotaur and the Bull Dancers.
  Leaving the Palace you are taken into Heraklion at the region of Pateles.?ou can visit the open market known as the ?gipsy market? where you can find everything like vegetables, fruit, clothes, shoes and many more in really cheap prices. The atmosphere feels oriental and the screams of the vendors amuses whoever passes.We then proceed to the Historical center of Heraklion with the Loggia and the Morosini fountain at the ?Lions?Square?. You have enough free time for shopping and lunch before you are taken back to your hotels.

Chrissi Island

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An island adventure to the hottest point of EuropeBecome a Robinson for one day on the desert island of ?Chrissi? or ?Golden Island?Are you ready for adventure? Do you want to feel for a while like a modern castaway, stranded on a desert island? Then come along to the island of Chrissi. Chrissi Island Tour OverviewOur adventure starts in the beautiful city of Ierapetra, our first stop, which is located on the southern coast of the island.From here, a short boat trip takes us to the secluded island of Chrissi. During the journey, we are often accompanied by yellow-legged gulls and dolphins that enjoy the magic of the Libyan Sea, until we finally drop anchor to the ?Island?, as the locals are used to calling it.Chrissi is a secluded, isolated, almost tropical island on the most southern end of Crete. The peacefulness of this unique ecosystem are bound to steal your heart and make you daydream.What you can admire in Chrissi Island
  • The pristine beaches,
  • the myriads of shell fossils,
  • limpets and corals,
  • the shallow crystal clear waters,
  • the cedar forest,
  • the fine reddish sand with the mosses and lichens,
  • the old salt marsh,
  • the Roman carved tombs,
  • the small church of St. Nicolas

Heraklion City, Creta Aquarium

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Experience real aspects of the Heraklion everyday lifeThe present city of Heraklion was founded in 824 by the Saracens. In 1204 was bought by Venetians which build enormous fortifications, most of which are still in place.Heraklion City Sightseeing Tour, Creta Aquarium is a different excursion for those who want to experience real aspects of the island?s everyday life. Our day starts with a stroll in the famous Heraklion open-air market, where dozens of peddlers offer their merchandise in very good prices. A walk in Heraklion bazaarHere we can find almost everything: food and fruit, clothes and shoes, household utensils, fabrics, folk art, sweets or anything else you can think of.
The smells,
the crowd,
the loud voices of the people selling their goods,
the vast variety,
the stalls,
the colors,
the fresh produce and the very good prices are bound to impress you.
 Get to know the city of HeraklionAfter our walk in the bazaar, we will have the chance to get to know of Heraklion. Of course, a walk of a single day is by no means enough for anyone to see and admire all the beauty of the city, but a stroll on its streets is going to surprise you in a pleasant way.
You are going to see a lot of monuments and buildings from different occupation periods of the Crete.  
The Byzantium,
The Ottoman Empire,
The Venetian Rule have left their marks on Heraklion.
 What you can admire in Heraklion.Grab your cameras and take shots of what you like most.
  • You can admire the imposing fortress of Koules at the harbor,
  • the Venetian walls that surround the old city,
  • you can sit at one of the many restaurants or coffee shops in the Lions? Square to enjoy your coffee or your lunch, or if you wish to,
  • you will be able to visit one of the many city museums, the Municipal Library and the Art Gallery or
  • one of the numerous byzantine churches.
  Cretaquarium, the marine world of the MediterraneanFor those who wish to see something different, there is one more destination that you can choose for the rest of the day: the Cretaquarium.Just a few kilometers away from Heraklion, there is a compound that combines research with technology and education with recreation so harmoniously that you feel like diving in a whole new world, the marine world of the Mediterranean.In Cretaquarium we are going to admire various marine species, from small fish and clams to big sharks and tuna, all of which are indigenous of the Mediterranean. Our walk past the big tanks will be nothing less than impressive. The remarkable lighting and the constant water movement give us the impression that we are actually diving in another world.After our tour, we can enjoy our coffee in the cafè of the building, looking at the magnificent view of the sea before we go back to our hotels.

Gramvousa and Balos

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Gramvousa, Balos tour OverviewDriving to the west of the island, we make our first stop in the beautiful city of Rethimnon, where we have some time for our coffee of breakfast. Moving on, we drive past the city of Chania and after a while, we arrive at the port of Kissamos, where we set out for our trip.During our boat trip, we have the chance to admire a vast cave ? most likely an ancient shipyard, sea turtles or monk seals and of course, the dolphins of the area. We also witness an impressive geological phenomenon: the simultaneous lifting and sinking of the two sides of the island, where its western side rises up to 6-9 meters above the sea level. Disembark at Gramvousa, the Pirates Island.It got its reputation during the Revolution. It was used for 3 years as a base by 3,000 rebels, who had to become pirates, since it was the only way for them to get some food.We are instantly blown away not only by the natural beauty of the place, but also by the dashing Venetian castle.It prevails on the highest spot of the island, at the top of an extremely sheer cliff. The position of the castle is exceptionally strategic, as it protected the whole region of the northeastern Crete, while its size still impresses the visitors. The stunning view from its walls, its grandeur as well as the legend about hidden pirate treasures prompt us to visit it. The broader area of Gramvousa forms one of the most significant hydro-biotopes of the Eastern Mediterranean.Here we can encounter over 100 bird species and 400 plant species.After our exploration of the area, we have plenty of time to enjoy our swim at the gorgeous beach with the wonderful colors, take a few shots of the famous shipwreck of the island or have lunch aboard (optional). The Balos Lagoon, one of the loveliest places in Greece.In the early afternoon,  view of the lagoon is truly breathtaking.Balos is renowned for
  • its numerous cacti,
  • its undergrowth,
  • its splendid beach,
  • its white sand,
  • its jade-green and turquoise waters,
  • its warm and shallow sea,
  • its wild natural beauty that bring us in mind exotic beaches in the Caribbean.

Spinalonga

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Spinalonga, Elounda Excursion OverviewSpinalonga, Elounda Excursion, Agios Nikolaos is a trip not only to other places, but also a trip back in time, since it carries the sensation and the feel of another era.The route along the northern coast of the island takes us to the small fishing village of EloundaWhat is Elounda known for?
  • Elounda is known to the older of us from the popular 1970s BBC television series ?Who pays the ferryman?.
  • The village became also well-known through Belinda Jones? novel ?Out of the Blue? and lately, through Victoria Hislop?s world best-seller ?The Island?.
  • Today Elounda is a popular holiday resort, often visited by VIPs for the luxurious beach resorts that are situated in the area.
 Spinalonga, the island of LepersFrom Elounda, we take the boat that gets us to the small and sorely tried island of Spinalonga.
The history and the culture of the island of Spinalonga became one with human tragedy in the course of time.This small Spinalonga isle carries within the history of:
  • Ancient Greece as it served as a natural guard for the ancient city of Olous
  • The Saracens as a hide-out for their pirates
  • The Venetians as their fortress
  • Turks as their settlement
  • Contemporary Greeks as their dwelling, or better, as the place where their leper would be sent into exile until 1957.
 We stroll through the village roads. We are listening ? along with our guide?s narration- to the cries and sighs of the diseased exiles. They seem like having been curved on the rocks and the walls of the houses and admiring the exquisite beauty of the area.Finishing our touring on this much afflicted place, we head for the small bay of KolokithaIt?s one of the most beautiful beaches on Crete. It is a remote beach with white sand and deep blue serene water, side by side with old olive groves. There we can swim and taste the delicious BBQ served on the boat.After our short respite, we go back to Elounda.Then we move to the picturesque town of Agios Nikolaos, where we have our last stop. We have the chance to enjoy our coffee getting a perfect view of the magnificent lake, do our shopping in the traditional local shops and relax for a while before we hit the road for our going back.

Cretan Night

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Feel like a true Cretan, learn to entertain yourself as one of them.Come with us to the traditional village of Karouzana for a different night, under a majestic summer sky, a night full of music, dance and beautiful scents.Reaching the ancient village, we have the chance to take a walk through this magnificent place.Feel dizzy by the smell of the jasmine.Be surprised by the locals? hospitality and treats and admire the traditional color of the area, which seems to have remained unspoiled by time. Top reasons to join a traditional Cretan Feast
  • At dusk, we are going to enjoy the traditional feast and:
  • Taste the delicious dishes with the cheese, the honey, the rusk, the olive oil, the meat and all the other products of the Cretan soil,
  • Get treated with the wine and the raki of the area,
  • Listen to the sound of the Cretan ?lyra?,
  • Take delight in looking at the dancers, dressed in their traditional costumes, performing Cretan and Greek folk dances.
 At the end of the night we can also join the dancers, who will teach us the basic steps so that we can also dance like modern Zorbas.
We are sure that this night will be etched in your mind and your memories forever and ever.
 

Matala Excursion, South Crete

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Matala Excursion, South Crete ? Zaros, Kaliviani Monastery OverviewOne of the oldest monasteries on CreteThis time we set out for the south of Crete. We will have our first stop at the Monastery of Paliani, a monastery dedicated to Virgin Mary, which is run and inhabited by nuns. It is considered to be one of the oldest and most beautiful monasteries on Crete, having the myrtle tree as its trademark.We will see a lot of votive offerings on its branches, as the everlasting tree is widely thought to be miraculous. We can even take leaves from its boughs, since they are said to be blessed and bring luck to the worshippers.Our next stop is the ancient city of Gortys. Gortys is one of the most significant ancient cities of Crete, with a very rich history. It is also one of the largest archaeological sites of Greece.In Gortys you will be fascinated by: 
  • St. Titus? Church,
  • the Chamber of the Law Code,
  • the Odeon
  • and of course the natural beauty and the serenity of the landscape. The square with the everlasting gnarled olive trees and the evergreen plane tree, under the shade of which Zeus and Europe had their wedding ceremony.
 Leaving the majestic site of Gortys and moving on further south, we end up at the Panagia Kaliviani Monastery. An old icon depicting the Annunciation gave its name to the monastery.Panagia Kaliviani Monastery turned into a whole Christian state after the addition of: 
  • an orphanage,
  • a nursing home,
  • a housekeeping school,
  • a girls? institution,
  • a primary school,
  • a kindergarten,
  • a camp,
  • a textile, knitting and vestments? workshops.
 Inside the new Church of Virgin Mary we can still see the miraculous icon of the Annunciation of Holy Mother.After a short journey through traditional villages, such as Mires and Timbaki, we reach the famous beach of Matala. Here we have the opportunity to enjoy the dew of the crystal waters, the warmth of the sun and our lunch in one of the many small taverns by the sea, while later, as modern hippies, we can explore the prehistoric caves that are carved on the steep rocks of the area.

Arkadi, Rethymno, Chania

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Monastery of Arkadi, the supreme symbol for CretansFollowing the northwest coastline, and turning south before Rethymnon, we reach the Monastery of Arkadi, a supreme symbol for Cretans: Freedom or Death. Due to its isolated situation it has been used throughout history as a centre for resistance movements.The West Crete Excursion will bring us to a different part of the island, to West Crete.Travelling along the northwestern coast, we will have our first stop at the Monastery of Arkadi. Arkadi, a monastery half dedicated to the Transfiguration of Christ and half to Saint Constantine and Saint Helen, has a special significance for the island of Crete.It wasn?t merely a monastery, but it also played a very active role in the liberating combats of the island during the Cretan Revolt, culminating in the siege and sacrifice of its defenders in 1866.Every year it hosts and accommodates thousands of visitors and pilgrims from all over the world, who admire its incomparable natural beauty, its uniqueness, its artifacts and treasures, its legends but who also experience their own, personal spiritual encounters. The Venice of the East or mother of all the other Cretan citiesLeaving the mystical magic of the monastery and proceeding to the west, we arrive in Chania, the most ravishing and quaint city of Crete. Chania ceased to be Crete capital after 686 years, in 1971. It was an important Minoan city. It is considered to have been the ?mother of all the other Cretan cities? by the ancient writers.The city is divided in two sections: the Old City, where the gorgeous harbor is situated and the New City, which is located beyond its Venetian fortifications.The Old City of Chania is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the Mediterranean and it is called ?Venice of the East?. Throughout the whole city of Chania we can witness samples of all the civilizations that have passed from here:
  • archaeological Minoan sites,
  • Turkish minarets and mosques,
  • Muslim neighborhoods,
  • Venetian fortresses and dockyards,
  • fountains and squares,
  • arches and mansions,
  • the famous Loggia
  • and of course the landmark of the city, the renowned Lighthouse.
 We can enjoy our lunch admiring the view of the quaint harbor or we can visit the famous Agora (Market), which was constructed in 1913 according to the standards of the market in Marseille. Since then, it has been housing a variety of traditional little shops and taverns. Here we can shop souvenirs or leather goods in very good prices. Rethimnon, the third biggest town on CreteGoing back, we make a stop in the town of Rethimnon. Monuments of the archaeological, Ottoman and Venetian eras coexist, making the place extremely interesting for sightseeing. Have a stroll in the alleys of the old town, visit the Turkish minarets and the Venetian fortresses or just enjoy your coffee in the magnificent harbor of the town.

Half Day Trip to Dia Island

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Enjoy good sailing, clear tropical waters, warm sun and snorkeling at Dia islandThis sailing trip is the perfect way to experience the island from another perspective ? the sea. Dia is an uninhabited island off the northern coast of Crete which played an important role in navigation during antiquity, particularly in Minoan and Medieval times.Our boat sails from the port of Heraklion at 10:00 and arrives at Dia after an hour.Once you get there you will have about 2 hours and a half to admire its natural beauty and of course enjoy your swimming at the crystal clear water of the island.Also you will have the opportunity to use the fishing and snorkeling equipment we offer. Our return at the port of Heraklion will be at 14:15