Crete and the Cyclades
Crete and the Cyclades
Crete and the Cyclades

Crete and the Cyclades

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$2,817.00
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$2,817.00

A perfect way to experience the delights of the Greek Islands, this tour takes in some of the most beautiful destinations in the Mediterranean, as well as some of the most historical sites and settings from mythology.

Highlights

  • Discover the incredible archaeological sites of Crete, including the Palace of Knossos, whom some believe to be the palace of King Minos and his fearsome, labyrinth-guarding Minotaur.
  • Take your pick of the pristine beaches scattered across the islands you visit.
  • Gaze in wonder at the force required for the volcanic eruption of Thera to have created the Santorini Caldera.

Day 1: Athens

On arrival into Athens you will be met after customs and immigration by a local operator and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure to unwind.

Day 2: Athens – Chania (B)

This morning you will be picked up from your hotel for your half-day coach tour of Athens and new Acropolis Museum sightseeing tour.

This tour gives you an opportunity to observe the striking contrasts that make Athens such a fascinating city. Our expert guides will take you to see the Panathenaic Stadium where the first Olympic Games of modern times were held in 1896 (short stop). Continue and pass by sites such as Hadrian's Arch on your way towards the most iconic of Athenian sites, The Acropolis. Once there you will visit the architectural masterpieces of the Golden Age of Athens: The Propylaea, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion and finally "the harmony between material and spirit", the monument that "puts order in the mind", the Parthenon. Continue and visit the place where at last the statues found their home and admire the wonders of the classical era: The new Acropolis Museum. Return to hotel.

Note: Due to certain restrictions in the visiting hours of the new Acropolis Museum the order of the program can be changed. Entrance fees included. Tour pick-up time from hotel should be confirmed with our local operator, usually the day prior. This tour does not operate during Greek National Holidays.

Later you will be transferred from your hotel to the airport for your flight to Chania, Crete.

Crete is the largest of the Greek Islands, with a wealth of archaeological sites and wonderful scenery.   Close to Heraklion you will find Knossos, birthplace of the Minoan Civilisation. The archaeological museum in Heraklion displays many treasures discovered during the excavations at Knossos.

On arrival into Chania you will be met by our local operator and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.

Day 3: Chania (B)

This morning your car will be delivered to your hotel to begin your self-drive programme.

Important Note:

Cars in Crete: The standard of the rental vehicles in Crete is generally lower than that of Central Europe and New Zealand. These cars are late model manual vehicles as opposed to new cars. They are well serviced, and reliable.  Automatic vehicles can be requested, a surcharge applies. It is common practice that the car is delivered with a non-full (and quite often almost empty) tank. Make sure you fill in your tank before leaving town. At the end of your tour the car is expected to be returned with a similar level of fuel as when first delivered.

Spend the day exploring the Old Centre of Chania. Walk through the old centre and along the Venetian harbour. This afternoon you may visit some of Crete’s most famous beaches in Elafonissi or Falasarna, visit the famous Samaria Gorge or Souda Bay WWII War Cemetery.

Day 4: Chania (B)

Another day to explore Chania and its region. With options ranging from jeep safaris and hiking, the national football museum and archaeological sites, the Chania are is full of interesting options to keep you busy. Else just while away the hours on one of the many beautiful beaches.

Day 5: Chania – Matala (B)

Drive through small villages to Rethymnon before making your way to Preveli Monastery. The original monastery, dedicated to John the Baptist, was destroyed by German forces during WWII when it was discovered to have sheltered Australian soldiers prior to their dramatic escape from the island by submarine. Next, drive via the narrow gorge Kourtaliotiko, and hear the mysterious sounds of the constant blowing wind. Overnight in the pleasant seaside village of Matala, famous for its pre-historic caves, and for being a centre for the hippies during the 70’s.

Day 6: Matala – Heraklion (B)

Morning at leisure at the beach or to explore the region of Matala. Later drive to Heraklion. Overnight in Heraklion.

Day: 7: Heraklion (B)

Depart for Heraklion and visit the ruins of the Palace of Knossos. These ruins, rediscovered in the early 20th century, were the heart of the Minoan civilisation. Very little is known of these people, in fact the name “Minoan” was given them by the archaeologist who rediscovered the site. Upon seeing the various bull frescoes, it was claimed that this was the legendary city of King Minos, home of the Minotaur and its labyrinth. South of Knossos, at the foot of Juchtas Mountain (the mountain range resembles the face of a sleeping man, thus called “Sleeping Zeus”), is the village of Archanes, well known since the Minoan period for its vineyards.  In the village there are beautiful restored Turkish houses.

Gain further insight into the Minoan civilisation back in Heraklion with a visit to the Archaeological Museum with its important finds from the Minoan period and the Cathedral of St. Minas, protector of the city.

Day 8: Heraklion – Santorini (Hydrofoil / Catamaran) (B)

This morning drive to Heraklion harbour to return your car them embark on your hydrofoil to Santorini. (Ferry timings will be confirmed by our local operator. They will issue all ferry tickets)

After disembarking in Santorini you will be met by a local operator and transferred to your hotel.

No other place in the world resembles this unique Cycladic Island, believed by some to be the legendary lost continent of Atlantis which was swallowed by the sea when the volcano erupted.  Santorini is known worldwide for its unique views and colourful sunsets.

Day 9:  Santorini (B)

The beautiful island of Santorini was created by the eruption of a super volcano called Thera in ancient antiquity. This eruption has been estimated to have ejected 100 cubic kilometres of material, making it one of the four most powerful eruptions of historic times. The concentric shaped islands that remain have created one of the most perfect natural harbours in the world, so it is no surprise that water activities are so popular here. Whether partaking a sailing charter, relaxing on a beach, or taking advantage of the many spectacular viewpoints, Santorini is a delightful location to enjoy the Mediterranean. Famed for the beautiful sunsets, be sure to find a good vantage point as the day winds down.

Day 10: Santorini (B)

Many people believe Santorini to be the location of Atlantis from Platonic myth, and the ancient ruins of Thera, although dated to after the eruption, lend credence to the idea that this could have been a seat of a great civilisation. The uphill walk is rewarded with a fascinating archaeological site which includes Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods. For those who prefer, it is a short taxi drive to the top.

Day 11: Santorini – Mykonos (Hydrofoil / Catamaran) (B)

Today you will embark on a hydrofoil to Mykonos. (Ferry timings will be confirmed by our local representative. They will issue all ferry tickets)

Mykonos is renowned as one of the prettiest and most cosmopolitan of the Greek islands.  Here you will find superb beaches, traditional windmills, white-washed buildings and cobblestoned streets.  The town comes alive in the evening with entertainment centred around the harbour.

After disembarking in Mykonos you will be met by a local operator and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.

Day 12: Mykonos (B)

Mykonos plays a key role in Greek mythology, reputedly being the location where the battle between the Gods and the Titans took place. Hercules, having lured the giants from the protection of Mount Olympus, defeated them at Mykonos. The large rocks scattered around the area are said to be the petrified remains of…certain body parts of the giants. This is where the slang anatomical term “stones” originated.

Day 13: Mykonos (B)

After breakfast, the tour concludes with your own arrangements.

Inclusions:

  • Accommodation with daily breakfast
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Transportation by air-conditioned vehicle
  • Meals and sightseeing as indicated on the itinerary
  • Professional English speaking guides
  • Entrance fees
  • Porterage at hotels
  • Greece Travel Notes – issued by Innovative Travel

Exclusions:

  • International airfares
  • Optional tours and excursions
  • Port Taxes and fuel surcharges
  • Porterage
  • Tipping/Gratuities (please refer to tour notes for a recommended guideline)
  • Personal Expenses
  • Departure taxes
  • Hotel charges for minibar or any extra charges
  • Visas (unless specified)
  • Any other services not clearly mentioned in the inclusions above

Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however all offers are subject to reconfirmation at the time of booking. Note prices usually display available discounted rates if any, (eg. Early Bird Deals if applicable).   All featured tour itineraries and offers maybe subject to change due to seasonal variations without notice, or due to local conditions or other conditions. Please confirm all details at time of booking. Travel insurance is mandatory for all Innovative Travel bookings. All passports must be valid for 6 months prior to your return to your home country.   Visas are the responsibility of the traveller. Special VIP meet and assist offers are valid for New Zealand passport holders, for other nationalities please check at the time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions  page.

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