Crete the largest of the Greek islands is a world unto itself and this five day itinerary is the perfect way to take your time as you discover all that this destination has to offer. The Minoan settlements named after the legendary King Minos and his Minotaur are evidence of the oldest civilisation in Europe and are a fascinating counterpoint to the modernity and convenience of the charming cafes and restaurants on the island. This programme is perfect for those wanting to spend a bit longer exploring this destination.
- Explore the mysterious Minoan civilisation at Knosses whom some think was the fabled Atlantis.
- Discover the delights of the various cellar doors in the Scalini wine country.
- Relax on a boat cruise along the fascinating Mirabelo Gulf.
Day 1: Heraklion
Welcome to Crete. You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.
Remainder of the day at leisure to explore Heraklion the biggest city of the island on your own. You may visit the massive Venetian walls the medieval castle Koules in the Harbour Morozini’s fountain in the centre the monastery of St. Catherine (Aghia Aikaterine) – an important cultural and artistic centre from the 15th till 17thcentury. You may also visit the local market to shop for local products & souvenirs.
Day 2: Heraklion - Knossos – Heraklion (B)
Today you will take you a step back in time with a visit to Knossos the capital of King Minos and the centre of the magnificent Minoan civilization. Knossos and its Palace famous throughout the world from the myths of Europa the Minotaur & the Labyrinth will give you a glimpse of the most ancient civilization of Europe. Knossos’ architectural feats include multi-storey buildings (first in the world) with light wells and bathrooms impressive pillars an ingenuous drainage system aqueducts irrigation systems paved roads and magnificent frescoes. Visit the town’s famous Archaeological Museum and return to Heraklion for overnight.
Day 3: Agios Nikolaos – Spinalonga – Heraklion (B)
Today drive along the North-East coast through the gorge of St George to reach the picturesque town of Agios Nikolaos. Here board your cruise boat to Spinalonga. Cruise along the Mirabelo gulf passing the Kri-Kri Island the Cave of the pirate Barbarossa and the bird island until you reach the small island of Spinalonga. This island has had a very chequered history and today although uninhabited still echoes with ghostly reminders of the past. The Venetians constructed a very impressive fortress with 40 cannons which has been guarding the bay since the 15th century. At the beginning of 19th century human pain and sorrow was scattered around this islet. It became a leper colony the last active leper colony in Europe and it remained so until 1957 when it was cleared by the Health Authorities leaving the place uninhabited. Later return to Agios Nikolaos where you will have time to shop and visit the bottomless lake where film “Lotus Eaters” was shot. Return to Heraklion for overnight.
Day 4: Scalani – Heraklion (B)
Today drive to the famous wine producing area of Scalani south of Heraklion. The drive is through beautiful countryside and vineyards. Arrive at a local modern winery where you will see the updated methods of wine making and sample some of the Cretan wines. Visit the rural village of Scalani before returning to Heraklion.
Take a city tour in Heraklion to see the Venetian buildings and castle the Venetian Harbor the impressive Cathedral the fountains the open street markets in the heart of the city. Overnight in Heraklion.
Day 5: Heraklion (B)
Departure transfer to the airport.
- Accommodation as specified (or similar)
- Transfers & transportation as per itinerary
- Meals & sightseeing as per itinerary
- Crete Travel notes issued by Innovative Travel
- International airfares
- Optional tours and excursions
- Port Taxes and fuel surcharges
- 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
Tourist Class accommodation based on the following or similar:
Heraklion City: Olympic
First Class accommodation based on the following or similar:
Heraklion City: Olive Green
** NEW HOTEL TAX**
The Greek government has recently approved a new law (Law 4389 / 27-05-2016 article 53 Accommodation Taxation) that will be in force and effective as of 01.01.2018 regarding a tax for all Tourists staying in any kind of Hotel, Apartment, Villa, etc. in any destination in Greece. This tax will be applied locally and payable at checkin or checkout depending on your hotel. The tax is a fixed Euro amount based on the property rating.
All ferry schedules may be subject to change, due to local conditions (including weather) and/or possible port congestion and the final requirements of the ferry companies. The cancellation or non operation of the ferries is a decision of the shipping company and the Ministry of Shipping. This is outside the control of our operators and Innovative Travel who confirm ferries in good faith.
If certain classes of ferries are not operating for any reason, the next best option will be used whether alternate ferries or flights. Example: If Hydrofoils are non-operational for any reason, clients booked on them may have to use alternative regular ferries in a first class seat. Any additional charges are at the clients expense.
Greek Island ferries are usually quite large, offering restaurant/cafeteria/bar facilities, though normally no swimming facilities. Porters are rarely available at ferry ports, so your luggage should be only as much as you can carry.
Ferry Rhodes / Marmaris: Unlike standard ferries connections between Greek Islands, the ferry between Rhodes and Marmaris is an international one. Our local operator in Rhodes will provide you with a voucher that you will exchange at the port where you will have to queue to receive your boarding pass and pay the Greece departure tax.
Connecting to International Flights from the Islands. We suggest client do not depart from Athens on the same day as they embark on ferries from the Cyclades or beyond. If departures are scheduled for this day we suggest flying directly into Athens airport.
*** FERRY TICKETS***
The majority of ferry tickets are paper tickets. A handling fee is included in the price of the tickets when purchased with other arrangements in Athens. If clients are not using the service of our local representative in Athens a delivery and additional handling fee may be charged. ( This applies particularly when an island hopping programme begins on the islands). Ferry tickets are non-refundable and non-changeable once issued. All tickets are issued locally in Greece.
Ferry schedules in Greece are constantly changing. Final ferry tickets are generally issued 2 weeks prior departure. To avoid client disappointment tickets are purchased on the best available scheduled departure at that time. If a client wants to make changes after tickets are purchased a change fees will apply payable locally and clients will be responsible for collecting the tickets from the ferry terminal on the day of departure. Final embarkation timings will be confirmed to clients by our representative in Greece.
The local Greece representatives are available to assist clients in case of emergencies or cancellations of ferries. They will also assist to make changes to a booking – any additions or changes to service may incur charges and these must be paid locally.
Transfers are supplied by drivers and are not guided. Some drivers may only have a basic command of English.
*** THE ISLANDS***
Traditionally the Greek Islands main travel season is from May to October. For clients arriving in April and towards the end of the season, many facilities and hotels may not be operational. The infrastructure on Santorini and Mykonos is well developed the other islands accommodation including Naxos and Paros have less developed infrastructure with accommodation generally a slightly lower standard. This is compensated for by atmosphere and charm.
Please note we have requested a double bedded room/cabin but cannot guarantee one will be available. In Greece/Turkey double room/cabin are very limited. Please ask on check-in with the hotel/cruise boat to see what is available.
*** CRUISE DEPARTURES FROM ATHENS ***
We suggest that a pre nights accommodation and an arrival transfer are booked, from your Athens Hotel to the port, to connect with the correct ferry/cruise. Due to the size and congestion at the port it can be difficult to find the correct terminal and the cruise departure point often changes without prior notice. The local operator will be informed of these details to avoid potential problems.
*** CABIN ALLOCATION ON CRUISES ***
Celestial Cruise Cabin numbers are confirmed generally 2 weeks prior to cruise departures. This may vary from the cabin allocated at the time of confirmation of the booking.
*** CRETE SELF DRIVE ***
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.
*** ATHENS SIGHTSEEING & GREECE MAINLAND COACH TOURS ***
Scheduled tours and sightseeing are bilingual unless specified. Wifi may be available on full day tours to Delphi, Argolis and all multi day tours.
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.