Minoan, Classical and Roman Crete
The picturesque island of Crete is renowned for its organic cuisine and wealth of important sites and first-rate museums covering Mythology, Minoans, Homer, Mycenaean and Classical Greeks, Romans, Venetians and the Battle of Crete. A programme which can easily be shortened to include archaeological sites and museums specific to your areas of study.
< Lake Voulismeni, Aghios Nikolaos, Crete
Depart for Heraklion Airport.
Courier escorted coach transfer to Hotel
Aghios Nikolaos: a small harbour town with large esplanade, beach, archaeological and folk museums, tree lined avenues, picturesque lake surrounded by cafés and restaurants. One of the best shopping centres in Crete with ubiquitous tourist outlets and superior boutiques selling clothes, rugs, leather goods and jewellery.
Evening Meal at hotel or local taverna.
< Malia Minoan Palace
Malia Palace, dating from 1700 B.C. and destroyed 1450 B.C. probably by the catastrophic eruption of Santorini (Thera) and the ensuing tsunami.
Visit Heraklion Museum, a repository of amazing archaeological evidence of the Minoan Palace civilisation of Crete, including the famous bull’s head rhyton, ivory bull leapers and snake entwined priestesses.
Lunch in Heraklion at non-tourist, family-run taverna. Time to explore the Cretan capital and outdoor markets selling everything from home-made BBQs to Turkish antique jewellery.
Visit Palace of Knossos, legendary home of King Minos and the Cretan labrys (double headed axe) which gives us our modern word ‘labyrinth’. This was the setting for the legendary defeat by Theseus of the Minotaur and the historical venue of the dangerous bull leaping and ritualised cannibalism.
< Knossos Artefact Handling Session.
Courtesy of Clifton College and British School of Athens.
Optional Artefact handling Session at the Knossos Research Centre, courtesy of the British School at Athens.
< Gournia Minoan Palace
Spectacular drive via Gournia (Minoan trading city with palace quarters and theatrical area, destroyed by fire, providing evidence of geometric town planning and domestic occupation) through mountain ranges to the volcanic Lassithi Plateau.
< Diktaion Cave
The floodlit Diktaean Cave is the reputed birthplace of Zeus and the Trapeza Cave an important centre for pilgrimage from its Neolithic occupation to 7C B.C. This highly fertile area with natural sink hole and eight natural passes has been the focus for rebellion and revolt from ancient times to WWII.
< Doric Karfi
The Folklore Museum charts the family history of a peasant farming family throughout the early years of the last century.
< Matala Beach and Rock Tombs
Another spectacular drive via Doric Lato (with threshing floor and remains of rectangular Minoan theatrical area) through the southern mountain range to Bronze Age Aghia Triada. The ‘Summer Palace’ is beautifully situated on a hill at the mouth of the Ieropotamos river.
Palace of Phaestos, excavation site of the Disc which aided decipherment of Linear B.
Lunch at seaside resort of Matala, overlooked by Rock cut Chamber Tombs later ulitised as cave dwellings by the 1960’s hippy colony.
Gortyn, capital of Roman Crete with public Codex, largely unexcavated and set amongst olive groves in the foothills of Mount Ida.
A choice of cruises depending upon season and weather.
Private charter to either Spinalonga (former Leper Colony) or Minoan islets of Mokhlos and Pseira.
< Mochlos Island Nekropolis
Public cruise to either Santorini (and Akrotiri) or Kouphonisi (Roman Murex centre)
< Palaikastro Kouros
Journey to eastern and southern Crete via cosmopolitan Sitia (archaeological museum home to the famous crystal eyed ivory kouros) and Toplou castle monastery.
< Kato Zakhros Palace
Kato Zakhros Palace, ideally placed in sheltered harbour for trade with Egypt and the Levant, set below the Ravine of the Dead (a Minoan burial area) and above a freshwater estuary.
Lunch at beachside taverna.
< Palekastro ruins
Visit Paleo Kastro, potentially larger and more important than Knossos, excavations ongoing. Then time for palm fringed beach of Vaii, film location for ‘Bounty’ adverts.
< Souda Bay War Cemetery Graves
Journey west along north coast to visit Venetian ports of Rethymnion, Chania and the Commonwealth Cemetery at Souda Bay, a WWII burial area for victims of the Battle of Crete including Pendlebury, British archaeologist executed for espionage.
Evening at Anapolis Village Fiesta
< Olive Oil Museum
Visit to a local olive oil farm: wine, olive and food tasting with functioning 150 year-old oil press and (on Saturdays) participate in grape treading. After lunch, courier escorted coach transfer to Heraklion Airport for return flight to Uk airport.
Feel free to contact us to tailor your own tour. 01342 324727
< Eleutherna Bridge
New ‘Homer in Crete’ Archaeological Museum of Eleftherna
Traditional Village of Acharnes with small Minoan Archaeological Site, Museum and nearby Minoan Complex of Vathypetro with Wine Press Instillation
Ierapetra ‘Kato Mera’ (small Old Town) with Venetian Defences, narrow mediaeval street plan & old houses, House of Napoleon Bonaparte, Mosque, Archaeological Museum and Navmachia where the Romans held naval sea battles, manned by slaves, for their own amusement.
< Komos Archaeological Site and Beach
The Town beach was the site for the famous Dance scene in “Zorba the Greek” Samarian Gorge with Guide (and applicable Insurance!)
Extend or base your stay at –
< Enagron Eco Tourism Village
i – Enagron Ecotourism Village at Axos in the Cretan mountains. Enjoy excellent home-produced organic food and wine, participate in hiking, 4×4 and donkey treks to local monasteries, caves and archaeological sites. View Cretan wild flora, rare species of eagles and hawks, old olive mills or simply relax around the pool in a peaceful and rural setting.
ii – Dual Centre Trips.
Combine Aghios Nikolas with Heraklion, Rethymnion or Chania.
Combine Crete with Santorini
Crete – Aghios Nikolaos, Gournia, Sitia, Paleo Kastro, Lato, Mokhlos and Panaghia Kera
Now that BA and easyJet have extended their flying dates into Crete…
Santorini – such a small island, but so much to see…