If you are something of a Grecophile who loves the more traditional side of Greek life, this tour is for you, as it has been designed specifically to introduce the very authentic side of Cretan life and culture. Crete is blessed by nature, fertile and wild, everything grows here, and this agricultural side of life will very much be a focus of our tour along with some excellent local food. We will visit small villages, sample tasty local and very traditional cooking, get involved in some of the islands agriculture and visit some excellent tavernas, well-visited by locals but rarely discovered by visitors. In Spring we also experience some of the traditional celebrations of Greek Easter, the biggest religious festival in the Orthodox calendar.
View an example of Cretan hospitality here
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The base for our tour is the atmospheric and historical Venetian harbour town of Rethymnon. This fantastic town has a colourful and historical past that is evident in the legacy of marvellous old buildings that line its narrow, pedestrianised streets. Perfect for strolling, sights here include the imposing battlements of the 16th century Venetian fortress, a picturesque harbour with a 13th century lighthouse and a delightful 'old town' full of cafes, tavernas and small shops selling local crafts, souvenirs and food. Easily accessed on foot from your hotel, the quaintness of this atmospheric old town will be sure to entice you again and again during your stay.
Ideon Hotel, Rethymnon
The Ideon Hotel is a three-star hotel well located right next to Rethymnon's fantastic Venetian harbour and just a 3 minute walk from the atmospheric back streets and narrow alleyways that characterise this fantastic old town and where you will find an excellent choice of tavernas, cafes and interesting small shops.
The hotel offers comfortable air-conditioned rooms with private balcony, bath/shower, TV and telephone. The hotel facilities include a swimming pool, street cafe that overlooks the sea, lounge bar and restaurant.
Ideon Hotel Website
OUR VIEW ON THE HOTEL
We chose this hotel first and foremost because of its excellent location, which is just a stone's throw from both the Venetian harbour and the atmospheric old town's historic backstreets, which makes dining out in the evening and exploring in your leisure time a very easy option. Equally importantly, we felt the hotel also offered comfortable and friendly three-star accommodation.
For full details please see the detailed itinerary
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Please note that all flight times are provisional and subject to airline schedules and changes.
HEALTH & INSURANCE – EHIC CARD
Please note that EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) only allows access to the same state-provided healthcare as a resident of the EU country they are temporarily visiting. It is NOT an alternative to travel insurance and will not provide the same level of cover as a travel insurance policy. The EHIC will not cover any private medical healthcare or the cost of things such as repatriation to the UK or lost or stolen property. It is also important to note that each country’s healthcare system is slightly different, so the EHIC might not cover everything that would be generally free on the NHS. On the EHIC application website, there is a section called Access to Healthcare Abroad which clarifies all the conditions and inclusions. We strongly recommend that you take out an appropriate travel insurance policy when you travel abroad.
Day 1: Fly from London Gatwick to Chania. On arrival, transfer to the Ideon Hotel, Rethymnon (approx. 1 hour).
Day 2: Gavalohori and Chania.
Our visits start at the small village of Gavalohori in western Crete. It is a very typical and atmospheric village with an interesting history that we discover in its small folklore Musuem. The village is named after the Gavalades, 12 men that were sent to Crete from Constantinople to govern the region in 1182. After refreshments and a small walk in the village we continue to Chania and visit the market, which dates back to 1909 and we will have a guided tour of ‘Splanzia’, a very atmospheric area of the old town. Our visits culminate in a local taverna, situated in a shady square, where we enjoy our first delicious lunch.
Day 3: Kissos and Kendrohori.
We head south of Rethymnon to the village of Kissos where we walk through the village to an old monastery, Agio Pnevma. Until recently the monastery was a complete ruin but it has been recently renovated and now one monk lives there. It is a delightful place, with immaculate gardens and real serenity. From the monastery we continue to the neighbouring village of Kendrohori, a typical and very simple hill village where we stop for refreshments before enjoying a short walk to the ‘cave’ church of Agios Efstratios. We then return to the villages’ one taverna, ‘Agamemnon’, where Agamemnon and his wife Ourania will show us how to make the traditional Tsoureki, a sweet bread, and the red eggs that are always prepared on the Thursday (Holy Thursday) before Easter throughout Greece. They will also prepare some wonderful food for us to enjoy.
Day 4: Argiroupolis and Chromonasteri.
We visit Argiroupolis, famous for springs that flow in and around the village all year round. We will visit a Carob factory and have a walk through the village. In the past, all coastal areas of Crete produced carobs, which were exported all over the world. In times of poverty, the carob trees of Crete fed the poor as well as the rebels who hid in the mountains. Cultivation declined dramatically until recently and now the carob is becoming popular once again. We will enjoy a village lunch before returning to Rethymnon to relax, as in the evening we will visit the historical village of Chromonasteri, situated 12kms from Rethymnon, to see the traditional procession of the Epithafios, which takes place in all the villages and towns all over Greece on Good Friday.
Day 5: Day at leisure.
For those who wish to witness the Easter midnight Resurrection service and the celebrations that follow, we will travel to a small village to experience the event.
Day 6: Easter Sunday feast.
Today will be spent celebrating Easter the way the Greeks do with a feast! We will travel to a local village and enjoy an Easter feast of spit roast lamb, village pies, and local wine!
Day 7: Margaritas, Arkadi Monastery and farewell lunch.
Our final tour is a leisurely one after the celebrations of Greek Easter. We visit the pretty pottery village of Margaritas, the historic monastery of Arkadi and enjoy a ‘farewell’ lunch altogether at a traditional taverna in the Amari Valley.
Day 8: Transfer to Chania Airport for the return flight to London Gatwick.
NB: Exact order of itinerary may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion.
Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 20 passengers.
You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.
Offering a wide range of extended tours and cultural short breaks for the discerning traveller, Travel Editions was established in 1994 and is now one of the leading specialist independent escorted tour operators in the UK. The company started with the idea of creating itineraries that were not readily available on the high street, and the team still remains focused on offering escorted tours that appeal to travellers rather than tourists.
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One of the best things about Travel Editions is that the team can tailor-make all tours to your group’s budget and specification, be it shopping till you drop in New York or tasting the most delicious gastronomic delights of Sicily. Not only can the activities be tailored to meet your requirements but so can the travel options, hotel selection (three, four or five-star hotel) and the whole itinerary. Alternatively, you can simply pick one of the many carefully curated escorted tours listed on the Travel Editions website.
In almost all cases, daily excursions are included in the price of a trip, and all excursions are taken by private coach. The size of the group varies depending on the escorted tour, and Travel Editions limits some holidays to lower numbers to suit the nature of the specific holiday. Walking, culinary and special interest tours are limited to approximately 20-30 passengers, and the Europe by Rail and Europe by Air holidays are limited to a maximum of 35 passengers. Then there’s the UK British Heritage Tours with a maximum capacity of 49, however, some are much less than this. No matter which tours you choose, you will never feel as though you are in a big group.
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