Your holiday summary
|Price range||From £1045|
|Travel partner||Travel Editions|
Need help with your booking?
0330 333 6761
Spring Flowers of Crete
Our tour offers the flower enthusiast the opportunity to see something of the remarkable 1700 wild plants found on this island, (much larger than Britain which has around 1500). Even more exciting is that one tenth of these are found no-where else in the world! Among the many bulbs, herbs, shrubs and trees we expect to see during our tour are asphodel, anemones, cyclamen, tulips, poppies, mullein, chrysanthemum, sage, Cretan ebony and the slightly disturbing and profoundly smelly Dragon Arum. One of the highlights of this unique flora is the 60 or so different orchids found on the island, the majority of which flower at this time of year.
This wonderful variety of flora is not spread evenly over the island so our itinerary has been planned to ensure we encounter a range of habitats that contribute to the spectacular natural beauty of the island; coastal sites, agricultural plains, rolling hills and mountain passes as well as archaeological sites and the famous gorges – a Cretan speciality - where a specialised flora clothe the walls.
Other aspects of what has been described as a ‘continent in miniature’ can also be experienced during our tour; ancient Byzantine churches, traditional village life, relics from the island's long and troubled history and an abundant wildlife, all contribute to give you a special insight into this unique island.
- Return charter flights from London Gatwick to Heraklion
- Return transfers from airport to hotel
- 7 nights' accommodation on B&B basis at the 3-star Ideon Hotel in Rethymnon
- Welcome dinner and farewell lunch
- Full touring itinerary as detailed
- Tour Manager and local guide throughout
- Single room supplement
- Regional flight supplement (subject to availability)
- Holiday insurance
- Meals other than those stated
- Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls.
- Porterage and gratuities.
Day 1: Fly from London Gatwick to Crete. Flights may also available from Manchester and will be subject to a supplement. Transfer to Hotel Ideon, Rethymnon (approximately one hour), for 7 night stay on bed and breakfast basis. Welcome dinner (included) in local taverna.
Day 2: We begin our tour at the long beach of Georgioupolis to explore coastal plants before continuing to the Archaeological site of Aptera. Aptera is a wonderful site both for the vivid colours of spring and for the lovely views as well as for providing an insight into the islands long history.
Day 3: We visit the ancient Minoan cemetery of Armeni, the main site on Crete of the Vallonia oak with striking Acorn cups. We botanise here before heading south to the pretty hill village of Spili for coffee and then on to the site of Aktounta, which is usually exceptional for orchids, particularly the rainbow, provence and monkey varieties.
Day 4: We follow the north coast towards the west and then join a winding road that takes us high into the hills to reach the plateau of Omalos. Apart from some wonderfully clean mountain air and some stunning views we hope to find, in abundance, tulips, anenomes and black-widow iris, growing wild amidst the flat-lands of the plateau.
Day 5: Day at leisure. Your base for the week is the Venetian harbour town of Rethymnon. This atmospheric town owes its characters to its Venetian and Turkish history, with echoes of both reflected in monarets, domes and fortifications. You can explore the maze of tiny backstreets or visit some of its museums.
Day 6: We head south again today, this time to the coastal village of Plakias, reached through the dramatic Kotsifou Gorge, where we hope to see some of the typical flora found in Crete's many gorges. We will then botanise by the coast before a lunch stop by the sea and then return via another spectacular ravine, the Kourtalioti Gorge.
Day 7: Full day botanising at the Gious Kambos Plateau. This plateau is home to a bariety of orchids, as well as a rare tulip; we hope to find anemone, Turban buttercup, iris and fritillary. The tour ends in the Amari hill village of Thronos. The Amari Valley is one of the most untouched and fertile regions of Crete, fed year round by mountain springs, which keeps is beautifully lush even in the height of summer. Our farewell lunch (included) will be at Thronos in the local taverna of Lambros Papoutsakis, a genuine local character who offers true village hospitality and delicious Cretan cooking.
Day 8: Transfer back to airport for return flight home.
NB: Exact order of itinerary may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion.
Please note: the itinerary will include gentle walking of up to 2-3 hours each day in sometimes 'wild' countryside in order to fully experience a representative range of spring plants, so reasonable fitness and decent footwear wth sturdy soles is essential. Please note nothing too strenuous will be undertaken.
Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 20 passengers.
The Ideon Hotel is a 3-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 a fantastic 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.
This holiday is booked by phone. Click 'book now' to make a reservation request to our travel partner who will call you back to confirm your booking details and take payment. To speak to a representative now please call 0330 333 6761.
The services of the couriers, botanist Graham and driver Nikos were superb. Such a professional approach to our 20 travellers and a joy to have the above with us for the week. Nothing was too much trouble. We are booked again for 15th August.
A lovely holiday being taken to well chosen sites in beautiful Crete. Hotel staff, dining and bar facilities v. good. Rooms could be stronger on facilities and beds but service v.good I like the personal input that the company gave and am impressed that your staff were there on the ground, on this occasion , anyway to interact with the group. Thank you.
Mrs C Koutelieri