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Hidden Gems of Eastern Crete
Heading east from the island's capital, Heraklion, a glorious panorama unfolds as you approach the spectacular bay of Mirabello, a stunning location situated on Crete's north east coast. The gulf sits beneath the dramatically soaring Thripti Mountains that cast the most glorious pink glow across the bay in the evening light. Highlights of this lovely area include the pretty bay of Elounda, the attractive harbour town of Agios Nikolaos and the fascinating island of Spinalonga. Connected to the mainland by a narrow causeway the island of Kolokythi, attached to Elounda creates a sheltered bay within a bay, which stretches to the fascinating island of Spinalonga (immortalised in Victoria Hislops' best-selling novel, 'The Island'). Spinalonga has a story all of its own, one that we will discover during our days out.
At Agios Nikalaos the gulf opens up and stretches to the dramatically soaring mountains of Sitia that glow the most glorious pink in the evening light. Heading just a little inland from this delightful bay we find the 14th century Byzantine church of Panagia Kera with its well-preserved frescos and the atmospheric traditional village of Krista. During our tour we will discover this area close at hand as well as the wild rugged beauty of the far east of the island, known locally as the 'hidden Crete', we also get a touch of the south when we visit the site of Gortys, one of the most important ancient cities in Crete. As well as visiting some of the islands historical sites we will also have the opportunaity to enjoy some of its spectacular scenic highlights. You will be introduced to the island's vibrant, colourful and ancient history by our local guide, the knowledgeable Constantine Kakoudakis, who will accompany you throughout the week. He will help you uncover the rich culture and local traditions that are as strong as ever on this fantastic island.
- Return charter flights from Gatwick to Heraklion including all payable taxes.
- 7 nights' accommodation in standard room on dinner, bed and buffet breakfast basis at 4-star Hermes Hotel, Agios Nikolaos
- Transfers and excursions as detailed in the itinerary
- Tour manager and local guide throughout
- Single room supplement
- Sea view room supplement
- Holiday insurance
- Regional flight supplement - regional flights are available from a number of UK airports including Manchester, Leeds Bradford, East Midlands, Birmingham,
- Newcastle, Glasgow and Bristol. These are subject to availability and
- supplement. Please contact us for a quote.
- Meals other than those stated
- Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls etc
- Porterage and gratuities
Day 2: Leisurely first day tour to the 14th Century church of Panagia Kera, the traditional hill village of Krista and the Minoan village of Gournia. We finish our tour at the seaside village of Mochlos where we will enjoy lunch (included) by the sea. Dinner at the hotel.
Day 3: Full day tour to the Minoan Palace of Malia, the Monastery of Kera, and the plateau of Lassithi. Dinner at the hotel.
Day 4: Half day scenic tour visiting a simple and typical rural hill village and the coastal village of Myrtos. Dinner at the hotel.
Day 5: Day free or optional tour (charged locally) to the Minoan Palace of Knossos and the Archaeological Collection at Heraklion. Dinner at the hotel.
Day 6: Full day tour to the archaeological sites of Gortyn and Agia Triada. Travelling south we have our first stop at the small lake of Zaros, continue onto the Minoan site of Agia Triada, thought to have been a summer palace. After lunch in a local taverna we continue our tour with a visit to the site of Gortyn, one of the most important ancient cities in Crete with an unbroken history of 6000 years. Dinner at the hotel.
Day 7: Visit to the island of Spinalonga and harbour town of Elounda. Dinner at the hotel.
Day 8: Transfer to Heraklion airport for return flight to the UK.
NB: Exact order of excursions may vary according to local conditions and tour managers discretion.
Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 40 passengers.
Situated a short distance from the centre of Agios Nikolaos, the 4-star Hermes Hotel is a well-established hotel that has a convenient position right on the sea front, which means it is very easy to walk out in the evening to enjoy dinner or a drink in one of the many tavernas and cafes scattered throughout Agios Nikolaos and which can be reached easily in 5 minutes on foot.
The hotel, renovated in 2007/8, offers comfortbale rooms with town or sea view, balcony, air-conditioning (centrally controlled), TV and bathroom with bath/shower, pool towels, safe box and minibar. The 'elevated' pool overlooks the sea. Relaxing on a sunbed here almost makes you feel you are on a boat, as all you can see is the sea. Facilities at the hotel include: The Phaethon Restaurant, the hotels main restaurant where breakfast and dinner are served, buffet style, combining a selection of Greek and international cuisine; the Bay View pool bar, located on the terrace next to the swimming pool; the Cafe Del Mar Blue, open throughout the day for drinks and snacks, and the Hermes Bar, open in the evening. A small beach can be accessed via a tunnel direct from the hotel and other beaches in the area can be accessed easily on foot.
Rooms included on the tour are standard town or sea view. If you want to ensure a sea view these are available at a supplement and on request.
Single rooms are standard twin/double rooms for sole use with a balcony and town view. It is possible to upgrade to a sea view, prices and availability on request.
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 archaeologist Constantinos was outstanding. He was so enthusiastic and interesting and able to impart his knowledge in such a way that although we were not historians we were able to understand and visualise information and his stories. You must keep him!
Most enjoyable holiday. Best points - Guide & Tour Manager, Hotel accommodation, Excursions excellent.
Mr P Lusher
Very pleasant break and really interesting and knowledgeable local guide.