Explore the mysteries of Central Crete
Crete, the largest and most mountainous of the Greek islands, is the cradle of Europe's earliest civilization and the land where ancient myth and modern reality blend seamlessly against a backdrop of outstanding natural beauty.
Our guided 8-day exploration focuses on the central region of this fascinating island, and takes you from the pottery village of Margarites and the Akropolis of Ancient Eleftherna, to Mt. Karfi and Zeus birthplace and into the solitary wilderness of Crete's highest mountain, Mt. Psiloritis.
Starting from Heraklion, the island's bustling capital, you will drive West to the area of Rethimnon and the beautiful ecotourism hotel of Enagron. You'll trek from the acropolis of ancient Eleftherna to the pottery village of Margarites and continue to ascent Crete's highest summit (2456m) for spectacular views to Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, the surrounding islands and all the mountain ranges of Crete.
Enjoy a relaxing and refreshing day in the azure blue waters of Elounda and Mirabello gulf, before "pay homage" to Zeus birthplace in Lassithi plateau and continue to climb Mt. Karfi (1140m) accompanied by a pair of eagles.
Returning back to Heraklion you may visit the world-renowned Knossos, the magnificent archaeological area holding remains of a Minoan city that thrived 3500 years ago and the famous palace of the legendary King Minos.
Central Crete 8-day hiking tour - Itinerary
Highlights include: Ascent of Mt Idi (2456m) the highest of Crete, with spectacular view to the whole island of Crete and its surroundings islands, the Lassithi plateau (Zeus birthplace) and the plateau with the 10000 windmills, ascent of Mt. Karfi with spectacular view, crystal-clear beaches to swim, and the magnificent Knossos Palace.
DAY 1: You will meet your guide at the airport and drive to your hotel in the village of Axos. (Overnight in Axos)
DAY 2 - The ancient city and the pottery village: Starting from the ancient city of Eleftherna, built between 970 – 820 B.C. you will have many things to admire such as the Byzantine tower at city’s entrance, the Roman reservoirs and the Hellenistic bridge. Continuing through the beautiful countryside you end up at the pottery village of Margarites where you will have the chance to visit the ceramic workshops and be introduced to the traditional art of pottery. (Overnight in Axos)
DAY 3 - Ascend Mt. Psiloritis, the highest peak of Crete: Starting early in the morning, you will drive at the foot of the highest mountain of Crete. Following a well maintained rocky path, you will reach the very top (2456m) in approximately 3-31/2 hours. From the highest summit you can enjoy a panoramic view, at both Kritiko Pelagos (Aegean Sea) to the north and Liviko Pelagos (Mediterranean Sea) to the south, all the islands that surround Crete and of course all the mountain ranges of the island. We descend by the same path. (Overnight in Axos)
DAY 4: Today you will drive to the coastal village of Elounda located in Mirabello gulf on the east side of the island. From Elounda you can embark the boat to visit the historic island of Spinalonga that was originally a Fortress built by the Venetians to protect the bay of Mirabelo. In the early 1900’s, became a Leper colony and remained so until the 1950’s. (Overnight in Elounda)
DAY 5 - Hike Aforesmenos Cape: Starting from Mirabello’s rough countryside you will hike around “Aforesmenos” cape to Plaka village. Walking on dirt roads and coastal paths will pass from an abandoned lighthouse and crystal-clear beaches to end up at Plaka village. Passing from Agios Ioannis chapel you will admire the spectacular view to the bay of Elounda and the island of Spinalonga.
(Overnight in Elounda)
DAY 6 - The secret Minoan settlement: In the morning you will drive to Lassithi plateau and the village of Tzermiado, the starting point of today’s hike. You will pass through the small and beautiful “Nissimos” valley to reach the sacred summit of Karfi, which offers a Minoan settlement and panoramic - breathtaking view to the north coast, and the mountains of Selena and Dikti. From the summit you will descend back to Tzermiado from a different path by following an old rocky-build mule path – Kalterimi. At Lassithi plateau, you will have the chance to experience a small journey through mythology by visiting Zeus birthplace - the cave of Dicteon Andro. (Overnight in Elounda)
DAY 7 - Visit Knossos & Archaeological museum: Today we drive back to Heraklion, and will visit Knossos, to enjoy the magnificent archaeological area holding remains of a Minoan city that thrived 3500 years ago and the famous palace dated 170-1450 B.C., excavated by Sir Arthur Evans at the beginning of this century.
In the afternoon we are free to explore the city of Heraklion or to continue our culture excursion by visiting the very interesting archaeological museum, with exhibits from the Minoan period.
(Overnight in Heraklion)
DAY 8: This is the end of our trip. We transfer you to Heraklion city at a convenient time.
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