- Discover the rich natural and cultural heritage of Crete under the warm summer sun
- Savour life on the ocean: stay in beautiful spots near the coast and enjoy a sailing trip in Chania
- Discover the legend of the Minotaur during a guided tour of Knossos Palace
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TOUCHDOWN IN GREECE
Your family getaway to Crete starts today. After the usual chaos at home making sure every member of the family is packed and ready to go, head to the airport to whizz through security and relax in the airport lounge. This is a good opportunity to fuel up on some nibbles and refreshments before boarding your four-hour flight to Chania, in northwestern Crete. On arrival, collect your family-friendly hire car and travel just half an hour to Kolymvari, an idyllic coastal hamlet free from the crowds of tourists you might have spotted in Chania. Your home for the next three nights is a spacious guest house surrounded by beautiful Mediterranean flora. Spend the rest of today settling into your new Greek surroundings. We recommend heading straight down to the local beach to soak in some afternoon sun and have a splash around in the water.
SAILING AND SIGHTSEEING
The next two days are all about exploring the scenic and cultural treasures of western Crete. The coast and countryside are endlessly picturesque: dense olive groves, winding hiking trails, ancient hilltop churches, glorious sunsets, the list goes on and on. There are also a wealth of beautiful beaches nearby, such as Kolymvari, Falasarna and Balos. On one of the next two days you’ll have the opportunity to gain a different perspective of this coastline, with a sailing trip from Chania to the island of Agii Theodori, where you can enjoy birdwatching and swimming, as well as some delicious nibbles on board the boat. When you dock back in Chania, we recommend taking a few hours to discover this popular, and very colourful, city. There are plenty of fascinating historical sites here, such as the Venetian port and the Mosque of the Janissaries. For a dose of culture, head to the Notre-Dame de Gonia monastery, which dates from the 17th century in its current Venetian form.
TRAVEL TO MAHERI
Your journey across Crete continues today. After a hearty breakfast at the hotel this morning, bundle the family back into your hire car and travel just under an hour to Maheri, a peaceful village nestled in a natural amphitheatre formed by the mountain. Settle in for four nights in a rustic hamlet-hotel surrounded by nature. Spend the rest of today enjoying your new environment. We recommend enjoying a walk through the countryside and the village before heading back to the hotel to enjoy a delicious evening meal based on local produce.
EXPLORE THE COUNTRYSIDE
The next three days are yours to spend discovering Maheri and its idyllic surroundings. Your time here is all about slowing down and enjoying the quieter moments: get stuck into a good book in the shade of the garden while the children splash around in the pool, rent bikes to explore your local area and learn the secrets of Cretan cooking from the in-house chef. When you’re ready for a bit of action, head out to the Samaria Gorge for a hike in the rugged mountains. If you fancy a more challenging hike, then you could embark on an 11-mile trail that winds from the entrance to the gorges, along the Omalos plateau and down to the small port of Agia Roumeli. Our team could also arrange for you to visit the Melidoni cave followed by a private pottery workshop.
VISIT AN ANCIENT PALACE
Today you’ll be swapping Crete’s western countryside for its eastern coast. After a delicious fresh breakfast this morning, hop back into your hire car and travel to Agios Nikolaos, a picturesque coastal city located just east of the island’s capital, Heraklion. The journey takes around two-and-a-half hours, however you’ll be making a stop at Heraklion along the way to admire some of its splendid sights in the company of a knowledgeable local guide. Your first destination in the capital is the Palace of Knossos, the largest and finest of the Cretan palaces. At its peak, more than 300 people lived in this opulent complex, including the royal family. According to Greek mythology, the labyrinth of underground passages housed a minotaur, a half-man, half-bull believed to be the king’s son. Continue on to the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, the second largest museum in Greece and one of the most recognised in the world for Greek antiquities. This is a great opportunity for both the adults and the little ones to delve into the magical world of ancient Greece, from the beginning of the Greek civilisation right up until the Roman period. Continue on the road to Agios Nikolaos ready to check into your next accommodation: a luxurious family-friendly hotel, where you’ll be spending your final three nights of the holiday. Spend the rest of today relaxing at the hotel, before enjoying a delicious meal and a good night’s rest after a busy day.
Your final two days are all about enjoying the endless luxuries of your hotel and the surrounding coastline. You’re within walking distance of the bustling port of Aghios Nikolaos and the azure waters of the bay of Mirabello. In terms of culture, the city offers a popular art museum, as well as an archaeological museum that brings together ancient regional finds. We recommend taking these last two days to relish life on the water: move effortlessly between the swimming pool at the hotel and the azure waters of the many nearby beaches. When you’re ready for a dose of culture, there are plenty of sightseeing options to pick from, including the Fameromemi monastery, the ancient city of Gourmia, the Krtisa amphitheatre and the ancient city of Lato. You could also embark on a hike in the Kotsifos gorges, stroll through the narrow streets of Spili and enjoy plenty of ice creams (and a cocktails for mum and dad) at sunset.
Sadly, your time in Crete has come to a close. After one final delicious Greek breakfast at the hotel this morning (and a last splash around in the pool for the youngsters), jump back into your hire car and travel one hour to the airport in Heraklion. Drop off your hire car and enjoy some peace and quiet in the airport lounge before boarding your four-hour flight back to the UK.
A la carte
GUIDED VISIT TO MELIDONI CAVE AND POTTERY WORKSHOP
Located on the southern slope of Mount Kouloukonas, the geologically-impressive Melidoni Cave is an important place of memory for the victims of Ottoman repressions. In the company of a private guide, you’ll visit a monument erected in their memory before visiting a nearby olive grove and olive oil factory. Here you’ll have the opportunity to learn all about the stages of oil production and taste local products. Continue on to the picturesque village of Margarites to discover the art of pottery making. Every member of the family will learn to work with and craft the earth before decorating their own pot ready for firing.
HORSE RIDE ON THE FOURNI PLATEAU
Head out in the company of an experienced local guide for a horse ride across the scenic Fourni plateau, winding through mountainous landscapes, fragrant olive groves and pristine vineyards.
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