The largest and most populous of the Greek islands, Crete is a well-trodden destination... but it still has secrets and surprises waiting to be uncovered. Join us as we explore the famous Minoan ‘Palaces’ and settlements; trace the fortunes of the island through the Classical Greek and Roman periods; and gain a deeper understanding of the glorious west of the island. As we journey through the Cretan landscape, we witness it unfold in an undeniably artistic way: a tapestry of beaches, ancient treasures, vibrant cities and enigmatic villages. The natural beauty we find, is surpassed only by the richness of its history. Discover more about the important recent research which has been undertaken in Western Crete, during special talks from local archaeologists throughout our tour.
- Explore the beautiful Mediterranean island of Crete and its lesser-known archaeological remains
- Wander through Armeni, where 200 chamber tombs have been discovered
- Discover more about the important recent research which has been undertaken in Western Crete during special talks from local archaeologists during our tour
- Historic Churches
- Ancient Greek
- Special Access
- All Inclusive
We fly to Chania and transfer to our hotel. In the afternoon we enjoy our first lecture from our expert guide.
We spend the morning discovering the Chania Archaeological Museum, set in a lovingly and beautifully restored 16th century Venetian church, and ancient Kydonia, on whose former site modern-day Chania is now built. In the afternoon we enjoy a walking tour of the town’s historic centre. Its many narrow lanes take us past a magnificent harbour, a picturesque Venetian quarter, beautifully restored townhouses, and more.
We begin the day at Kissamos Museum — housed in a Venetian-Turkish monument known as Diikitirio, or ‘headquarters’, it is home to exhibits painting a picture of the region’s history from prehistory to present. We go on to explore the ancient city of Polyrhenia, which once dominated the plain and gulf of Kissamos, and the Hellenistic town of Phalasarna, with its closed harbour.
We travel to Elyros, a Doric and Roman town famous for its two harbours. In the Classical period, it was the most important city in southwestern Crete, forming an industrial and commercial centre. We continue to Sougia — a peaceful waterfront village lapped by lucid azure waves — for lunch, and then take a boat to Lissos, an ancient city famous for its Temple of Asklepios. We return to Chania in the afternoon.
On our journey to Rethymnon we visit Aptera, an archaeological site just inland of Souda Bay, and mythological setting for the legendary contest between the Sirens and the Muses. We stop to explore a Mycenaean cemetery at Armeni. With excavations unearthing over 200 chamber tombs and over 500 skeletons, the site has proved invaluable to our understanding of the Minoan people of the area. In the afternoon, we enjoy some free time to explore the sites of Rethymnon at our leisure.
We discover the archaeological site and museum at Eleutherna, showcasing the remains of the ancient city by the same name, located at the northwest foot of Mount Ida. Excavations in the area have revealed finds from the Neolithic period through to the Byzantine. After lunch we visit the Eastern Orthodox Arkadi Monastery, a continuous part of Cretan history for the past eight centuries.
This morning we explore Rethymnon Archaeological Museum, housed in a distinctive pentagonal building, a former civic prison. It is home to a wealth of finds from the Late Neolithic to the Roman period, making up a series of fascinating collections. This afternoon, we visit a late Minoan villa at Amnisos — the star of which is undoubtedly the ‘House of the Lillies’, so named for its remarkably intact floral fresco — and take a walking tour of historic Rethymnon.
We return to Chania and transfer to the airport for our flight home.
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Meals - All meals included with wine at dinner
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
- Field Notes
4 nights in Chania with the hotel located within the Old Venetian Harbour boasting wonderful views.
3 nights in the picturesque old town of Rethymno. This hotel has a small plunge pool which would be perfect for cooling off after a long day of exploring.
For full information about Passport validity and Visa requirements as well as Health and Vaccination information please click here.