Crete - A Hedonist Retreat

A feast for the senses, sojourn to Crete, the largest island in Greece that permeates a sense of mystery and warmth unlike any other Greek island with scintillating beaches, captivating history and heritage and unforgettable wine and gastronomy. Be enchanted by the island of a thousand images, filled with an open-heart and vivacious spirit. 

HIGHLIGHTS

Experience the storied heritage and stunning landscapes of Crete

Stay in refined and exemplary boutique accommodations

Experience the charm of locals through its wine and gastronomy

ITINERARY

DAY 1: ARRIVE CHANIA

Arrive at Chania Intl Airport where we begin our Cretan adventure. On an immersive orientation, explore Chania beginning with the 16th Century Venetian Lighthouse that stands guard at Chania's harbor. We will also see the Firkas Fort, built by the Venetians in order to protect the port entrance. Continue to the Maritime Museum of Crete with a valuable collection of naval objects providing insight into the rich history of Chania. We’ll pass by the Town’s City Hall, where we finally reach the magnificent crossed shaped building of the Municipal Market. Afterwards, we will visit the Archaeological Museum which features impressive collections including vases, post-Neolithic ceramics and post Minoan artifacts. Thereafter, we transfer to the Domes Zeen where we spend 2 nights. 

Overnight: Domes Zeen, Chania

Meals: NIL

DAY 2: CHANIA (EXCURSION TO GRAMVOUSA & BALOS LAGOON)

Start our day with a short drive to Kolymvari Port where we embark on our private yacht heading to the  Rodopou Peninsula close to the Rocky Mountains where the views are breath-taking. Enjoying the sail visiting the secluded bays, caves and the historic information about the area provided from our skipper. After about an hour we will reach the small port of Gramvousa with the famous castle built in 1579 by the Venetians, at the highest point of the island, on top of a steep, 137-metre-high rock. Its majestic beauty combined with the panoramic view of Balos Lagoon and the legend of hidden pirate treasure, linked to it are good reasons to take the 20-minute walk that will get you there. Apart from your visit to the castle, you can swim to the small beach with the crystal waters and also enjoy your private picnic lunch. Leaving the Gramvousa Island and Balos Lagoon we follow the same route back close to the Rocky Mountains where the views are breathtaking, small secluded bays are ideal for quick dives until we reach Menies beach for another optional swim stop where the privacy and the panoramic views helps you to relax far away from crowded beaches. On the way back to Kolymvari Port the crystal waters with the wild beauty of the island provides an ideal sense of relaxation before we return to Chania. 

Overnight: Domes Zeen, Chania

Meals: Breakfast & Picnic Lunch

DAY 3: CHANIA / RETHYMNO / HERAKLION

We leave Chania today for a scenic drive taking in views of the Sea of Crete where we soon arrive in Rethymno, one of the best preserved old towns in Crete. We start our exploration of the town by visiting the beautiful Old Town with the ancient Venetian port, the marvelous Loggia and the beautiful Krini Rimondi, the most famous Venetian building of Rethymno. We will make a stop at the imposing Venetian castle Fortezza. Afterwards, we will wander through the narrow streets of the old town and we pass by old market stores with traditional Cretan products. The tour concludes with a visit to the Archaeological Museum of Rethymno

Continue our journey thereafter to the Monastery of Arkadi near the village of Amnatos, built on a fertile plateau surrounded by olive groves, vineyards and plantations. Believed to be founded by Byzantine Emperior, Arkadios, the initial church of the monastery was dedicated to St Constantine. Marvel at its massif walls that made it impregnable from enemies. Finally, we return back to the coast where we arrive in Heraklion, the largest city and administrative capital of Crete where we spend 2 nights in the Legacy Gastro Suites

Overnight: Legacy Gastro Suites, Heraklion

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 4: HERAKLION

A magnificent day begins with a visit to the ancient Minoan Palace of Knossos, which in its heyday, spans more than 14,000 square meters. Dating back to 2,000 BC, the ruins of the palace was excavated by the great English archaeologist Arthur Evans. The ruins and rebuilt parts belong to the last and largest Minoan Palace, the labyrinth of Knossos. Built 3700 years ago, is over 1000 pieces. This palace was even a health system and was decorated with impressive murals and the throne of King Minos is still intact. The city of Knossos remained important through the Classical and Roman periods, but its population shifted to the new town of Chandax (modern Heraklion) during the 9th Century AD. 

 

Thereafter, we take a stroll in the beautiful Old Town of Heraklion soaking up the scenes of its beautiful harbor and vibrant atmosphere dominated by its pretty harbor and the stunning 16th Century Venetian Koules Fortress. Worth a visit as well is the Cathedral of St Minas, dedicated to the patron saint of Heraklion and renowned for its extensive religious iconography, spectacular frescoes and beautiful chandelier. 

 

Later, we drive to the countryside to the Lyrarakis Winery, established in 1966 that still employs ancient techniques to modern wine-making. Join the family members of the winery on an insightful visit of its facilities and learn about its pioneering legacies that had put put all its effort in the revival of the indigenous Cretan grape varieties, producing wines that highlight their value and notable characteristics

Overnight: Legacy Gastro Suites, Heraklion

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 5: HERAKLION / MALIA / AGIOS NIKOLAOS / ELOUNDA

Depart Heraklion this morning for a scenic drive along the coast as we arrive to the ancient Minoan Malia Palace Archaeological site, third largest of the Minoan palaces and according to tradition, the third son of Zeus and Europa, Sarpedon, brother of the legendary King Minos ruled here. 

Thereafter, continue to the amazingly-beautiful town of Agios Nikolaos with a vibrant waterfront scene, a boutique atmosphere and home to many beautiful resorts. We make a stop at the emblematic Lake Voulismeni, connected to the sea by a short and narrow channel for about 150 years where we witness the most stunning scenes of the town. Thereafter, take a stroll along the port area lined with waterfront cafes and shops where you can enjoy time at leisure. Be sure to then marvel the impressive works of art of the Abduction of Europa and the Horn of Amalthea statues which tells you the importance of the great Greek mythology connected with the legend of Zeus.

Finally, we save the best for the last as we then arrive shortly into the town of Elounda to spend the final 2 nights of your sojourn at the incredible and lauded Blue Palace - A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa,

Overnight: Blue Palace - A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Elounda

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 6: ELOUNDA (EXCURSION TO SPINALONGA)

Mark the final day of your Cretan sojourn with a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed island of Spinalonga. A short drive takes us to the traditional village of Plaka where we hop aboard our private boat to Spinalonga, where because of its strategic location, was turned into a fortress in the middle of the 16th Century and constituted one of the best examples of the Venetian defensive architecture. From 1903-1957 Spinalonga impregnable castle was turned into the last European leper colony. Enjoy an informative tour where we explore the buildings from the Venetian and Ottoman Period. 

Thereafter, you have time to immerse in the pretty scenes in and around the beautiful natural bay of “kolokitha” and a swimming opportunity from our private traditional boat will follow, with snacks, fruits and drinks on board. We then disembark back at Plaka where we have time for lunch before heading south inland to the white hilltop village of Kritsa, undoubtedly one of the most picturesque villages in Crete adorned with some of the most charming alleys. We will have opportunities to witness its traditional weaving, a proud legacy of the village and traditional cheese makers that has the undeniable identity and flavors of Crete. 

Overnight: Blue Palace - A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Elounda

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 7: ELOUNDA / DEPARTURE SITIA / ATHENS (EVERY MON, THU & SAT)

Today, we bid our Cretan adventure to an end as we make a pleasant drive to Sitia Airport for a short return flight back to Athens. 

Meals: Breakfast

HOTELS

Bordering a private beach on Crete’s north-west coast, Domes Zeen Chania is an Arcadian idyll fit for the post-modern age. The restrained rooms have oversize windows and terraces in which to bask in the Cretan sun. Riffing on the concept of ef zeen, a classic Greek term for wellbeing, Domes also brings a duo of gourmet restaurants, a beachfront spa and classic island experiences to the table.

Domes Zeen, Chania

Legacy Gastro Suites, Heraklion

Legacy Gastro Suites is a completely new five-star, luxury boutique hotel with just 12 unique, thematically linked suites in the heart of Heraklion, Crete’s vibrant seaside capital blending the best of Greece’s richly varied gastronomic traditions with highlights from Crete’s illustrious cultural heritage, all against a welcoming backdrop of elegant 1950s-style furnishings and of course Mediterranean Sea views from every suite.

Blue Palace - A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Elounda

Endless views, crystal clear waters and a host of cultural and gastronomical experiences await guests at Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa. Escape to the wild beauty and unrivalled island style of this luxe resort with emblematic sea views, crystal clear waters, sparkling infinity pools, a cuisine that celebrates the gastronomic legacy of the region, and personalized services. 

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