Wildflowers of Crete

Price in euro

Price for 6 people 1.380 € pp - Less than 6, price people upon request

When: Early spring (26th March- 3rd April 2017)
Languages: Wildflowers of Crete English
Duration: 26th March- 3rd April 2017
Meeting Point: Pick up from Kazantzakis International Airport and transfer to Hotel Lato in Heraklion
Dress Code: Casual; comfortable walking shoes; warmer clothes in early spring; wide-brim hat; back pack; sunblock.
Including: Transportation throughout the tour, entrance fees to all sites mentioned, accomodation in Heraklio and Chania as outlined, 2 dinners and 6 lunches, guiding services of a professional qualified guide throughout the trip.
Food: Breakfasts, 2 dinners and 6 lunches.
Walking Difficulty: Fairly Easy walking throughout.
Rest Rooms/ WC: Yes

An invitation to join a private tour party for a week wandering among flowers and ancient sites.

Proposed programme for a one-week (8 nights) private visit to Crete of one of expert licensed guides.

The emphasis of this private holiday is the early springtime flowers, some of which can be spectacular en masse. This is the prime period for ground orchids and the smaller bulbous plants. As many of the most important archaeological sites in Crete are refuges for the native flora, we can happily combine botany and archaeology. Moreover, given our guide’s local knowledge you will enjoy splendid Cretan hospitality and savor its unique cuisine during our excursions. You can expect, in out of the way places, to taste local dishes and have an opportunity also to sample the wines of this beautiful island. We will have lunches in a tavernas that are “off the beaten track”.

Predicting the flora is hazardous, yet we can expect to see tulips (especially Tulipa cretica) and crown anemones (Anemone coronaria), early irises and maybe a crocus or two. Springtime “bulbs” should be plentiful - Romulea and Gagea species for example – as well as orchids in profusion and variety, Erica arborea (tree heath), turban buttercups and narcissi ... but that list is a mere sampler of what we will hope to see. Crete in early spring is an astounding place.

The itinerary will include the following localities.

DAY 1 (26 March 2017) HERAKLIO: the principal town of Crete will be our main base. The Venetians left their mark here with a fine harbour, city walls and other public buildings. The Archaeological Museum is the main repository of the items found in the excavations throughout the island and is justly renowned for its collection. The hotel we have chosen, the Lato Boutique Hotel, is in the centre of the town and it overlooks the harbour. (Our second base will be Chania - see below.) We expect the participants of the tour to assemble at Heraklio on the afternoon of this first day for a “Welcome Dinner”.

Onernight at hotel Lato BB

DAY 2 (27 March 2017) KNOSSOS: this is the best known of the Minoan sites, excavated in the early twentieth century by Sir Arthur Evans. He reconstructed and restored parts of the “palace”, thereby allowing visitors to sense its extraordinary complexity - it is the Labyrinth of Greek mythology. We will combine a visit to Knossos with a botanical excursion in the vicinity of ARCHANES, and we will also visit the special exhibit of Minoan (and other) artefacts at the Archaeological Museum in Heraklio.

Onernight at hotel Lato BB

DAY 3 (28 March 2017) MIRAMBELLO: We will look for plants in the hinterland of Mirambello Gulf during the excursion.The Gulf of Mirambello is now familiar as the setting for Victoria Hislop’s novel “The island” (it concerns the leper hospital established on the fortified - by the Venetians - island of Spinalonga). Travelling east from Heraklio we will visit first the church of PANAGIA KERA at Kritsa to see the frescoes, the best preserved 13th-14th century examples in Crete. Close by is LATO, an ancient-Greek city-state, perched on the saddle between hills and with a view over Mirambello Gulf.

Onernight at hotel Lato BB

DAY 4 (29 March 2017) LASSITHI UPLAND PLAIN: is the largest of the upland plains that are characteristic of the mountain ranges of Crete. Surrounded by mountains, these plains have been cultivated for centuries, and Lassithi is renowned for the wind-powered pumps that used to crowd the area - few now remain. It is also a good place for plants, including tulips and anemones. We will also visit to village of KRASI where there is an enormous plane tree (Platanus orientalis).

Onernight at hotel Lato BB

DAY 5 (30 March 2017) GORTYS AND AGIA TRIADA: these places are not as well known as Knossos, yet are just as important. AGIA TRIADA is situated on the edge of Messara Plain in the south of Crete and is a significant Minoan site. On previous visits to the locality we found a wonderful array of wild flowers including many orchid species. In the same part of Crete is the site of the city state of GORTYS, where a famous law code, promulgated in the 5th century BC, was inscribed on a massive wall. At Gortys (so they say) Zeus, the king of the gods, seduced Europa following their “flight” from Phoenicia, and an evergreen plane tree (Platanus orientalis) grows here in commemoration of that event. Like other sites, the area is a good place for plant-hunting, including, if the time is right, masses of Barbary nut (Moraea sisyrinchium). Transfer to Chania. Tonight we will stay in the Kydon Hotel in the centre of Chania, which has views to the Lefka Ori (White Mountains)

Onernight at hotel Kydon BB

DAY 6 (31 MARCH 2017) CHANIA: - ancient Cydonia - is a fascinating town built on the site of a Minoan “palace”, with an entrancing harbour. Chania’s hinterland includes localities that were known to travellers such as John Sibthorp (the Oxford botanist), Richard Pococke (one-time Bishop of Meath who (so Mrs Mary Delany said) the “most boring man who ever travelled”), and Edward Lear. We will spend a leisurely day exploring some of the places they visited, including the Venetian foundation of Moni Tzangarola (Agia Triada) on Akrotiri. In it vicinity we can expect to find Tulipa cretica.

Onernight at hotel Kydon BB

DAY 7 (01 APRIL 2017) IMBROS GORGE: no visit to Crete would be complete without at least one walk in a gorge. Imbros Gorge is quite easy-walking - we take the easy way too, walking up the lower part from its exit at Komitades (on the shore of the Libyan Sea). The chasm is a natural botanical garden with its limestone walls forming vertical “beds”. There are many endemic species in the gorge including the yellow-flowered tree-flax (Linum arboreum), Cretan cabbage (Brassica cretica) and the shrubby spurge Euphorbia sultan-hassei. Our visit to Imbros Gorge entails a journey over the Lefka Ori on a road that crests the western rim of Imbros Gorge - in fact, we cross Crete from the north to the south on this one day.

Onernight at hotel Kydon BB

DAY 8 (02 APRIL 2017) GAIOS KAMBOS: is a renowned area for endemic Cretan plants in central Crete on the western edge of the Psiloritis Mountains. In early spring visitors can expect to see crown anemones, turban buttercups, Narcissus tazetta and orchids, as well as irises and Bulbocodium species. We can combine a visit to Gaios Kambos with the Minoan cemetery at ARMENI, situated in the hills to the south of Rethymnon. On previous visits to this significant archaeological site, we have been astonished by the rich flora under the oak trees. (Transfer to Heraklio)

Onernight at hotel Lato BB

DAY 9 (03 APRIL 2017) DEPARTURES Depending on the times of arrival and departure, other activities may be possible in the Heraklio area.

Reservation Information

​The price has been estimated for a minimum of 6 participants

Special Remarks

This tour does not include tips to guides and drivers, and miscellaneous personal expenses.

Map

Price Per Adult: 1380 €
Price Per Child: 1380 €

Reservation Information: info@touristguideofcrete.gr

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