8-day Vegans Discovering Crete
Sat, May 11, 2024
to Sat, May 18, 2024
Crete, Chania, , Greece (map
Day 1: Adjust to the Cretan Climate
- Arrival, Chania (CHQ) Airport Pick-Up, Check-in and Settling, Itinerary Briefing, and Welcome Dinner at 19:30
Day 2: Taste the famous olive oil and wine of the Cretans
- Olive oil production and tasting tour at Biolea. Here, you will enjoy a guided tour of a one-of-a-kind traditional olive oil press and learn about olive oil production and why Cretan olive oil is of unique quality. You will taste different gourmet olive oils and get the chance to buy a small bottle that can safely be transferred back home in your luggage.
- Touch and feel an ancient olive oil tree and learn all about its unique connection with the modern Olympic games!
- Try the Cretan Wine. The Minoans, who were the first advanced civilization in Europe, were making wines from Vitis Vinifera vines as long as 4000 years ago. Today, an industry of character, quality, and value wines is thriving on the island. Ancient grape varieties are rediscovered and honored. Crete has at least 11 indigenous grape varieties. They are unique, hard to pronounce, and express themselves differently in each wine region. Let’s taste some of them!
- Traditional group lunch
- Visit Moni Gonias Odigitrias and enjoy a guided monastery museum tour. There are about 130 active monasteries on the island of Crete! Here, we will learn about the Christian Orthodox Religion, which constitutes one of the main pillars of the Greek nation and is intertwined with its history. We will touch upon monastic life and hermeticism and explore some interesting life concepts and ideas.
- Optional beach time
Day 3: Discover Pristine Nature in Western Crete
- Far Western Crete tour to Falassarna, including beach time and boat tour (weather permitting). Falassarna Beach is located on the Gramvousa Peninsula, about 50km west of Chania city. It is one of Greece’s most stunning sand beaches with a 3 km coastline. On its northern edge, we can see remains of the ancient Dorian city, including an impressive port and its acropolis with a fortress, various cisterns and wells, two cemeteries, and more. A beautiful and easy 30-minute path over rocks and sand dunes leads from the beach to the entrance of the archaeological site.
- On the way back to Chania, we will visit the German Military Cemetery in Maleme and learn about the extraordinary history of this little village.
- Group dinner
Day 4: Enjoy Chania, the most picturesque Greek city
- Free morning with options. We will provide different restaurant, shop, beach, and museum suggestions.
- Afternoon Cretan Cuisine Cooking Class at a homestead farm, including dinner.
The local family will help you prepare some fabulously tasty vegan dishes made with hearty Cretan ingredients such as extra-virgin olive oil, fresh vegetables, aromatic herbs, and a splash of wine. They will also reveal exciting information about the island’s herbs, including the therapeutic properties of olive oil and tips about the products they use. After preparing the main dish and while you wait for it to cook, head out on a guided tour of the farm and their traditional house. You’ll discover their enchanting vegetable garden, see all the produce in season, and take in the scents of the aromatic and therapeutic herbs. You will also visit the olive groves to learn about olive oil production. Lastly, you will head to their wine cellar for an entertaining wine-tasting session to try a variety of bouquets. Don’t hesitate to try the Tsikoudia local spirit before passing by the wine press and ending the tour at the citrus orchard. Finally, you will all sit down to try the plates you have prepared together, along with good local wine, and sample some traditional sweets at the end.
This is a small-group activity, meaning that a small number of non-vegan people outside our group may also be participating.
Day 5: Rethymnon Old Town and Fortezza – Move to a Hotel in Heraklion City
- 09:30, you will check out of your hotel and board our private bus. After about 80 minutes of driving, we will stop in Rethymnon for a 2-hour guided walking tour of its old Venetian fortress with breathtaking views of the city and the Archipelago.
- Group lunch in a boutique restaurant.
- Then, free afternoon to stroll the market of the Old Town or go to the beach.
- 17:00, continue to Heraklion City on a further 80-minute drive to check in our new hotel.
Day 6: Free day with two optional group tours
- Heraklion, being the fifth largest city in Greece, has a lot to offer. A bursting city, day and night, gives you options of exquisite shops, wonderful museums, and chic restaurants, amongst others. You can rest and assimilate your experiences, relax at your hotel’s SPA, or explore the city. Alternatively, you can join one of our organized group tours.
- Meet for group dinner at 19:30.
Day 7: Discover the advanced civilization of the Ancient Minoans
- You will have a free morning in the city of Heraklion to explore and go shopping.
Some excellent choices for your free time in the city would be visiting the Archaeological Museum (you will need 2.5 hours, including the transfer time; a tour guide can be arranged upon request) or the Venetian Fortress of Heraklion (you will need 1.5 to 2 hours, including the transfer time). Both venues open at 08:30.
- 12:00, we will meet and depart to a nearby beach, where you can also get an optional lunch.
- 16:00, we will have a 2-hour guided tour of the ancient city of Knossos. Knossos is the oldest and most sophisticated city in the ancient Western world. This site was the first inhabited area of ancient Crete, from as early as 7000 BC, and subsequently became the largest and most influential of the Minoan centers. Meet for farewell dinner at 19:00.
Day 8: Departure day
- Check out at 11:00 at the latest
- 20-minute taxi transfer to Heraklion Airport (HER)
OPTIONAL TOURS from Heraklion City
1. SANTORINI ISLAND FULL-DAY TOUR by boat and bus
This is a group activity with transfers in a 50-seater bus. A significant number of people outside our group will be participating. Possible only on day 8. It should be booked as soon as possible to ensure availability.
Tour depends on the weather; thus, it may be canceled at the last moment.
Time on the boat: 5 hours collectively
Time on the bus in Santorini: About 1 hour
Total duration, including transfers: About 11 hours (about 5 free hours on the island)
Tour pick-up time: 07:30
Price: EUR 235 per person, including all transfers, a snack package, and a volcano boat tour on Santorini.
2. Elounda FISHING VILLAGE, including BEACH TIME and BOAT TOUR to SPINALONGA ISLET
Elounda is a small coastal tourist town. Here, we will catch our boat to Spinalonga Islet. It was one of the last remaining leper colonies in Europe, with many of the building ruins preserved for you to see today. It’s also the site of a 16th-century Venetian fortress. Hike up to the top of the fortress walls for amazing views of the entire bay! Return to Elounda to explore its picturesque marina, cafes, restaurants, and the beach.
Possible only on day 8. It should be booked as soon as possible to ensure availability.
Time on the bus: 2 hours 10 minutes collectively
Time on the boat: About 1 hour
Total duration, including transfers: 9 hours (about 2 hours on Spinalonga island)
Tour pick-up time: 09:00
Price: EUR 115 per person, including bus and boat transfers and islet entrance fees.
Services included / not included
-A small group of 4-18 people to maximize quality and personal attention
-Private pick up/ drop off from/to the airport*. Please, consult with us for the correct airports to land and depart from according to your exact itinerary.
-7 nights of quiet, seaside accommodation in handpicked venues
-Half board meals including basic drinks
-Authentic cultural experiences on privately guided day trips visiting Crete’s famous beaches and eating at Crete’s best taverns
-All entrance fees, transfer costs, and guiding fees for the activities as described in the itinerary
-All taxes, fees, and handling charges
*It is also possible to arrive in Crete one day earlier. We will pick you up from the Chania (CHQ) airport free of charge any time you arrive. Extra accommodation charges will apply, and you may stay at a different venue for this night.
-International air transfer to/ from Crete
-Meals other than those mentioned in the itinerary
-Add-on tours and activities (optional at an extra cost)
-Travel and medical insurance
Ticket Cost: $2900