11-Day Explore Crete and Athens

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OVERVIEW

Take some quality time for yourself with this custom 11-day exploration of Crete and Athens.

Spending the majority of your time in Crete, this trip covers three of the island’s resort towns; Chania, Heraklion and Elounda. You’ll have a mix of history, beach time including Balos Lagoon, and luxury to uncover all that this island has to offer.

Explore the towns, the ancient ruins and even some museums to get a feel for the history of the island before spending three days relaxing in the
luxurious resort town of Elounda where your days will be filled with peace and sun-filled serenity.

After having time to find peace and embrace the fine pleasures of island life in Greece, you’ll be transported to Athens for a quick history and wine lesson before saying farewell to paradise!

Day 1: Arrival in Chania
Day 2: Chania Food and Wine Walking Tour
Day 3: The Best Beaches in the World- Balos Lagoon & Gramvousa Island
Day 4: Free Day in Chania
Day 5: Rethymno and Heraklion
Day 6: Knossos Palace and Heraklion Museum
Day 7: Heraklion to Elounda
Day 8: Elounda
Day 9: Another Day in Elounda
Day 10: Athens Guided Tour
Day 11: Farewell to Greece

DURATION

11 days, 10 nights

DESTINATIONS

Greece: Athens, Chania, Crete Region, Heraklion, Rethimno, Elounda, Knossos, Agios Nikolaos, Kritsa

TRAVELLERS

2 travellers

Presented by Stel from Mitchell Personnel Solutions Pty Ltd
[email protected]
+61261230567
INCLUDED

– 10 nights accommodation
– 8 activities
– 10 breakfasts
– Airport transfer
– Entrance fees
– Ground transportation
– Licensed English speaking guides

EXCLUDED

– Domestic flights
– Travel insurance
– International flights
– Entry visas / airport departure tax
– Alcohol beverages
– Gratuities
– Personal expenses
– Laundry
– Trekking permits

DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN CHANIA
7 2

After arriving at Chania International Airport, you will be privately transferred to your hotel. After checking in, you will have a free evening to explore the town.

9
Private Driver

12:00 to 13:00

From: Chania International Airport “Ioannis Daskalogiannis”
To: Chania

11 1
Cretan Renaissance

13:00 check-in
09:00 check-out (Day 5)
1

The Cretan Renaissance is found in a Venetian manor house, characterised by the Ephorate of Byzantium Antiquities and a historical monument to be preserved. Its construction is estimated somewhere within the period of Venetian domination upon Crete. The architectural approach and settlement of the building follow the stylistic principles of that historical era.

History has proven interaction between the two civilisations (Greek-Byzantine and Western-Roman) at that period of time, creating a conjunction that gave birth to the “Cretan Renaissance”; a great era for Crete where literature and visual arts came in bloom.

The building was initially a residence for a family of Venetian musicians and later operated as a station of general administration. Just before the end of the Venetian dominion, the building became the residence of a Cretan Court Lord.. Drawing inspiration from tales of love and loss on the island, each of the four apartments of the hotel revives a story of love coming from great literary works of that era, surviving through the passage of aeons.

Cretan Renaissance bears the meaning of quality and intelligence when it comes to luxury, the meaning of style and unique travelling, the meaning of a lively spirit and an attentive approach, and the meaning of being daring and curious for what is less known.

Address: Cretan Renaissance, Akti Kountourioti, Chania, Greece

DAY 2: CHANIA FOOD AND WINE WALKING TOUR
12

Begin your day by exploring the Venetian-built city with a cultural Chania Old Town food and wine guided walking tour which is exactly as it sounds! You’ll explore the town while stopping in bars and delicatessens to get to the heart of Cretan hospitality and culture. Your evening will be free to continue this exploration, or you may wish to make the most of the hotel’s facilities.

14
Chania Walking Tour

09:15 to 12:15
3 hours

A fantastic 3-hour cultural walking tour takes you through the beautiful narrow streets of Chania Old Town, the most photographed spot of the city!

The heart of the city is alive and thriving all year round. It is busy, full of cafes, restaurants and taverns with Cretan food specialities, bars, pastry shops, art shops and preserved historical monuments from different time periods.

Your local guide will offer a unique insight into the food and wine culture of Chania and Crete while presenting the city in his unique way!

During your walking tour, we will stop frequently to talk with locals and have a sampling of local products and beverages such as koulouri, kalitsounia, loukoumades, graviera, mizithra, ntakos, alatsolies, tsakistes, tsikoudia, fresh tomatoes, and local Cretan honey.

Towards the end of the tour will have the chance of Cretan wine tasting of four different Cretan wines.

guided
Address: Crete, Greece

DAY 3: THE BEST BEACHES IN THE WORLD- BALOS LAGOON & GRAMVOUSA ISLAND
17

Another extraordinary day for you, since today you will enjoy a semi-private cruise to Balos Lagoon and Gramvousa Island, some of the best beaches in the world! Board the boat to set out on the cruise to the breathtaking Balos Lagoon. One of the top 10 beaches in the world, the natural beauty of the white and pink sand of Balos lagoon is unparalleled. The small island of Gramvoussa is your next stop. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Venetian-built castle of Gramvoussa!.

19
Full-Day Cruise to Balos and Gramvoussa Beaches

09:15 to 17:00
7 hours 45 minutes

Board the boat with a maximum number of 12 passengers to set out on the cruise.

An hour and a half later you reach the breathtaking lagoon of Balos and stay there for two full hours! One of the top 10 beaches in the world, the natural beauty of the white and pink sand of Balos lagoon is unparalleled.

The small island of Gramvoussa is your next stop, where you will also spend two hours too. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Venetian-built castle of Gramvoussa! The boat departs for Kissamos Port at 14:30.

Onboard and throughout the journey, you will be offered bottled water, fruit and seasonal salads, snorkelling equipment and beach towels.

guided
Address: Balos Beach, Greece

DAY 4: FREE DAY IN CHANIA
20

Your free day in Chania is yours to enjoy! Relax in any of the fantastic bars on the waterfront and do not miss the chance to enjoy the extraordinary local cuisine and, of course, the numerous small traditional shops! Chania is a charming town that is incredibly relaxing to explore. Alternatively, you may wish to make the most of the hotel’s facilities.

11
Chania

10:00 to 15:30
5 hours 30 minutes

Perched on the westernmost side of the island of Crete, Chania is a beautiful, romantic town famed for its picturesque Venetian harbour.

As you stroll around the town, you’ll notice its medieval architecture, its old churches, museums, craft shops and elegant mansions all clustered around its stunning Venetian port. The town is known for its quaint narrow shopping streets and its waterfront restaurants which are the perfect stop to grab a Greek bite to eat and enjoy a glass of local wine.

The area surrounding Chania is naturally breathtaking; Balos, Elafonissi, Paleochora, Sfakia, Falassarna and Samaria Gorge are all worth visiting whilst roaming around Chania. There is also a plethora of secluded beaches with crystal clear water, each one offering a unique experience.

Many people say that Chania has the essence of Florence and a touch of Venice when these two cities weren’t the tourist hubs they are today.

+ optional (not included in price)

Address: Chania, Greece

DAY 5: RETHYMNO AND HERAKLION
23

After a 60-minute morning drive in your private vehicle, you will reach the magnificent seaside town of Rethymno, where you will enjoy some free time to take a walk and maybe have lunch at a wonderful seafood local restaurant, before continuing on your way to the capital of Crete island, Heraklion. You’ll check into your hotel and have time to explore your surroundings.

9
Private Driver

10:00 to 11:00

From: Chania
To: Rethimno

11
Rethymnon

12:30 to 15:00
2 hours 30 minutes

Situated in the north of the Greek island of Crete, Rethymnon is a town that beautifully blends modern-day luxury with history. The old town’s Venetian harbour is filled with fishing boats bobbing in the water and fringed with taverns.

Playing host to a collection of long, sandy, tropical beaches and known for its exquisite Cretan cuisine, Rethymnon is a great place to hang out on the island. Sitting atop of Rethymnon like a crown, the Fortezza dates back to the 16thcentury Venetian times. You can climb all the way up to the star-shaped fortress and admire the stunning view.

Back down in the port, Rethymnon’s old lighthouse will catch your eye as you get lost in its maze of alleyways, ornate doorways, mosques and pretty cafes. Whilst it is the third-largest town on the island, Rethymnon feels less like a city that its westerly neighbour, Chania.

Address: Rethimno 741 00, Greece

9
Private Driver

15:30 to 16:45

From: Rethimno
To: Heraklion

13
Dom Boutique Hotel

17:00 check-in
09:45 check-out (Day 7)
1

Located in Heraklion and with Heraklion Venetian Harbour reachable within a 10-minute walk, Dom Boutique Hotel provides express check-in and check-out, non-smoking rooms, a bar, free Wi-Fi and a shared lounge.

All guest rooms are equipped with air conditioning, a flatscreen TV with satellite channels, an electric teapot, a shower, a hairdryer and a closet. Every room includes a private bathroom with free toiletries, while certain rooms will provide you with a balcony and others also provide guests with city views.

The hotel offers a buffet or an American breakfast. Popular points of interest near Dom Boutique Hotel include the Loggia, the Historical Museum of Crete and Koules.

Address: Dom Boutique Hotel, Almirou, Heraklion, Greece

DAY 6: KNOSSOS PALACE AND HERAKLION MUSEUM
26

In a day to remember, you will have the privilege to visit the marvellous, 4,000-year-old Knossos Palace, the oldest town in Europe, followed by the extraordinary Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, one of the largest and most important museums in Greece; it is among the most important museums in Europe! It houses representative artefacts from every period of Cretan prehistory and history, covering a chronological span of over 5,500 years from the Neolithic period to Roman times.

28
Palace of Knossos

09:00 to 11:00
2 hours

One of Crete’s must-see attractions, the Palace of Knossos was the principal centre of the Minoan Civilisation. Sitting just five kilometres south of Iraklio, Knossos is the second-most visited archaeological site of the country.

The Palace of Knossos is linked to numerous thrilling legends such as the Labyrinth and the Minotaur and the story of Daidalos and Icaros. From the Neolithic Period which spanned 7,000-3,000 BC up until the Roman times, Knossos was continually inhabited.

The palaces and luxurious buildings date back to the 19th-17th centuries BC and the 16th-14th centuries BC during the Minoan Period when intensive habitation occurred.

In 1878, Knossos was discovered and extensive excavations were carried out between 1900 and 1931 bring the Palace of Knossos to light, a large section of the Minoan city and many cemeteries.

Address: Knossos 714 09, Greece

22
Heraklion Archaeological Museum

12:00 to 14:30
2 hours 30 minutes

The Heraklion Archaeological Museum is one of the oldest and most important museums in Greece, and among the most famous museums in Europe. It houses representative artefacts from all periods of Cretan prehistory and history, covers a chronological span of over 5,500 years from the Neolithic period to Roman times. The Heraklion Archaeological Museum prides itself for its unique Minoan collection, which includes the masterpieces of Minoan art.

Located in the town centre, it was designed by the architect Patroklos Karantinos and was built between 1935 and 1958 on a site previously occupied by the Venetian monastery of SaintFrancis which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1856. The ruins of the monastery are visible in the museum’s garden.

The Heraklion Archaeological Museum is a Special Regional Service of the Ministry of Culture. Along with the permanent exhibition, the museum organises temporary exhibitions in Greece and abroad, creates and implements educational programs, collaborates with scientific and scholarly institutions, and houses a variety of cultural events.

Address: Ξανθουδίδη και Χατζηδάκη 1, Iraklio 712 02, Greece

DAY 7: HERAKLION TO ELOUNDA
31

You will be privately transferred to fabulous Elounda for three days of relaxing in absolute peace! Your amazing hotel will offer you unforgettable moments next to the sea. During your stay, you will also enjoy a traditional Cretan culinary lesson at the village of Kritsa. Elounda is a peaceful village that offers the true luxury of being an exclusive serene resort far from the crowds.

9
Private Driver

10:00 to 11:00

From: Heraklion
To: Elounda

43
Elounda

11:30 to 14:00
2 hours 30 minutes

Once a quiet village, Elounda is an exclusive resort that creates a refined resort experience away from the crowds.

Set on a harbour, Elounda is littered with fine dining restaurants and private resorts that create one of the most romantic experiences in Crete. Just an hour from the capital of Heraklion, Elounda is dotted with small pristine beaches that offer the chance to bask in the beauty of the Kolokitha peninsula.

Elounda embraces the quiet life with many quiet spots for you to soak up the soothing sounds of the sea.

+ optional (not included in price)

Address: Elounda, Greece

13
Elounda Blu

14:00 check-in
08:30 check-out (Day 10)
1

Elounda Blu takes relaxation to a whole new level, with bespoke offers just for you, focusing on little details and fantastic service!

Τhe premier option for single travellers, friends and couples, Elounda Blu offers the perfect pampering experience for in-the-know travellers seeking vacations filled with rest, repose and relaxation.

Based on the concept of providing the ultimate peaceful escape, this is a property which aims to stimulate all the senses. Anyone who has experienced the authentic Cretan hospitality of Elounda Blu knows what it’s like to be spoilt for choices.

Elounda Blu offers guests a deeply personalised spa experience in luxury and tranquillity. All guests have access to the luxury wellness centre. Here, you can have a relaxing swim or sauna after an intense workout.

Address: Elounda Blu, Aghia Paraskevi, Elounda, Greece

35 1
Kritsa Culinary Lesson

17:00 to 20:15
3 hours 15 minutes

Join a unique cooking class in the traditional village of Kritsa and discover the secrets of our traditional cuisine. You will learn how to cook some of Cretan’s authentic, typical dishes such as a Greek salad, dakos, dolmadakia, fava, or meze.

You’ll end your day’s adventure enjoying the food you have prepared in a friendly and casual atmosphere. The cooking school is located at a traditional Cretan house in the courtyard under the shade of the vine pergola.

Address: Kritsa, Greece

DAY 8: ELOUNDA
36 1

Spend your day relaxing in the hotel by spending a day by the pool. Elounda is a resort town that still retains its small village feel with the charming addition of exuberant luxury. Stroll along the cobbled stone streets, dine in fine restaurants and feel absorb the splendour of ultimate relaxation. Tonight, you can enjoy some cocktails as the sun sets the sky on fire.

19
Half-Day Sailing Cruise: Agios Nikolaos and Plaka

09:00 to 13:15
4 hours 15 minutes

Enjoy a day out in the Cretan Sea onboard a catamaran sailing yacht.

Comfortable for parties of up to 10 passengers, it features all the modern navigation equipment and amenities.

Stretch out on the deck, and enjoy the sea breeze and scenery as you explore the coast of Agios Nikolaos, Elounda and Plaka. We’ll sail by Spinalonga island, the Kolokytha beach and some hidden beautiful coves. The exact route is decided by our skipper depending on weather conditions.

You will be in good hands to relax in a world of your own, soak in the sun, snorkel and swim in crystal waters.

+ optional (not included in price)

Address: Agios Nikolaos, Greece

DAY 9: ANOTHER DAY IN ELOUNDA
37 2

Once a small village, Elounda is a fishing village fronted by an old harbour. Although, not fronted by a beach, there are many surrounding Elounda that are still within walking distance of your hotel. In the evening, you may wish to browse the boutique shops in search of some unique souvenirs from the many artisans of the area.

35 1
Minoan Tastes

09:00 to 13:15
4 hours 15 minutes

Your day will start by visiting Malia Minoan palace, the third-largest Minoan palace on the island and the residence of the Mythical King Sarpedon, the brother of Minos of Knossos. The palace is a beautiful site, sharing a labyrinth architecture as all Minoan centres of Crete do. Moreover, it is comfortable and easy to explore, and not that busy during the hot summer months.

Your tour in the palace will reveal the Cretan Labyrinth from a mythological and historical point of view. This experience binds the ancient myths with the everyday life of the Minoans in the palace. It offers an experiential trip in time, through interactive features, pictures, sounds and images.

You will attend an introductory presentation of the Minoan cuisine around the hearth fire. The class will be taught by an archaeologist and scholar of Minoan cooking vessels.

For the rest of your culinary adventure, you will make Minoan-style lentils in the ceramic pots and bake pita flavoured with herbs or dried fruits. To ensure the highest quality of food and the most well-rounded menu, we provide a program that is comprised of ancient tastes from the land and sea.

All dishes are cooked in clay pots over a hearth fire with the ingredients all fresh, seasonal and locally produced.

End the tour by enjoying a three-course meal together with your guides by the fire out of the ceramic pots.

+ optional (not included in price)

Address: Crete, Greece

DAY 10: ATHENS GUIDED TOUR
38

After a short morning flight from Heraklion, you will reach Athens and be privately transferred to your hotel. After settling in, on this special day, you will take a private guided four-hour walking tour of both the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum. As an option, you could have an executive wine tasting session where you will taste eight of the best Greek wines of the last decade, accompanied by local delicacies, cheeses and smoked hams!.

9
Private Driver

09:00 to 10:00

From: Elounda
To: Heraklion Airport N. Kazantzakis

27
Plane

10:30 to 11:30

From: Heraklion
To: Athens

14
Athens Highlights Walking Tour

12:45 to 17:30
4 hours 45 minutes

Explore the core of Greece and walk its secret paths accompanied by an Athenian!

In this four-hour private guided walking tour through the longest pedestrian archaeological park in Europe, you will discover the hidden treasures of modern Athens and wander amongst some of the most important landmarks that have influenced western civilization for millennia!

Some of the attractions that you can expect to see include the Panathenaic Stadium, The Zappeion and the national garden, the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Arch of Hadrian. You will also head to the Acropolis of Athens and the Acropolis Museum, the Areopagus and the Ancient Agora as well as Monastiraki District and the Flea Market.

guided
Address: Athens, Greece

13
Urban Frame Hotel

13:00 check-in
10:00 check-out (Day 11)
1

Located in the heart of Athens, Urban Frame Hotel, a brand-new boutique hotel in the centre of the town, offers a stylish option of the Athenian modern urban living.

Conveniently situated in Nikis Street, just a few minutes away from Syntagma square, vibrant Ermou shopping centre, and the famous Plaka historical area, Urban Frame Hotel is a modern luxury accommodation that combines minimal design and home comfort.

Designed with modern travellers in mind, at Urban Frame Hotel you are well located for both business and pleasure. Experience a memorable stay and start each day with an eclectic array of delicacies to tingle your taste buds at the breakfast area.

Address: Urban Frame Hotel, Nikis, Athens, Greece

18
Acropolis of Athens

13:00 to 15:00
2 hours

Overlooking the city, the Acropolis was first known as Cecropia, in acknowledgement to the first legendary king of Athens, Cecrops. The Citadel was first constructed in the 5th century BC by Pericles who was a general during the Golden Age of Athens.

It was under his jurisdiction that the most famous remains, such as the Parthenon, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike were created. Although Pericles had a great influence on the architecture of the city, the area was inhabited for at least 2 centuries previously, there is little evidence of what happened during these times.

Moving into the Hellenistic and Roman periods, many of the buildings were restored having been damaged due to age or war. Several monuments dedicated to kings of the era were added to the citadel. Further into the Julio-Claudian era, the last significant buildings were erected, including the Temple of Rome and Augustus and the amphitheatre built by aristocrat Atticus Herodes.

In the years that followed, the Acropolis was the bustling centre of Athens, serving many purposes; the Parthenon alone was used as a church, a headquarters for the army and a harem. The architecture of Byzantine, Ottoman and Frankish influence made its way into the city, consequentially removed when Greece declared independence in the 19th century.

Today, few of the buildings remain, including the Theatre of Dionysus, Atticus Herodes’ amphitheatre and the Erechtheum Temple, dedicated to Athena and Poseidon.

guided
Address: Athens 105 58, Greece

22
Acropolis Museum

15:15 to 17:15
2 hours

Immediately after the founding of the Greek State, discussions of an Acropolis Museum on the hill of the Acropolis began. In 1863, it was decided that the museum would be to the southeast of the Parthenon and construction began.

By the 1970s, the museum could not cope with the large numbers coming through its doors and so a large one building was built. Covering 25,000 square meters, with exhibition space of over 14,000 square meters, it is ten times the size of the old museum.

The first gallery, the Slopes of the Acropolis, houses finds from the sanctuaries, as well as objects that Athenians used in everyday life from all historical periods. The Archaic Acropolis Gallery allows you to see three-dimensional exhibits. With the benefit of the changing natural light, you can discover the delicate surfaces of the sculptures.

In the centre of the Parthenon Gallery, you can watch a video presentation about the Parthenon. In the same area, there are ancient marble inscriptions recording detailed cost records of its construction and the statue of Athena Parthenos.

guided
Address: Dionysiou Areopagitou 15, Athina 117 42, Greece

49
Dionysian Grapes Wine Tasting

18:00 to 19:00
1 hour

Greece is the first territory in Europe and one of the oldest regions to produce wine in the world. With the earliest evidence of wine production going back at least 6,500 years, it is easy to understand that the art of wine-making is deeply rooted in the traditions and habits of Greece.

Get some great advice on how to identify, select and taste wine by our expert sommelier. Held in a lovely location in central Athens, you will go on a journey through the wine regions of Greece and gain a much better understanding and knowledge of wine. You’ll discover the differences between the wines of Santorini, Crete, Monemvasia and Northern Greece.

By his refreshing approach, our sommelier will take you through a variety of products to build up your Greek wine knowledge, allowing you to understand how to taste our precious wine in combination with various cheeses and smoked hams, all produced exclusively in Greece.

One thing is certain, when our tasting reaches its conclusion, you will be in love with all types of Greek wine!

+ optional (not included in price)

Address: Athens, Greece

DAY 11: FAREWELL TO GREECE
45

Today, after having exchanged farewell wishes, you will be transferred by private vehicle to the Athens International Airport for your flight back home.

9
Private Driver

10:15 to 11:15

From: Athens
To: Athens International Airport