Authentic Crete Escorted Tour

7 nights starting from
£1250

  • Tradition, culture and local life - a real insight into the 'authentic' Crete

  • The base for our stay - the atmospheric and historic Venetian harbour of Rethymnon

  • An opportunity to see some of the celebrations of Greek Easter - an important event in the Greek calendar

  • Authentic tasty local food in traditional village tavernas

  • Spectacular scenery

If you are something of a Grecophile who loves the more traditional side of Greek life, this tour is for you, as it has been designed to introduce a very authentic side of Cretan life and its culture. Crete is blessed by nature, fertile and wild, everything grows here, and this agricultural side of life will be a focus of the tour along with the celebrations of Greek Easter and some excellent local food at tavernas well-visited by locals but rarely discovered by visitors.

Available Departures

From

14 - April - 2020 Limited Availability Travel Info Please Call

Provisional Timings

London Gatwick

Departing: 14th April 2020 at 07:10

Returning: 21st April 2020 at 13:55

ITINERARY

Day 1: Fly from London Gatwick to Heraklion. On arrival, transfer to the Ideon Hotel, Rethymnon (approx. 1 hour).

Day 2: Villages of the Apokoronos.
Our tour starts with visits to some very traditional and scenic villages. We begin at Argiroupolis, famous for springs that flow in and around the village all year round. We will visit a Carob factory (in the past, Crete’s production of carobs were exported all over the world) and have a walk through the village. We continue through scenic countryside to the village of Gavalohori, where we enjoy refreshments in the old square of the village and visit an original olive press before heading to the village of Megala Horafia for a tasty lunch, with wonderful views to the White Mountains. 

Day 3: Kissos and Kendrohori.
We head south of Rethymnon to the village of Kissos where we walk through the village to an old monastery, Agio Pnevma. Recently renovated from a complete ruin, it is a delightful place that has just one monk, immaculate gardens and a real serenity. From here we continue to the neighbouring village of Kendrohori, a typical and very simple hill village where we stop for refreshments before enjoying a short walk to the ‘cave’ church of Agios Efstratios. We then return to the villages’ one taverna, ‘Agamemnon’, where Agamemnon and his wife Ourania will show us how to make the traditional Tsoureki, a sweet bread, and the red eggs that are always prepared on the Thursday before Easter throughout Greece. They will also prepare some wonderful food for us to enjoy.

Day 4: Visit to Chania.
Today we visit Chania and its traditional market, which dates back to 1909. We will have a short guided tour of ‘Splanzia’, a very atmospheric area of the old town of Chania. You will then be free to explore Chania, do a little shopping, enjoy a leisurely lunch and take in the Easter holiday atmosphere before returning to our hotel. In the evening we will visit the historical village of Chromonasteri, situated 12kms from Rethymnon, to see the traditional procession of the Epithafios, which takes place in all villages and towns all over Greece on Good Friday.

Day 5: Day at leisure.
The day will be free for you to enjoy as you wish. In the evening we will visit Prines, a local village, situated not far from Rethymnon, where we will enjoy dinner in one of the local tavernas before seeing the colourful events that surround the Easter Resurrection service.

Day 6: Easter Sunday feast.
Today will be spent celebrating Easter the way the Greeks do! We will travel to a local village and enjoy a feast of spit roast lamb, village pies, and local wine.

Day 7: Margaritas, Arkadi and farewell lunch.
Our final day is a leisurely one after the celebrations of Greek Easter. We will visit the pretty pottery village of Margaritas and then continue to the historic, and picturesque monastery of Arkadi. Our visits will culminate with a tasty final lunch altogether at a lovely taverna.

Day 8: Transfer to Heraklion Airport for the return flight to London Gatwick.

NB: Exact order of itinerary may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion.

Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 20 passengers.

INCLUDED

  • Return flights from London Gatwick to Chania (some regional flights may be available)
  • Seven nights’ bed and breakfast at the three-star Ideon Hotel in Rethymnon
  • Four lunches and one dinner
  • Return transfers from airport to hotel
  • Full touring itinerary as detailed
  • Tour Manager throughout

NOT INCLUDED

  • Single room supplement
  • Sea view supplement
  • Regional flight supplement (subject to availability)
  • Holiday insurance
  • Meals other than those stated
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls
  • Porterage and gratuities

HOTELS

Rethymnon
The base for our tour is the atmospheric and historical Venetian harbour town of Rethymnon. This fantastic town has a colourful and historical past that is evident in the legacy of marvellous old buildings that line its narrow, pedestrianised streets. Perfect for strolling, sights here include the imposing battlements of the 16th century Venetian fortress, a picturesque harbour with a 13th century lighthouse and a delightful 'old town' full of cafes, tavernas and small shops selling local crafts, souvenirs and food. Easily accessed on foot from your hotel, the quaintness of this atmospheric old town will be sure to entice you again and again during your stay.

Ideon Hotel, Rethymnon
The Ideon Hotel is a three-star hotel well located right next to Rethymnon's fantastic Venetian harbour and just a 3 minute walk from the atmospheric back streets and narrow alleyways that characterise this fantastic old town and where you will find an excellent choice of tavernas, cafes and interesting small shops. 

The hotel offers comfortable air-conditioned rooms with private balcony, bath/shower, TV and telephone. The hotel facilities include a swimming pool, street cafe that overlooks the sea, lounge bar and restaurant. 

Ideon Hotel Website

OUR VIEW ON THE HOTEL
We chose this hotel first and foremost because of its excellent location, which is just a stone's throw from both the Venetian harbour and the atmospheric old town's historic backstreets, which makes dining out in the evening and exploring in your leisure time a very easy option. Equally importantly, we felt the hotel also offered comfortable and friendly three-star accommodation.

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Overall Impression

Friday and Saturday evening ceremonies very interesting (because different). The provided meals generally very good but Sunday lunch slightly disappointing. Chania and first village tour, pottery, Filo bakery, Arkadi Monastery, Carob shop visits interesting; We found the interesting content of the other visits a bit thin. Jane found us an excellent driver for our flower foray on our day off. Nikos' driving as always excellent, and he is always so helpful.

Review by Hall who travelled 23-April-2019


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This was a wonderful holiday superbly led by Jane Freeman who was suffering a severe attack of bronchitis. She should have succumbed to her bed but she battled on. I loved it all. Well done Travel Editions

Review by Peel who travelled 23-April-2019


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An excellent trip. Visits to small villages, spectacular scenery, wonderful convivial lunches. Joining in with the Easter celebrations was an added pleasure. Crete is a beautiful island with open hearted hospitable people. I thoroughly recommend this holiday.

Review by Key who travelled 23-April-2019


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Another very enjoyable holiday with interesting travelling companions and with Jane and Nikos the best double act in the business. Jane, as usual, made our time in Crete great fun with lots of off the beaten track experiences. A wonderful selection of different tavernas and food tastings, especially the amazing Easter Day lunch. Gun fire at midnight with a huge bonfire burning Judas at the stake, The flower covered sarcophagus being carried through the streets of Rethymnon were some highlights. Nikos's driving was breathtaking at times but totally relaxing. Great holiday!

Review by Bishop who travelled 23-April-2019


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Despite being very poorly our tour guide, Jane, remained cheerful and efficient throughout the week. Would be happy to join her again on a tour. Due to road subsidence we could not get to Agio Pnevma monastery and the alternative village walks were not particularly interesting. The lunches were superb as was our driver, Nikos. Great group and all in all a lovely holiday.

Review by Rann who travelled 23-April-2019


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A great trip in every way. Excellent hotel which was well situated. Super excursions & a really marvellous guide Jane Freeman. She was so informative, very charming & so helpful when we foolishly left our coats in the hotel at the end! She packed them up & amazingly they arrived back in Uk three days later. Would definitely use Travel Editions again.

Review by Henderson who travelled 03-April-2018


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Like the proverbial swimming duck, Jane worked her socks off, generating a happy atmosphere while appearing calm and relaxed. A nice balance between group excursions and time to explore on our own. Christos, our "Authentic Cretan", was a delightful source of local and historical information. For us, it came a close second to the Unexplored Crete tour in 2016 but that's when we met one another, so we may be biased!

Review by Mr Philip Martin who travelled 11-April-2017


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The week of experiencing 'Authentic Crete' with an interesting and friendly group of people was wonderful. It was a privilege to join in with the local village celebrations especially Easter Sunday in Christos's village, which was my highlight. Jane quickly created a relaxed ambience and was always helpful and professional. I have to mention the drivers especially Nicos who dealt with some 'amazing roads'. This is certainly a tour I would do again. Thank you Jane and Travel editions.

Review by Mrs Jackie Roberts who travelled 11-April-2017


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Review by Mrs Eileen Wilkinson who travelled 11-April-2017


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Review by who travelled 11-April-2017


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This was our most enjoyable Travel Editions tour to date. As always, Jane was excellent and it was good to have "authentic Cretan" Christos along on some excursions. Yiannis was a very good careful driver who was helpful, friendly and spoke very good English. The substantial lunches ranged from very good to excellent. Hotel Ideon continues to improve and minor problems with our bath and sink were dealt with promptly. In conclusion we feel that this first "Authentic Crete Tour" was a great success. We also think it would work well as a 9 or 10 day holiday to include a couple of "rest days" for independent sight-seeing and evening meals.

Review by Mr David Cowley who travelled 26-April-2016


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To my Cretan Friends, Jane, Angela and Stelios. This is a BIG thank you for lovely holiday (both weeks) I just enjoyed in CRETE. Rethymno was everything I remembered and Hotel Ideon gave us great service. We found so many new and extraordinary places with the Cretan ambience as a common factor. We experienced Authentic Crete with a great welcome and wonderful food as a part of the real Cretan tradition. You must have noticed that all the group were ‘old hands’ returning to Greece and many to Crete, drawn I guess by the “tavern lunches” you featured. The Easter Festival of the Orthodox Church was the truly memorable high light of our visit. Thank you.

Review by Mrs Ann Aveling who travelled 26-April-2016


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An excellent tour well organised with lovely visits to Cretan villages .The good Friday and midnight mass visits were well worth seeing. A very comfortable hotel with excellent food. Jane the tour manager was well organised with good local knowledge she coped with all situations very well.

Review by Mr Edmund Revell who travelled 26-April-2016


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brilliant tour manager, Jane, always positive and smiling, made collection of very varied holiday-makers, all strangers to each other, into a cohesive group.

Review by Mrs Caryl Rothwell who travelled 26-April-2016


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Jane, Christos and the driver made an excellent team and ensured that we all had really enjoyable holiday. Visit to potter was fantastic. The drive through the gorge on the last day was spectacular and we suggested to Jane that a tour "Our favourite locations and tavernas" with opportunities for photographic stops for scenery, special locations etc inviting photographs for next brochure..

Review by Mr James Spanner who travelled 26-April-2016


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We Brits don't eat as late as the Cretans, need to watch the lunch timings. Thought we might have visited 1-2 more simple archealogical sites - but that might have guide issues. For 'premiere' of a tour it went very well.

Review by Mr Philip Batty who travelled 26-April-2016