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Hidden Gems of Eastern Crete Escorted Tour

7 nights starting from
£1175

  • A leisurely tour offering a mix of beautiful scenery; seascapes, mountains vistas, rural landscapes; and ancient history; Byzantine, Venetian and Minoan

  • Visit the historic island of Spinalonga, brought to life in the book ‘The Island’ by Victoria Hislop

  • Enjoy the stunning colours of the bay of Mirabello

  • Enjoy lunch at the unspoilt seaside village of Mochlos

  • A great hotel location, which makes it easy to explore the picturesque town of Agios Nikolaos

Heading east from the islands’ capital, a breath-taking panorama unfolds as the dramatic heights of the Thripti Mountains come into view, magnificently contrasted by the dazzling blue of the bay of Mirabello (which aptly means ‘beautiful view’), as they meet together at the attractive harbour town of Agios Nikolaos, the base for this tour. This eastern area of Crete offers plenty, both historically and scenically, and our tour is designed to leisurely embrace both aspects of this wonderful region as well as some of its inherent culture and rural charm.

Highlights of the tour include the attractive harbour town of Agios Nikolaos, the 14th century Byzantine church of Panagia Kera, the seaside village of Mochlos, the pretty bay of Elounda and the fascinating island of Spinalonga, which has a unique story all of its own, one that has been immortalised in Victoria Hislop’s best-selling novel ‘The Island’.

Available Departures

From

28 - April - 2020 £ 1175.00 Travel Info Book Now

Provisional Timings

London Gatwick

Departing: 28th April 2020 at 07:10

Returning: 05th May 2020 at 13:50

22 - September - 2020 £ 1245.00 Travel Info Book Now

Provisional Timings

London Gatwick

Departing: 22nd September 2020 at 07:10

Returning: 29th September 2020 at 13:50

ITINERARY

Day 1: Fly from London Gatwick (or a regional airport - please enquire for options and supplement costs) to Heraklion. On arrival transfer by coach to Agios Nikolaos (approx. one hour) and the Hermes Hotel, which is well located on the seafront and within easy reach of all facilities on foot.

Day 2: Visits to Panagia Kera, Kritsa, Gournia and Mochlos. The holiday begins with a leisurely first day with a first visit at the 13th century Byzantine church of Panagia Kera. Dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, this church has some of the best-preserved frescoes in Crete. A five-minute drive beyond the church is the village of Kritsa, a perfect place to catch a glimpse of traditional Cretan life whilst enjoying a coffee or a little shopping. Continuing on we have a first glimpse into the Minoan civilization at the site of Gournia,  the only excavated Minoan village on the island. Our day concludes at the picturesque seaside village of Mochlos, where a wonderful lunch in an excellent local taverna will be waiting for us.

Day 3: Kremasta Monastery, Cretan Olive Farm and Elounda
Our day begins with a visit to the Kremasta Monastery situated a short distance from Agios Nikolaos.  The monastery, (a nunnery today), that is believed to date back to the 16th century, operated a secret school here during the time of the Ottomans. We return to Agios Nikolaos and visit an interesting small olive farm, which provides the opportunity to discover a little about this remarkable fruit, which remains, as it has for centuries, an essential part of local life. We will walk around the farms small “Hippocratic” gardens, and see their 135-year-old olive press, as well as a traditional wine press & raki distillery. The farms small shop offers the opportunity to purchase some of the items that are produced at the farm. Our final visit today is seaside Elounda where there will be free time for lunch and shopping.

Day 4: Full day tour to the Palace of Malia, the Monastery of Kera and the plateau of Lassithi. Malia, one of the four Minoan Palaces found on Crete, is set beside the sea on the north coast. It is likely that a first palace, destroyed by fire, occupied the site around 1900 BC. The second palace, the remains of which we see today, was destroyed around 1450BC. After a break for coffee we continue on towards the plateau of Lassithi stopping along the way for a short visit  to the historic monastery of Kera, which has an interesting story to tell!  The plateau of Lassithi is a lush, green agricultural carpet hemmed in on all sides by the Díktean Mountains and has been inhabited since Neolithic times. Today it remains an important area of agriculture with the villages here all making a living from the land.

Day 5: Full day to relax and explore at your leisure. 

Day 6:  Sitia, Pefki, Makriyialos.
A relaxed scenic day taking us towards the far east of the island and then to the south coast. Our visits will include the harbour town of Sitia,  where there will be time for a coffee and a stroll along the seafront before heading south to the tiny rural village of Pefki, where we will enjoy lunch altogether; and before returning to our hotel, there will be time for an ice cream in the south coast resort of Makriyialos.

Day 7: Spinalonga Island.
We take a private boat from Elounda for the short journey to the fascinating island of Spinalonga. Fortified by the Venetians in the late 16th century this small island rests quietly in the middle of the beautiful bay of Elounda. In 1903 a leper colony was founded here, which became the subject of a now famous novel by Victoria Hislop ‘The Island’. The 17th century Venetian fortress on the island is well-preserved as are the ruins of the village, which provide a fantastic insight into a past way of life on the island.

Day 8: Transfer to Heraklion airport for your return flight to London Gatwick.

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

Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 30 passengers.

INCLUDED

  • Return flights from London Gatwick to Heraklion (regional flights may be available, a supplement will apply) including all payable taxes
  • Seven nights' accommodation in standard room on dinner, bed and buffet breakfast basis at the four-star Hermes Hotel, Agios Nikolaos
  • Two lunches 
  • Transfers and excursions as detailed in the itinerary 
  • Tour manager and local guide

NOT INCLUDED

  • Single room supplement 
  • Sea view room supplement  
  • Holiday insurance 
  • Regional flight supplement - regional flights are available from a number of UK airports including Manchester, Leeds Bradford, East Midlands, Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow and Bristol. These are subject to availability and supplement. Please contact us for a quote
  • Meals other than those stated 
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls etc 
  • Porterage and gratuities

HOTELS

Hermes Hotel, Agios Nikolaos 
Situated a few minutes walk from the centre of Agios Nikolaos, the four-star Hermes Hotel is a well-established hotel situated in an excellent location. Positioned on the sea front, it is an easy 5 minute walk to the centre of Agios Nikolaos, which provides the opportunity to wander out and find anything you may need during your stay or to enjoy dinner (HB is included but you might like an atmospheric dinner by the lake or the sea on occasion) or drinks in one of the many tavernas and cafes scattered throughout Agios Nikolaos.

The hotel offers comfortable rooms, with town or sea view (supplement applicable), balcony, air-conditioning (centrally controlled), TV and bathroom with bath/shower, pool towels, safe box and fridge. The 'elevated' pool, located on the 5th floor, overlooks the sea. Facilities at the hotel include: the hotels main restaurant, located on the 5th floor, where breakfast and dinner are served, buffet style, combining a selection of Greek and international cuisine; the Bay View pool bar, located on the terrace next to the swimming pool; the Cafe Del Mar Blue, open throughout the day for drinks and snacks, and the Hermes Bar, open in the evening. A small beach can be accessed via a tunnel direct from the hotel and other beaches in the area can be accessed easily on foot.

Rooms included on the tour are standard town view. If you would like a sea view these are available at a small supplement.

Single rooms are standard twin/double rooms for sole use with a balcony and town view. It is possible to upgrade to a sea view, prices and availability on request.

Hermes Hotel Website

OUR VIEW ON THE HOTEL
Providing a relaxed atmosphere and comfortable accommodation, this hotel offers very easy access to the facilities of Agios Nikolaos, the centre of which is less than a five minute walk away. 

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A thoroughly relaxing, enjoyable and informative holiday superbly led, as always, by Jane Freeman ably assisted by the local guide Gregory who really was a fount of all knowledge. Interesting and varied excursions which invariably ended with a long lunch at a taverna overlooking the Med. Decent hotel with good breakfast and adequate dinner buffet but I would recommend eating out some evenings to get a more authentic Cretan experience.

Review by Cackett who travelled 18-September-2018


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The hotel itself was very good. Our room was spacious, comfortable and clean. However we were staying on a half board basis and the quality of food at dinner was quite low and not typically Greek at all, with a very limited range of vegetarian options for my wife. We did try it on 2 occasions but after that ate out each night. Breakfast was okay. Tour manager Jane was great throughout

Review by Anonymous who travelled 18-September-2018


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Review by Anonymous who travelled 18-September-2018


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Overall the trips were very good though too long was spent at Gournia. I went to Knossos on the day off, which was more interesting. Jane Freeman, our guide, was excellent.

Review by Cloy who travelled 18-September-2018


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Review by Anonymous who travelled 18-September-2018


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A very well run tour. A good balance between organised excursions and free time. We particularly liked being in a smaller group.

Review by Whistler who travelled 16-July-2019


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The tour manager JANE was excellent: hard working, conscientious and extremely kind. The guide and driver were also top notch. For us, some of the 'shorter' days' outings were not really half days as advertised as the long lunch hours and drive back in the coach meant we were not home until the late afternoon. We would have preferred real half days instead, but we understand that not everyone feels the same. Knowing in advance what time we would arrive back would have been helpful. The Hermes hotel's beach was disappointing as it was a small, uncomfortable shingle beach and it would have helped to have known this before. But we enjoyed the holiday and would recommend Travel Editions for the quality of the guides and tour managers.

Review by Picciotto who travelled 18-September-2018


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We enjoyed our holiday to Crete. Our Tour manager Jane Freeman was brilliant. She gave all the information we needed and looked out for each one of us. We had a spacious comfortable coach throughout our holiday with a very good experienced driver. Gregory our guide gave us plenty of information sometimes a little too much!

Review by Stratton who travelled 18-September-2018


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We had a really lovely week. Jane, the tour manager, and Gregory the local guide were both excellent. We ate out for several nights in order to enjoy local tavernas. The hotel dining room buffet experience was a bit unrelaxing. Easyjet flights were on time both ways, but very full and not very comfortable.

Review by Anonymous who travelled 18-September-2018


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Local guide Gregory gave too much detail of frescos, ruins etc. We would have preferred to visit archeology sites on non consecutive days and to have more time on Spinalonga. Maybe the tour could be extended by a day to enable a slower or less intensive days

Review by Price who travelled 17-May-2018


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Altogether most enjoyable experience .organisation and tour manager excellent . Local tour guide very nice chap but quite long winded and tended to dwell on things which were the centre of his expertise ie icons . Many people had issues with the hotel especially noise from bar area but this this didn't bother us because our room was out of range . It was also out of range of the WiFi which could only be obtained when out on the balcony . Cleanliness excellent and food generally very good drinks very reasonably priced . Coach was good and driver excellent . We will certainly consider another tour with TE when the opportunity presents itself.

Review by who travelled 17-May-2018


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Thoroughly enjoyed the holiday. Very relaxing. Apart from 7am flight no early starts and loved having a day off to do our own thing. Jane was very efficient. Excellent guide and thought of everything.

Review by Robb who travelled 17-May-2018


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It was all very professional. The tour made the most of what there was, but really the list of 'gems' was a bit thin for a week. The local guide (Grigoris) was a menace. He talked far too much and gave too much detail. One two-hour lecture on the coach was mind-numbing.

Review by Lamley who travelled 17-May-2018


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Very enjoyable holiday all round - excellent hotel, helpful tour manager, interesting tours, etc. While the Easyjet flight was no frills, seat was comfortable, and it was on time. Our visit to Spinalonga was moved to the Sunday, which turned ou to be a special heritage day with free entry, which seemd to be a surprise - might be worth you checking for future tours!

Review by Barnsley who travelled 19-September-2017


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This is an excellent holiday. Agios Nikolaos is a very attractive spot, the Hermes hotel is well situated, good quality and has first rate meals. The tour manager, Jane, is outstanding and adds considerably to the overall product not least through her knowledge and enthusiasm for Crete but also through her customer focussed approach. Well done - this was a good week.

Review by Banyard who travelled 19-September-2017


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Enjoyed the relaxed pace of the tour. Also enjoyed being in a small party of 13 and wish this could be more the norm. Local guide, 'Gregory' was excellent.

Review by who travelled 19-September-2017


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It was an excellent tour. Our Manager,Jane was delightful, very helpful and efficient .She made the experience so enjoyable. Our local guides were excellent. Just one caviat ....it would be very helpful if your Tour Managers wore some sort of identity "uniform" , as well as the clip board especially,when meeting the new tour group at the airport. It would look more professional and be so much easier to find and identify the Manager,

Review by McKenzie who travelled 19-September-2017


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Our tour guide, Jane Freeman was excellent-- kind,patient and very knowledgeable about Cretan life. She managed to gel a very disparate group of people so that each person had a marvellous holiday.

Review by Mrs J Heller who travelled 09-May-2017


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We did this tour back to back with Minoan Crete and continued to be impressed with the organisation and the dedication of our tour manager, Jane. This week was a bit more leisurely than the first and visited rather more smaller sites and villages in addition to the larger ones such as Spinalonga and Malia palace. We certainly recommend taking both tours either in tandem or on separate occasions.

Review by Mrs Ann Walker who travelled 09-May-2017


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Generally very good to excellent, tour manager cheerful and knowledgeable, hotel staff very helpful and friendly on the whole, very good choice of sights, good atmosphere in group

Review by Dr Michael Schachter who travelled 09-May-2017


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Very impressed with tour manager and guide. We had a very friendly and compatible group who all got on very well.

Review by Dr Edward Mackay who travelled 27-September-2016


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Wonderful Tour Manager, Jane Freeman, very warm, open and helpful. Gregoris, the best guide in the field we've had on any tour ever and a very skillful driver Nico who kept us safe on mountainous roads. Beautiful hotel with excellent food and facilities. This was Hidden Gems of Eastern Crete tour. Thank you, Michael and Suzanne Stevens

Review by Mr Michael Stevens who travelled 27-September-2016


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Only one suggestion: would have liked a little more spare time, ideally be back by mid afternoon each day. Enjoyed day to villages and monastery but felt it was a bit drawn out and we were just filling in time. We could have done it all in the morning, had an earlier lunch and been back at hotel early afternoon.

Review by Mrs R Gibbs who travelled 27-September-2016


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Review by who travelled 27-September-2016


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I thoroughly enjoyed this trip with a friendly and interesting group of people. Jane the tour manager was exceptional always smiling and well organised. The trips were varied and our guide was extremely knowledgeable and approachable. I particularly enjoyed the taverna meals and the visits to places off the beaten track.

Review by Mrs Jackie Roberts who travelled 17-May-2016


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Review by who travelled 17-May-2016


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Ayios Nicolaos is fine as a base, but not a delightful resort. The hotel had poor soundproofing. I would suggest not going to Elounda or the small lake in the mountains. Otherwise I enjoyed all the visits, which were very varied . The tour was good as an introduction to Crete The Greek guide was excellent.

Review by Mr Alan Merkel who travelled 17-May-2016


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Very good selection of places visited (just one day when it would have been good to visit a church or ancient site, and we did not). Organisation and guiding excellent. Always on time. We saw everything on the itinerary, without feeling we were being rushed. Comfortable coach and good, safe driver (we had a large coach for a group of 19, which gave us plenty of space to move around and take pictures on the go). Hermes Hotel in Agios Nikolaos was excellent - meal selection and quality was second to none at every meal, with food being frequently replenished. Prices of drinks very reasonable. Never a wait for a table in the restaurant, and polite, efficient staff. Overall I would thoroughly recommend the tour.

Review by Dr Kevin Giles who travelled 29-September-2015


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(1) Knossos should not have been an optional day. (Perhaps e.g. Gournia better as optional.) (2) Why no visits S.E. of Agios Nikolaos, i.e. Eastern end of island? (3) The 2 taverna lunches were most enjoyable.

Review by Mr Maurice Batey who travelled 29-September-2015


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I enjoyed this trip very much, the content was just right. The local guide was excellent as was Jane our tour manager. The hotel was of a high standard ant the restaurant was one of the best I have eaten in.

Review by Mrs Angela Holmes who travelled 29-September-2015


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Jane our tour manager created an atmosphere so everyone was friendly it made a most enjoyable holiday and I'm sure for those really into the history of Crete the local guide made understanding of events that took place much more interesting.I must thank Jane kept a weather eye on me.. would it be possible to have a choice of flight arrangements like up grading from economy.

Review by Mr Peter Eke who travelled 29-September-2015


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An excellent holiday. The hotel was first rate a very good room with sea view. the food was superb. Jane the tour manager was excellent as was the local guide and driver.

Review by Mr Edmund Revell who travelled 29-September-2015


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Just to add another aspect - a very good guide

Review by Mr Robert Ashby who travelled 12-May-2015


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Exceeded my expectations in every respect: fascinating sights, lovely tavernas and good company. Jane, the tour manager, and Ritsa, the local expert guide, were a superb team. Jane was a great organiser, warm and friendly while Ritsa with her infinite knowledge and infectious charm brought the Minoan culture alive. I look to another tour with them both. Praise goes too to Georgiou, our driver, for his careful driving and backing skill.

Review by Ms Heather Florence who travelled 12-May-2015


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All very good - only criticism was the poor air conditioning in our bedroom at the Hermes.

Review by Mr & Mrs N Hillman who travelled 30-September-2014


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Review by Dr David Carter who travelled 30-September-2014


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Enjoyable but lacked a WOW feature. Hotel was great and the tour manager very good. The tour guide was a bit verbal, very knowlageable but gave a few to many history lessons. One lunch (not free) was not too good at the large restaurant.

Review by Mrs F Perry who travelled 30-September-2014


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Review by who travelled 30-September-2014


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Excellent Holiday. Packed a lot into 6 days. Hotel, tour manager and guide were very professional. Information Booklet was helpful but difficult to find out about the hotel in advance as ownership had changed. Just a small point- your flight info said flight meals were not provided but they were available on Monarch and you could order in advance but we were not advised

Review by Mr Mg Miller who travelled 30-September-2014


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There was a lot of bus travel on days 3 and 6 and some of the important sites in Eastern Crete could have been included to avoid such travel. Also why not visit some of the caves? Otherwise the trip was up to the usual high Travel Editions satndards; great guides, good hotel, interesting programme. Even the weather was perfect!

Review by Mr Philip Hardie who travelled 30-September-2014

Travel Editions feedback:

Thank you for your comments and pleased you enjoyed teh tour overall. Suggestions for days 3&6 passed onto Jane freeman to see if anything can be tweaked!


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EXCELLENT TOUR - SO MUCH PACKED IN WE FELT WE HAD BEEN AWAY FOR 10 DAYS NOT 7

Review by Mr James Underwood who travelled 06-May-2014


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A very small niggle - no espresso coffee available in any of the restaurant/bars in the hotel. Surprising in a hotel of this standard. The only time we attempted to order an espresso we were given a very strong, undrinkable, nescafe.

Review by Mrs Margaret Dixon who travelled 06-May-2014


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A great holiday - very informative and the tour manager, Jane Freeman, was outstanding.

Review by Cowley who travelled 24-September-2013


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Jane was tour manager, and did a great job. No tea or coffee facislity in the room. The buffet meals worked alright, but meant a lot of walking back and forwards between meals. Hotel staff very helpful. Guide Maria had a very clear voice was knowledgeable, which offset her diction occasionally. We intend going again in 2014 to the other ends of the island. We liked the Greek round group table lunches. We were fortunate in having a very agreeable group of fellow travellers. In other words, although I personally sprained my ankle at the airport upon departure for Crete, I have very pleasant memories of the whole experience. You have a winner here.

Review by Young who travelled 24-September-2013


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On accommodation the Hotel Hermes in Agios Nikolos was great except for their idea of twin beds. 2 single beds rammed together, although separately made up, with only a cigarette paper gap between them The bedside units were fixed to the wall stopping any movement. The manageress told us that all their beds are so configured. An annoying anomaly at an otherwise excellent hotel.

Review by Carruthers who travelled 24-September-2013


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Outstanding tour leader. The local guide was friendly and extremely knowledgeable but gave excessive detail for holidaymakers. Perhaps some of this information could have been in a short pamphlet?

Review by Shaw who travelled 24-September-2013


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