All tours on this holiday have now departed. Future departure dates will be confirmed in due course.
On this tour, your guide, Bianca de Klein, will introduce you to Greek life from a ‘local’s’ perspective. Bianca is actually Dutch but she settled in Crete 20 odd years ago after meeting her Cretan husband, Yiannis. She will ensure you meet some of the locals and experience the renowned Greek/Cretan hospitality ‘filoxenia’ and will fill you with 'inside' information more about the island’s age-old traditions, many of which still continue today and which play a big part in daily life. At the same time you can enjoy the comfortable hotel, that is situated in its own picturesque private bay, the islands wonderful scenery, its delicious local cuisine and, if you are brave enough, (and this is of course optional), learn to dance like Zorba!
Your guide is Bianca de Klein. Bianca, who is Dutch, came to Crete 20 years ago. While working as a tour guide she not only fell in love with this beautiful island but also with her Greek husband Yiannis. She has lived and worked in the Mirabello region for the last 20 years. She is fluent in 5 languages and loves having the opportunity to introduce visitors to the unspoiled nature and the authentic way of life of the region she lives in, as well as offering her own personal experiences of 'life on the island'!
Day 1: Fly from London Gatwick to Heraklion. Transfer by coach to the Istron Bay Hotel. Group dinner at the hotel with introduction to the tour by your guide.
Day 2: Traditional Kritsa, Agios Nikolaos & Olive oil.
A visit to the traditional village of Kritsa provides a first glimpse into the traditional ways of village life. En-route we have a brief stop at the Byzantine church of Panagia Kera, which has some fantastically well-preserved wall paintings. We then visit picturesque Agios Nikolaos and its local ‘farmers’ market, followed by free time to explore the town at leisure. After lunch we visit a Cretan Olive Oil Farm, unusually situated next to sea. We have the opportunity to learn about this very important fruit , which still plays a vital role in local life today. We also have the opportunity to taste a wide range of local products, such as carob syrup, olive oil, olives, the farm’s own wine and raki, as well as a variety of different flavours of honey. On return to the hotel there will be the opportunity, for the very brave, to learn a few steps of Cretan dance.
Day 3: Kavousi and Mochlos.
Today we enjoy a gentle nature walk which leads us to a monumental olive tree, believed to be more than 3000 years old, in the unspoiled village of Kavousi. Exploring this old village we learn more about local life before continuing to the little fishing village of Mochlos where there will be an opportunity to enjoy lunch in one of the enticing tavernas that sit next to the sea. On return to the hotel we will visit an important place of pilgrimage, the monastery of Faneromeni. This historical and elevated monastery has a ‘cave’ church and panoramic views over the bay of Mirabello.
Day 4: Wine, pottery and traditional Archanes.
After learning about olive oil, we learn about another important product for the Cretans, wine. We will visit a winery and taste some of the local wines. But first we will visit a traditional pottery near the historic village of Thrapsano. Whilst in this area we can’t, of course, bypass the traditional village of Archanes. This village took first prize in a European contest in 2012 in ‘sustainable development’ and was visited by Prince Charles in 2018.
Day 5: Village life.
A short transfer with our coach brings us to the nearby village of Kalo Chorio, where we will walk at a gentle pace through the old village and along tracks through olive groves and orchards packed with fruit trees. We soon reach the nearby neighboring village, Prina, where we will enjoy a refreshment in the local “kafenion”. Continuing our walk, passing the old outdoor public laundry washing place, we learn more about the traditional ways of local life, until we reach the beach, where our walk finishes. Here, if you wish, you can take the opportunity to ‘eat like the Greeks’ and enjoy, reputedly, the best souvlaki in east Crete, at a simple kantina on the beach. Returning to the hotel in the early afternoon the rest of the day will be leisurely as this evening provides an opportunity to visit the mountain village of Pano Karouzanos and enjoy a traditional Cretan night.
Day 6: Free day to relax and enjoy at leisure.
Day 7: Elounda and Spinalonga.
This scenic and historic day takes us to Elounda and Plaka. Plaka, a small fishing village, features highly in the Victoria Hislop novel, ‘The Island’, which tells its own story about the island of Spinalonga. We will take a boat across the tranquil and almost enclosed bay of Elounda to the island where a local guide will provide a more in-depth historical background about Spinalonga. Returning to Elounda there will be time for lunch before taking a stroll to the ruins of windmills and a mosaic floor of a ruined church of the sunken city of Olous. Tonight a ‘farewell’ dinner will be arranged out of the hotel at an excellent local taverna where we will have the opportunity to eat the ‘Cretan way’!
Day 8: Transfer by coach back to Heraklion airport for your 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.
Istron Bay Hotel
Comfortable five-star hotel with a private beach situated in a lovely position overlooking the bay of Mirabello. Hotel facilities include two restaurants, beach bar, lounge bar and private beach. Rooms all have ensuite bathroom with shower/bath, air conditioning, private balcony, sea view, satellite TV, hairdryer and safe box.
Istron Bay Hotel Website
The Istron Bay offers amazing views over the beautiful bay of Mirabello and the staff provide a warm welcome on your arrival. Offering a private beach is a big attraction and is exclusive to hotel guests only. The half board restaurant serves international dishes as well as traditional Cretan cuisine.
Quite a unique tour which gave a good insight into Greek island life. A very comfortable hotel with lovely food and friendly staff.
Review by Monniot who travelled 15-October-2019
Review by Anonymous who travelled 15-October-2019
Bianca was a delight and worked her socks off to make the holiday so enjoyable. The Istron Bay hotel has a position to die for but is showing a few signs of ageing, the food was fair to middling - maybe we suffered a bit as we were so close to the end of season; but all the staff were great. We had the private transfer which worked very well.
Review by anonymous who travelled 15-October-2019
My first time with your company and a very enjoyable holiday. Bianca was friendly, helpful and informative and gave us a lovely tours around the villages of Crete. We also had a very nice taxi driver. I would certainly like to book another holiday with your company and hopefully would receive the same high standard.
Review by anonymous who travelled 15-October-2019
Overall, the tour was extremely good and very well organised. Please pass on thanks to Bianca for her hard work, good humour and in-depth knowledge and love of Cretan culture. Also thanks also to the driver, who was excellent. The hotel was fine and all the staff were friendly and helpful. Just two points the hotel management might want to think about - extending the Wi-Fi further than just the public areas, and having more electrical points in the room. Just one plus the TV is not really enough these days! I would certainly recommend the tour to anyone thinking of booking it.
Review by Humphreys who travelled 15-October-2019
Review by anonymous who travelled 15-October-2019
I cannot praise Bianca's information, care, character too much. She is brilliant.
Review by Adam who travelled 15-October-2019
The holiday truly lived up to its name thanks to the wonderful tour manager Bianca. She gave us such an insight into life on Crete, she was so friendly and helpful, and on such good terms with everyone the coach drivers, the restaurant owners, the hotel staff, that there was a very happy atmosphere. A few aspects of the hotel could have been better, the hot water supply was not constant, the restaurant food was disappointing, but the buffet was splendid.
Review by Smith who travelled 10-October-2017
Hotel, very comfortable room, food variable, hardly ever hot enough. Hotel staff very good. Trip to Spinalonga not long enough, too much time taken up by talk from official Cretan guide. Bianca was very good, so helpful and she gave us a so much information about life in Crete. Would recommend this holiday to others.
Review by Harvey who travelled 10-October-2017
Review by who travelled 10-October-2017
Hotel accommodation excellent, only let down by the quality of the food. Cannot speak highly enough of our tour guide Bianca. She was friendly, knowledgeable and flexible when necessary. Visit to Spinaloga needed to be longer. Our guide there gave such detailed history, that we had no time to walk around. Much better just to read the plentiful information around the site. All in all another most enjoyable holiday with like-minded travellers. Thank you, Travel Editions.
Review by Miller who travelled 10-October-2017
Bianca gave us a really good idea of what it is like to live on Crete, with plenty of general and personal stories. Excellent drivers. Lots of good salads and fruit in the hotel. Beautiful hotel setting with lovely view out to sea. Interesting variety of visits and activities. Particularly liked the Cretan Olive farm, raki distillation and Spinalonga.
Review by Moar who travelled 10-October-2017
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