🇬🇷 🇬🇷 🇬🇷
Arrived in the evening by a Chattered Flight and then transported to Rethimno Mare hotel in Skaleta.
This day is planned for sight seeing in and around Rethimno. Our first stop was Eleftherna Museum . The ” Museum of ancient Eleutherna – Homer in Crete” , was created to accommodate the results of the excavations carried out for thirty years in the ancient city . We spent about 1 hour there and then departed for Monastery Akradi. We then visited Rethimno old town , full of shops and nice harbour for fishing boats. After having nice lunch and good walk in old town centre , we then left for village Argyroupoli ( City of Ancient Lappa and its springs) . Our last stop was Lake Kournas , Crete’s only fresh water lake. Then we came back to the hotel for a big buffet dinner in the evening .
This our second day in Rethimno. Today we travelled towards Hania. Our first stop was Aptera, the ancient city inhabited since Minoan times. Next we visited Agia Tirada monastery. Then out next stop was graves of Venizelos, located in a small park on a hill overlooking Chania. It has a superb view and then we continued to Hania. Hania is on the westernmost side of the island. Although some places have developed in tourist resorts, most beaches and villages in Chania keep their authentic style. We explored the area and beaches for next few hours had our lunch at Faros Restrurant and then came back to Rethimno Mare hotel.
We checked out the hotel after breakfast and our first stop is Hlida carpet store. There were amazing carpets with amazing prices . Nevertheless after spending 2 hours there we left for Knossos . The site of Knossos has had a very long history of human habitation beginning with the founding of the first Neolithic settlement. In Greek mythology, King Minos dwelt in a palace at Knossos. He had Daedalus construct a labyrinth, a very large maze (by some connected with the double-bladed axe, or labrys) in which to retain his son, the Minotaur. Daedalus also built a dancing floor for Queen Ariadne. The name “Knossos” was subsequently adopted by Arthur Evans. After spending about 3 hrs their we went to Archaeology museum which preserved artefacts the long-forgotten Minoan civilisation. After finishing off we moved to Heraklion , largest city and the the capital of Crete. We stayed the night at Royal Belvedere hotel.
Today we are planning to travel around South coast. Diamandi was the first commercial stop. After that we visited to Phasitos, a Bronze Age archaeological site at modern Faistos. This place has a very nice view over surroundings . Next we arrived at Matala, the hippy village of of Crete. The caves at Malta had originally housed lepers at the end of the Stone Age and then the Romans used them as burial crypts. When the hippies arrived searching for peace and enlightenment, the caves became the cheapest hotel in town. But of course, there was no hotel in town anyway. We then had our lunch at Petra Votsala
Today we visited Lasithi Mountains. This flat stretch of land high up in the mountains of Crete is rumoured to be the birthplace of Zeus. Next we visited Malia Palace, , the third largest of the Minoan palaces. Next stop was Krasi Village, a traditional mountain village known for its quaint central square, which has stone fountains and an enormous plane tree thought to be 2,400 years old. Intimate tavernas and cafes are scattered among the streets, and there are several small stone churches. Fila stop before lunch is Kera Monestry, an orthodox monastery dedicated to Virgin Mary. Next was lunch stop at Seli Taverna. Finally there was commercial stop at Pecino leather before we could get back to hotel.
Today is the last day. We drove to Aghios Nicholaos. We did a fascinating boat journey from Aghios Nicholaos to Spinalonga village , the last European leper colony. Victoria Hislop’s book, based at least in part on the reminiscences of an old inhabitant of the island, made the island and the area immediately famous. Our enthusiastic guide went to great lengths to tell us the island’s history, and show us the stone houses built mainly on the landward side of the hill – the island can only be 1/4 mile across and is a rocky outcrop about 1/3 mile offshore, opposite Plaka. It is easy to imagine the isolation and misery of the island’s inhabitants, some of whom were later even found not have leprosy at all – but still remained there for life; it was a genuine life sentence to be sent to Spinalonga.
After breakfast boarded to our return flight back.