The Essence of Crete
Duration: 6 hours
Tour Code: her-001
The island of Crete was once the center of Europe's most ancient civilization, that being the Minoan. Traveling from the port of Heraklion, you will drive southwards to Knossos, the ancient capital of the great King Minos, which truly reflects the wonders of this ancient time. Your guided tour will take you through the amazing ruins of the ancient palace complex, which once served as the administrative and religious center for the entire region. The restoration undertaken by Sir Arthur Evans, though criticized by some for its modernity, helps the tourist to both visualize the palace as it was, and understand its labyrinthine complexity. Legend has it that the labyrinth was designed by the legendary artificer Daedalus to hold the Minotaur, a creature that was half man and half bull and that was eventually killed by the Athenian hero Theseus.
In sharp contrast from hectic Heraklion, you'll continue on to a rustic village not too far from the city but centuries behind in both atmosphere and lifestyle. It is widely accepted that Greek cuisine is one of the healthiest in the world and this is particularly true in Crete. This portion of the excursion affords you a chance to participate first-hand in some of the many aspects involved in making that a reality. Depending on the time of year, there will be the opportunity to observe either wheat threshing performed by donkeys using wooden sleds, grape harvesting, wine production, honey farming or a visit to the olive groves. While here, some of the local village women will demonstrate the time honored art of producing beautiful lace pieces by hand and a short visit will also be made to the local sheep bell craftsman. Your tour will next make its way to the village taverna, situated in a naturally serene setting and where lunch will be served. An explanation of the recipes and preparation methods used for the local fare will be given by your host. Before boarding your coach for the return journey to the port, a short stop will be made at a traditional local home so that you may enjoy the ultimate Cretan experience of Raki, a grape-based Greek beverage.
Please note : This tour includes approximately 3 hours of walking and/or standing - at times on uneven ground. There is also considerable climbing and/or steps and is not considered suitable for wheelchair guests or those with mobility concerns.