The palace of King Minos, tiny villages & savory wine
Venture to the island of Crete to visit the palace of King Minos, stroll through picturesque villages, and taste the wonderful wines of the island. Learn the early mythology of King Minos and the Minoans and feel the ruins of ancient cities come to life in the company of our guides—all expert storytellers. Explore the ancient, mythological and architectural aspects of this renowned island, such as the birthplace of Zeus.
Disembark in Piraeus, transfer to the airport, fly from Athens to Heraklion, and check in to the fine Atlantis Hotel. After lunch there’s an introductory talk about the island of Crete, Minoan culture, and the kings that ruled the island in Greek mythology. Dinner will be at the hotel. (B,L,D)
Today we immerse ourselves in the history of King Minos with a visit to the imaginatively reconstructed Palace of Knossos, which gives an indication of the advanced level of Minoan civilization. Next, you’ll visit one of the best-equipped, state-of-the-art wineries in Europe. The oldest wine press in Crete is dated to 1600 BC and was found here in the Archanes region of Crete. At altitudes between 550 and 700 feet, this privately-owned vineyard practices the principles of organic farming, hosting various Greek and international varieties.We will overnight at the Atlantis Hotel. (B,L,D)
Today you’ll explore the Plateau of Lassithi, one of the highpoints and highlights of Crete, both in altitude and atmosphere; a green carpet hemmed in on all sides by the Díktean Mountains, snowcapped into April and irrigated in summer by windmills. Continue to the village of Psychro and visit the birthplace of Zeus—the Diktean Cave. This Minoan cult cave has been identified by many archaeologists as the place where Zeus was born and it is also one of the most beautiful and impressive of the 3,400 caves in Crete. Next stop is the Eco Park of Lassinthos where you’ll be able to see several workshops producing local items such as wine, honey, cheese, sweets, and ceramics. Enjoy a traditional lunch before driving back to the hotel where dinner will be on your own this evening. (B,L)
Transfer to the airport for flight to Athens and connecting flights home. (B)
Extension Cost Per Person
Local flights Athens/Crete and Crete/Athens; accommodations as shown in the itinerary, or similar; meals as shown in the itinerary; local guides on all excursions; tips to local guides, to porters and to waiters for included meals; airport departure transfer if traveling on the recommended flight.
Tips to waiters for meals that are not included, items of a personal nature such as laundry, Internet access and alcoholic beverages.
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