Crete Island Family Experience
Greece, 8 Days From $ 3,200 per person Themes
Crete is a microcosm of the world, a diverse land, full of natural and cultural wonders. Above all, it is a land with unique people, hospitable and yet proud, wild and yet friendly, crazy and yet grounded. Therefore, this itinerary approaches Crete with sincere respect and deep appreciation for what the people and their precious land have brought into our world, into civilization as we know it and into arts and culture. During the week, you'll explore:
- Dikteon Andron Cave (Zeus' Birthplace)
- Minoan Palace of Knossos
- Old Monastery
- Spinalonga Island's Historical Treasures
- Caribbean-like Island of Chrissi
- Farm Visits & Cretan Products Tastings
- Eco Park with local animals
- Tour of CretAquarium
- Visit to Watercity Waterpark
- Cretan Dance Performance
- Cretan-Specialty Cooking Class
- Near Sea Accommodations
- Kids Club Facilities Offering Educational & Fun Diversions (Possible On Request at Neighboring Hotel)
- Watersports (on request)
- Hatha Yoga Sessions (on request)
- Thai Massage Treatments (on request)
Flexible date(s). Please Contact Us.
History & Culture
Why Authentic Ecotourism?
Clients experience an extensive connection with local entrepreneurs and innovators, participate in celebrations and customs, come close to the contemporary art and also learn about the problems and concerns of the locals, which especially today are 100% interconnected with the European or even universal problems and needs. This exchange of information and knowledge could lead to a deeper understanding of one's own and the visited culture. It could help travelers and locals alike to realize the global interaction between all aspects of our societies, like the economy, the food chain, energy or climate matters.
Specifically, the company provides opportunities for travelers to interact with local people and experience culture first hand, through:
- Excursions to known, but also to non touristic places
- Participation in cultural events, local feasts and traditional concerts
- Visits to distilleries, vineyards, olive oil presses, beekeepers, organic farms etc
- Mini workshops on local cuisine and folk circular dances
- Lectures on the local customs, the famous Greek Mythology, the modern language and its live connection to the ancient Greek language as well as its connection to other modern European languages
- Hands-on traditional healing applications of the local herbs
True to its Environmental Preservation and Social Responsibility commitments the company:
- Explains to travellers which of their activities or consuming preferences might indirectly endanger animals or natural resources or contribute to the bad trade habits of the local businesses.
- Facilitates communication of its values to both travellers and the local community, educating them in sustainable tourism practices.
- Helps in keeping the local fair trade alive and strong, by bringing travellers to the source of the local production, where they can buy in fair prices and benefit the local producers directly.
- Asks from its local partners (hotels, restaurants, tour guides) to become involved in sustainability and social responsibility and explains to them the significance and importance of such a choice.
- Offers a percentage of its annual profit to the NGO Archelon, the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece, so it can continue its valuable work. Customers too are given the opportunity to financially contribute to Archelon's projects.
Arrival day – Welcome to Crete! You will be picked up from Heraklion airport and taken to your Cretan villa to settle in. There are no outdoor activities planned for today.
In the morning, we will have a private tour inside the CretAquarium, a place where you can come face to face with hundreds of species and thousands of living organisms. You will be fascinated by their behavior as they reveal the wide variety of shapes, colors, habits and needs of their own world. Your children will have the chance to learn about them and reflect on what our common future may be.
Then, in the afternoon, a visit to the nearby Watercity waterpark, known as the most entertaining park of its kind in Europe. It provides people of all ages with the chance to explore the beautiful park, relax by the pools, spend hours and hours on its exciting and thrilling games and rides, enjoy the sunshine, have a snack or a drink in the many restaurants and bars and shop for souvenirs for their loved ones.
Crete may be an island, but it is in the mainland and on the mountains where the most valued treasures are hidden. Today we will discover some of them. A world away from the coast surrounded by high mountains, the Lasithi Plateau is a flat fertile plain lying 900 meters above sea level. Lasithi is dotted with unspoilt rural villages, and hundreds of windmills which were used to pump underground water. First we will visit Lasinthos Eco-park, where you can see many indigenous animals of Crete on your privately guided tour around this family-run agritourism farm. You will also be able to privately participate in pottery and other workshops like a real craftsman and at the end taste the farm's unique products at the snack that will be offered. Then we will move on to visit Dikteon Andron, which is the cave where Zeus, the father of the Greek gods was born. Finally on the way back we will make a stop in the beautiful Monastery of Mother Mary Vidiani where you will be able to pray in peace and experience the authentic feeling inside the Orhtodox Churches.
A day dedicated to pure nature in a wild but safe way that very few people in the world have the chance to experience it. After breakfast we will drive to the port of Ierapetra city, from where we will board on a ship that will take us to the unspoiled island of "Chrissi". More about this miracle of nature and about our tour:
- Golden sandy beach with crystal-blue water
- Fossils of 49 different species aging 350,000 years old have been found. The beach "Belegrina" is still full of shells.
- The average age of the rare cedars is at least 300 years old. Sea lilies and also 100 different plants flourish on the island's coasts.
- Pieces of broken pottery have been found, which proves that there was human presence and activity on the island during the Minoan times.
- The chapel of Agios Nikolaos built in the 13th century.
- Wells and carved graves which date from the Roman times.
Let's be Robinson Crusoe for a day on this small paradise island off the coast and set in the Libyan sea. Chrissi is called the Caribbean island of Europe! For adults and children alike it's a lazy day sunbathing amongst the beautiful cedar trees and the thousands of shells that cover the beach. Swim or snorkel in the clear turquoise waters and enjoy the tropical vegetation and golden sand dunes around you.
Time today to visit the city and Palace of Europe's first civilization! You will have a privately guided tour inside of the Minoan palace of Knossos, the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and is considered Europe's oldest city! There is evidence that this location was inhabited already during the Neolithic times (6000 B.C.). On the ruins of the Neolithic settlement was built the first Minoan palace, where the dynasty of Minos ruled. The Palace covers about 150,000 square feet (14,000 square meters) of space, the size of more than two American football fields, and was surrounded by a town in antiquity. Between 1.700-1.450 BC, the Minoan civilization was at its peak and Knossos was the most important city-state. The city of Knossos had 100,000 citizens and it continued to be an important city-state until the early Byzantine period.
Today is a culinary extravaganza where you will taste some of the famous Cretan products, and understand some Cretan traditions and customs. For this in the morning you'll be driven to a olive oil farm for some oil tasting and learn about how olive oil is traditionally produced. The family will have the opportunity to try out their cooking skills while the kids could try their luck with pottery in the farm's little workshop! Snack time! At the end you will all enjoy together the cooked food and a glass of wine offered by the farm.
Today we will drive to the port of the fishing village Elounda where we will board a Greek traditional boat to Spinalonga Island. This Venetian fortress was used as a Leper Colony until 1957 and Yannis will tell you all about it. Coming back from the island we will have farewell seafood lunch in a restaurant at a wonderful setting by the sea, just outside the fishing village
Departure day – You'll be transferred from your villa to Heraklion city for your flight home bidding you farewell and hoping you leave with wonderful memories of Crete!
Current pricing includes a welcome breakfast basket. We are happy to stock your refrigerator with your preferred shopping items for your daily breakfast and meals for a small additional charge (plus the cost of food), so that you can cook on your own.
Of course you always have the option of adding a half-board (lunch) or full board (lunch and dinner) via a private chef who will cook for you each day or, if you prefer, on some days (we need a 2 days notice to make the chef arrangements).
The cost of a private chef for 4 people is per day US$ 225 for half-board and US$ 285 for full board.
If you prefer not to have your private chef and don't wish to cook yourselves either, then we can make arrangements for a family-style a la carte lunch every day at a restaurant right after the scheduled outdoor activity (around 14:30) whereas nearby restaurant recommendations will be provided for dinner.
In case a suggested restaurant is not reachable on foot, then the minivan will be at your disposal (an international driving license is required) to be used by you for the dinner out. If or when you don't wish to drive, then your guide can be your driver for the night at an extra cost of Euro 20 per night.
Private transport provided throughout your stay with a driver who will also serve as your guide. The driver has an excellent driving record with no accidents in his 20 years of driving.
The following activities can be arranged when the family (or certain members of the family) prefer to engage in an additional excursion.
Private sailing around Mirabello Bay on a traditional boat
With the help of our captain and his crew you will escape civilization for a day sailing around the Mirabello bay. We will make a stop in the bay for you to jump from the boat into the clear waters. The highlight of your adventure will be the sailing around the historic islet of Spinalonga. This Venetian fortress was used as a Leper Colony until 1957. Yannis will go back in time to present to you the history of this tiny and yet so important islet so that the story of Spinalonga will come alive in front of you! During your sailing trip, there will be a mezze of Cretan specialities, fruits, cheeses, and desserts for your family to enjoy on board.
Private tour inside the Archaeological Museum of Herakleion city
Today, you will have a day of ancient art and history. You will have a privately guided tour inside the archaeological museum of Herakleion city. The most magnificent collection of Minoan art and culture in the world, unique in beauty and completeness is housed in the Museum of Herakleion; One of the largest, most important and most visited museums in Greece, and among the most important in Europe.
The museum's exhibition contains more than 15,000 artifacts, covering a period of 5,000 years, from Neolithic era to Greco Roman period. The exhibits, collected from excavations carried out in all parts of Crete, come mainly from the prehistoric era (which takes its name from the legendary Cretan king, Minos) and form a valuable record of the artistic, social and economic life of the island during the ancient period.
They include examples of pottery in a variety of practical yet imaginative shapes, stone carving of exceptional artistry, seal engraving, miniature sculpture of great sensitivity, gold work remarkable for the excellence of its technique and the variety of its subjects, metalwork - household utensils, tools, weapons and sacred axes, carefully and ingeniously made, and, finally, frescoes, which, with their harmoniously drawn figures and colorful compositions, give us an insight into a world characterized by tenderness, vitality, sensitivity and charm, a world which took a simple yet intense joy in life and nature.
Bioaroma – Natural Cretan Cosmetics
Visit Bioaroma, a natural cosmetics laboratory where you can learn about how 40 different species of Cretan herbs are used to craft cosmetics, soaps, and creams. In Bioaroma you have the option to enjoy following tours and activities:
- Tour the distillation unit and handmade herbal cosmetics laboratories.
- Tour the herbal garden, where you can see the different species of Cretan herbs and also understand their therapeutic uses.
- View a short presentation about Cretan herbs, their importance in the life of Cretan people and their uses, based on traditional recipes. In addition, a short video will present you with the unique steam distillation of the wild herbs of Crete and the step-by-step procedure of producing the essential oils.
- Tour in the small folklore museum to see the traditional way of coloring textiles with herbal dyes, loom weaving, and many other agricultural tools.
- There is a shop where you can purchase 100% handmade natural cosmetics (face and body creams, peeling, face masks), olive oil soaps, massage oils, essential oils, herbs, aromatic candles etc.
Traditional and contemporary Cretan night
Early evening you can attend a Cretan evening happening at a mountain village to experience how the Cretans let their hair down! We'll drive all the way up to a mountain village, where the locals will make sure you will have a night to remember. On arriving at the village, you will be offered to have a glass (or two or three) of the local Cretan firewater "raki", a traditional way to start the evening. You'll have time to wander around the narrow streets with its whitewashed houses and/or sit down in one of the tiny "cafenia" to sample ouzo and watch the world pass by. The evening starts to liven up as the Cretan lifestyle takes over with plenty of eating, drinking and merry-making, as only the Cretans know. In the tavern, the wine flows freely with a tasty Cretan meal. Local dancers in traditional costumes entertain you (as part of a group experience) in a spectacular display of regional and national music, drama and acrobatics. You'll have a chance to watch "Zorba the Greek" dancing on top of a wineglass! As we get in the mood, why not join in and learn a few of the Greek steps. By the end of the evening, you'll all be as good dancers as "Zorba"!
More a la carte outdoor activities are possible, like:
- easy or more demanding mountain trekking tours (there are about 40 gorges on Crete!)
- cultural "village-hopping" hiking tours (to castles, monasteries, antiquities, farms etc)
- traditional festival visits (experience the real Cretan music & dance!)
- cycling tours
- horseback riding tours
- diving tours
- fishing trips on a traditional Greek caique boat
- Santorini 1 or 2 day cruise (preferably as an add-on after your week on Crete)
Package does not include airfare or meals.
No meals are included in the above mentioned prices. If no private chef is booked as per the optional offer provided, then an a la carte lunch at a restaurant may be added each day at the end of the half day long outdoor activity, i.e. around 14:30. On the arriving day lunch is possible at any time depending only on your arrival time. Nearby restaurant recommendations will be provided for dinner.
In case a suggested restaurant is not reachable on foot, then the minivan will be at your disposal (an international driving license is required) to be used by you for the dinner out. If or when you don't wish to drive, then your guide can be your driver for the night at an extra cost of Euro 20,- per night.
This package includes your personal guide (who is also your driver) throughout your stay in Crete, all activities and related entrance fees, additional specialist guides for historical site tours, minivan transport (with car seats for younger kids and booster seats for older kids), local boat transports, snacks and meals as part of the scheduled outdoor experiences.
We encourage our clients to take out travel and medical insurance to cover against cancellation or date changes due to unforeseen events or circumstances.
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Other Necessary Information
This experience is fully customizable including the choice of larger or smaller villa accommodations, duration, half or full board meal options, and activities. Please contact us so we can create a personalized experience for you.
Your traditional Cretan villa is located on the north coast of Crete. It is a stone structure built with the characteristics of Cretan architecture combined with intricate touches of modern design, thus creating a magical holiday environment. White and earth tones prevail, highlighting the sense of harmony and relaxation, offering a unique holiday experience to the visitor.
The ground floor comprises of an open plan living and dining room area, two bedrooms, one with a double bed and one with two single beds which can be converted into a double king size bed, and two bathrooms with shower. To the delight of music fans, there is an old piano in the living room area.
Highlighting the union of tradition with modern design, a staircase made of iron and glass comes out of the stone wall leading to the airy and sunny Master Bedroom. The Master Bedroom has a king size bed and a bath with bathtub, and a hydro massage. Over the Master Bedroom there is a wooden loft suitable for relaxation, meditation, reading, work ... you will be there along the wooden staircase located in the bedroom. From the terrace, which someone can approach either from the Master Bedroom, or from the outside staircase, you can enjoy the beautiful view of the pool and the sea.
Each villa also offers a space that can be used for various activities. It can be characterized as fitness/play room and contains a bathroom, a refrigerator, gym equipment and a massage bed. On the terrace outside the playroom you can simply relax and enjoy the beautiful view, or you can work out during a Pilates, Yoga, Callanetics or Swedish gymnastics session under the guidance of a personal trainer.From the fitness/play room, a wooden staircase leads to a wooden loft that provides a double bed and can be used as a guest room, when people exceed 6 (six) in number.
Regarding the generously spacious outdoor area of 550 sqm, the villa has a 60m2 swimming pool for adults with hydromassage jets and waterfall jet for the neck and the shoulders, a children's pool, a garden and playground, large verandas in front of the garden and the pool, as well as a barbeque and a traditional oven. There is also private parking space with remote control entrance gate.