Greece has always been on your bucket list.
We're from there and want to share it with you.
Join us in 2018 for a sustainable, authentic and unforgettable culinary & cultural adventure in Crete.
Our Exclusive Farm-to-Table Cultural Adventure Tour
In 2018, we're going to immerse a small group in a microcosm of the world that is Crete. A diverse land, full of natural and cultural wonders - and yes, fantastic food. Food will be central to our journey through Crete. You'll meet some of Crete's unique people, hospitable and yet proud, wild and yet friendly, crazy and yet grounded.
Wait! We might just be describing ourselves here!
During our 9 days together, we'll participate in hands-on cooking classes using hyper-local ingredients, learn the secrets of traditional Cretan cuisine, share tastings at olive oil and wine producing vineyards, tour beehives and organic farms, stroll through local food markets, bear witness to thousands of years of history, and of course, introduce you to the best beaches and local restaurants of Crete.
Each day will focus on a different aspect of the island's culture, history, and culinary tradition, and each evening will be spent in comfortable villa accommodations.
This is not your typical Greek island group tour. We've crafted an experience that will impact and stay with you for a lifetime.
Farm Visits & Tastings
We'll introduce you to the specialists that provide the olive oil, wine, and honey that is so ubiquitous in Greek culture. Each tour will include special tastings complemented with a traditional mezze, of course.
We've arranged our experience around a series of traditional Cretan appetizer, bread, meat and vegetarian recipes so that you'll get full exposure to the secrets of our cuisine. You'll get to prepare stuffed vegetables, make farmhouse bread in a wood-burning oven, make cheese pies and more!
Beaches, Caves & Monasteries
You'll visit the beautiful beaches of Elafonissi, with its crystal clear waters and pink sand from the thousands of shells being shattered over the years, and the picture postcard perfect Falassarna beach along with caves and mountains of historical significance, and of course, monasteries that were built at dizzying heights centuries ago.
As a group, we will be staying in a set of two villas, located in a picturesque village. In these villas, the traditional way of life blends with luxury and modern amenities. Amenities include full kitchens, free wireless internet, swimming pool, a firewood oven, and fireplaces. The villas are surrounded by lovely Mediterranean gardens and views of the sea, and mountains thereby providing a calm and relaxing environment.
Planned Trip Itinerary*
Day 1: Welcome to Crete!
We will provide recommendations for flight arrival times at Chania Airport (kindly note that flights are not included in this package price). Transfer to villa accommodation and settle in. There will be some leisure time by the villa pool followed by a group dinner plus your first cooking demonstration of a traditional appetizer dish.
Day 2: Sea, Mountain Hike & Eco-Village Experience
Ease into your first day with a visit to Falassarna beach followed by a group lunch and some additional time to relax before finishing our day with a cooking class.
Day 3: Culinary Traditions
Get to know the Cretan people by understanding their connection to the land and food. A wild herb and beekeeping tour, honey tasting, visiting the oldest olive tree of Crete and of course, another cooking demonstration before dinner.
Day 4: Free Day (Options include Sailing & Fishing Tour, Archaeology & Hiking Tour) - Additional Costs Apply
Day 5: Be An Eco-Farmer for the Day!
We'll learn more about sustainable farming in Crete by cooking local, traditional Cretan dishes including the making of cheese and bread. Then, we'll enjoy the fruits of our labor under a shady pergola that overlooks the farm.
Day 6: Cretan Traditional Beach Experience
We will head to the south of Crete for a remote beach experience followed by a seafront tavern lunch and some additional time to relax before a casual group dinner by the sea.
Day 7: Chania Pastries, Markets, and Music - Oh My!
After a free morning and early lunch, we'll go to a traditional pastry shop for tastings, demonstrations, and a hands-on pastry-making class. Then, we'll have a market and city tour of Chania followed by some leisure shopping time. This will be followed by a group dinner at the old port, complete with live music.
Day 8: Guided Monastery Visit & Peninsula Scenic Drive
Today, we will slow down a bit to learn about the Greek Orthodox traditions. After, we'll take a scenic drive (2.5 hours) along the peninsula before dining at a seafront tavern for lunch. This will be followed by some free time at the villas before our farewell group dinner.
Day 9: Departure
Parting is such sweet sorrow, but there will still be some time in the morning to swim before your flight. Check-out time is 11:00 am.
* The itinerary is subject to change depending on weather factors and local circumstances. Please read conditions below.
What’s Included & What's Not
We've done all the thinking so you can just enjoy the experience.
- All Noted Activities and Entrance Fees; Optional Activities on Day 4 will have a separate fee
- Full Board Meals (alcoholic drinks are not included)
- Local Guides & Driver (coach bus transportation, airport transfers)
Also included, Greenloons will be making a donation on the group's behalf to a local social enterprise that believes in the inherent value of supporting local communities sustainability. Our donation will ensure that local farmers are fairly paid, tourism activity providers respect local natural resources, and cultural experiences are authentic.
Price does not include:
- Airfare (we will meet at Chania Airport)
- Optional Activity on Day 4 (Free Day)
- Travel or medical insurance, immunizations, passports, or visas
- Baggage fees
- Personal expenses
- Alcoholic beverages aside from wine tasting activity
- Guide gratuities
Your Trip Leader & Your Local Guide
Irene Lane, a founder of Greenloons, is an Athenian born Greek-American. After completing her MBA in International Finance and being in the corporate world for twelve years, she founded Greenloons while completing her Certificate in Sustainable Tourism Management from George Washington University. She has a wealth of knowledge to share about the social, economic and environmental impact of sustainable tourism and is excited to be sharing her homeland with you.
Yannis Sampsonidis was born in Thessaloniki. After beginning his studies in Civil Engineering, he found a different calling to study the eastern healing arts and conducts educational holidays in nature. Within the travel industry, he is more than just a "guide", but instead, sees himself as a caring host focused on providing sustainable, authentic experiences.
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, 88th-largest island in the world and the fifth-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus, and Corsica. The island forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traditions (such as its own poetry and music). It was once the center of the Minoan civilization (c. 2700–1420 BC), which is currently regarded as the earliest recorded civilization in Europe.
Crete is isolated from mainland Europe, Asia, and Africa, and this is reflected in the diversity of its fauna and flora. As a result, there are many clues to the evolution of species found on the island. There are no animals that are dangerous to humans on the island of Crete. Indeed, the ancient Greeks attributed the lack of large mammals such as bears, wolves, jackals, and poisonous snakes, to the labor of Hercules.
Crete has its own distinctive Mantinades poetry. The island is known for its Mantinades-based music (typically performed with the Cretan lyra and the laouto) and has many indigenous dances, the most noted of which is the Pentozali.
Cretans are fiercely proud of their island and customs, and men often don elements of traditional dress in everyday life: knee-high black riding boots (stivania), vráka breeches tucked into the boots at the knee, black shirt and black headdress consisting of a fishnet-weave kerchief worn wrapped around the head or draped on the shoulders (the sariki). Men often grow large mustaches as a mark of masculinity.
Kindly note for group tours:
- We will respond within one business day with your booking form and payment instructions.
- A 3% fee will be added to all credit card and PayPal payments. Checks, of course, are accepted with no fees.
- This is a small group tour so space is limited. Registration is on a first-come basis.
- Reserve your space by sending a deposit.
- Once you’ve completed your deposit, be sure to check the email you used for a booking form from Greenloons.
- Your spot is NOT guaranteed until we’ve received both your payment and booking form.
- Final payment is due 90 days before departure. A final invoice will be sent to you, by email, shortly before the due date.
Can I pay by credit or debit card?
- Yes, however, a 3% fee will be added to all credit card payments. You can use Paypal to reserve your spot with a credit and debit cards, however, please email us first, otherwise, we will not accept payment.
Can I send a check?
- Yes! And you’ll save yourself the 3% fee. Please make payable and mail check to Greenloons, 1934 Old Gallows Road, Suite 350, Vienna, Virginia 22182
- You can notify us that your check is in the mail by emailing info (at) greenloons (dot) com.
- Whether or not you receive a partial refund depends on how far in advance of the tour you cancel. Our refund policy is covered below and in also outlined on the registration form that you’ll receive. We try to issue refunds within 2 weeks. If we are traveling when you cancel, it may take longer than two weeks.
- If you cancel your booking, it will result in the following charges:
- Within 60 days of departure: No refund.
- 61-90 days prior to departure: 50% of deposit is refundable.
- More than 90 days prior to departure: Loss of deposit.
- Deposit and trip payment transferable to new signup.
- Airfare is not included. Before purchasing your airfare, please check with us to ensure the minimum number of participants has been reached to operate the trip. Arrival Airport: Chania (CHQ). Please arrive by 15:00 (3:00 pm).
- The trip ends at 11:00 (11:00 am) on Day 9. Please book your flights for 14:00 (2:00 pm) or later.
- Read the CDC vaccination recommendations for travelers to Greece.
- For this particular trip, single occupancy is available in a limited capacity and for an additional supplemental fee. Please inquire.
- Although this is an active trip that will involve some short hikes, walking over rocks, sailing, hands-on cooking and lots of tastings, no physical preparation is needed. However, please let us know if you have any physical limitations or food allergies that will prevent full participation.
- A suggested packing list will be provided.
YOU EXPRESSLY AGREE THAT BY PURCHASING A GREENLOONS TRIP, YOU ACCEPT, AGREE, AND UNDERSTAND THAT TRIP DETAILS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE. The itinerary is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered, nor does it form part of the contract between the client and the operator. Although the itinerary has been curated with care and details are provided in good faith, we may make improvements that stem from weather changes, local factors, past travelers’ comments, and our own research, to name a few examples. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Nevertheless, to ensure the most accurate itinerary, it is strongly advised that you review a final copy of your itinerary a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. You also accept, agree and understand that there are inherent risks associated with physical activities you may participate in. Therefore, you expressly acknowledge and assume responsibility for such risk and that you alone are responsible for your decision to participate in such activities.