Athens – Crete 6 Days

Itinerary

Day 1:

We will pick you up from Airport or your hotel (in Athens) and take you on the Athens Sightseeing tour then returning you at your hotel your evening will be free to rest or explore the capital on your own.

Day 2:

Next morning after having breakfast we drive you to the Airport for a 12:00 noon flight to the mythical island of Crete. On arriving at Heraklion Crete at 12:50 we will have someone waiting and they will drive you to your hotel in Herakleion where you will spend the night. You may enjoy the rest of the day as you please.

Day 3:

After breakfast you will be given the option of a free day free, discovering the wonders the city or to attend the Knossos Tour, which visits the ancient Minoan Palace with its amazing labyrinth and home of the mighty Minotaur. This night too will be spent in Heraklion.Minoan_Knossos_Palace_Reconstruction

Day 4:

In the morning we will pick you up and drive to the city of Chania, on the way enjoying the beautiful Cretan countyside. The rest of the day will be free at your leisure and you will spend the night in Chania.

Day 5:

Breakfast will be in your hotel and the rest of the day you will be free to check out the sites and to enjoy the famous Cretan hospitality before spending the night in Chania

Day 6:

After breakfast your morning will be free to laze at the hotel or catch your last glipses of the city. At 16:00 we will collect you from your hotel and drive you to Chania Airport for your flight back to Athens. The scheduled flight departs from Chania at 17:20. Arriving in Athens at 18:15 and greeting you again we will drive you back to your hotel (in Athens) or you may stay at the Airport, with your batteries recharged and wait for your next flight out. Visiting Crete has never been easier.

Timetable

Schedule

IconTimeTransfers and Tours:

Full day Athens Sightseeing Tour

Transfer Hotel in Athens – Athens Airport

Transfer Herakleion Airport – Hotel in Heraklion

Tour Knosos

Transfer to Chania

Transfer Chania Airport

Transfer Athens Airport – Hotel in Athens.

History

Crete

In Mythology

The story starts when Zeus fell in love with the princess Europe turned himself into a bull and abducted her (see 2 euro coin). According to Greek mythology, she became the first queen of Crete and her son was King Minos. This made the bull in general, play an important part in Crete.

King Minos refused to sacrifice a bull to Poseidon. He was punished by making his wife fall in love with a bull. From this the Minotaur was born and then hidden in a labyrinth.  Later to avenge the death of his other son (by the Athenians) King Minos made them send seven young girls and boys to Crete every year, to be sacrificed to the Minotaur. But the famous mythical hero Theseus, son of the King of Athens, with the help of Ariadne, the King Minos’  daughter, managed to kill the Minotaur and find his way out of the labyrinth.

In Antiquity

Crete was first inhabited in prehistoric times. The island developed a marvelous civilization in the Bronze Age under the Minoans (2600-1150BCE). In fact, with Minoan civilization,  in Crete
became the first center of advanced civilization in Europe. Many towns were constructed but so were huge palace-complexes, such as the famous palaces of Knossos, Phaestos and Zakros with crete-map2their impressive buildings, sewage systems and rich decorations. The Minoans established a strong naval empire in the Mediterranean. This great civilization was stopped by a natural disaster. The eruption of the volcano of Santorini in 1450 BCE covered the northern coasts of Crete with volcanic ash and caused huge tidal waves. Later on, Crete was overrun by the Mycenaean civilization from mainland Greece. This gradually declined till Roman times, when Gortyn was made the capital of the island and Crete became a Roman province. The Roman occupation came in 69 AD and lasted until 330 AD, this was followed by the Byzantine Era. During this time Crete became very wealthy again, which is visible in the beautiful mosaic floors of the basilicas that were built during that period. In the Byzantine times, Crete was frequently attacked by pirates and for a period of about 150 years (820-961 AD) it was conquered by Arabs.

Venetian and Turkish Rule

In 1212 AD, while the Byzantine Empire was slowly declining, Crete was then conquered by the Venetians. The Venetians built towns, castles and lighthouses all over Crete and they also gave emphasis to the arts. The most famous representative of the Cretan renaissance, as it is called, is the painter El Greco (Domenicos Theotocopoulos).

In 1669, the island fell under Ottoman rule which lasted until 1897. Many revolutionary attempts would break out throughout the years but they would all fail. It wasn’t until the great statesman and later prime minister of Greece, Eleftherios Venizelos, negotiated the independence of Crete that it was declared free.This period gave birth to a rise in education and one of the most talented writers of Greece, Nikos Kazantzakis (1883-1957).

Crete in the 20th century

During World War II, Crete played a major role in the war. The island was the field of the famous Battle of Crete in May 1941, when local resistance forces and the British Commonwealth forces fought the Nazi invasion. The resistance they encountered caught the Germans off guard. The German troops eventually managed to conquer Crete with paratroopers. Many of the local residents were executed for their participation in the Resistance War and many villages were massacred. But the war continued and so ships would come secretly at night to take people to Egypt, so that they could continue to fight the Germans. Today Crete is a large island that gets most of its income from agriculture, cattle breeding and tourism. Although there are tourist places all over the island, the inhabitants still keep their old traditions and customs. In fact, tradition is very important for them even in their everyday life.

Knossos Palace

The archaeological site of Knossos is situated just 5 km southeast of the city of Iraklion.

There is evidence that this location was inhabited even during neolithical times (6000 BCE). The first Minoan palace was built (1900 BCE) over the ruins of the neolithical settlement. This was where Minos and his dynasty ruled.

The palace was destroyed in 1700 BCE and a new palace built in its place. The palace complex covered an area of 22,000sq.m, it was multi- storied and had an intricate plan. Due to this fact the Palace is connected with thrilling legends, such as the myth of the Labyrinth with the Minotaur.critikmosos

The Minoan civilization reached its peak between 1.700-1.450 BCE and Knossos was the most important city-state. During these years the city was destroyed twice by earthquakes (1.600 and 1.450 BCE) and rebuilt. The palace was finally destroyed  at about 1350 BCE by a major disaster. The site it covered was occupied again from the Late Mycenaean period until Roman times.

The city of Knossos had 100.000 citizens and it continued to be an important city-state until the early Byzantine period. Knossos gave birth to famous men like Hersifron and his son Metagenis, whose creation was the temple of Artemis in Efesos, the Artemisio, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

The site itself was discovered in 1878 by Minos Kalokairinos. But the actual excavations in Knossos began in 1900 by the English archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans (1851- 1941) and his team, and they continued working there for 35 years.

A Minoan settlement was found that extended around the palace with cemeteries on the hills. Important buildings from this same period include: the South House, the House of the Chancel Screen, the Small Palace, the Caravanserai, the Royal Villa and the Temple-Tomb. Also the Villa Dionysus with its floor mosaics (2nd century AD) is an important building of the later Roman period.

The numerous finds from the palace, all of exceptionally high quality art, pottery, vessels, figurines, the archive of Linear B tablets, and the original wall-paintings, are all housed in Herakleion Museum.

The some most important monuments of the site are:

The Great Palace

The Great Palace is dated to 2000-1350 BCE and is the largest of the preserved Minoan palatial centers. Knossos had four wings which were arranged around a central courtyard. This large central courtyard was an area used for public meetings. A second courtyard, the West Court, acted both as the official approach to the palace and a ceremonial area.The west wing was occupied by the official rooms for administrative and religious activities; it includes the Tripartite Shrine, the Sacred Repositories and the Pillar Crypts. The Throne Room is the most outstanding amongst them, with its lustra basin and the gypsum throne flanked by benches. The most important areas in the south wing are the South Propylaea, the Corridor of the Procession and the South Entrance, with the fresco of the Prince of the Lilies. The east wing contained the residential quarters and large reception rooms, the most important being the Hall of the Double Axes and the Queen’s Hall. These rooms are approached by the imposing grand staircase. These contained the royal quarters, workshops, shrines, storerooms, repositories and the throne room and banquet halls. From the North Entrance, a road led to the harbour of Knossos. The North Entrance is flanked by elevated stoas and the one to the west is decorated with the Bull Hunt fresco

The Little Palace

The Little Palace is located west of the Great Palace and is the second biggest building of Knossos. The wonderful Bull’s Head made of steatite was found in one of its chambers, today it can be found exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Herakleion. A large, stone-paved road, the Royal Road, led from the Small Palace to the North-west corner of the Grand Palace.

The Royal Road

The Royal Road is one of the oldest and best preserved ancient roads in Europe. As it approaches the Palace, the road divides into two. One road goes to the theatric area, while the other road leads to the West Court. Originally it would have passed through the Minoan town on the way to the palace

Theatric area

The theatric area is a paved area thirteen by ten meters. Around it is an L-shaped area of steps which would offer standing room for about 500 people. Given the size of the town and the palace itself, this area would not accommodate a particularly large number ofcitizens.

The Royal Villa

The Royal Villa is located northeast of the Great Palace and it is considered part of it. A magnificent jar was found here, with papyrus in relief.

The House of the High Priest

This building is considered to be the House of the High Priest due to the stone altar that was found there. The altar is surrounded with double axes stands.

The Caravanserai

The Caravanserai is located opposite the Great Palace and it was the official entrance. It served as public baths with running water, where the traveller or visitor to Knossos would have to bath before visiting the King.

The Royal Temble Tomb-Sanctuary

The tomb is located south of the Palace and it is considered to have belonged to one of the Last Minoan Kings.

These are just some of the major sites that you will see at Knossos it is a large area with something of interest to see wherever you look.

Getting to Knossos is easy. Bus 2 leaves Bus Station A (or from outside Hotel Capsis Astoria in Herakleion) every 20 minutes for Knossos. If driving, from Herakleion or the coastal road, there are signs directing you to Knossos. There is free parking across from the souvenir shops but the spaces fill quickly.

Additional Info

Info

info (1)

  • Island hopping packages are individual tours and not group tours. They do not include flights from/to your country.
  • Extend your stay on the Island – Just ask for it when you make your reservetion.
  • The order of visiting the islands can be changed according to the traffic and weather conditions.
  • Accommodation on the islands is based according to availability
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Useful Tips

Tips

  • Suitable clothing and athletic walking shoes are recommended for your comfortpc5oy5nRi
  • Hats, sun glasses and suntan lotion are highly recommended.
  • Photography is permitted throughout the tour, excluding some museums.
  • Clothing: When visiting Churches and Monasteries entrance will be allowed only to those with proper outfits i.e. Gentlemen (long trousers) and ladies (skirts, not short ones). These are places of worship and we pay them the respect they deserve.

Cancellation Policy

  1. Firstly and most importantly. ALL CANCELLATIONS MUST BE CONFIRMED BY  Olivesea.gr
  2. In respect to Island Hopping cancellations. There is NO cancellation fee (deposit or full amount) WILL be refunded. That’s right you will be fully refunded 100% the amount you have paid whether it is a deposit or the full amount , just so long as you cancel your reservation at least 30 days before your service date.cancellation-policy-image
  3. Apart from the above cancellation limits, NO refunds will be made. If though, you fail to make your appointment for reasons that are out of your hands , that would be, in connection with the operation of your airline or cruise ship or strikes , extreme weather conditions or mechanical failure. You WILL be refunded 100% of the paid amount.
  4. Let it be noted that, if your cancellation date is over TWO (2) months away from your reservation date, It has been known for third party providers such as credit card companies, PayPal, ect. to charge a levy fee usually somewhere between 2-4%.
  5. Cost increases in currency exchange, government fees, taxes, surcharges or hotel/lodge tariff increases between quote date and start date are payable by the client.
  6. Availability cannot be guaranteed until booked.
  7. Olive sea.gr reserves the right to cancel your booking at any time, when reasons beyond our control arise, such as strikes, prevailing weather conditions, mechanical failures, etc. occur. In this unfortunate case you shall be immediately notified via the email address you used when making your reservation and your payment WILL be refunded 100%.
  8. Please take the time to carefully go through the individual terms and conditions for your information and protection. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you have read and understood the various terms associated with your contract in advance to placing any bookings.