Spend a week on the largest and most southerly of the Greek islands; an island that some consider to also be Greece’s most beautiful, as its coastal plains stretch up to high mountainous ranges that almost divide the island in two. Its desirable climate and landscape has created a past filled with turbulence and success, most notably in numerous mythological legends to which it can lay claim and for its advanced former occupants of the Minoan civilisation. Staying for seven nights at your hotel, the choice will be whether to relax by the crystal-blue sea, by the pool, or join included and optional excursions to further explore this historical and charming island.
7 nights in hotel (accommodation as specified or similar)
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home, for your journey to London Gatwick Airport and a direct British Airways or easyJet flight to Heraklion. On arrival we transfer to Hersonissos and your choice of the Hersonissos Maris Hotel (4T) or Aldermar Royal Mare Hotel (5T), where we stay for seven nights on a half-board basis.
Day 2 Heraklion
We head for the dynamic capital of Crete today, the fifth largest city in Greece. Its inner harbour is guarded by the well-preserved Venetian fortress of Rocca al Mare and the bustling city has a rich cultural history, some of which can be seen in the Archaeological Museum. With restaurants, cafés and many small shops, it is a delight to explore.
Day 3 Lasithi Plateau
We join an included excursion today to the Lasithi Plateau, famous for its centuries-old white-sailed windmills, formerly used for irrigation. Greek mythological legend depicts Dikteon Cave, located on the plateau, as the birthplace of Zeus. The energetic may wish to walk into the cave and down steps - up to 200 - through five chambers to see the cave’s stalactites and stalagmites. Elsewhere on the fertile plateau, Karfi is considered the last outpost of Crete’s ancient Minoan civilisation that flourished between the 3rd-2nd centuries BC.
Day 4 Hersonissos
The island of Crete is well known for its ancient Minoan past and the power of this civilisation is illustrated on an optional visit to the Palace of Knossos. Visit the ancient Minoan Palace, believed to be more than 4,000 years old. The complex has a number of buildings on four levels and most of what remains belongs to those built after 1700 BC. In Greek mythology, it is said that the Palace was the home of King Minos, whose wife bore the Minotaur who was imprisoned within the labyrinth and slain by Theseus.
Day 5 Hersonissos
The island of Santorini feels often familiar; its scenery is so commonly featured in books and magazines. To walk on the island, amongst the white-roofed buildings against the contrasting beautiful blue skies, can feel as though you are walking within a picture postcard. Today an optional excursion is on offer to explore this island independently, formed as part of a large volcanic caldera, a feature that can be recognised as you arrive by boat.
Day 6 West Crete
The wild and rugged landscape of western Crete, including snow-capped mountains, delightful villages and beautiful coastlines, will be highlighted on today’s excursion. We will visit Chaniá, the former capital, known as the ‘Little Venice’ of Crete and home to a street devoted almost entirely to leather goods. There is also a beautiful Venetian harbour, which was the location for some of the scenes from the film Zorba the Greek. Continue to Rethymnon, Crete’s third-largest town, on the north coast. Known as the ‘City of Scholars’, the old part of the town has numerous Venetian palazzos, Turkish houses with wooden balconies and a number of small 18th century mosques. There will be free time to wander the old streets of the town, or perhaps spend time in a harbourside coffee bar.
Day 7 Hersonissos
There is more time today to relax in your surroundings, or perhaps join an optional excursion by boat to visit the island of Spinalonga. The island has had a varied past, from Venetian rule in the 16th century to the setting for a leper colony four centuries later - a subject covered in Victoria Hislop’s 2005 novel, The Island. It is now an uninhabited island, home to small pebble beaches and shallow waters.
Day 8 Hersonissos - Heraklion - London
Today we travel to the airport for a direct British Airways or easyJet flight to London Gatwick Airport. On arrival you will be met and guided to your Titan vehicle, for the journey home.
This 5-star resort in Hersonissos, Crete, is located within beautiful surroundings on the coast. The hotel is set out in a spacious village style, where paths lead down to the private sandy beach. With its world-class spa and indoor/outdoor pools, you can choose to spend time on the beach or within the resort. Or venture out of the hotel for more exploration in the town of Hersonissos, approximately 4km from the hotel. Meals are provided in the main buffet restaurant, or you can eat at one of the other four restaurants for an additional charge. Rooms are air conditioned with safety deposit box, telephone, hairdryer, television, fridge (mini-bar on request for extra charge) and balcony/terrace.