Road trip around Crete

Discover the largest of the Greek islands

Road trip around Crete

Price from : 2700 €
Ideal duration : 12 days –
11 nights

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Welcome to Greece, the cradle of our European civilization, a perfect blend of historical heritage, gentle lifestyle and impressive landscapes. Imagine discovering the country’s largest island, Crete. With centuries of Venetian and Ottoman influences and a magnificent natural heritage, Crete is sure to satisfy your desire for adventure and discovery. Ride to the island’s most impressive sites, staying in quiet, peaceful places, always in the most strategic locations for you to discover the most wonders. Hike through Europe’s longest gorges, swim in crystal-clear waters and discover Creta’s rich ancient and medieval history.

You'll love...

  • Cretan specialities
  • Accommodation in harmony with the island’s nature
  • Varied landscapes between sea and mountains
  • Riding in the mountainous heart of the island

Day 1: Chania

You arrive at Chania airport and settle into a small 15th-century townhouse with a charming rooftop terrace, offering a breathtaking view of the sea and the city’s tiled roofs.
Start your tour of Crete with a visit to one of the island’s most beautiful towns, with its unrivalled charm and rich history. Chania boasts sumptuous monuments from the Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman periods. Stroll through its picturesque streets, sample the local delicacies, have a drink in its Venetian harbor… Don’t miss its lighthouse, at the end of the Venetian harbor’s pedestrian promenade.

Day 2: Chania

Today, we’ll be at the gates of Chania, close to the airport where you landed. Discover the monastery of Agia Triada on the Akrotiri peninsula. A fascinating Byzantine edifice built on top of an older church, containing a rich religious heritage in its small museum. In addition to its magnificent location and the treasures it contains, the monks also produce a delicious wine and olive oil that you can buy. Then drive between the peninsula’s many olive groves and calm sea to return to Chania and prepare for your next stop.

 

Day 3: Balos Lagoon

Today, start your journey by driving west. Just an hour from Chania, you’ll find one of Crete’s most beautiful beaches. A lagoon perfectly suited to swimming, where the waves are absent and the fish come together to enjoy the warm, calm waters, just like you. In the evening, drop off your luggage further south, halfway along the route to your next stopover, not far from the small village of Vlatos. In an environment cut off from the rest of the world and immersed in the most pristine nature, where you can experience eco-responsible activities such as cooking classes, workshops, musical and cultural evenings and even conferences for… stargazing!

 

Day 4: Elafonissi

The west of the island is definitely full of heavenly beaches. Head today for Elafonissi beach, considered to be the most beautiful lagoon in Crete and nicknamed “Caribbean Ridge”. In this true paradise on earth, crystal-clear shallow waters caress the pink sandy beach. Take a breath, decompress and let the sound of the waves enchant you until you lose track of time.

Day 5: Samaria Gorge

This morning, head east to the Samaria Gorge in the heart of the White Mountains. A natural jewel, a 16-kilometre-long canyon with its narrowest passage at 2.50 metres. A gorge recognized as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO. Choose the hiking trail that suits you best and lose yourself in the raw beauty of its rock faces and lush vegetation.

 

Day 6: Samaria Gorge and Rethymnon

Enjoy the wild, natural setting of the White Mountains during the first part of the day, and take a breath of nature and serenity before heading back to Rethymnon. Along the way, you can stop off at the picturesque village of Loutro. Admire its white and blue houses buried under bougainvillea, a nod to the Cycladic Islands. Loutro exudes an unrivalled authenticity and tranquillity that permeates every corner of this small village. Then head north to Rethymnon.

Day 7: Réthymnon

In Rethymnon, settle into a suite in the heart of a perfectly renovated Venetian building, featuring a world-renowned restaurant, an attractive wine cellar and a boutique selling traditional products. Travel back in time in a sophisticated, colorful bedroom. Rethymnon is a charming town of narrow streets and sumptuous Venetian monuments. Other treasures to discover include the fortress, the small Venetian fishing port and the Tis Nerantzes mosque. There’s no shortage of things to see on this day.

Day 8: Arkadi Monastery

It is without doubt the most important religious site in Crete. Just half an hour’s drive from Rethymnon, the Arkadi monastery is a fine example of Renaissance architecture dating back to the Venetian domination of Crete. It’s very well preserved and has a special atmosphere, hiding many stories of extraordinary sacrifices during the revolution against the Ottomans. Take time to soak up its history and colors.

Day 9: Matala

Leave Rethymnon and the surrounding area today and return to the south of the island, to the small village of Matala. A fishing village that in the 60s and 70s was a gathering point for hippies from all over the world, who took over the natural caves in the bay. The alleyways still exude a “peace and love” spirit, with little stores selling local produce and “Flower Power” gadgets. Take a break on its sunny beach, where you can catch a glimpse of the famous hand-cut cavities in the white rock.

Day 10: Knossos

Today, head up the island to its most visited site, and for good reason. Knossos, a major archaeological site bearing witness to the grandeur of Minoan civilization. Built from 1700 BC onwards, the palace with its beautiful frescoes is a maze of alleys with countless intertwined rooms. It was discovered at the end of the 19th century and is associated with the legend of King Minos. According to mythology, this is the famous labyrinth where the Minotaur was trapped! Take time to explore the palace before heading off to your final stopover a stone’s throw away, the capital Heraklion.

Day 11: Heraklion

Surrounded by Venetian ramparts, Heraklion, the capital of Crete, is a bustling port city. Don’t miss its archaeological museum, the richest on the island. In the evening, the city center wakes up. Take a stroll through its narrow streets, and don’t hesitate to sit down in one of its charming squares for a dinner of Greek specialities on your last night here!

Day 12: Heraklion and return flight

Enjoy your last moments in Crete today before boarding your return flight to France.

Further information

From €2,700 (based on 2 people).

The outward flight from Paris to Chania, the return flight from Heraklion to Paris, airport taxes and fuel surcharges, one piece of hand luggage per person, the rental of a Fiat Tipo or similar car for the duration of the trip, 11 nights in a double room in charming accommodation.

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