Iraklion, Crete

Introduction to Iraklion, Crete

Iraklion, the capital of Crete is one of the largest and most interesting cities in all of Greece. With a long history that stretches back over 5000 years to the time of the Minoans - Europe's first civilisation - Iraklion's landscape is filled with remarkably well preserved historical architecture and monuments that tell tales of the Island's incredible past.

Iraklion – Crete’s capital – is the largest city on the island and one of the largest in Greece. Boasting some incredible archaeological artefacts, monuments and buildings – some from over 3000 years ago – Iraklion has an extensive history to explore and diverse culture to discover, despite the city’s modern, industrialised appearance. The archaeological museum in Iraklion is world famous, and is renowned for its vast array of artefacts from Crete and all over Greece, including a collection of treasures from the Minoans – the oldest European civilisation.

Alive with activity, Iraklion is always an exciting place to be and offers something for everyone. There are busy streets packed with high-end stores, fine restaurants and stunning architecture and a beautiful waterfront district that’s lined with golden sands and dominated by inviting warm waters. Away from the modern delights of Iraklion, there are – as you would expect from an historic Greek city – plenty to outstanding sights to admire, including the Martinengo Bastion, Chanioporta Gate and Koule Fortress to name just a few.

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Aghios Nikolaos, Iraklion, Crete

AGHIOS NIKOLAOS & ELOUNDA PANORAMA

  • Admire the tiny church of St George Selinaris
  • Savour a short stop at Elounda Bay where beautiful views are abound
  • Enjoy some time at leisure to explore a typically Greek harbour town
Price£40.00-£50.00
DurationApproximately 4.5 hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Free time includedFree time included
Shopping time includedShopping time included

Discover what Iraklion and its surrounding area has to offer on this relaxing tour!

From the port of Iraklion, drive eastwards to reach the Greek Orthodox Monastery of St George Selinaris; here you can see its tiny church and baptistery, a popular place for weddings and Christenings ceremonies.

Proceeding through beautiful countryside, you arrive at Elounda Bay, where a stop will be made for a photo opportunity of the crystal clear waters, as your guide points out Elounda and the island of Spinalonga, with its 16th century Venetian castle, on the horizon.

Continue to Aghios Nikolaos with its elegant inner harbour. Enjoy some time at leisure to browse the area or relax over a cup of coffee (at your own expense) at one of the cafés by the quay. 

CORRECT FOR 2017 MED TO MAURITIUS CRUISE

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour has limited walking; however there are approximately 15 steps to negotiate. There will be approximately one hour of free time where walking is at the discretion of the individual. The use of cameras and video cameras are permitted, free of charge inside the Monastery. Guests should be appropriately dressed for the visit to the Monastery with shoulders and knees covered. Please be aware that during your visit, the baptistery will be closed for an inside visit. The drive from the ship to Selinari Monastery will take approximately 40 minutes, whilst the return journey from Aghios Nikolaos to Iraklion will take approximately one hour and ten minutes. All guests must be able to both board and disembark the coach unaided.


Knossos Palace, Crete

KNOSSOS PALACE & ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM (TOUR AA)

  • View the stunning ruins of the Palace of Minos
  • Imagine yourself in the Minotaur’s labyrinth
  • Visit the Archaeological Museum and enjoy free time in Iraklion

 

Price£50.00 - £60.00
DurationApprox. 4.25 hours
Walking level 3 - extensive walkingExtensive walking
Free time includedFree time included

Step back in time with this history-steeped tour, which takes in visits to the remains of the Palace of Minos and Iraklion Archaeological museum.

From the port of Heraklion, together with your Greek guide, enjoy a short drive to the site of Knossos in your tour coach.

The spectacular ruins of the Palace of Minos are there to remind you of the great days of his reign in the pre-historical years. The architecture, frescoes and elaborate drainage system show the high artistic and cultural level of the Minoan civilisation. The palace is said to have been designed by Daidalos, at the request of Minos, to confine the Minotaur, a creature with a man’s body and bull’s head. Together you will explore the impressive site with your guide and imagine yourself to be lost in the labyrinth; a maze of corridors, passages, rooms and stairways.

Following some time at leisure at the site in Knossos, you transfer to the town of Iraklion where you will visit the splendid Archaeological Museum. Here you can see artefacts from all of the periods of Cretan prehistory and history, covering a period of over 5,500 years – from the Neolithic period to Roman times. It houses unique examples of mainly Bronze Age Minoan artefacts, statues and wall paintings, many of which are true masterpieces.

Finally, enjoy some time at leisure to explore the city centre or browse the shops before reboarding your tour coach for the return drive back to the quayside.

CORRECT FOR 2017 MED TO MAURITIUS CRUISE

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU?: Comfortable, non-slip shoes are recommended for the visit of the Knossos site as there will be approximately two and a half hours of compulsory walking and standing, some of which will be over uneven ground; therefore this tour is not considered suitable for guests with limited mobility or wheelchair users. Flash photography is prohibited in Iraklion Museum. If guests wish to view the Royal Chambers and Throne Room within the Knossos site, there may be a queue. The Royal Chambers and Hall of Double Axes have recently been renovated, however visitors can view them from the outside only. Please note that the site of Knossos is largely a recreation. Guests wishing to remain in town at the end of the tour may do so however it will be their own responsibility and expense to return to the ship before sailing.

 


Knossos Palace, Iraklion, Crete

KNOSSOS PALACE & HISTORICAL MUSEUM

  • Admire the largest Bronze archaeological site in Crete, Knossos Palace
  • Discover Crete’s past with a visit to the Historical Museum
Price£50.00-£60.00
DurationApprox. 4.25 hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Free time includedFree time included
Shopping time includedShopping time included

Step back in time on this tour as you discover the spectacular ruins of the famous Minoan Palace of Knossos, before enjoying a visit to the Historical Museum in Iraklion.

Departing the quayside, you travel to Knossos. Recreated by Sir Arthur Evans, who conducted systematic excavations, Knossos represents a culture dating back over 5,000 years. The innumerable passageways and staircases attest to the factual existence of the famed ‘labyrinth’ in the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur. The palace is said to have been designed by Daidalos, at the request of Minos, to confine the Minotaur – a creature with a man’s body and a bull’s head.

During your visit, you can view from the outside the Royal Chambers and Hall of Double Axes. Your tour also includes the Throne Room, with its original monolithic seat of King Minos, and the store rooms. The architecture, frescoes and elaborate drainage system show the high artistic and cultural level of the Minoan civilisation.

Continue to the Historical Museum in Iraklion, where you can see Byzantine, Venetian and Turkish sculptures as well as inscriptions, and wall paintings dating back to the 13th century. There is also a folk art collection here, displaying hundreds of samples of Cretan folk art, including embroidered articles, lace, costumes, jewellery and musical instruments.

Following your visit, you can enjoy some free time in the town to explore the area independently or browse the local shops, prior to re-boarding your tour coach for the return drive to the quayside.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2014 BLACK WATCH GRAND VOYAGE

Is this tour right for you?

TOUR NOTES: This tour involves a total of approximately two and a half hours of compulsory standing and walking, some of which will be over uneven ground, and steps will be encountered. Unfortunately it is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or wheelchair users. There will be around one hour of free time, where walking is at the discretion of the individual. Please note that the site of Knossos is largely a recreation. Queues are likely at the Throne Room at the Palace. The Royal Chambers and Hall of Double Axes are viewable from the outside only. Flash photography is not permitted at the museum. Flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Guests wishing to remain in town at the end of the tour may do so, but should be aware it is their own responsibility to return to the ship in time for sailing.


Plateau of Lassithi, Crete

LASSITHI PLATEAU DRIVE (TOUR D)

  • View the renowned Panagia Kera Nunnery
  • Marvel at the stunning views from the Plateau of Lassithi
  • Spend time exploring the capital village of Tzermiado

 

Price£45.00 - £55.00
DurationApprox. 4.25 hours
Walking level 1 - minimal or no walkingMinimal or no walking
Free time includedFree time included
Shopping time includedShopping time included

Enjoy a scenic drive to Lassithi Plateau, an intensively cultivated high plain with mountains in the distance. You will visit the Monastery of Panaghia Kera Kardiotissa to admire its Byzantine frescoes, marvel at the scenery from Seli viewpoint and stop at Tzermado village.

Departing from Iraklion’s port, drive straight to the mountain area to visit the Panagia Kera Nunnery, which is one of the most famous monasteries in Greece, housing Byzantine frescoes. The Monastery is also famed for the icon of Panagia, which has been stolen many times, but each time has returned to the monastery on its own. Not far away from here, you will make a stop at Seli viewpoint, the gateway to the Lassithi Plateau, a viewpoint from which you can enjoy fantastic views over the plateau and the surrounding area.

Continuing, you travel towards the Plateau, which is situated 3,000 feet up the west slope of Mount Dikti. Following a scenic drive around the Plateau, you reach the capital village of Lassithi – Tzermiado. Here you have the opportunity to gain a glimpse into daily village life as you admire its coffee houses, grocery shops and witness locals selling their products.

From Tzermiado village you drive back to the port and your awaiting ship.

CORRECT FOR 2017 MED TO MAURITIUS CRUISE

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves small amounts of walking, mainly at the guests own discretion, however all participants must be able to both board and disembark the coach unaided. There are approximately 30 steps to negotiate at the Monastery, however a ramp is available. Comfortable, non-slip shoes are recommended. All guests are requested to dress appropriately whilst visiting the Monastery – shoulders and knees must be covered. To avoid congestion the order of sites visited may operate in a different order to that described.

 


TOUR E - A TASTE OF CRETE

  • Discover the history and production methods for some typical Cretan products
  • Enjoy the local tastes of Peza and Archanes
  • Capture the beautiful Cretan landscapes on camera

 

Price£45.00 - £55.00
DurationApproximately 4 hours
LimitationVery Limited Availability
Walking level 1 - minimal or no walkingMinimal or no walking
Snack includedSnack included

Traditional and modern Cretan life is well known for its relationship between church, wine and olive oil. This tour will give you a little insight into these local products that have been made here for centuries.

A pleasant drive through the traditional Cretan landscape will take you to the village of Peza, famous for wine growing and today produces 70% of the Cretan wines on the market. You will be invited to taste the local products whilst gaining an insight into the production of Cretan olive oil and soap.

Departing Peza for Archanes, you can enjoy a panoramic drive with a photo stop en route at Vathypetro, which overlooks Mount Jouktas. Vathypetro is an archaeological site which contains some of the oldest wine-presses in the world.

Shortly afterwards, you will reach Archanes, a very beautiful village famous not only for its red wines, but also for its attractive and traditional restoration. Join your guide for a walk through the picturesque, newly stone-paved streets with well-preserved traditional houses painted in cheerful colours and some houses built in neoclassical style. Refreshments will be served in a traditional tavern before returning to the ship.

CORRECT FOR 2017 MED TO MAURITIUS CRUISE

 

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves approximately 800 metres of walking, over some cobblestoned areas; therefore this tour is not considered suitable for guests with limited mobility. Typical Cretan snacks with raki shots and mountain tea will be available in Archanes.

 


Traditional Crafts of Crete Tour

TRADITIONAL CRAFTS OF CRETE

  • Immerse yourself in an age-old Greek way of life
  • Step back in time and discover crafts that have been used since Minoan times
  • Sample local products at Peza winery
Price£40.00-£50.00
DurationApproximately 3.5 hours
Walking level 1 - minimal or no walkingMinimal or no walking
Free time includedFree time included
Shopping time includedShopping time included

Crete is an island of contrasts - cosmopolitan overdeveloped in some areas, rough and unspoilt in others. On Greece’s biggest island, you may find lush wooded hills, fertile plateaux and broad sandy beaches.

Depart the city of Iraklion and head south-east of the island for approximately 50 minutes, until you reach the hillside village of Thrapsano. This little village is typical of a traditional Greek pottery workshop and still produces the time-honoured storage jars (Pitharia) which have changed little from Minoan times, some 5,000 years ago. Just outside the village of Thrapsano, you will visit a pottery workshop where you can observe the local potter at work and admire his wares of which you can also purchase.

You will then continue on to the village of Peza which has been at the centre of one of the most important wine growing areas of Crete since Minoan times. You will see local vineyards on the way and will make a visit to the Peza Winery at the outskirts of the village. Visit the exhibition, and watch a video to learn about the production of Cretan olive oil and olive oil soap before sampling some of the local products.

After becoming acquainted with the fascinating ancient crafts of Crete, you return to Iraklion and your awaiting ship. 

CORRECT FOR 2017 MED TO MAURITIUS CRUISE

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This is considered an easy tour with small amounts of walking over flat ground. All stops made are wheelchair friendly, however guests will need to be able to both board and disembark the coach unaided.


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