Crete – Coast & Mountains

8 Days from £919 | May, September, October 919

Crete, the largest Greek island, offers a wide range of attractions: from sandy beaches to spectacular walks through gorges and ravines – there is something here for everyone! The island’s history – from the Minoan civilisation of 2000BC onwards – is remarkable. Crete has amazing landscapes, with opportunities for walks taking in some of the main historical and natural sights, such as the Saint George Ravine and Spinalonga. This two-centre walking holiday will get you close to the real heart of this wonderful island from the Gulf of Mirabello in the east, to the Botanical Park in the west.

Crete – Coast & Mountains

Past Customer Satisfaction Score for this holiday* - 88%
* as measured from holiday questionnaires - see FAQ for details

  • 3 nights hb Eastern Crete, 4 nights hb Western Crete
  • Three varied guided walks
  • Visit to Elounda & Spinalonga Island
  • Walking tour of Rethymnon

DAY ONE: Flight to Heraklion. 20-minute transfer to your hotel in Gouves for three nights half board accommodation.

DAY TWO: At leisure in Gouves, or you can take an optional excursion in the afternoon to see the ancient ruins of the Minoan Palace of Malia.

DAY THREE: Walk 1. Kroustas and the Gulf of Mirabello. This is a full day with a guided walk in the morning and guided tour of Spinalonga Island in the afternoon. After a scenic drive through the spectacular ravine of Saint George, the walk starts in the narrow streets of the mountain village of Kroustas. Leaving the village, you enter a cultivated area of almond and olive trees. The route, which crosses the Kroustas valley and has amazing views over the Mirabello Gulf, ends near Pirgos. This is a downhill 4½ mile walk with 500m of descent and 50m ascent. At the end of the walk, you transfer to the coastal village of Elounda, from where you take a 20-minute boat trip across to the Venetian fortress island of Spinalonga – a leper colony for the first half of the 20th century. After a guided tour of the island, you return to your hotel. 72 miles of coach travel today.

DAY FOUR: Today you leave for Rethymnon in the west, for four nights half-board accommodation, with an included walk en-route.

Walk 2: Ancient Eleftherna. The walk starts near Eleftherna and ends in the village of Margarites. Using dirt roads and paths in lush, green scenery, you can see the ruins of Ancient Eleftherna and an amazing stone bridge well over 2000 years old and still in use. After some free time for lunch and to explore Margarites with its small ceramic workshops, you continue to Rethymnon. The walk is 4½ miles, with 180m ascent and 270m descent. 82 miles by coach today.

Rethymnon has a pleasant beach and resort area, but by contrast with your first centre, is quite a large town, with 40000 inhabitants, including a sizeable student population. It has an impressive Venetian fortress and harbour, and some interesting museums.

DAY FIVE: Included morning walking tour of Rethymnon. Walk into town with your guide via the promenade through the charming old quarter to the Venetian harbour, and then through narrow streets and squares with Turkish and Venetian architecture. During this pleasant walk, you’ll see in a local workshop how the Cretan musical instrument, the ‘Lyra’, is made and, at a pastry shop, how to make the wafer-thin phyllo dough for traditional pastries.

DAYS SIX and SEVEN: In Rethymnon with an included walking excursion.

Walk 3: Therisso and the Botanical Park and Gardens of Crete. You travel towards Chania in the west and then inland via the magnificent green Therisso Gorge to the village itself and the starting point of the walk. With the famous White Mountains as a backdrop, the walk takes you through olive groves near the village of Meskla. 5 ½ miles with 100m ascent and 300m descent. From here you have a short coach transfer to the Botanical Park and Gardens of Crete. Here you can walk the peaceful trails along the hill slope with herbs, shrubs and trees from all over the world. But don’t be late for your included lunch in the beautiful restaurant with magnificent views across to the mountains! 106 miles coach travel today.

There is also the chance to take an optional excursion to Southern Crete. You visit Phaestos, the second largest Minoan Palace in Crete, on a hill and overlooking the olive trees and greenhouses of the Messara Plain. Your lunchtime break is in the seaside village of Matala. It still retains the charm and character of a quiet fishing village, and the laid-back, hippy lifestyle of the 60’s and 70’s lives on. Here, you can have a dip in the Libyan Sea and still have time for a leisurely Cretan lunch at a beach tavern. On the way back to your hotel you stop in the mountain village of Spili to see the Kefalovrisi, a series of 25 Venetian lions heads spraying water from their mouths.

DAY EIGHT: Free time until your departure for the airport, just over an hour away. Depending on flight timings, there may be time for some last-minute sightseeing en route.

If you have friends who are not walkers interested in this itinerary, we also offer it with a touring programme.

Please note: there is a local tourist tax of 3 euros per room per night. It is not included in the price of your holiday and will be payable by hotel guests directly to the hotel.

Crete – Coast & Mountains

Past Customer Satisfaction Score for this holiday* - 88%
* as measured from holiday questionnaires - see FAQ for details

HOTEL ASTIR BEACH****, Kato Gouves (three nights)
The hotel is situated on the beach in Kato Gouves on the north coast, 10 miles from Heraklion airport. Major refurbishment of the public areas including the restaurant, lobby bar, and terrace took place in 2018 along with the addition of two more swimming pools. The hotel is modern in style and has a reception area, lounge with satellite tv, bar, spacious restaurant/dining room, two elevators, a pool bar, a snack bar, and a mini market. All of the 179 rooms are equipped with bath or shower/wc, hairdryer, direct dial telephone, safe box (weekly charge), radio, satellite tv, mini-fridge and balcony or terrace. Sea view rooms are available at a supplement. In the hotel grounds, you will find a large sun terrace and two adult and one children’s freshwater swimming pools. Sporting facilities include table tennis and minigolf. There is also a gym and spa centre with steam bath, sauna, and whirlpool. Free wifi in the public areas and rooms, chargeable LAN access in the bedrooms. (www.astirbeach.gr)  
Past Customer Satisfaction Score for this hotel* - 77%
*as measured from holiday questionnaires - see FAQ for details
HOTEL THEARTEMIS PALACE ****, Rethymnon (four nights)
The hotel is close to the town’s long sandy beach and boulevard, and 20 minutes on foot from the old town of Rethymnon. It consists of 245 well-appointed and recently renovated rooms. All the rooms are equipped with satellite tv, direct dial telephone, refrigerator, safety deposit box, bath/shower, wc and hairdryer. The restaurant offers a variety of Greek and international specialities. (www.theartemis.gr)  
Past Customer Satisfaction Score for this hotel* - 87%
*as measured from holiday questionnaires - see FAQ for details
Walking Holiday - Crete – Coast & Mountains
Holiday code: 7WHN
Supplements per person:
Single Room: £140
Twin/double - sea view in Gouves: £28
Travel Insurance: £44.95
Supplements on some holidays vary by departure date - the applicable price will be shown when booking.

Fly FromDateDaysAirlineDep.Rtn.AvailabilityPriceFly ToSingle

BirminghamTue 21/05/20198Thomas Cook13452250Places Available999Heraklion14050BHX17WHNA5

BirminghamTue 24/09/20198Thomas Cook13452250Places Available1029Heraklion14050BHX17WHNA6

BirminghamTue 01/10/20198Thomas Cook13452250Places Available959Heraklion14050BHX17WHNA7

BristolThu 02/05/20198Thomson15000005Places Available959Heraklion14045BRS17WHNA4

BristolTue 21/05/20198Thomas Cook17550320Places Available999Heraklion14050BRS17WHNA5

BristolTue 24/09/20198Thomas Cook17550320Places Available1029Heraklion14050BRS17WHNA6

BristolTue 01/10/20198Thomas Cook17550320Places Available959Heraklion14050BRS17WHNA7

CardiffTue 21/05/20198Thomson14302345Places Available999Heraklion14050CWL17WHNA5

CardiffTue 24/09/20198Thomson14302345Places Available1029Heraklion14050CWL17WHNA6

CardiffTue 01/10/20198Thomson14302345Places Available959Heraklion14050CWL17WHNA7

East MidlandsTue 21/05/20198Jet215300055Places Available999Heraklion14050EMA17WHNA5

East MidlandsTue 24/09/20198Jet215300055Places Available1029Heraklion14050EMA17WHNA6

East MidlandsTue 01/10/20198Jet215300055Places Available959Heraklion14050EMA17WHNA7

EdinburghThu 02/05/20198Jet215300135Places Available959Heraklion14045EDI17WHNA4

EdinburghTue 21/05/20198Easyjet15350120Places Available959Heraklion14050EDI17WHNA5

EdinburghTue 24/09/20198Easyjet15350120Places Available989Heraklion14050EDI17WHNA6

EdinburghTue 01/10/20198Easyjet15350120Places Available919Heraklion14050EDI17WHNA7

GlasgowThu 02/05/20198Jet215400150Places Available959Heraklion14045GLA17WHNA4

GlasgowTue 21/05/20198Thomson07051715Places Available999Heraklion14050GLA17WHNA5

GlasgowTue 24/09/20198Thomson07051715Places Available1029Heraklion14050GLA17WHNA6

GlasgowTue 01/10/20198Thomson07051715Places Available959Heraklion14050GLA17WHNA7

Leeds-BradfordThu 02/05/20198Jet215450125Places Available959Heraklion14045LBA17WHNA4

London GatwickThu 02/05/20198Thomson07251635Places Available959Heraklion14045LGW17WHNA4

London GatwickTue 21/05/20198Easyjet07101600Places Available959Heraklion14050LGW17WHNA5

London GatwickTue 24/09/20198Easyjet07101600Places Available989Heraklion14050LGW17WHNA6

London GatwickTue 01/10/20198Easyjet07101600Places Available919Heraklion14050LGW17WHNA7

ManchesterThu 02/05/20198Easyjet07451700Places Available919Heraklion14045MAN17WHNA4

ManchesterTue 21/05/20198Easyjet13452300Places Available959Heraklion14050MAN17WHNA5

ManchesterTue 24/09/20198Easyjet13452300Places Available989Heraklion14050MAN17WHNA6

ManchesterTue 01/10/20198Easyjet13452300Places Available919Heraklion14050MAN17WHNA7

NewcastleTue 21/05/20198Jet215250115Places Available999Heraklion14050NCL17WHNA5

NewcastleTue 24/09/20198Jet215250115Places Available1029Heraklion14050NCL17WHNA6

NewcastleTue 01/10/20198Jet215252015Places Available959Heraklion14050NCL17WHNA7

StanstedThu 02/05/20198Thomson07201620Places Available959Heraklion14045STN17WHNA4

Prices shown are based on the shared occupancy of twin/double standard rooms, and are subject to availability. Please refer to ‘Accommodation’ for details of any room supplements (including single rooms) and extended stay costs that apply to this holiday. Further details in our FAQ.

Data as at 13/12/2018 at 20:47:06

We were most impressed by our Tour Director, Walking Guide and Driver. All highly skilled. They worked very hard to make it a most enjoyable holiday. Our Tour Directors depth and breadth of knowledge enabled us to learn far more than on some holidays and her shared insights were thought provoking. The Walking Guide’s knowledge of plants and animals en route made walks even more enjoyable. Our Driver proved equal to the narrow steep bits of journeys and he seemed utterly calm and unflappable - a superb driver to have when wanting to relax and take it easy. The hotels were fine - no problems but it is the staff mentioned above who made the holiday work so well for us.

Dr J, Lancaster

Thank you for a brilliant holiday to Crete. We had not travelled with Preferred Travel Services before, but are already looking at holidays with you for next year. We enjoyed the mix of walking and optional tours on non-walking days. Joanna, our guide was knowledgeable and informative and passsionate about her country. She was approachable and imparted her knowledge in an easy to understand manner. Our Walking guide was very good and we felt in safe hands. The three walks were varied and we had no problem with them. The optional tours were in interesting places and we enjoyed them. the hotels were great, and the food in both was delicious, very fresh, well presented with lots of choice. And the weather was superb, a little hotter than we expected, but great. Altogether, a brilliant holiday. Thank you.

Mr & Mrs C, Leics

Well organised with excellent optional trips available. Preferred Travel Services Representative, Walking guide and Coach Driver first class - no complaints. Well done Preferred Travel Services.

Mr L, Cardiff

An excellent holiday. Well organised. I had a great time and would recommend it to anyone wanting to see Crete.

Ms S, Ireland

Excellent holiday!

Mr B, Carlisle

Thank you for a good holiday; we enjoyed Crete.

Mrs G, West Wales

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Don't forget, we fly from 20 airports right across the UK.
Most of our holidays include half board as standard.
All of our holidays have included visits and tours.

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Crete – Coast & Mountains