Highlights of Crete – from Mirabello to Chania

8 Days from £989 | May 989

The stunningly beautiful Bay of Mirabello, and the island of Spinalonga, will be familiar as the spectacular setting of ‘Who pays the Ferryman?’ and, more recently, Victoria Hislop’s novel ‘The Island’. But Cretan landscapes are much more than that – with olive groves, vines, sandy beaches, spectacular mountains and picturesque fishing harbours, all carrying tales of a fascinating history and offering, just as importantly, warm hospitality. Crete, specifically Phaestos, is home to Europe’s oldest civilization, that of the Minoans. Subsequently Romans, Venetians and Turks are an important part of Cretan tradition, too. This two-centre holiday will show you a wide variety of scenery and visits, and all within very reasonable travel distances.

Highlights of Crete – from Mirabello to Chania

Past Customer Satisfaction Score for this holiday* - 91%
* as measured from holiday questionnaires - see FAQ for details

  • 3 nights hb in Gouves, 4 nights hb in Rethymnon
  • Excursion to Agios Nikolaos, on the Gulf of Mirabello, with boat trip and entrance to Spinalonga island
  • Visits to Eleftherna, Arkadi Monastery and Margarites
  • Walking tour of Rethymnon
  • Excursion to Chania and the Botanical Park & Gardens with lunch

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: Full day excursion to the Gulf of Mirabello. This fabulous day begins with a trip through the spectacular St George ravine to the village of Kritsa, a whitewashed mountain village with brightly-coloured doors and shutters, famous for its woven handicrafts and its Byzantine church. You then continue to the picturesque port of Agios Nikolaos. Here you have free time over lunch to stroll around the Marina and Lake Vouliagmeni. Your trip continues to the town of Elounda from where you take a 20-minute boat trip across to the Venetian fortress island of Spinalonga which was 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 today.

Day Four: Today you leave for Rethymnon in the west. First stop today is the remarkable Eleftherna Museum, Crete’s newest archaeological attraction. Opened in June 2016, this impressive museum houses exhibits discovered over a thirty year period in the surrounding area. The next stop is the Arkadi Monastery. There are still hundreds of working monasteries and convents around Crete and, as well as performing religious, social and educational functions, monasteries have been an important symbol of Cretan resistance during the centuries of Turkish rule. Arkadi is the best known because of the massacre which took place there in 1866. You then have time in the pretty village of Margarites which is famous for its pottery workshops still using ceramic techniques from the Minoan period. Arrival at your hotel in Rethymnon, where you have four nights half board accommodation, will be late afternoon. 100 miles 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: At leisure in Rethymnon, with an included excursion to explore the varied landscapes of the west of the island.

Your excursion to the west begins with a drive to Chania. The pearl of Crete, Chania, with its two harbours and historical city centre, is a little Alexandria in Europe. On a walking tour you see the covered market, the ghetto and Jewish, Christian, Muslim quarters of the city. The lighthouse of the king of Egypt Mehmet Ali stands at the entrance of the old city’s harbour. Chania, like the whole island of Crete, is drenched in history.

From here you have a  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.

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.

Highlights of Crete – from Mirabello to Chania

Past Customer Satisfaction Score for this holiday* - 91%
* 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* - 85%
*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* - 85%
*as measured from holiday questionnaires - see FAQ for details
Escorted Holiday - Highlights of Crete – from Mirabello to Chania
Holiday code: 7HEN
Supplements per person:
Single Room: £140
Sea View Gouves: £28
Twin/double - sea view in Gouves: £28
Travel Insurance: £59.95
Supplements on some holidays vary by departure date - the applicable price will be shown when booking.

Fly FromDateDaysAirlineDep.Rtn.AvailabilityPriceFly ToSingle

BristolTue 04/05/20218Thomson13502330Places Available1029Heraklion14037BRS17HEN91

CardiffTue 04/05/20218Thomson14302345Places Available1029Heraklion14037CWL17HEN91

Doncaster ShefTue 04/05/20218Thomson14400010Places Available1029Heraklion14037DSA17HEN91

East MidlandsTue 04/05/20218Jet215300055Places Available1029Heraklion14037EMA17HEN91

EdinburghTue 04/05/20218Easyjet15350120Places Available989Heraklion14037EDI17HEN91

ExeterTue 04/05/20218Thomson15151520Places Available1029Heraklion14037EXT17HEN91

GlasgowTue 04/05/20218Thomson07051715Places Available1029Heraklion14037GLA17HEN91

Leeds-BradfordTue 04/05/20218Jet206101550Places Available1029Heraklion14037LBA17HEN91

London GatwickTue 04/05/20218Easyjet07100140Places Available989Heraklion14037LGW17HEN91

ManchesterTue 04/05/20218Easyjet13452300Places Available989Heraklion14037MAN17HEN91

NewcastleTue 04/05/20218Jet215250115Places Available1029Heraklion14037NCL17HEN91

Prices shown include carriage of one piece of hold luggage per person (maximum size and weights vary). Prices include return transfers between airport and hotel and are based on the shared occupancy of twin/double standard rooms. Please refer to 'Accommodation' for details of any room supplements (including single rooms) and extended stay costs that apply to this holiday. All flight details are provisional and subject to confirmation when known. All holidays are subject to minimum numbers and are subject to availability. Further details in our FAQ.

Data as at 28/09/2020 at 5:47:07

Wonderful holiday! Excellent hotels. Good facilities and food - both in an excellent position. The Cretan people employed are wonderful, pleasant, friendly and willing. From the representative who met us at the airport to the wonderful coach driver who drove us so safely and expertly and our amazing Tour Guide whose knowledge and love of her Cretan culture helped immerse us in all things Cretan. How she managed to remember and impart so much knowledge in a totally Impeccable English accent, was truly incredible. Gratitude is well deserved.

Miss C, Merseyside

Guide exceptional. Perfect English. Very knowledgeable. Made the exursions very interesting. I learnt a lot! Good variety of places. A very good holiday.

Mrs W, Gwynedd

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

Ms S, Eire

I thought you might like to know what we thought of our recent holiday in Crete with your company…… Wonderful! This is our third holiday with you and we have enjoyed them all equally. Could I mention our infallible guide, whose knowledge was so entertaining. One small feature that we enjoyed very much was to be met at the airport on the RETURN flight and helped through check-in and security. We thought this ‘service’ was excellent, so well done. Hoping to book with PTS again soon.

Mr & Mrs H, Neath

Joint holiday with my husband who booked as a walker. Ideal for us as he can walk and I can enjoy an escorted tour along with free time to do our own thing. Will be studying the brochures for other holidays we can do in a similar fashion.

Mrs C, Dumbartonshire

This has been our first ‘Guided’ holiday and I don’t think it will be the last. Preferred Travel Services had planned a varied and very interesting week. We’ve seen far more of Crete than we would have by travelling alone. Well done PTS!

Mrs G, Derby.

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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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Highlights of Crete – from Mirabello to Chania