Easter Holiday in Crete 2024 – Wildflowers, antiquities & festivities

Tour Dates
Saturday 4th to Saturday 11th May 2024

Although Crete is a part of Greece, it is very much a land separated from its country not just by the Aegean Sea, but also by a unique character, history, and style. Crete is a spellbinding land where fascinating archeological sites, picturesque mountain villages, dramatic gorges, beautiful beaches, an abundance of flora, and an array of fauna await your discovery.

 

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Our programme takes place during the festivities of the Greek Orthodox Easter. This is a wonderful opportunity to experience one of the biggest events in the Cretan calendar year. See candlelit processions winding their way up the mountainside in a stream of illumination; observe the egg-cracking tradition of Tsougrisma (a version of conkers using brightly red-dyed eggs,) and join a delicious Easter feast where the food and wine may well be accompanied by music and dancing.

 

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This tour celebrates the incredible history and many natural wonders of this extraordinary island. Discover an beautiful botanical garden, see some of the best of Crete’s wild orchids bloom, and encounter history and mythology in ancient archaeological sites. 

 

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What we love

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Experiences you will treasure

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Easter in Crete 2024 – Wildflowers, antiquities, and festivities’ - Olive Tree

What people say

There is a kind of flame in Crete - let us call it 'soul

Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek 

How much is it?

£1,895p/p
Single Supplement £375
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What's included in your holiday

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Itinerary - what you will do when

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Flights & Transport

Lato Boutique Hotel Crete Easter Holiday Wildflowers 2024

Where you will stay

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A Deeper Dive

This holiday has been created by our in-house Greece expert, Alexander Oliver. Alex has a lifelong connection with - and deep love of - this beautiful, fascinating country. Here he shares some personal insights into Crete, and its two must-visit cities. 

 

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To me Crete can be considered a slight enigma. I have travelled to many places in Greece where, although the locals are proud of their regional identity, they are first and foremost, Greek. Yet with Crete, the opposite seems to hold fast. Many Cretans consider themselves an independent and different breed of Greek, much hardier and more original in comparison to their mainland cousins. When visiting the island, you will feel this strong sense of cultural identity, but also a huge sense of hospitality. Welcoming guests to the hearth of the house has been at the heart of Cretan life for many years.

 

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To start in Chania is really to see one of the most picturesque locations of the island. The waterfront presents a crescent moon of arid-coloured Venetian buildings which watch over the bustling cafes and tavernas below. The turquoise waters are within touching distance and teeming with shoals of tiny fish. It really is a lovely place to watch the world go by.

I also love the recent history of the town. Step back into the alleyways a few feet, and you will discover the Etz Hayyim Synagogue. A place of worship for the small Jewish community for generations, it lay abandoned for decades after these families were cruelly removed by German occupation forces. In recent times, Nikos Stavroulakis - who was born to a Greek Orthodox father and a Jewish mother from Istanbul - decided to dedicate himself to the renovation of the abandoned synagogue. In his words, allowing the synagogue to crumble was a victory to the Nazis. This humbly beautiful building is a wonderful place to seek out for quiet reflection and is part of the fantastic patchwork history of Crete.

 

Crete Island Holiday in Spring

 

To end the tour in Heraklion is a treat. Strolling through the old town, a traveller can witness the change of the history of several different rulers in a matter of steps. One of the best places to get a scale of the city’s past glory is an evening meander along the walls of the Venetian harbour. Being a historian, my favourite place to visit in Heraklion is the astounding Archaeological Museum, however there is something for everyone - this is a city that, despite its smaller size, likes to rival Athens in cosmopolitan attitude and lifestyle. 

Wildflowers Greek Holiday to Crete

 

Boasting a wide range of habitats from pine forests to dense scrub, olive groves, and high pastures, and a Mediterranean climate characterised by hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters, Crete is home to wonderfully rich and diverse flora. 

Wild orchids are one of the island's botanical highlights. Precise species numbers vary (according to Dr. Horst Kretzschmar, author of ‘Orchids of Crete and the Dodecanese’, there are 70 species, 23 sub-species and a further five species that are viewed as questionable or unstable), but include treasures such as Cretan orchid (Orchis cretensis), the Cyprian orchid (Ophrys cypria), and the Cretan bee orchid (Ophrys cretica). Fourteen orchids are endemic to Crete, three of which - Cephellantera cucullata, Himantoglossum samariense, and Epipactis cretica -  are so rare they are listed in the Greek Red Data Book as vulnerable or threatened. 

Orchids, along with many other wildflowers, bloom all over the island, but few places can rival the hills around the village of Spili - the road between Spili and the Amari valley is known as the ‘orchid superhighway’. There are between 25 and 30 orchid species in this area, including Anacamptis pyramidalis (the Pyramid orchid), Ophrys candica, Ophrys kedra, Ophrys phaedra, Orchis boryi, along with many other rare and endemic species. 

Crete’s wild orchids are protected under Greek law, and conservation efforts are underway to protect and preserve these important plants, which are vital to the island’s ecosystem.

Spili Orchid Crete Greece

 

Himantoglossum Easter in Crete 2024 Wild flowers and Rare Orchids

 

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Before you book

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