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A Crash Course in Crete

This sample eight-day itinerary focuses on the highlights of Crete, Greece's largest island. You'll start in Chania, the charming combination of Venetian, Byzantine, and classical Greek architecture that was the namesake for quince. Next up is Heraklion, home to Knossos, the capital of the Bronze Age Minoans, whose palaces still impress. Finally, you'll visit the charming town of Agios Nikolaos, surrounded by pristine nature.

The services we provide as part of our comprehensive packages include accommodations, private door-to-door long distance transfers, city tours and day trips. In addition to the tours included we can arrange a number of excursions based on your own interests. All of our tours are custom, and this is just a sample meant to give an idea for what our trips are like, and the opportunities our destinations provide.
One of our team in the region will be available to you during and leading up to the trip to answer any questions and arrange local services. You will receive access to your Guest Page, with its information on the best these destinations have to offer, including things to see and do, and other inside tips from restaurant recommendations to tipping advice. Upon arrival we will provide you with a local cell phone that you can use to contact our employee (who you will meet in person) throughout your trip. In all of our destinations, we offer a variety of memorable 2-5 star accommodation options, including boutique hotels, charming B&Bs, and spacious apartments. With our firsthand experience, we can ensure they are all clean, comfortable, and centrally located, with local ambience.
Route for Chania, Heraklion, Agios Nikolaos tour

3 Nights in Chania

3 Nights in Chania

4 days in Chania

3 Nights in Chania

Crete’s most romantic destination offers an irresistible sense of charm. Chania’s Old Town is undeniably captivating, with winding alleyways lined with charming boutique stores, fragrant jasmine trees and bougainvillea, and picturesque squares dotted with local taverns serving Cretan delicacies. The Venetian harbor opens up to panoramic views of the Aegean and the striking Egyptian Lighthouse, which once guided ships safely into the harbor. Traces of centuries of conquests are evident in the amalgam of cultures that intertwine in the cobblestone streets and historical districts of this enchanting town. The district of Splantzia is lined with reminders of the town's Ottoman period. In the afternoon, take a walk along the marina, lined with Venetian boathouses reborn as exhibition spaces and cafes. At sunset people gather by the harbor to witness the magical sunset or simply stroll along the esplanade.

Crete’s most romantic destination offers an irresistible sense of charm. Chania’s Old Town is undeniably captivating, with winding alleyways lined with charming boutique stores, fragrant jasmine trees and bougainvillea, and picturesque squares dotted with local taverns serving Cretan delicacies. The Venetian harbor opens up to panoramic views of the Aegean and the striking Egyptian Lighthouse, which once guided ships safely into the harbor. Traces of centuries of conquests are evident in the amalgam of cultures that intertwine in the cobblestone streets and historical districts of this enchanting town. The district of Splantzia is lined with reminders of the town's Ottoman period. In the afternoon, take a walk along the marina, lined with Venetian boathouses reborn as exhibition spaces and cafes. At sunset people gather by the harbor to witness the magical sunset or simply stroll along the esplanade.

Day 1

Day 1 - Arrival in Chania

Upon arrival at Chania airport, a driver will meet you and drive you to your centrally located accommodations.

Bohemian Sunset Small Group Tour

Bohemian Sunset Small Group Tour

Included in your vacation package price.

If wine is your thing, you’ll be glad to know there’s plenty of it in Chania! As well as good food (including ice cream), strong spirits (from wine to raki), alternative bars and clubs, and mythical tales hidden down back alleyways and secret gardens. You'll check it all out and more after sunset on this tour that visits the spots only locals know.


Activity Level : Light
Duration : 4 hours

Day 2

Day 2 - Your First Full Day in Chania

Street Stories of Chania Small Group Tour

Street Stories of Chania Small Group Tour

Included in your vacation package price.

Experience the real Crete with a walk through one of its most picturesque cities. Chania is a kaleidoscope of different elements: ancient ruins, strong local culture and traditions, and delectable cuisine (and yes, you’ll get to taste some!). Escape the tourist traps and dive into secret corners and local neighborhoods — each stop has a story to tell!


Activity Level : Light
Duration : 4 hours

Day 3

Day 3 - Your Second Full Day in Chania

Beaches of West Crete

Suggestion to explore on your own

Western Crete has some of the Mediterranean's best beaches. Gramvoussa, or more precisely Balos Bay, was long a secret spot. Those who arrived by private boat or a long walk were rewarded by turquoise waters, lagoons, and beaches of pure white sand. Take a boat from Kissamos to enjoy this natural wonder. Elafonisi, located at the Crete's southwestern tip, will leave you speechless, with its red and pink coral sands. Sougia is one of Crete's best beaches, as it's relaxed and quiet. The sea and beach are clean and sheltered, and the surrounding landscape beautiful. Our favorite spot of all is Seitan Limania, a hidden corner of the northeast side of the Akrotiri peninsula, 20 km from Chania. Heading down the zigzag road there can be a bit of an adventure, but you'll love the place!

Day 4

Day 4 - Traveling to Heraklion by Private Transfer

A driver will meet you and take you to your accommodations in Heraklion. After an hour's drive, you'll visit the village of Argyroupoli, where you will have free time for lunch, followed by an hour's tour. Next you'll drive for another forty minutes to the old town of Rethymnon. There you will meet your guide and have a two-hour private guided tour. After your tour and optional free time, you will continue your journey to Heraklion, which takes another hour. This journey takes roughly seven hours, depending on how long you would like to stop.

We also offer the following excursions in Chania

Bygone Crete Adventure Small Group Tour
Moderate11 hours
Slow Food and Wild Views Private Tour
Light8 hours

1 Night in Heraklion

1 Night in Heraklion

2 days in Heraklion

1 Night in Heraklion

Visitors to Heraklion, Crete's capital, are greeted by the imposing Venetian Koules Fortress, a reminder of the importance of this historic gateway to the rest of the island. A vibrant university town, Heraklion is home to some of the island's most important landmarks, such as the Knossos Palace, with its striking Bronze Age ruins, complete with colorful, stunning frescoes. Heading to the center, the bustling Old Town has many markets and cafes, along with neoclassical buildings and a 10th century church with impressed stained glass. Heraklion is a great base for exploring the island, but before you hit the road, take the time to stroll along its Venetian harbor, lined with traditional fishing boats and offering spectacular views of the Koules Fortress.

Visitors to Heraklion, Crete's capital, are greeted by the imposing Venetian Koules Fortress, a reminder of the importance of this historic gateway to the rest of the island. A vibrant university town, Heraklion is home to some of the island's most important landmarks, such as the Knossos Palace, with its striking Bronze Age ruins, complete with colorful, stunning frescoes. Heading to the center, the bustling Old Town has many markets and cafes, along with neoclassical buildings and a 10th century church with impressed stained glass. Heraklion is a great base for exploring the island, but before you hit the road, take the time to stroll along its Venetian harbor, lined with traditional fishing boats and offering spectacular views of the Koules Fortress.

Day 4

Day 4 - Arrival in Heraklion

Upon arrival in Heraklion you'll be taken directly to your accommodations.

Enter Via Koules Fortress

Suggestion to explore on your own

Koulesm is an impressive Venetian fortress dating from the early 16th century. An easy and scenic walk from the shoreline along a breakwater takes you to the main entrance. It's an amazing place to go right after your arrival. Grand wooden doors open into rooms where artifacts from Venice's golden age are on display, while thick stone walls keep everything cool. Don't forget to climb to the roof to take in great views of the sea, and across the harbor, the town itself.

Day 5

Day 5 - Traveling to Agios Nikolaos by Private Car

Knossos Palace, Archaeological Museum, and City Food Private Tour

Knossos Palace, Archaeological Museum, and City Food Private Tour

Included in your vacation package price.

One of Greece's most vibrant cities, Heraklion, once known as Kastro, has been at the crossroads of civilizations for centuries. Take a private tour of Heraklion and get to get to know the city not just as it is now, but also as it was centuries ago, uncovering remnants of occupations by the Byzantines, Arabs, Venetians, Turks, and, yes, pirates. You will then continue your tour by visiting the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, where you can admire Minoan treasures. You'll then hit the backstreets and hidden pathways, checking out the highlights, sampling local treats, and discovering the forces that combined to make Heraklion the city it is today.


Activity Level : Light
Duration : 6 hours

A driver will meet you and take you to your accommodations in Agios Nikolaos. The drive takes about an hour.

We also offer the following excursions in Heraklion

Archaeological Museum and Knossos Palace Private Tour
Light4 hours
Heraklion Bites and Sights Small Group Tour
Light4 hours
Minoan Paths for Wine Enthusiasts Private Tour
Light7-8 hours

3 Nights in Agios Nikolaos

3 Nights in Agios Nikolaos

4 days in Agios Nikolaos

3 Nights in Agios Nikolaos

The heart, soul, and capital of Lassithi (Crete's easternmost region), Agios Nikolaos ("St. Nicholas") has attracted celebrities like Walt Disney since the 60s, but remains small and humble. The town's crown jewel is Voulismeni Lake, a lagoon that has served as an inner harbor since Napoleon's men connected it to the sea. Surrounding Voulismeni are numerous restaurants and cafes, offering charming views and romantic ambience. Agios Nikolaos enjoys a prime location within close proximity to the Lassithi's numerous traditional villages and historical sites. Lassithi's unspoiled beauty, from rugged mountains, to expansive plateaus and deep cliffs, make it one of the most exciting region’s of Crete, as do its important historical sites, with their traces of ancient civilizations. Nearby Spinalonga Island is an important part of Crete's history, thanks to its 15th century Venetian fortress, which later saw use as an infamous leper colony. The seabed of the nearby Mirabello Bay is the site of the ancient sunken city of Olous, the remains of which can be admired from a boat.

The heart, soul, and capital of Lassithi (Crete's easternmost region), Agios Nikolaos ("St. Nicholas") has attracted celebrities like Walt Disney since the 60s, but remains small and humble. The town's crown jewel is Voulismeni Lake, a lagoon that has served as an inner harbor since Napoleon's men connected it to the sea. Surrounding Voulismeni are numerous restaurants and cafes, offering charming views and romantic ambience. Agios Nikolaos enjoys a prime location within close proximity to the Lassithi's numerous traditional villages and historical sites. Lassithi's unspoiled beauty, from rugged mountains, to expansive plateaus and deep cliffs, make it one of the most exciting region’s of Crete, as do its important historical sites, with their traces of ancient civilizations. Nearby Spinalonga Island is an important part of Crete's history, thanks to its 15th century Venetian fortress, which later saw use as an infamous leper colony. The seabed of the nearby Mirabello Bay is the site of the ancient sunken city of Olous, the remains of which can be admired from a boat.

Day 5

Day 5 - Arrival in Agios Nikolaos

You'll be taken directly to your accommodations upon arrival.

Day 6

Day 6 - Your First Full Day in Agios Nikolaos

Spinalonga and the Sunken City Private Tour

Spinalonga and the Sunken City Private Tour

Included in your vacation package price.

The first stop on this trip is Elounda, a renowned destination with a landscape of unparalleled beauty. You'll enjoy a memorable view of the walls of the ancient sunken city of Olous, as well as the Bay of Elounda, Venetian Channel, windmills and salt pans. On the way to Cape Aforesmenos and its lighthouse, you'll pass the historic island of Spinalonga, one of Crete's most visited sites. This former leper colony is an important part of Crete's history, and while it is still working its way through the process of being accepted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, we recommend making a stop here for an optional short tour. By the end of the tour, you will have visited traditional villages, folk museums, and fortified monasteries.


Activity Level : Light
Duration : 7-8 hours

Day 7

Day 7 - Your Second Full Day in Agios Nikolaos

Chrysi Island Cruise

Chrysi Island Cruise

Included in your vacation package price.

Depart the port of Ierapetra for a journey across the emerald green waters of southern Crete to Chrysi Island, where you will walk on white sand made of millions of shells, and explore the extraordinary beauty of Europe's southernmost national park. Then you'll cruise to a quiet bay where you can dive into the crystal clear waters to explore the untouched and beautiful seabed. A lunch will be cooked according to your personal preferences, using fresh, local ingredients, then you can continue your swim in the mesmerizing waters and enjoy gazing at the unique landscape and the breathtaking colors of the sea.


Activity Level : Easy
Duration : 6-7 hours

Day 8

Day 8 - Departure Day

It's time to say a fond farewell to Crete. A driver will pick you up at your accommodation in Agios Nikolaos and take you to Heraklion's airport with plenty of time to catch your departing flight.

We also offer the following excursions in Agios Nikolaos

Cretan Cultural Panorama Small Group Tour
Easy3 hours 45 minutes
Cretan Olive Oil Farm Small Group Tour
Easy1 hour 15 minutes
Cretan Private Driving Tour
Light7-8 hours
Cretan Small Group Cooking Class
Easy1 hour 45 minutes

What's Included

Here are all the services provided as part of your complete vacation package. See what every JayWay trip includes.
Please let us know if you'd like to upgrade any transfers or add any additional tours or excursions to your itinerary.

Chania

3 Nights Accommodation
Breakfast (hotels only)
Chania Airport - Chania City Private Transfer
Bohemian Sunset Small Group Tour
Street Stories of Chania Small Group Tour
Chania - Heraklion Private Transfer with Rethymnon Tour and Village Lunch

Heraklion

1 Night Accommodation
Breakfast (hotels only)
Knossos Palace, Archaeological Museum, and City Food Private Tour
Heraklion Port - Agios Nikolaos Private Transfer

Agios Nikolaos

3 Nights Accommodation
Breakfast (hotels only)
Spinalonga and the Sunken City Private Tour
Chrysi Island Cruise
Agios Nikolaos - Heraklion Airport Private Transfer
The package excludes:

  • Flights to and from Europe.
  • Tips for Tour Guides, Drivers and Local Reps.
  • Meals (other than breakfast if included in room rate and meals listed as included in food tours and excursions, unless explicitly stated otherwise).
  • Parking fees for your Rental Car (if you are booking one with us) unless otherwise indicated. Some hotels provide free parking facilities.
  • Travel Insurance. See the insurance link on our website

Benefits of Traveling with JayWay

A JayWay vacation is more than the sum of its parts. Our team work tirelessly to ensure your experience is memorable for all the right reasons. Your trip is personalized to maximize your enjoyment. You're taken care of every step of the way.

A Travel Advisor who speaks your language
We will make sure that all your requirements and interests are taken into account in preparing your itinerary.
A totally tailored itinerary for your vacation
Your trip is customized for you by  an experienced trip planner and an expert on the region.
A choice of hand-picked hotels and excursions
We've personally inspected and tested all the hotels and local tour providers we work with to ensure quality.
Detailed pre-trip preparation to make the most of every day
Your Europe-based Tour Manager will be in touch by email and phone a month before you arrive to finalize timings.
On-trip Concierge Service to smooth out any bumps in the road
Our local staff are at your service throughout your journey via the local prepaid cellphone which we provide.
Personalized Guest Page to make sure you're not missing out
Packed with detailed information and recommendations curated by locals on the best things to do, see and eat.

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