Some excursions

Excursion to Knossos Archaeological site & to Archanes Traditional Village - Nymphes Luxury Apartments & Studios

Excursion to Knossos Archaeological site & to Archanes Traditional Village

Duration: 5 hours approximately

Tour Description:

The imposing palace of Knossos is built on a hill, next to the river Kairatos.

This area has been inhabited since Neolithic times (6000 BC). Excavations have revealed that the Neolithic levels at Knossos are among the deepest in Europe. On the site of the Neolithic settlement an important Pre-palace settlement developed in the 3rd millennium. The first Palace was built on the Neolithic ruins sometime after 2000 BC and was destroyed in 1700 BC The second palace was erected on the same spot, even more magnificent and larger than the proceeding one. Around 1600 BC other large structures were built around the Palace, such as the "Little Palace", the "Royal Villa", the "South House" etc., while Knossos developed into a large town with many thousands of inhabitants. A new catastrophe occurred around 1450 BC, but as the finds demonstrate, the Palace was repaired and used again until at least 1380 BC Knossos continued its history as a great city state till the first Byzantine Period. The Middle Ages it declined and turned into a village, known by the name Makrys Toichos (Long wall).

Archanes Village - Nymphes Luxury Apartments & Studios

Archanes Village

Archanes is so close to Heraklion in time and in distance, so much a pleasure too. You pass through Kato Archanes and climb a short distance to the main (Epano) Archanes village.

The large village has little in the way of places to stay, but has been restored and beautified with European Union funds, as well as private initiative. A truly remarkable job has been done here, the place looks great but retains as much atmosphere and as many original features as possible; it is a model for such projects in our opinion. The mayor of ten years, is one of the most active, to the visible benefit of the place, in creating and encouraging the establishment of museum, arts, special and cultural events - general civic quality, most refreshing. The village people are proud of their successful efforts to keep the village alive, clean, traditional and beautiful. They are also genuinely friendly.Archanes has won awards - 2nd best restored village in Europe and 1st in long term development prospects. Streets have been newly stone-paved, there are more splendid displays of blooming flowers, fruit trees and plants in the yards, terraces and balconies of the houses - a walk around the back streets is a pleasure as a result.

Greek Evening

All participants are invited to attend a special Greek night, with traditional Greek cuisine and music.
Tour to Lassithi Plateau including visit to Dictaion Cave and to Kera Monastery
Duration: 5 hours approximately

Tour Description:

The ascent begins at the village of Mochos. At 8 km. Among walnut and plane trees, the renovated and well cared for convent of Kera Kardiotissa, it is dedicated to the Nativity of the Virgin. The view from the terrace of its courtyard is magnificent. The unusual form of this church is the result of four successive building phases. The oldest is the little church to the east, which is used as a bema today with wall paintings from the 14th century. On the iconostasis of the church is the miracle-working icon of the "Panagia Alyssodemenis" ("The Virgin Chained").

According to tradition, this icon had been transferred to Constantinople but returned to the monastery. It was stole again and chained to a column so it could not be taken. But the icon uprooted the column (it is fenced in the courtyard of the monastery) and returned here with it. After the village of Ano Keras the road continues to climb up to the defile of Ambelou, where right and left the road, rise up half-ruined stone-built windmills, which ground wheat till the beginning of the century. At this point it is worth taking a break from the driving to admire the panoramic view. From here can be seen the Cretan Sea and the north coast of Crete. South, to the rear, rises up the mountain mass of Dikte, while before you spread out the acclaimed Lassithi Plateau. Lassithi is a plateau surrounded by mountains with eight natural entrances. It has always been a refuge for the persecuted and a place where revolutions started. During the Venetian occupation, the inhabitants were forced to leave Lassithi for nearly two centuries. Finds reveal that the region was inhabited during Neolithic and Minoan Times. During the Hellenistic and Roman Periods it belonged to the city-state of Lyttos. There were important sanctuaries and religious centers at the Trapeza Cave and at the Dictaian Cave at Psychro. Today there are around 20 small villages on the plateau. After the descent from the defile of Ambelou you meet up with a ring road that goes around the entire plateau. From west to east the road passes through the villages of Ag.Charalampos, Psychro, Avrakonte, Ag.Georgios, Ag.Konstantinos to the Kroustallenia Monastery.
Tour to Aghios Nikolaos & Spinalonga - Nymphes Luxury Apartments & Studios
Tour to Aghios Nikolaos & Spinalonga
Duration: 5 hours approximately

Tour Description:

Aghios Nikolaos (8.500 inhabitants), capital of the Prefecture of Lassithi, is without doubt the most picturesque harbor in Crete. Built on the west recess of Mirabello bay, it is considered to be one of the most highly developed tourist towns in Greece. The history of the town begins in historical times, when it was the harbor of "Lato Etera". It was also used as a harbor during Roman times and the First Byzantine Period.

During the Venetian occupation a fortress was built called Mirabello because of the beautiful view. Nevertheless, the importance of the harbor lessened as the Venetians built another one more protected "The Port of San Nicolo".

The Name Aghios Nikolaos is that of the small Byzantine church located on the peninsula of the Port.

Spinalonga, since antiquity, was the Fortress, which protected the harbor of ancient Olous.

The name Spinalonga is Venetian (Spina = Thorn, Longa = Long)

The Venetians built a fortress here in 1579 to protect the harbour of Elounda, one of the most important and finest fortresses built on Crete. For half a century after the Turkish conquest of Crete, Spinalonga remained in the hands of the Venetians; finally in 1715 the fortress was handed over the Turks and they settled Ottoman families there.

In 1903 the Cretan Republic made Spinalonga into a colony for the lepers of Crete who they were housed on the island for nearly half century.
Museums in Heraklion
Heraklion Archaeological Museum: Thousands of visitors come from all over the world to admire the treasures of the Minoan civilization, which are exhibited in the Herakleion Archeological Museum. The Museum was built in 1937-1940 by Sp. Marinatos and is located in the north side of Eleftherias Square. It is built in the place of the Roman Catholic monastery of Saint-Francis, which was destroyed by an earthquake.

It exhibits findings from all the palaces of the Minoan era (Knosos, Festos, Malia etc.), figurines, Neolithic vessels, frescos, coins, sculptures etc. The exhibition is hosted in 20 rooms following a chronological order, from the Neolithic period to the ancient years. Among the most impressive exhibits are the unique frescos of the Prince, the monkey-gathering crocus, the Ladies in Blue, La Parisienne, the Bull-leaping, the ruton, and the Blue birds. There are also many findings dating back to the Hellenistic and Roman years. Sculptures, burial columns, sarcophaguses, mosaic floors.

The museum also exhibits the famous ring of Minos: It found by someone in the early 20th century, but was only handed over to the Museum in the summer of 2002 by his descendants.(Address: 1, Xanthoudidou street, Eleftherias Square).