Spring Flowers of Crete
Everywhere you look on the high mountain plains and along the country roads that wind among them are bright splashes of colour, countless floral treasures just waiting to be discovered. One of the largest islands in the Mediterranean, Crete is a place of great, unspoilt natural beauty, offering the plant lover an absolute treat in terms of the variety of flora to be found, thanks to the island’s climate, position, altitude and terrain. The northern coast has been cultivated since biblical times. Here olives, grapes and melons are among the principal crops lending a typically Mediterranean air. Many of the 1500 flowering plants on the island are endemic.
From our chosen two centres we have the opportunity to explore a good deal of the island. Limestone mountains ascend to over 2462m and stretch for some 240km forming the island’s backbone. Our daily excursions feature a wide range of botanical habitats along with some very interesting archaeological sites.
Our first three nights will be spent in the west of the island in the resort of Chania. With its wonderful beach location it is ideal for a ‘paddle’ after our full day excursions. While based here we will visit the Akrotiri peninsula where there are olive groves and a profusion of interesting flowers. We will also enjoy a spectacular journey to the Omalos Plateau at the top of the Samaria Gorge - Europe’s longest gorge - a spectacularly beautiful natural feature with stunning views and magnificent wild flowers. We will not go right into the gorge but will have an easy walk looking at the abundant flora. Chiono Doxa, tulips, peonies and anemones can all be spotted here and the slopes of the hills are studded with Cretan flowers.
From our second base in the Rethymnon area we will visit the most stunning piece of archaeology - the magnificent Minoan Palace of Knossos. Less than 150 years ago the palace existed only in mythology. Knossos was the court of the legendary King Minos, whose wife Pasiphae bore the Minotaur, half-bull, half-man. The discovery of the palace and the interplay of these legends with fact are among the most amazing tales of modern archaeology. It was left for Sir Arthur Evans, whose name is indelibly associated with Knossos, to excavate the site from 1900 onwards. We will also visit the flower-carpeted hillside of the Plakias Gorge.
Our 2023 tour will be escorted throughout by Sue Pomeroy, horticulturalist, Highland gardener and propagator, who will be in her element among the wildflowers of Crete.
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Tour dates & prices
Included in your cost:
- Services of a professional tour manager
- Comfortable coach travel throughout
- Meals - as per the itinerary