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 tour will be led by plant expert Julia Corden, President of the Scottish Rock Garden Club, who will be in her element among the wildflowers of Crete.
Deposit: £200 Single supplement: £250
Keeping you safe on your next tour
Day 1 -
Depart from London (regional flight connections and flight upgrades are available on request) on a direct flight to Chania, due to arrive late evening. On arrival we will be met by our coach and transferred to our hotel. A welcome dinner is served in a local restaurant this evening.
Day 2 -
Today we will visit the Akrotiri peninsula where there are olive groves and a profusion of interesting flowers. There will also be time to explore the historic town of Chania itself.
Target plants - Ballota, orchids, bulbs and Anemone
Day 3 -
To the south of Chania is the Omalos Plain with attractive upland villages, which leads to the start of the Samaria Gorge - Europe's longest gorge - a spectacularly beautiful natural feature with stunning views and magnificent wild flowers. We will not go into the gorge but will have an easy walk to the start looking at the abundant flora.
Target plants - Anemone, Muscari, Zelkova, orchids and tulips
Day 4 -
Today we will visit the Souda Bay British War Graves and we will have time to explore the historic town of Rethymnon. Fortunately the tourist developments have spared the centre of the city and at its heart Rethymnon remains one of the most beautiful of Crete's major cities. We will have free time to explore Rethymnon including a visit to the splendid Venetian fortress before continuing to our accommodation.
Day 5 -
Stopping for a short break at the coastal town of Plakias we will travel on to Preveli where we can walk along the banks of the Geropotamos river and though country lanes where the verges are covered with wildflowers such as Ranunculus, Gladiolus and several species of orchid. The rocky outcrops overlooking Preveli are inhabited by the Bearded Vulture or Lammergeier. This is a wonderful site for painting and sketching as there are tiny picturesque chapels along the way and an ancient bridge over the Geropotomus.
Target plants:- Ranuculus asiaticus,Gladiolus italicus.
Day 6 -
Today we will travel to Iraklion and 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, is 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.
Day 7 -
On our final full day we travel to the slopes of Mount Ida and explore the beautiful surrounding area.
Target plants – crocus, tulip, Corydalis.
|Meals included||Breakfast, Dinner|
Day 8 -
Sadly today we must return home on our flight from Heraklion/Chania to London, where the group will disperse or make onward connections.
Tour dates & prices
Included in your cost:
- Services of a professional tour manager
- Comfortable coach travel throughout
- Meals - as per the itinerary
|Tour Departure||Tour ID||Departure date||Return Date||Guided by||Price||Deposit||Single supplement||Availability|
|5 April 2022||BSFC220405||5 April 2022 (Tuesday)||12 April 2022 (Tuesday)||Julia Corden||£1,495
|£200||£250||Book your trip|