Day 1 UK - CreteToday you will fly to Chania. On arrival we'll transfer you to the lovely seaside resort of Agia Marina, on Crete's north-west coast. Your 4-star accommodation here is a boutique hotel located on a sandy beach. Meals included: D
Day 2 The White MountainsYou should see plenty of wildflowers on today's tour, which takes you into the Omalos Upland Plain, Crete's orange-growing region. As you ascend into the spectacular scenery of the White Mountains, past traditional farms and fragrant citrus groves, your Tour Lecturer will share their knowledge with you. They'll tell you about the various types of flora you might see, including daphnes, tulips, peonies and anemones. You'll also learn about the many types of endemic flowers that only grow in this part of the island. Your next stop is the viewpoint at the entrance of the Samaria Gorge, which is believed to be the largest in Europe. It's said that at least 450 types of plant grow here, so you're sure to notch up more wildflower spots. Keep a lookout too for Crete's most famous inhabitants, wild goats. Meals included: B,D
Day 3 Agia Marina - at LeisureHow you spend today is entirely up to you. You could choose a day of relaxation and take the few steps from your hotel to the sandy Blue-Flag beach.
Alternatively, if you'd like to delve into Crete's fascinating history, join an optional excursion to the north coast and the magnificent Minoan Palace ruins of Knossos. The seat of the legendary King Minos, this multi-storeyed palace covered an area of 22,000 square metres. The Minoans were Europe's first advanced civilisation, and as you explore this incredible site in the company of a Local Guide, you'll learn all about them. You'll also hear about the mythological labyrinth – the dwelling of the Minotaur, a beast with the head of a bull and the body of a man.
You'll then head to Crete's capital Heraklion. There's time to stop for lunch if you wish, and admire the Old Town's Venetian walls and the ancient fortress that dominates the harbour. Meals included: B,D
Day 4 Akrotiri Peninsula & Chania
Spend time with your Tour Lecturer today as they host a botanical ramble around the Akrotiri Peninsula on the north-west coast of the island. You'll also visit the Byzantine monastery of Agia Triada, one of the most significant monuments on Crete. Built in the 17th century, the monastery also has a library which contains some rare books and a museum displaying a collection of artefacts and icons.
We're going to end our day in Chania. One of Crete's most beautiful cities, it boasts a picturesque Old Town with Neoclassical buildings and an enchanting Venetian harbour. Maybe stop for a drink in a waterfront café and enjoy views out to the sea and Chania's historic lighthouse.
Day 5 Spili
We drive east today towards Rethymno, and visit the Minoan cemetery of Armenoi, which in spring displays a mass of wildflowers. We then continue our journey to Spili, hunting for orchids and other flowers along the way. This charming mountain village is well known for the spring water fountain in its main square, which features a row of sculptured lion heads.Meals included: B,D
Day 6 Aptera
A morning of exploration takes you to the hilltop city state of Aptera, the most powerful city of western Crete during the Minoan period. In the company of your Tour Lecturer you'll discover the remains of an ancient city whose impressive walls date back to the 5th century BC. Temples, Roman cisterns and a Byzantine monastery stand in a beautiful landscape strewn with wildflowers.
Back at the hotel, a lazy afternoon beckons, so why not relax on the beach or by the pool.
Day 7 Agia Marina - at LeisureIf relaxation is high on your list, you may want to head to the beach today, or enjoy your hotel's facilities.
If you choose to join today's optional excursion you'll head to Apokoronas, an area located at the foot of the White Mountains and renowned for its wildflowers. Also included is a visit to the Folklore Museum of Gavalochori. Run by a women's co-operative, here you'll learn about the peasant lifestyle of the region, and see how silk and lace are produced. Your tour ends in the lovely beach resort of Almyrida, where, if you wish, you can enjoy lunch by the sea. Meals included: B,D
Day 8 Crete - UK
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK.Meals included: B