Crete is rightly considered to be one of the most beautiful destinations in Greece. And this tour combines history, culture, mountains, beaches, lakes, good food, lots of Raki and Cretan music! You will begin in Heraklion, the capital, and you will follow the coast passing through Agios Nikolaos, Ierapetra, Palaiochora and finally Rethymno. On the way you will visit the most important archaeological sites of Crete, Knossos and Phaestos, the impressive remains of the Minoan civilization which flourished about 4000 years ago. In addition you will have the chance to relax by the beach, taste the local food in the numerous taverns and restaurants, but mostly just immerse yourself in Cretan hospitality. Crete is a unique destination and cycling is one of the best ways to explore it. The island has a huge amount to offer and appeals to discerning travelers who want a unique experience. History combined with fitness, leisure and natural beauty, all in one.
Day 1: Individual arrival in Heraklion
You arrive at Heraklion airport or port and upon request we can transfer you to your hotel. You have the day free to explore the city at will, perhaps visiting the famous ‘Koule’ (castle) dominating the port, or the archaeological museum. Heraklion is the biggest city on Crete and is the provincial capital. It has over 3000 years of history and you will leave wishing you had spent more time in her ancient lanes. Delivery of your bikes and equipment takes place during the evening and you spend the night in Heraklion.
Day 2: Heraklion - Ano Hersonissosn or Koutouloufari, ~37 km
Today we start our cycling trip and very soon arrive at Knossos. Not only the biggest and the most important of the Cretan archaeological sites, but also the greatest expression of Minoan architecture known to man; Knossos is an integral part of European history and as such it is known as Europe's oldest city. Once there you can visit the Minoan Palace and surrounding remains from 2000-1400 BC. We continue our ride and drop in at the Cretan aquarium where you can experience the Mediterranean Marine world with its hundreds of fascinating species. Finally, we arrive in either Ano Xersonisos or Koutouloufari, two traditional Cretan villages that, although having some tourism, have manage to retain their authentic character.
Day 3: Ano Hersonissosn or Koutouloufari - Agios Nikolaos, ~41 km
Get ready for a day in the saddle! Travelling through spectacular mountain scenery you'll pass traditional villages like Vrahasi, where time has stood still, as the road will take you down to Agios Nikalaos, the picturesque capital of Lasithi. On the way, you can visit the Vassilakis Estate in Neapoli, where you can taste the traditionally produced olive oil, visit the olive museum and see an original olive mill from 1865! Upon arrival in Agios Nikolaos you can walk around the old port and explore the loveliest town in Eastern Crete.
Day 4: Agios Nikolaos - Ierapetra, ~37 km
Today you will begin your cycle ride following the coast and then winding your way through the olive groves to come to your destination in Ierapetra, an important town on the south-east Cretan coast. Swim at one of the golden beaches that you will pass or continue onto the town center with its cafes and restaurants.
Day 5: Ierapetra - Tsoutsouros, ~57 km
This is going to be your longest and highest climb, however, there are so many amazing places along the way that you´ll find yourself stopping regularly having a good excuse for a sneaky rest. You’ll have a great day! The route is mainly coastal and passes through beautiful villages like Myrtos, Tertsa and Keratokambos and ends up in the tranquil town of Tsoutsouros. This day is a mixture of coastal landscapes, picturesque villages and quiet roads.
Day 6: Tsoutsouros - Agia Galini, ~65 or 73 km
Get in the car for a transfer of 500 meters altitude up to the mountain and then some kilometers closer to your final destination, in Mesohori. Stronger cyclist can start earlier adding an extra of 8 km on the days ride. You'll ride among the olive trees on the plateau and pass through small villages in the area reaching the highlight of the day: The Palace of Phaistos. This is a Bronze Age archaeological site of major importance. Continuing your journey you will arrive in Agia Galini, a small seaside town on the hilly Cretan coast.
Day 7: Agia Galini - Rethymno, ~32 or 47 km
And so it is still the last day on your bike. Unless you insist, we will transfer you to one of the two mountain villages to avoid the steep climb which you will be confronted with. We will leave you on the summit or take you on to Spili village to shorten the route. Passing through the mountain villages of the Rethymno Province you will come to the artificial lake of ‘Limni ton Potamon’ which means ‘Lake of the rivers’. Crossing the dam gives you a good opportunity for a stop either to enjoy the scenery or try the local taverns, or both. You then continue to Rethymno, the capital of the province with its historical past. The city was founded by the Venetians and wandering within the old town you will soak up the atmosphere of its noble past. Of course, no visit is complete without a walk around ‘Fortezza’, the Venetian Era citadel! The small shops, bars and taverns complete the atmosphere and don't forget to taste the Raki once again with Greek meze!
Day 8: Individual departure from Rethymno
7 nights in 3*** hotels or apartments
luggage transfer between hotels
transfer of bikers on day 6 and day 7
GPS and maps with routes (1 piece for 2 participants)
complete information about the area
self-guided tour - 8 days / 7 nights
arrival every Saturday
route (2): ~270-300 km
sometimes flat but often hilly, on small byroads, good condition needed
how to come
by plane: International Airport Heraklion
possible on request between airport Heraklion and the hotel
good to know
For those seeking a more “in depth” Cretan experience, the tour is also offered with 2 nights at each waypoint. For these extra days we offer a variety of cycling routes, boat trips, daily excursions and various other alternatives. For further information, do not hesitate to contact us.
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