Includes: Pick-up service at or near your hotel, Full time guided tour.
Tour Highlights: Seaside drive, Arkadi Monastery, City tour (Chania-Rethymno), Agora
Duration - Directions: 10 hours approximately - 340 km, west Crete.
Monastery of Arkadi, the supreme symbol for Cretans.
Following the northwest coastline, and turning south before Rethymnon, we reach the Monastery of Arkadi, a supreme symbol for Cretans: Freedom or Death. Due to its isolated situation it has been used throughout history as a centre for resistance movements.The West Crete Excursion will bring us to a different part of the island, to West Crete.
Travelling along the northwestern coast, we will have our first stop at the Monastery of Arkadi. Arkadi, a monastery half dedicated to the Transfiguration of Christ and half to Saint Constantine and Saint Helen, has a special significance for the island of Crete.
It wasn’t merely a monastery, but it also played a very active role in the liberating combats of the island during the Cretan Revolt, culminating in the siege and sacrifice of its defenders in 1866.
Every year it hosts and accommodates thousands of visitors and pilgrims from all over the world, who admire its incomparable natural beauty, its uniqueness, its artifacts and treasures, its legends but who also experience their own, personal spiritual encounters.
The Venice of the East or mother of all the other Cretan Cities
Leaving the mystical magic of the monastery and proceeding to the west, we arrive in Chania, the most ravishing and quaint city of Crete. Chania ceased to be Crete capital after 686 years, in 1971. It was an important Minoan city. It is considered to have been the “mother of all the other Cretan cities” by the ancient writers.The city is divided in two sections: the Old City, where the gorgeous harbor is situated and the New City, which is located beyond its Venetian fortifications.The Old City of Chania is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the Mediterranean and it is called “Venice of the East”.
Throughout the whole city of Chania we can witness samples of all the civilizations that have passed from here:
· archaeological Minoan sites,
· Turkish minarets and mosques,
· Muslim neighborhoods,
· Venetian fortresses and dockyards,
· fountains and squares,
· arches and mansions,
· the famous Loggia
· and of course the landmark of the city, the renowned Lighthouse.
We can enjoy our lunch admiring the view of the quaint harbor or we can visit the famous Agora (Market), which was constructed in 1913 according to the standards of the market in Marseille. Since then, it has been housing a variety of traditional little shops and taverns. Here we can shop souvenirs or leather goods in very good prices.
Rethimno, the third biggest town on Crete
Going back, we make a stop in the town of Rethimno. Monuments of the archaeological, Ottoman and Venetian eras coexist, making the place extremely interesting for sightseeing. Have a stroll in the alleys of the old town, visit the Turkish minarets and the Venetian fortresses or just enjoy your coffee in the magnificent harbor of the town.