Arrival Heraklion port. Reception at the port. Transportation to the lodge / villa Dinner at the villa with local home cooked foods accompanied by owners wine. Accommodation.
Day start at 09.AM. After your buffet breakfast, set out with your host George to see Gortys, the ruined capital city of the Roman province which included the island of Crete. You’ll see the impressive amphitheatre and the Basilica of St Titus before driving west to the archaeological site of Phaestos, the first palace built around 2000 BC which stands dominantly on a hill with panoramic views. According to mythology, King Radamanthes, son of Zeus, ruled over the city and over the South of Crete, 4000 years ago. The caves of Matala have a rich history from Roman occupation 2000 years ago to more modern luminaries such as Bob Dylan, and Cat Stevens, Lunch will be in the fishing village of Kokkinos Pyrgos consisting of “just caught” Seafood specialties.
After lunch you’ll head back to the villa and head to the kitchen for your first cooking class
Cretan Heritage Cooking Class
Tonight’s hands-on class is based on a variety of vegetables and minced meat with prep techniques that transforms basic ingredients into a full table of colour, variety and richness. Moussaka, Aubergines Papoutsakia, fried vegetables in tomato sauce, smoked eggplant and Pastitsio (the Greek Version of Mac and Cheese), with vegan and vegetarian options will be in abundance. As always, local wine will compliment your meal and enhance your evening.
After a rich breakfast, you will enjoy a slow drive through the vineyards and small villages of the region. You will visit the 16th century monastery of Arkadi, the small village of Margarites popular for the ceramics they produce and the city of Rethymnon where every street will take you on a journey through history. Venetian and Turkish buildings have become small restaurants, cafés and shops. Your walk down the narrow streets will take you to small tourists’ shops and coffee houses where you can mingle with locals. A slow drive to the Water of Argyroupolis where lunch will be served with a variety of Cretan vegetable and cheese specialties and abundance of grilled meats.
The "Seafood Evening" Cooking Class
The evening will feature your second hands-on cooking class based on the fish and seafood that was purchased earlier in the day. Fish soup, the famous KAKAVIA (fisherman fish soup), fish with tomato and onion sauce baked in the oven and shrimps "saganaki" in tomato sauce, wine and feta cheese are a few of the cooking menu items. Once you’ve cooked, you’ll sit down to enjoy a dinner of the delicious seafood dishes you have learned to cook that day accompanied by a few glasses of wine perfectly matched to your fish.
Breakfast and drive north east to visit Agios Nikolaos and Elounda. Lunch at a sea front tavern in village of Plaka facing the Spinalonga Island. After lunch, drive back to the villa and get prepared for the third cooking class
Cooking Class Featuring Stuffed Vegetables, Vine Leaves and Olive Oils
It is believed that the secret for a long and healthy life lies in olive oil, the principle ingredient in the Cretan diet. Past and present research conducted in the US and Europe supports the view that olive oil not only shields the human heart from disease, but also increases healthy operation of other organs by reducing cholesterol. Olive oil is an important ingredient in all dishes on the dinner menu. This hands-on class will take you through the process of making stuffed tomatoes, peppers, courgettes, and aubergines…as well as Dolmadakia (little stuffed wraps) with vine leaves, sorrels or pumpkin flowers. These all can be enjoyed as a meze or main course.
After your buffet breakfast your tour will start in the direction of MountNida (Psiloritis) the highest mountain on Crete, and according to legend, where Zeus was born. A visit to a unique small stoned church of St. Iakinthos (Orthodox Saint Valentine) built by the well-known famous song writer and singer Loudovikos of Anogia. You will taste the finest quality cheeses, including Kefalotyri and Kefalogryere. Next, the village of Axos and the drive ends at the small village of Drossia known by the local people with the Turkish name GENI-GAVE where you will enjoy lunch at the finest little restaurant on the island - Giannis Petoussis Tavern. Lunch will feature everything natural and fresh from the proprietor’s own land, cooked by the lady of the house. After lunch, you visit two almost forgotten monasteries, and a church with beautiful frescoes.. Next stop at the women cooperative work shop at village Marathos and at Doxa, a small local café run by the owners since 1949. Just 20 km from the city, it is beautifully untouched, and a natural pasture for bees. Old traditional bee-keeping methods ensure ecological, clean honey that is free from any additives. This golden yellow honey is a perfect source of natural vitamins and minerals. You will sample honeycombs straight from the beehive and learn a few secrets know only to the bee-keepers. At the end of this visit you will sample an herbal tea comprised of 9 mountain herbs, and enjoy local donuts drizzled with pure thyme honey.
Local Meats and Casseroles Cooking Class
Preparation is the key to the variety of dishes that will be created. Time spent in slicing, dicing, chopping and pealing enables the assembly of various dishes in record time. Pork bites in tomato sauce, and Drunken Pork bites cooked in wine and oregano are wonderful appetizers paired with Raki (an alcoholic drink that is made from the grape peel, after the wine has been produced). Boneless pork with celery and egg and lemon sauce, Dinner will be accompanied with copious amounts of pure, homemade local wines. Viniculture is a 4000 year old practice on the island of Crete.
Today we visit the palace of Knossos.
When visiting the island of Crete someone must see the ancient palace of Knossos, built 3.500 years ago. Combination of archaeological discoveries and food tasting: The day start at 9.30 am and drive to the near village of Sivas where we visit one of the best small family wineries providing organic wines. Spend some
time there tasting a variety of wines. Keep driving direction the palace of Knossos. Start at 11.30 AM. Visit takes 1 1Ž2 hour. After the palace we drive back to the city and will walk the streets of the city and meet nutritional wanderings elevating the palate to heaven!! Will explore unique tastes on this walking tour of Heraklion. Visit at a small cheese shop (one of the best in Crete) and taste unique fresh and old Cretan cheese accompanied by a shot of Raki. Walk the central market and stop for an OUZO (anise) with MEZE (small bites accompanies the spirit) at one of the traditional Mezedopolion of the street. On the way back after lunch stop at one of the finest small family wineries and taste some of the best wines Crete provides. Back to the manor.
Tonight your dinner will be prepared by the owners of the house.. You will have the opportunity to sample a large variety of specialties (called mezedes) accompanied by the Cretan Snap RAKI! Are you tempted to compare her dishes to those you have learned during the week? You have made wonderful new friends and explored a new region of the world filled with some of the best food you have ever tasted – what more could one ask? After a restful sleep, transportation will be provided for you to meet your departing flight.
After a restful sleep, transportation will be provided for you to meet your departing flight.
All prices listed are in US$. If you are paying in a different currency, your price is locked in with US$. but the price in your currency will depend on the exchange rate at the time your deposit is charged, then again when your balance is due. If you would like to lock in a price with a currency other than US$, you can do so by paying the full amount at the time of your reservation.
30% of the total is due at time of booking to secure your spaces. The balance is due 60 days before your tour begins.
If you booked more than six months in advance. your deposit is refundable within 50 days of the time you place your reservation.
If at the time of cancellation, it is more than 180 days in advance of the vacation, and also more than 50 days after you made your deposit, your deposit is non-refundable, but we will be happy to apply 100% of it toward any of our other vacations anytime within the next 12 months.
If at the time of cancellation, it is between 180 and 90 days in advance of the vacation, your deposit is non-refundable, but we will be happy to apply 40% of it toward any of our other vacations anytime within the next 12 months.
Once the Full Balance is paid (60 days or less before the start date):
If at the time of cancellation, it is between 60 and 14 days in advance of the vacation, your deposit is non-refundable, but we will be happy to apply 40% of it toward any of our other vacations anytime within the next 12 months.
If at the time of cancellation, it is between 14 and 0 days in advance of the vacation, your deposit is non-refundable, and we unfortunately cannot apply any portion to future vacations.
These cancellation terms reflect times that we must pay out expenses for your trip on your behalf. At times that we no longer offer refunds, we have already paid out the associated costs, and refunds are not available to us. Because of this, we are unable to bend these terms.
Accepted payment methods
Bank wire, Credit card
We accept Amex, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa
Alumni discount is available. Please contact us.
Gratuites / tips
In Crete, tipping drivers, guides, etc. is customary but not mandatory. Our guides, host, driver, etc. all happily accept tips, but they are never expected. We have seen guests leave huge tips for our staff, and we have seen guests leave no tip at all. Either way, both of those guests are equally appreciated.
Mr George Portokalakis