Leave your Crete hotel by air-conditioned coach and travel to the Minoan Palace of Knossos, one of the island’s showstopping historical attractions. The original site is believed to have been built around 1900 BC, but – following an earthquake – it was rebuilt on a grand scale, and lavish royal quarters, shrines, treasuries and storerooms were added around the Central Court.
After paying your entrance fee, head inside to explore the reconstructed site that was brought to life from a series of 20th-century excavations by British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans. As you walk, listen to tales and trivia about the palace’s glory days during the Minoan era – a Bronze Age civilization that made Knossos its capital.
Greek mythology was ingrained in Minoan culture, and the Palace of Knossos featured in many popular tales such as the famous myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. Hear of legends and Greek folklore while exploring areas of the palace like the Throne Room, home to frescoes of the Minoan’s sacred mythical beasts.
Wander through the Central Court and gaze up at sights like the Grand Staircase. See an impressive fresco of rampaging bulls, and explore the corridors and labyrinth-like alleyways that lead to intriguing rooms such as the Theatral Area – a place that may have once existed as a theater.
Then return to your coach for the short journey to central Heraklion. In the comfort of your air-conditioned coach, gaze out at attractions like Koules Venetian Fortress, Lion Fountain (Morosini Fountain) and the Church of Agios Titos on a city tour. Hear fascinating snippets of history about each sight and learn about the city under Venetian rule – an era that influenced the architecture of Heraklion – and enjoy a short break for lunch (own expense) .
After seeing the sights of Crete’s main city, your day trip finishes with a hotel drop-off.
The wonderful Lassithi Plateau is located about 25km south of Malia and 70km west of Heraklion city. Located in a peaceful and fertile region, it is surrounded by the wild mountains of Dikti and several smaller plateaus. The views of the surrounding mountains of Selena and Afendis Hristos are majestic.
The altitude ranges from 800 to 850m, making Lassithi one of the few residential areas in the Mediterranean at such high altitude. Indeed, every year the plateau is covered by snow and then thousands of Cretans arrive to admire the white landscape. In most years, snow remains in the mountain peaks till mid-spring.
The 18 villages of the plateau are built at the foot of the surrounding mountains, leaving the plains free to cultivate, and they are connected by a 23km long circular road. Actually, this beautiful circular route is ideal for cycling as there are no large hills and, along this, you’ll have the chance to visit all the attractions of the plateau.