Minoan Crete and Santorini.
Stunning landscapes and superb archaeology create an unforgettable experience. Discover the Minoans, named after legendary King Minos, and marvel at the views from Santorini, one of the world’s most amazing places. Our itinerary is perfectly designed to explore Minoan archaeology’s fascinating array of Bronze Age sites, artistic wealth and deep-rooted mythology.
Itinerary: Use the tab menu above for full itinerary and other information.
Dates & Prices:
16–24 May 2019. Early booking price only £1425.
19–27 September 2019. Early booking price only £1445.
Reserve your place early for a best price guarantee. Single supplement £220.
- The perfect itinerary for Minoan archaeology, including special-access visits.
- Eight nights in a beautiful 4-star hotel by the sea.
- A touch of island-hopping with day trips to Santorini and to Spinalonga.
- Great value including all breakfasts, evening meals and two lunches.
- Accompanied by a specialist tour director and by a local Cretan guide.
- Flexible flight arrangements.
- 100% TTA financial guarantee.
Flights and Extended Stays
Flights are added on a personal basis rather than included in the tour price. This gives you complete freedom to choose your preferred departure airport, flight times, length of stay, airline etc. We will be pleased to quote and book flights for you, and any extended stays, or you can book your own if you prefer. Flights booked with us are fully ATOL protected and can be available from as little as £100 return.
How To Book
Reservations & Enquiries: To reserve your place or enquire further simply fill in the booking form, or call us on (UK) 0121 444 1854. There is no commitment and no payment at this stage; reservations are purely provisional until we have confirmed availability and proceeded with booking and payment.
Booking & Payment: Once you have checked availability and reserved your place, we will require your full details and a deposit of £250 per person to secure your booking. This can be done with a credit/debit card over the telephone (0121-444-1854) or by sending us a completed booking form and cheque. To print a booking form click here.
See our booking conditions for further details.
All Hidden History’s tours include a host of fully guided excursions and interesting talks to create an enriching travel experience. They also include some luxury and leisure by choosing great hotels and keeping the itineraries fairly relaxed and varied. More about What to Expect…
Departure TimeDeparts 16 May 2019 and 19 September 2019
Day 1: UK/Crete.
You are met on arrival at Heraklion airport and transferred to your hotel for eight night’s half-board accommodation. Your tour director will be on hand to answer any questions.
Day 2: Malia & Lasithi.
An introductory lecture followed by a guided visit to the nearby Minoan palace of Malia will get you acquainted with Cycladic archaeology. Then enjoy a scenic drive to the Lasithi Plateau with fabulous views of this stretch of Cretan coastline.
Day 3: Heraklion & National Archaeology Museum.
A guided tour of the magnificent galleries of Crete’s recently re-opened archaeology museum displays the achievements and artistry of the Minoan Age. We also see Heraklion, the present capital of Crete, and have special access to the interesting little Minoan villa at Nirou Khani.
Day 4: Phaistos, Matala & Gortyn.
A day exploring southern Crete, visiting the important Minoan palace of Phaistos, the attractive seaside town of Matala, and the ruins at Gortyn, Crete’s Roman and early Christan capital.
Day 5: Knossos & Mount Juktas.
The preceding days have nicely prepared us for Knossos, the most famous and puzzling of the Minoan palaces and widely associated with King Minos, the Labyrinth and the Minotaur. In addition to the main site we also explore the peak sanctuary of Mount Juktas, with special-access to the temple of Anemospilia and the cemetery of Phourni. These lesser known sites are not normally open to the public but are, in fact, crucial to our understanding of Knossos. Lunch is included in the traditional village of Archanes.
Day 6: Santorini & Akrotiri.
A 2-hour sailing by fast ferry brings us to the volcanic island of Santorini, one of the most beautiful and spectacular islands of the Mediterranean with one of the best preserved archaeological sites – the recently re-opened Akrotiri. The massive eruption of Santorini around 1600 BC was one of the largest eruptions known and must have had catastrophic effects on the Minoan world. It is a plausible candidate for the myth of Atlantis and it certainly buried in ash the island’s main town of Akrotiri, resulting in a Bronze Age ‘Pompeii’ of the Aegean. It preserved buildings to several stories, millions of artefacts and, most famously, room after room of astonishing wall paintings – the frescoes which we see in the Thira Prehistoric Museum.
Day 7: Spinalonga & Gournia.
Enjoy a boat ride and tour of Spinalonga Island with its Venetian fortress and former Leper colony, the subject of Victoria Hislop’s novel. There will be time for a leisurely lunch in the attractive port town of Elounda, and we also visit an archaeological gem at Gournia where we can walk around a complete Minoan townscape.
Day 8: The Ideon Cave.
Our final highlight is a visit to the Ideon Cave, high on the slopes of Mount Ida and the most revered of all Crete’s ancient sites. Considered the birthplace of Zeus, it is set in majestic mountain scenery and contained a wealth of offerings. We also include lunch today in a traditional mountain village before an early afternoon return to the hotel.
Day 9: Departure.
You will be transferred from your hotel to Heraklion airport for your flight home, or why not stay longer and make the most of your time in Crete – feel free to ask us for information and ideas.
Please note that the itinerary may be subject to change or re-ordering according to the weather or other circumstances beyond our control.
Stunning landscapes and superb archaeology create an unforgettable experience. This is where European civilisation first emerged around 2000 BC producing a fascinating array of Bronze Age sites and a deep-rooted mythology which includes the birth of Zeus, the Minotaur and Atlantis.
Map & Virtual Tour
Click on the map below for a virtual tour with photos and text following the Crete and Santorini itinerary.
Please note that we sometimes have to change hotels for reasons beyond our control. We always choose hotels of a similar standard, designed to give you a little luxury and leisure alongside your cultural enrichment.
The 4-star Hersonissos Maris Hotel is set in quiet surroundings on the edge of Hersonissos town with an excellent sea view, sandy bays, two swimming pools and a beautiful spacious garden.
PO Box 38, GR-70014, Limi Hersonissos 712 01, Crete.
Flexibility: Rather than reserving group seats for a particular flight, we keep your flight options open to give you greater choice of departure airport, airline, flight times, cabin class etc.
Airports & Airlines: There are two airports in Crete: Heraklion and Chania. The former is 30 minutes from the tour hotel while the latter is over 2 hours and therefore not recommended. Direct flights to Heraklion are available from a wide choice of UK airports.
Book with us or book your own: Once we have confirmed availability of the tour, you can choose either to book your flights with us, or to make your own travel arrangements. Before booking any flights of your own please ensure we have confirmed the availability of the tour as our tours are subject to minimum and maximum numbers of participants.
Airfares: Ask us for a quote. Use the reservation/enquiries form or call 0121 444 1854.
ATOL Protection: If you book your flights with us you will be ATOL protected, which means that you will not lose your money or be stranded abroad if things go wrong. If you book your own flights they may not be ATOL protected, even if you book direct with the airline or with an online search facility.