Called by the Greeks themselves 'The Great Island', Crete is a remarkably special place, an area of outstanding natural beauty, imbued with a strong sense of history. Western Crete is able to astound the photographer even more than other parts of the island.
Hania, the area's capital, has the most picturesque harbour in Greece, backed by a labyrinth of Venetian and Turkish alleyways winding down to the waterfront. There are Minoan remains, Turkish mosques and minarets and, at every turn fascinating glimpses of the city's 16th century walls, impressive ramparts, bastions, archways and domes. And yet, despite all this, I frequently see people snapping away at local postcard attractions at the wrong time of day, and sunsets, but nothing else it seems.
Day 1: Travel day from Athens Airport to Chania or Iraklion Airport. Taxi to the Nostos Hotel or Porto Del Columbo Hotel in Chania. Evening dinner & photo discussion. (B).
Day 2: After breakfast at the hotel, we zig-zag through the Northern foothills of the White Mountains, visiting the charming village of Laki. Afterwards we go to the Omalos Plateau and the top of the world famous Samaria Gorge. Pure and hard landscape. Stunningly wild and beautiful. Later, we see an old empty Turkish farmhouse and roadside chapel near Galatas village. Evening meal at the Turkish "Bigaza" Taverna in the village of Galatas. Good company and a photo discussion. (B).
Day 3: The attractions of Old Chania Town. Venetian alleyways, Turkish Mosques and Minarets & the most photogenic harbour in Greece, dominated by the Lefki Ori (White Mountains). Optional night photography. Weeks could be spent discovering its delights. Dinner in an old Turkish bathhouse, called Tamam, or elsewhere around the harbour. (B).
Day 4: First to an old Turkish fort overlooking Souda Bay and then visit the ancient site of Aptera (5th C. BC). An old, fantastic Minoan Tholos (grave) is the next stop, and then we have coffee with Yiannis at Samonas village in the foothills of the mountains. Visit the archetypal fishing village of Almirida for lunch and then we go along the green and fertile region of Apokoronas, with its many traditional villages, such as Exopolis, before returning to Chania for a shower and evening meal. (B).
Day 5: To Rethymnon. The old town huddles below the old Venetian Fortress, and through a maze of lanes, see Venetian stone houses with elaborate Turkish wooden balconies and the Italian Rimondi fountain. A small Venetian harbour and Turkish mosques, add to the gentle dignity of this charming town. Dinner in the harbour. (Optional night photography). Return to Chania late evening. (B).
Day 6: The South Coast, via the plain of Askifou and the wild beauty of the landscape, to reach the mighty Venetian fortress, situated on the coast, at Frangokastello. Afterwards to Chora Sfakion, and the haunted hamlet of Aradena, to visit a splendid 14th C. Byzantine church. We catch the ferry to Loutro, where we stay the night. (B).
Day 7: Loutro. One of the most charming places on Crete, where there are no cars! Ancient settlements and wonderful views over the Libyan Sea make this small village, situated around the harbour, a peaceful haven from the 20th century. We leave late afternoon on the last ferry to Chora Sfakion, for some spectacular dusk shots of the village and mountains, before driving back to Chania for evening dinner. (B).
Day 8: Free time for independent photography, shopping or relaxing. (Optional trips can be discussed.) In the evening, we gather for dinner at one of Chania's most popular restaurants. (B).
Day 9: Departure day to Athens Airport for your flight back to the USA. Kalo Taxeethee! (Have a good journey!) (B).
Workshop clients should arrive at least one day early, which requires additional cost for extra days of hotel accommodation, to be arranged prior to confirmations.
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