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Greece: A Bike Tour on Crete (8 Days)

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 8 day(s)
Group Size: 2 - 12 people
Destination(s): Greece  
Specialty Categories: Bicycle Touring  
Season: January - December
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 2995 Canadian Dollar (CAD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 3595 Canadian Dollar (CAD)

Crete, the central island in the eastern Mediterranean, boasts unique fauna, and "flowers of Crete" – a springtime miracle. Although it is the biggest Greek Island, it is very narrow. You can stand at heady heights and see the Mediterranean in both directions. From turquoise bays and beautiful beaches that enjoy 340 days of sunshine a year, you will ride deep into the land: Here, 1000 years before the classical Hellenistic tradition evolved, the famous Minoan culture built astonishing palaces, developed a commercial empire, and established the oldest known alphabet. They developed profound arts and skills, and now the Iraklion Museum of Archaeology is considered one of the most important in Europe. Conquerors of many ilks have since wanted to exploit the island’s key location for their purposes. Dorians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Venetians, Turks, and lately British and Germans have all fought for a stronghold here. Most have left their mark on the landscape, the dominant ones being architects from Venice. The proud people of Crete fought against them all, knowing they had little chance of victory, or even of survival. The remote villages in the mountains present music, legends, and traditions that are strongly related to heroic events from the past. Come to cycle through these enchanted villages, to challenge the gorges and the mountains, or to relax with an unbelievable view from a mountain to the sea. Come to taste typical Cretan cuisine, to smell the heady fragrance of endless carpets of flowers in the meadows, to explore the incredible wall paintings in palaces that did not lose their royal impression through the passing of 3600 years; to adore the Griffon soaring over your head - and yes – to swim in the deep, crystal clear water of the Mediterranean. This is a life-time experience – a phenomenal combination of vacation and adventure.

Day 1: Pickup in Iraklion (a.k.a. Heraklio or Heraklion) early afternoon for transfer to Hania (a.k.a. Chania), or meet in Hania at 17:00. The old city of Hania is spectacular by night; you will have time to explore before and after dinner. Includes: (D). (Meal inclusions provided for guided trips. Self-guided trips include breakfast only) Kalives Beach Hotel, Hania.

Day 2: 58 km/36 miles.
Beginning at Kalamy or Kalives (near Hania), you will ride to Hora Sfakion, crossing western Crete from the Aegean coast in the north to the Libyan Sea in the south. The first 15 km are relaxed flat and lightly rolling, followed by a steep 17 km climb to 700 meters in the mountainous valley of Askifou. Cycle the flat plateau of Askifou for 10 km, then climb slightly before enjoying 12 km of uninterrupted descent all the way down to sea level. An early arrival at Hora Sfakion will allow time to explore the famous Aradena gorge and watch the sunset from the summit of Agia Ekaterini. Dinner options include tavernas and excellent seafood restaurants on the lovely waterfront of Hora Sfakion. Includes: (B), (L). Livikon Suites, Chora Sfakion.

Day 3: 73 km/46 miles.
The ride from Hora Sfakion take you along the savage southern coast allowing you unbelievable views of the sea from every hill, bay and cape. Take in the Venetian fortress of Frangokostelo and ancient chapels and churches along the way, especially at Vouvas, Nomikiana and Argules. Cycle through the gorges of Koutzifou (uphill...) and Kourtaliotiko (downhill…). Lunch is taken in the traditional village of Rodakino. Includes: (B), (L). Anna Apartments and Studio, Mirithios.

Day 4: 42 km/26 miles.
Transfer to begin cycling in Spili. An easy ride takes you from there to Sivas, and down to the Messara valley. Between Spili and Kissou-Kambos, pass through the village of Akoumia, then enjoy a great descent to the Akoumianos river valley and a shallow climb to the village of Nea Kria Vrisi. There follows an extraordinary 11 km ride between two mountains - all the way down to the marina of Agia Galini. After lingering at the marina, climb to Agia Paraskevi, then descend to the coast at Timpaki, for a flat coastal ride to Kamillary and your inn in Sivas. Includes: (B), (L). Sigelakis Studios, Sivas.

Day 5: Relaxing round Sivas.
Shivas Hotel is located on a hill, 10 minutes ride from the sea, 15 minutes ride from Festoes (one of the most important Minoan Palaces in Crete and the site of the discovery of the “Festos Disk”), 20 minutes away from Gortyn Odeon where a full size detailed 2600-year-old codex of “Gortyn Laws” is presented, 20 minutes away from Vori (where a fantastic ethnographic museum is located) - and 25 km north of the Lybian Sea resort of Kalai Limanes. A variety of self-guided options are available from here, and depending on your choice, we will supply the literature, maps, and transportation. Includes: (B), (D).Same lodging.
Suggested options: Visit Festoes and Gortyn (an hour for each visit, plus two hours of cycling); A visit to the museum of Vori (2-3 hours including the ride); Checking Matala’s beach reputation as the best in Crete (10 minutes to all day long…); Hiking along Agio Farango Canyon (90 Minutes each direction).

Day 6: 54 km/34 miles.
Cross Crete to the north again, from Agii Deka to Archanes, starting with the Messara Valley, then a gradual 28 km climb through Loures, Atsipdes, Ano Akria, Mades, and Metaxochory, to cross the continental divide. This ride becomes very challenging, and the peak at Choudessy is about 528 m ASL. Includes: (B), (L). Country Hotel Velani, Avdou.

Day 7: 56 km/35 miles.
After enjoying the sunrise vista over the Yuchtas Mountains, an early breakfast followed by a 25 minute van transfer takes you to the coastal region, east of the city of Iraklion, where you’ll begin a steady 17 km climb that will take you to the enchanted Lasithi Plateau – a valley at the elevation of 1000 meters (3200 feet), look out for the peculiar windmills. A ride through the beauty of the valley will be followed by a visit to the local villages and a quick lunch before a 5 km climb to the pass will take you to the jewel of the crown: 30 km of a continuous descent, all the way to the sea-level in the town of Agios Nikolaos. A drink in one of the picturesque cafes on the water front will end your 350 km journey across and along the Island. You will then be transferred back to Archanes, for a farewell dinner. Includes: (B), (D). Same lodging.

Day 8: Relax in the Villa with optional excursions to the nearby historic sites.
Your villa is in an excellent location: 5 minutes from Knossos, the most important and most impressive Minoan site ever found; exposed and reconstructed by the legendary scholar Arthur Evans. The sites of Iraklion: the capital of Crete; the Iraklion Museums, the colourful market, The Venetian Citadal, the lively town center with the Murossini Fountain, the Loggia, and many others, are also within 20 minutes drive. Shadowing Archanes from the west is the Yuchtas, with a Minoan sanctuary at the summit, calling the adventurer for a morning climb. At the days end, farewells and a transfer to your local hotel or to the airport will complete the adventure. Includes: (B).

Supplemental Tour Information:
- Start: Hania, 17:00 day one
- Finish: Iraklion, 16:00 day eight

Airfare is not included in the tour price.

- Guided Cost: $3595 (per person, includes 8 days, 7 nights, 7 breakfasts, 4 picnic lunches, 3 dinners, guide and van support, maps/route notes, luggage transfers, applicable taxes)
- Self-Guided: $2995 (per person, includes 8 days, 7 nights, 7 breakfasts, maps/route notes, luggage handling, taxes)
- Single Occupancy: $765
- Bicycle Rental: Hybrid/Mountain: $220
- Guided Dates: By Request.
- Self-Guided Dates: You choose! We confirm within 48 hours.

All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.