Heraklion Regional Unit
Religious & Spiritual Activities

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Our most recommended Heraklion Regional Unit Religious & Spiritual Activities

Heraklion: SUV Tour to Matala and Ancient Phaistos

1. Heraklion: SUV Tour to Matala and Ancient Phaistos

Your experience starts from Heraklion, from where it will head south to Matala. In the 1960s, hippies from all over the world flocked to the area and lived in the caves as part of their beliefs and way of life. Along the road, you will come across the many vineyards and olive groves of the fertile plain of Messara. Next, stop at the Monastery of Panagia Kalyviani, which is famous for its charitable work. The compound of the monastery that was gradually formed around the 14th-century single-nave church became very famous in the 19th century, due to its reputation as a miraculous icon. Following that, visit the Palace of Phaistos, where the famous Phaistos Disc was unearthed and whose script was only recently deciphered. Your final stop is the famous Matala Beach, where you will visit the caves where the hippies used to live. It will be there that you can also cool off with a swim in the crystal waters of the Libyan Sea, before heading back to your point of origin.

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Heraklion, Knossos & Minoan Culture Show

2. Heraklion, Knossos & Minoan Culture Show

Immerse yourself in the history of Crete and visit one of the most famous archeological sites. The Minoan Palace of Knossos, first built in 2000 B.C., was the residence of the legendary King Minos. The building, with an estimated 1,300-1,400 rooms, was excavated around 1900 by Sir Arthur Evans and partially reconstructed. Afterwards, embark on a short journey into more recent history and discover the old town of Heraklion with the well-known Morosini Fountain in Lions Square, the Loggia and St. Mark's Basilica. Immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere, hike through the narrow streets, visit the market, browse the local shops, or visit the Venetian port with its fortress. Explore small parks, street cafés, and many historical buildings and fountains from Venetian and Turkish times. After visiting the excavation site see a very special performance. Once more experience Minoan culture with 3D video and traditional dancers wearing original costumes. Eat small appetizers prepared according to traditional Minoan recipes to bring history back to life.

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From Heraklion: Day Trip to Knossos and the Lasithi Plateau

3. From Heraklion: Day Trip to Knossos and the Lasithi Plateau

Discover the breathtaking beauty of the Lasithi Plateau on a day trip from Heraklion. Admire the remaining windmills and the drainage system that dates back to the Venetian Empire. Pass through traditional villages such as Psychro. Visit the Dikteon Cave, where Zeus is said to have been born. Continue to the village of Tzermiado and enjoy lunch in an authentic tavern before going to the Keras Kardiotissas Monastery, known for its remarkable murals. Next, visit the Minoan Palace of Knossos and learn the legend of the settlement at sites such as the Throne Room and Royal Chambers.

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Lasithi Area: Cretan Culture & Nature Tour

4. Lasithi Area: Cretan Culture & Nature Tour

After getting picked up from your hotel, begin your journey along a 100-kilometer route that will show you the best of Cretian culture and history. First, head to the traditional village of Kritsa. Here, stroll around picturesque alleys and admire handmade artifacts or pay a visit to Kritsa Agricultural Cooperative where award-winning olive oil is produced. Afterwards, don't miss a visit to Panagia Kera Church, where you can admire 1000-year old frescoes and murals. Continue towards Katharo Plateau, admiring sheep, goats, and maybe even Cretan vultures along the way. Afterwards, head to Lassithi Plateau, where you will have the opportunity to visit the birthplace of Zeus at the Diktaean Cave. Then, begin your descent through the village of Potamoi, where you will stop to refresh under the shade of palm trees and drink fresh spring water. Stop for a visit of the Monastery of Kremasta before continuing to the village of Houmeriako where you will visit a Venetian mansion and the home of the Ottoman Pasha. FInally, cross the plain of Limnes with its vineyards, olive groves, and orchards. Make a stop at the village of Limnes to stretch your legs and meet its kind-hearted residents before beginning the journey back to your hotel.

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Crete: Lasithi Plateau Off-Road Land Rover Safari with Lunch

5. Crete: Lasithi Plateau Off-Road Land Rover Safari with Lunch

Experience being driven off-road in a Land Rover through traditional mountain villages and historic landmarks on this Lasithi Plateau safari with lunch. Visit the Cave of Psychro, see the Roman aqueduct, and more. Admire the view from Afentis to the north, south, and west side of the island. The day starts in Hersonissos (Chersonisos). After the necessary briefing from the driver, head south towards the Lasithi Plateau. The road soon leads to the Aposelemis Dam. There you can see the abandoned village of Sfendili, which, depending on the water level, is visible or not. Continue driving on the provincial road among the olive groves to the picturesque village of Amariano. Here you can have a drink and see the remains of the Roman aqueduct. Then, the off-road driving begins. The landscape becomes wilder and the altitude increasing quickly. If you’re lucky, spot the vultures that fly in the area. The road ends at the fertile Lasithi Plateau where there were once more than 1000 windmills, which pumped groundwater to irrigate the fields. Next, stop at the impressive Cave of Psychro (Dikteon Cave) at an altitude of 1025 m. There, according to mythology, Zeus was born. The cave is considered an archeological site and can be visited for a surcharge. To reach the cave, follow a beautiful and short uphill path. If you do not want to walk, there are donkeys that take visitors to the cave for a fee. Right after your visit to the cave, get the opportunity to taste traditional Cretan cuisine in a local restaurant. After your meal, start your return. Travel through the col, where the windmills that the locals used to grind their flour are still standing. A few kilometers later, visit Keras Monastery (Monastery Panagia Kera Kardiotissa), one of the most important religious monuments in Crete. Due to its central location between Heraklion and the Lasithi Plateau, the monastery was used as a shelter for Cretan freedom fighters. Within a few months, between October 1866 and June 1867, Panagia Kera was burned twice by Omer Pasha's army. On the way back, make a final stop in the village of Mohos for a drink of raki (alcoholic drink). The view from the road to the Cretan Sea, Mallia, and Hersonissos as the sun sets is a perfect way to end the day.

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Crete: Land Rover Safari with Lunch in Agiofarago & Matala

6. Crete: Land Rover Safari with Lunch in Agiofarago & Matala

Journey into the wild and untamed side of Crete by Land Rover. Visit quiet, spiritual Agiofarago with its wild beauty, then experience the contrast of noisy Matala with its hippie style. After being picked up from your hotel, drive south through the plain of Messara, to Agiofarago: the gorge of the Saints. Enjoy a drink in the traditional village of Siva, then stop at the 14th century Odigitria Monastery. From there the rugged dirt tracks will lead you to Agiofarago. Stretch your legs along a 30 minute path crossing the gorge, scattered with oleander and olive trees. Discover a beautiful beach stretching to the Libyan Sea, where you can swim and snorkel. Enjoy a delicious picnic with local Cretan products. Continue to Matala, a small but crowded village, with a long sandy beach and crystal clear deep waters. Explore carved Roman tombs, have a swim at the beach, and eat lunch in a traditional local tavern.

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What people are saying about Heraklion Regional Unit

So big ❤ Thanks to the tour guide Viola, everything told and lived with heart! The only thing, you have to know, after the early meeting we rattled off many hotels for 1.45 hours to collect them all ... nervous. Trip highly recommended. 1 stop monastery 2 stop Zeus cave (scho bisl exhausting) a worthwhile 3 stop Knossos .... there is not much left, a is ok ... just history of Greece. Have fun after traveling

Was a great day one thing the climb to cave is not for the faint hearted but it’s a great achievement once there last fifty yards path is very uneven lunch is at restaurant but no menu or prices really available so ask before you decide Altogether though the day was excellent

Transport and tour went really well, Knossos is not that big ... not as much to see as, for example, in Pompeii ... but historically interesting, nice dance performance in a beautiful garden

Great trip but with a monothonic guide

Really nice trip with an excellent funny driver but with a monothonic guide which gets you to fall to sleep with her voice and lack of excitement.