• Absorb captivating views across the Cretan landscape from the beautiful Lassithi Plateau
• Explore the Minoan palace at Knossos in addition to the remains at Gournia and Malia
• Look out for waders, migrant pipits and larks in the coastal town of Elounda, followed by a nearby cliff walk where wild gladioli and endemic orchids grow above the sea
Depart Gatwick 1710 on Easyjet, arriving Heraklion 1310. Transfer to Aghios Nikolaos for five nights at Hotel Miramare.
Morning lecture followed by coastal town of Elounda (waders, migrant pipits, larks in former salt-pans) and peninsula of Spinalonga (sunken city of Olous) for cliff walk (wild gladioli, endemic orchids, birds of prey) followed by boat trip to Venetian island fortress of Spinalonga.
Minoan Palace of Malia (marsh shore with short turf covered in Cretan camomile and catch fly). Free afternoon (superb beach).
Day 4 Lassithi Plateau (large, fertile mountain plateau with panoramic views) for orchids, upland plants, fruit groves with optional visit to Dhiktean Cave (birthplace of Zeus).
Lassithi Plateau (large, fertile mountain plateau with panoramic views) for orchids, upland plants, fruit groves with optional visit to Dhiktean Cave (birthplace of Zeus).
Morning: ruins of Gournia (unusual Minoan town), rocky coastline in search of Cretan ebony. Afternoon: gigantic gorge mouth at Monastiraki (chough, alpine swift).
Minoan palace at Knossos, Selinari Gorge (chapel, monastery and vulture colony), Rethimnon, Agia Lake (waders and migrant water-birds) then transfer for two nights at Neos Omalos Hotel in mountains of western Crete.
Across Omalos plateau to Samaria Gorge, exploring little- known paths, searching for mountain plants (endemic Cretan tulip, aubretia, yellow star-of-Bethlehem, centuries-old cypresses), with possible sightings of bearded vulture and agrimi (wild goat).
Depart Chania 1435, arriving Gatwick 1635.