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  • 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

“It was [Kevin Hand’s] ability to accommodate such varying levels of knowledge and interest, and his own tremendous enthusiasm, that made me choose this holiday in the first place”

- ACE customer on a previous Crete: Birds, Flowers & Minoans tour

Its mountains and gorges alive with wildlife, Crete possesses a magical quality that entrances every visitor. One of the most exceptional botanical areas in the Mediterranean, Crete boasts a superb flora containing at least 160 endemic species, including ebony, rock lettuce and birthwort. Myriad orchids grace archaeological sites, and fields sparkle with wild gladioli and irises.


Crete is also well known for its fauna, from the kri-kri – the wild ancestor of the domestic goat – to the rare bearded vulture that haunts the island’s mountain passes. During our walks across the Cretan landscape we will enjoy breathtaking views, particularly at the Lassithi Plateau, a fertile mountain expanse where raptors glide in the valley below. At the head of the precipitous Samaria Gorge, where centuries-old cypresses stand sentinel, we will seek out mountain plants such as aubretia and yellow Star-of-Bethlehem.


Although the emphasis of our programme will be on flowers and birds, there will also be a guided tour of the famous Minoan site of Knossos and visits to the smaller remains at Gournia and Malia. The majestic Selinari Gorge, meanwhile, offers opportunities to visit an old chapel and newly founded monastery.


Our tour to Crete coincides with Orthodox Easter, and we will take in local events and celebrations during our stay.


Our first five nights are spent at the Miramare Resort & Spa, a small hotel close to the sea near Agios Nikolaos. In Omalos we stay at the Neos Omalos, a mountain resort hotel, for two nights. This hotel offers a simpler, more basic standard of accommodation, however the surroundings and welcome make for a special atmosphere on this popular tour.


Tour Director Kevin Hand, MSc, MCIEEM, is a conservationist and environmental consultant with a special interest in birds, mammals and ecotourism. He has led many projects linking nature and communities, and recently led a team providing access to the British countryside for hard to reach groups. Kevin has led a project on eagles, vultures and other wildlife in Albania. In 2017 he was appointed President of the Cambridge Natural History Society and continues to act as Vice President. He currently also chairs the Newmarket Chalk Streams Trust.

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