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Overview
Itinerary
Fitness / Practicalities
Tour Director


  • Absorb captivating views across the Cretan landscape from the beautiful Lassithi Plateau, where raptors glide in the valley below

  • Explore fascinating archaeological remains at Gournia and Malia

  • Look out for waders, migrant pipits and larks in the coastal town of Elounda

“An excellent mixed programme. Kevin Hand is always helpful and interesting"

"It was all wonderful"

– ACE customers on a 2023 tour to Crete with Kevin Hand

Its mountains and gorges alive with wildlife, Crete is one of the most exceptional botanical areas in the Mediterranean, boasting a superb flora containing at least 160 endemic species, including ebony, rock lettuce and birthwort; while in September, the landscape comes alive with cyclamen, autumn crocuses and sea daffodils.

 

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. At the head of the Samaria Gorge, where centuries-old cypresses stand sentinel, we will seek out mountain plants such as aubretia and yellow Star-of-Bethlehem.

 

New for 2025, we will be offering two variations of this popular tour, a relaxed April edition, and an autumn edition offering a more active experience for those who prefer longer walks. Our September itinerary will include extended time near Malia to enjoy additional walks in the local area. On our arrival in Omalos, we will embark on an introductory walk around the edge of the Plateau of Omalos, past orchards and sinkholes, looking up at the mountains that we will explore the following day and spotting birds that may be resting here during their migration south.

 

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.

 

Tour Director Kevin Hand, MSc, MCIEEM, is a conservationist and environmental consultant with a special interest in birds, mammals and ecotourism. Kevin led a Darwin Initiative project on the taiga forests in Siberia, a project on sustainable forest use in the Ecuadorian Amazon with the Yachana Foundation, and ran National Tree Week in the UK for 13 years. 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.

 

Wild & Ancient

This tour is part of ACE’s ‘Wild & Ancient’ series, unique products designed to showcase the many interwoven aspects of the landscapes we visit. These tours usually focus on natural history (particularly flora and fauna, but often also geology and insect life), interpreting the landscapes, their ecology and their conservation. As part of this wider exploration, they also shed light on an array of fascinating historical sites, from the Bronze Age Nuraghi of Sardinia to the Neolithic monuments of Orkney. On some tours, the archaeological and historical content is provided by an additional Tour Director or local guide. Please read the advertised itinerary carefully and if you would like further information about a specific tour, contact the ACE office.

 

Days
8
Cost
£2895
Tour Code
CRE2-25


Included: return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, seven breakfasts, one lunch, seven dinners with wine, water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities & all taxes.


Not Included: travel insurance, single room (Omalos) & double room for single use (Agios Nikolaos) supplement £210, double room for single use (throughout) supplement £230.

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