Discover treasures of the ancient Minoan civilisation on the wonderful island of Crete, staying at the centrally located 5-star Aquila Atlantis Hotel
Heraklion - 4 nights
Crete, the largest of the Greek islands and steeped in history, is almost a separate country. The present capital, Heraklion served as the port for Minoan Knossos. Roman, Byzantine and Arab occupation, followed by a period of Venetian and then Ottoman rule until the Greek War of Independence united the island with Greece.
Exploration naturally begins at the Minoan Palace at Knossos whose restored ruins mark the site of the palace c1700BC. Vast, absorbing and puzzling, its ruins are deeply associated with mythology – the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur comes to mind.
Heraklion’s Archaeological Museum houses the world’s greatest collection of Minoan art including the hall of frescoes, statues and artefacts such as the Phaestos Disc, Bull’s Head, Gold Bee Pendant, Double Axe and Octopus Vase and other discoveries from Minoan sites.
Heraklion also reveals a wealth of Venetian architecture as befitting its one-time position as Venetian capital of the Aegean.
A journey south across the fertile vine-covered central plain reaches the ancient sites of Gortys, by whose famous plane tree according to legend Europe and Zeus made love, Agia Triada and Phaestos, the latter destroyed by its rival, Gortys and thus with palace remains more purely Minoan.
New Classic Resort
Cultural Short Break
Jules Verne Sightseeing
Local Expert Guides
Group Size: 8 – 25
Day 1 Fly to Heraklion. Transfer to the 5-star Aquila Atlantis Hotel for four nights.
Day 2 Visit Heraklion’s old harbour, site of the Venetian Fortress. A walking tour includes the churches of Agios Minas, Titos and Markos, the Loggia city hall and the renowned Archaeological Museum. (B)
Day 3 Visit the Palace of Knossos, excavated in 1878 by British archaeologist, Arthur Evans who uncovered and reconstructed part of the Palace. A scenic drive into the hills to the traditional farming village of Archanes. Enjoy a cooking demonstration with tasting of the local food and wine specialities. (B)
Day 4 Visit Gortys, once the capital of Crete after the Roman conquest, the Law Code of Gortys, Byzantine Agios Titos and the Roman Odeon. Continue to Phaestos, the second largest Minoan palace with views of Messara Valley and Ida Mountains. Visit Agia Triada, an ancient Minoan villa. (B)
Day 5 Return flight. (B)
A modern 5-star hotel in central Heraklion with views of the harbour and close to the Archaeological museum. Restaurants, bar, pools, spa and WiFi (free). 164 air-conditioned rooms with hairdryer, safe, mini-fridge, tea/coffee making facilities and satellite TV.
per person in a twin/double room
British Airways from Gatwick (Apr 22 - easyJet from Gatwick)
Supplements per person
Single supplement £125
British Airways Club Europe from £295
easyJet from Gatwick – nil
easyJet from Manchester £90
Extra nights – Heraklion
Aquila Atlantis Hotel
(per night) £50 (Jun £60)
Single supplement £38
Arrival or departure transfer add £18
Air travel and taxes, transfers, 4 nights’ accommodation, breakfast daily, itinerary as described, services of guides and local representatives. If our specially negotiated airfares are unavailable at the time of booking, a supplement may apply.
Travel insurance, optional excursions, entrance fees, accommodation tax, tipping, porterage, any government taxes or compulsory charges introduced after publication.
An accommodation tax is payable locally, currently €4 per room per day. Entrance fees are not included and are approximately €45 (€22 for visitors over 65)
Please complete this form and a member of our sales department will contact you as soon as possible to confirm your booking and take payment. Our opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 5.30pm and Saturdays 10am to 2pm