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Island of Crete Culinary & Cultural Exploration

(This Tour has a 2 Person Minimum and 12 Person Maximum)

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Priced From
$3,798 USD *
(For One Person, Double Occupancy)
* Plus taxes. Tours sold on an availability basis.
7 days | 6 nights

An Adventure into the Soul
of Mediterranean Gastronomy and Culture

This is everything you are hoping for in a Greek Island destination. Picturesque villages, archaeological sites, beautiful mountains, valleys and plenty of lovely beaches all combined into an exclusive experience on the Greek Island of Crete. The largest island of Greece represents one of the oldest, healthiest and most beloved gastronomic traditions in the world. The Mediterranean diet is refined as the Cretian Diet. It is the synergy of tradition, philosophy of life, a heartwarming hospitably of its people and the richness of the island’s naturally grown products. From Homer’s Odyssey “liquid gold” olive oils to excellent cheese and one of the world’s oldest winemaking regions, Crete’s heritage is undeniably linked to its cuisine. Follow this culinary adventure guiding you to immerse yourself in a melting pot of unique flavors, aromas and ingredients that will unfold the richness of the Cretan “Miracle” cuisine with its secret of longevity.

Island of Crete Culinary & Cultural Exploration

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Small Group Friendly

(Consider Adding a 2 or 3 Night Athens Excursion to this package.  Click Here for Sample.)

Itinerary Accommodations Map FAQ
VACATION HIGHLIGHTS
Please note: Our tours are designed with flexible itineraries to accommodate seasonality and desired dates of travel.
Breakfast & Dinner Daily
Three Lunches with Classes or Tastings
Round-Trip Airport Transfers
Traditional Crete Cooking Class
Day to Explore Crete Surroundings
Cheese, Olive Oil & Wine Tastings
Lamb Trilogy & Cooking Class
Traditional Greek Sweets Baking Class
Wine & Beer with Included Meals
While our tours are designed as soft adventure experiences, walking, climbing stairs, and in rare cases mild hiking may be required. If you have mobility issues, you should speak with one of our culinary travel specialists to determine if this tour is appropriate for your situation.
AVAILABLE DATES
This tour runs from late April through to the end of October
SAMPLE ITINERARY
Please note: Actual itineraries are subject to change due to seasonality.
(click item for details)
Day 1
Airport Transfers to Hotel Upon your arrival at the Heraklion Airport you will be met and transferred to the hotel by an English-speaking driver. The hotel is located in the Koutouloufari Traditional Village, just 25-minute drive from the airport. An introduction to the island will be made by the driver as you are presented with refreshing water, maps and information package designed just for you.
Welcome Dinner with Wine After you settle into your room a Welcome Dinner in Restaurant Rouga tou Mpaoula will be served. Tradition and taste meet a relaxing, comfortable and bright place to experience Cretan gastronomy and culture at its best, by the fireplace in winter and the cool courtyard during the summer. The menu is based on top Cretan products and authentic homemade recipes. A variety of wild greens, Cretan pancakes with cauliflower, smoked lean pork, escargot, meats and pasta and many more specialties. You will be welcomed by your tour hostess who will overview the week, answer any questions and give you all the detailed information to make this your best vacation ever.
Day 2
Mediterranean Breakfast | Dinner with Wine Each morning, relax and enjoy a Cretan style breakfast filled with delicious and nutritious local products that will get you ready for day’s activities. Daily fresh ingredients include a variety of products such as homemade breads, breakfast cakes, and yogurt with honey, local handmade cheese, toast, eggs, coffee, tea and juice. Dinner will be served in Restaurant Rouga tou Mpaoula. Tradition and taste meet a relaxing, comfortable and bright place to experience Cretan gastronomy and culture at its best, by the fireplace in winter and the cool courtyard during the summer. The menu is based on top Cretan products and authentic homemade recipes. A variety of wild greens, Cretan pancakes with cauliflower, smoked lean pork, escargot, meats and pasta and many more specialties. You may choose from a list of salads, starters and a main dish with sweets or fruits for dessert. Maria will be there to help with your selections from the specialities of the day.
Traditional Crete Cooking Class with Lunch and Wine Mrs. Maria, the owner of the Traditional Restaurant Rouga tou Mpaoula, will welcome you to your first hands-on cooking class. Her love for food, the sounds and the smells from her bustling kitchen will engage all your senses and invite you to follow her ways of preparing delicious Cretan dishes, which you will enjoy at the end of your class. You are called to show your skills on how to make Granny’s traditional dough for pies. Prepare and enjoy a variety of delicious pies with all kinds of fresh mountain vegetation and traditional Crete cheese. For a bit of sweetness, try crafting Skaltsounia mini pies which are made with myzithra cheese mixed with honey and herbs. A nice piece of pork which you will have marinated and seasoned at the beginning of the class will be slow cooked with potatoes, the Cretan way and will be ready to enjoy for lunch.
Free Afternoon to Relax and Explore Your Breathtaking Surroundings Time to enjoy all that your idyllic setting and your hotel has to offer. Relax by the beautiful landscape of hotel’s swimming pool filled with vivid flowers and climbing plants or visit the charming village of Koutouloufari, which offers its visitors the best of both worlds: it still maintains the charm of a traditional Cretan village while providing tourists with a variety of delightful restaurants, taverns and cafeterias. In Hersonissos, apart from it’s beaches the wide range of water sports, and busy nightlife, you can visit a small aquarium Aqua World and Reptile Rescue Centre, featuring local sea life and reptiles from Crete and from all around the World as well as a hidden gem of that lively resort, the Cretan open-air Museum "Lychnostatis", where you can get a taste of traditional Cretan life and admire it’s collections of Nature & Flora, gardens of fruit-trees, aromatic herbs, shrubs and plants, stones and minerals of Crete. Beautiful sandy beaches of Stalis, Malia Old Town and The Minoan Palace of Malia are just a stone’s throw away from your hotel. The friendly owners of Villa Diktynna will be happy to assist you with ordering a taxi.
Day 3
Mediterranean Breakfast | Dinner with Wine Each morning, relax and enjoy a Cretan style breakfast filled with delicious and nutritious local products that will get you ready for day’s activities. Daily fresh ingredients included are homemade breads, breakfast cakes, and yogurt with honey, local handmade cheese, toast, eggs, coffee, tea and juice. Dinner will be served in Restaurant Rouga tou Mpaoula. Tradition and taste meet a relaxing, comfortable and bright place to experience Cretan gastronomy and culture at its best, by the fireplace in winter and the cool courtyard during the summer. The menu is based on top Cretan products and authentic homemade recipes. A variety of wild greens, Cretan pancakes with cauliflower, smoked lean pork, escargot, meats and pasta and many more specialties. You may choose from a list of salads, starters and a main dish with sweets or fruits for dessert. Maria will be there to help with your selections from the specialities of the day.
Island Culinary Excursion – Shepherds, Cheese, Olive Oil, Wine Tastings with Lunch This unique tour by private car and English-speaking escort will guide you to leave well-trodden path of the island behind and travel through small villages with its family-owned traditional workshops and local farms. A walk through the lifestyle of a local Shepherd by exploring the traditional way of producing cheese will teach you how to spot the best Cretan cheese and make you an expert of this famous livestock product of the most mountainous island in the Mediterranean. The history of this cheese is as old as Civilization itself and is connected to the farming of domestic animals as far back as 10,000 years BC. Learning about the art of Cretan olive oil making, the main nutritional factor in Cretan cuisine, you’ll discover why it’s unique aroma and low acidity claims the secret to longevity. This local tour wouldn’t be complete without tasting some of best wine varieties of Crete at a renowned organic winery. Whether you are a wine lover or an explorer of flavours, the exclusive Cretan wine blends with history stretching back over 3,500 years, will definitely take you by surprise. Your journey through the island’s flavours will be wrapped up by travelling through traditional villages with their narrow pathways where life takes place hidden from the public eye and where its inhabitants give visitors a taste of island hospitality. There will be free time to relax before dinner.
Day 4
Mediterranean Breakfast | Dinner with Wine Each morning, relax and enjoy a Cretan style breakfast filled with delicious and nutritious local products that will get you ready for day’s activities. Daily fresh ingredients included are homemade breads, breakfast cakes, and yogurt with honey, local handmade cheese, toast, eggs, coffee, tea and juice. Dinner will be served in Restaurant Rouga tou Mpaoula. Tradition and taste meet a relaxing, comfortable and bright place to experience Cretan gastronomy and culture at its best, by the fireplace in winter and the cool courtyard during the summer. The menu is based on top Cretan products and authentic homemade recipes. A variety of wild greens, Cretan pancakes with cauliflower, smoked lean pork, escargot, meats and pasta and many more specialties. You may choose from a list of salads, starters and a main dish with sweets or fruits for dessert. Maria will be there to help with your selections from the specialities of the day.
Lamb Trilogy & All Things Stuffed Greek Cooking Class with Lunch Your second hands-on cooking lesson with Mrs Maria, in her traditional restaurant will take you on a journey that highlights the island’s best flavours and traditions. Stuffed tomatoes, stuffed peppers, stuffed eggplant with rice or stuffed wine leaves with all the freshness of the season with start the tradition. Lamb is commonly used in the Greek kitchen and Crete is known for the high quality and freshness of the lamb meat. Maria will guide you through 3 different ways of preparation. With the juice of the cooked lamb you will prepare also the famous Cretan gamopilafo, tasty rice which is still now served on a traditional Cretan wedding. After your cooking class, relax and enjoy your meal, celebrating your new skills with a glass of wine or a soft drink, in a pleasant atmosphere of this Family Restaurant. A relaxing time on your own is available to you prior to dinner.
Day 5
Mediterranean Breakfast | Dinner with Wine Each morning, relax and enjoy a Cretan style breakfast filled with delicious and nutritious local products that will get you ready for day’s activities. Daily fresh ingredients included are homemade breads, breakfast cakes, and yogurt with honey, local handmade cheese, toast, eggs, coffee, tea and juice. Dinner will be served in Restaurant Rouga tou Mpaoula. Tradition and taste meet a relaxing, comfortable and bright place to experience Cretan gastronomy and culture at its best, by the fireplace in winter and the cool courtyard during the summer. The menu is based on top Cretan products and authentic homemade recipes. A variety of wild greens, Cretan pancakes with cauliflower, smoked lean pork, escargot, meats and pasta and many more specialties. You may choose from a list of salads, starters and a main dish with sweets or fruits for dessert. Maria will be there to help with your selections from the specialities of the day.
Free Day for Exploring the Island of Crete Take advantage of the central location of your accommodations as a perfect base to explore what Crete has to offer. Admire the ancient treasures, relax on one of its glorious beaches, immerse yourself in unique tranquil locations, and explore magnificent mountain ranges, fertile valleys, and steep gorges as this southernmost island in Europe simply has it all. You can spend your day by strolling down through Koutouloufari, Piskopiano or Old Hersonissos narrow paved streets and admiring its old stone houses and traditional atmosphere or visit Hersonissos Village with plethora of activities and attractions and its sandy beaches. The area is easily reached by the National Highway via by-pass road and renting a car to visit and explore Crete’s best spots is guaranteed to make your stay unforgettable! Your host will be happy to give you additional suggestions on how to make the most of your time and assist you with the car rental. Owners of the hotel will be happy to assist you in ordering a taxi.
Day 6
Mediterranean Breakfast Each morning, relax and enjoy a Cretan style breakfast filled with delicious and nutritious local products that will get you ready for day’s activities. Daily fresh ingredients include homemade breads, breakfast cakes, and yogurt with honey, local handmade cheese, toast, eggs, coffee, tea and juice.
Traditional Greek Sweets Baking Class After breakfast, the rest of the morning will be filled with pure indulgence as you learn to prepare the traditional Cretan Sweet with Mrs. Maria in her lovely kitchen. Learn the recipe of “1-2-3-4 “. These simple and humble 4 ingredients can prepare a tasty traditional Greek sweet, the Semolina Halva. Semolina, sugar, oil, water and some cooking secrets and it’s ready!! And because this seems too easy Maria will prepare with you her Cretan version of cheesecake. Now it up to you to enjoy the sweets you have made!! The remainder of the day is at your leisure before your farewell dinner.
Traditional Farewell Dinner Your farewell family style dinner will consist of Cretan Salad (Greek Horia Tiki enriched with local products, Mussels Saganaki (mussels cooked in a tomato sauce, Dolades (Stuffed wine leaves) Fresh fish on the grill along with Fried Calamari, sweets, fruits and beer and wine. This Greek family has been in the restaurant business for many years and you are sure to become part of their family during this memorable experience.
Day 7
Mediterranean Breakfast Each morning, relax and enjoy a Cretan style breakfast filled with delicious and nutritious local products that will get you ready for day’s activities. Daily fresh ingredients include homemade breads, breakfast cakes, and yogurt with honey, local handmade cheese, toast, eggs, coffee, tea and juice.
Check-Out | Transfer to Airport After breakfast, say good-bye to the lovely Crete Island. Transportation is arranged from the hotel to Heraklion International Airport
Villa Diktynna
The hotel is located on the beautiful traditional settlements on the slopes of the Mountain Pirgia at an altitude of 100 meters. The quite location of the villa Diktynna is close to the center of Hersonissos where a variety of activities and excursions can begin. Combine a calm relaxing holiday together with entertainment and cultural experiences. Beautiful flowers and climbing plants of vibrant colors decorate the external areas frequently referred to by guests as the “House of Flowers” The rooms are found around the pool or they have views of the sea. Breakfast is included daily. Facilities include an in-room kitchen with refrigerator, kettle, coffee machine and swimming pool, snack bar, internet access, AC, TV and a spacious veranda.
Koutouloufari, Crete, Greece
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What Currency is being quoted?
The Currency Code is listed directly after the published amount. If it states USD, then the quoted price is in United States Dollars. If it states CAD, then the quoted price is in Canadian Dollars. If it states EUR, then the quoted price is in European Union Dollars…etc. However, please note that all charges are processed in USD, and Epitourean’s Merchant Bank automatically calculates the currency conversion on the day of the charge.
What does Double Occupancy mean?
Two persons traveling together, and staying in the same room. Tour prices are normally quoted as “per person, double occupancy” in case two people are traveling together and staying in the same room, but paying separately. The cost of the lodging is also shared by two people, thereby reducing costs. This could be a married couple, two friends or relatives.
What is a Single Supplement?
Whenever a person travels alone, the cost of their lodging cannot be shared by another person. When tour products are priced, they are normally stated as “per person, double occupancy.” Whenever a guest occupies a room as a solo, the whole cost of the lodging must be incurred by that one individual. Tour companies accommodate this by charging a Single Supplement. Epitourean does its best to keep the single supplement as low as possible, but it is a real cost that tour companies must absorb, and must pass along to the single traveler.
If I am a Solo Traveler, will I be paired with another person?
Epitourean never pairs a solo traveler with another person without a special request. If you book Single Occupancy, you will have a room entirely to yourself. However, should you wish to be paired with another solo traveler to save on the single supplement, you may make this request. We cannot guarantee that we can accommodate such requests, since it would take another solo traveling on the same tour for the same dates. But if requested, we will certainly try.
Is a Deposit required to book a tour or getaway?
Yes. We require a 30% refundable deposit for all our domestic (USA and Canada) getaways and tours, and a 50% refundable deposit for international destinations outside of the USA and Canada. Reservations made for destinations within the USA and Canada must be paid in full 30 days prior to departure. Reservations made for destinations outside of the USA and Canada must be paid in full 60 days prior to departure.
Are flights included in the tour price?
No. Flights are never included in the price of our land-only tours. Epitourean does not provide air, rail or sea travel, unless expressly noted in the itinerary.
May I give a culinary tour as a gift?
Yes. Epitourean has a special program designed specifically for this purpose. Our Gift Packages come with features such as special messages to the recipient, gift box option, gift link (without pricing), and floating dates (should you not know when the gift recipient wants to travel). Contact a Culinary Travel Specialist at 800-390-3292 or customerservice@epitourean.com to receive additional information about this unique offering.
May we request separate beds if sharing a room?
Yes. In most cases, Epitourean can accommodate a request for two beds to be placed in one room. Just make sure to make this request in the comments section of the reservation process.
Does each guestroom have a private bathroom?
Yes. Epitourean partners with the best lodging options in each destination, and private (en suite) bathrooms are a requirement. However, you should inquire as to the configuration of bathrooms should you have a special need. For example, some tours include accommodations in medieval villages, where either a shower or bath(but maybe not both) are present.
Can your tours accommodate my dietary restrictions?
In almost all cases, Epitourean can accommodate dietary choices and restrictions. But we do request that you ask a Culinary Travel Specialist prior to making your reservation so that we can assess your individual situation.
What is your Cancellation Policy?
Generally, you may cancel any tour or getaway package within 30 days of making a reservation, and receive a full refund of any deposit or payments made, as long as the cancellation is made at least 31 days in advance of departure for domestic tours or 61 days in advance of departure for international tours. Cancellations made after 30 days incur a 10% cancellation fee (10% of the deposit amount paid, not the full price of the tour package). Cancellations made 30 days or less in advance of departure for domestic packages (60 days or less for international packages) cannot be refunded due to loss of inventory.
If I am unable to use a portion of the tour, can I get a partial refund?
Unfortunately, due to vendor and supplier contracts, we are unable to provide partial refunds for unused portions of any tour or tour component.
Are Transfers included in the Itinerary?
Round-trip transfers from the airport or train station are normally included in our international tours. Transfers to the destination (for both international and domestic tours) are not included in the tour price. Please see the Sample Itinerary. If it mentions that transfers are included, then yes, transfers are included at no additional cost.
What meals and excursions are included in the tour?
The Sample Itinerary should be your reference. If the meal or excursion is described in the Sample Itinerary, then it is included at no additional charge. For those days where it expressly notes Free time, then any optional activities you elect to participate in might have an additional cost. In addition, if the itinerary states "evening on your own," it would imply that you have the opportunity to visit a restaurant of your own choosing, and at your own expense. If you have any question about inclusions, please submit an inquiry by clicking on the blue "Ask Us a Question" button under the price section.
Is it possible to book pre or post tours or stays through Edible Destinations?
Yes, we often do have optional 2 and 3 night excursions that are priced separately from the tour. We can also assist with pre and post night stays in a hotel if you choose to come in early before the tour starts, or stay on after a tour ends. The price of those hotel stays are not included in the price of the tour, but we would be happy to provide a quote. Simply ask your Culinary Travel Specialist, or submit an inquiry by clicking on the blue "Ask Us a Question" button.
Are Guide or Host Gratuities included in the price of the tour?
Since tipping guidelines and customs vary widely between countries, we do not include gratuities in the price of the tour. Your Culinary Travel Specialist can provide you with recommendations. But the general rule is to tip modestly when you are pleased with a guide’s services, either at the end of the tour, or at the conclusion of a specialty day excursion where you will only be with that guide (or chef) on that day.
Should we plan on any personal expenses during the tour?
All lodging, meals, transfers, classes and excursions mentioned in the Sample Itinerary and Vacation Highlights are included in the price of the tour. However, we highly recommend taking local currency for purchasing personal items, souvenirs, tipping, etc. You can either get the local currency at an airport exchange service, ATM or from your local bank prior to travel. However, you should note that many hosted destinations do not accept credit cards for personal purchases.
Do you recommend Travel Protection?
We recommend that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. Travel protection plans can include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more. For more information on the available plans or to enroll, click on the link below or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 06-0248. The product descriptions provided here are only brief summaries and may be changed without notice. The full coverage terms and details, including limitations and exclusions, are contained in the insurance policy. Travelex CA Agency License #0D10209. All products listed are underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company (formerly known as Stonewall Insurance Company), 1314 Douglas Street, Suite 1400, Omaha, NE 68102. 11.17 E7N
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