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Rhodes and Crete - Islands of Knights and Sun

Rhodes and Crete - Islands of Knights & Sun 2019

Discover Rhodes and Crete…surrounded by clear blue water, these islands of ancient temples, castles and fortresses, all part of the rich history dating back to the Neolithic era. We will experience their ravishing coastlines, dramatic mountain scapes, classic small villages and their many historic sites linked to the Minoans, Venetian Knights, ancient Greece and the Knights of St. John.

$2,985

Single Supplement: $575
September 19 - 28, 2019
9 Nights, 10 Days
Group size: 16 - 26
Highlights

RHODES: Old Town of Rhodes – Knights of St. John • Grand Masters Palace • Archaeological Museum  •  Village of Lindos  •  Castle & Acropolis of Lindos • Village of Archangelos  •  Valley of the Butterflies  •  Embona Village  • Anastasia’s Winery  • Castle of Kritinia – Knights of St. John  •  Panormitis Monastery  •  Church of Our Lady of Filerimos  • Ancient city of Kamiros CRETE: Arolithos • Agios Nikolaos • Elounda • Archaeological Museum of Heraklion • Wine Tasting • Historical Museum of Crete • Knosso Archaeological site • Skalani • Nikos Kazantzakis Museum …and more

  • Small pilgrimage groups 16 – 26
  • Audio systems – group guided tours (20+)
  • Luxury Coach
  • Professional Guide
  • Daily Mass
  • VAT (Value Added Tax)
  • Airline ticket from Rhodes to Crete
  • Wine Tasting – Wine Estates
  • Welcome and Farewell Dinners
  • 5 nights accommodations at 5-star hotel
  • 4 nights accommodations at 4-star hotel
  • Continental breakfast daily, 7 dinners
  • All dinners include: water/coffee & wine
  • Transfer to hotel on arrival/check-in assistance

Depart via best connections for your overnight flight to Europe connecting to Rhodes.

DAY 1

Arrival of group in Rhodes. Meet and greet at the Diagoras Rhodes Airport and transfer by private mini bus to hotel. Check-in and time at leisure. Welcome dinner in the medieval town of Rhodes. (D)

DAY 2

Rhodes City Tour: Our tour begins at the top of Monte Smith – from here one has a clear bird’s eye view of the area. The green beautifully laid out archaeological park contains the Acropolis of the ancient Rhodes and the Hellenistic stadium built in the 3rd century BC where the Athletic events of the Alioi took place. Following on, we continue to the Old Town of Rhodes – this tour gives the participants the opportunity to follow the footsteps of the Knights of St. John and their Turkish conquerors and enjoy the medieval town of Rhodes which is on UNECSO’s list of World Heritage Sites. The walk with your guide follows along the stone paved lanes past grand medieval structures- you will be taken to hidden extraordinary places away from the crowds that your guide will be able to tell you mysterious treasures of the island. You will of course also visit the famous Grand Masters Palace and the Archeological Museum with its many treasures.  At the end of the tour, guide will escort the group back to the hotel and for those who want to spend more time in the Old Town; they will be given directions on where to get taxis back on their own. (B,D)

DAY 3

Full Day Tour to Butterfly Valley, Embonas and Monolithos: We shall depart from the hotel and drive towards the West Coast until we reach our first stop: the famous valley of the butterflies. The valley is a unique and one of a kind natural park where every year thousands of colorful butterflies appear from June to the end of September. The valley is home to pristine lakes, ponds, and charming wooden bridges.

Lunch in route to Embona Village

After a stroll during which we will enjoy the natural beauty, we will continue by coach until the village of Ano Kalamonas, where a small traditional winery can be found.  The Anastasia’s Winery started in Rhodes in 1995 and in the year 2002 moved to the beautiful location by the valley of the butterflies. The winery produces 10 different wines with biologically grown Greek traditional but also international grape varieties. Here we will be able to visit the winery and taste some of the local wines they produce.  Now we move to Kritinia Castle, built by the Knights of St. John in the 16th century to protect the western side of the island.  This spectacular medieval castle was originally on three levels with each level assigned to a different Grand Master. The magnificent castle sits on a steep rock and dominates the traditional nearby mountainous village of Kritinia. From the castle, you will experience breathtaking views of the sea towards the small island of Halki.  (B,L)

DAY 4

Full day tour of Lindos  – Olive Oil Tasting & Archangelos Village: En route to Lindos we will stop in the traditional village of Archangelos and have the chance to stroll through the narrow streets with white/blues house towards the beautiful sugar-work church. In fact, the tallest building of Archangelos village is the bell tower of the church of the Taxiarchis (the Archangels Michael and Gabriel) built in the 19th century. Remarkable 14th century religious paintings can be seen in the church of Agios Ionnis o Prodromos (Saint John the Baptist) while in the local folklore museum ceramics, woven cloths, embroideries and other creations of traditional home-base folk are exhibited. In Archangelos, we will also stop at the local Olive Factory. The owner and/or his wife will show us around in the old olive factory and will offer you a choice of different olive oils to taste. As we drive towards the East Coast until we reach the renowned area of Lindos (about 50 km from the city of Rhodes),we will be passing by some of the most beautiful beaches of the island as well as several small picturesque villages. Lindos is not only the most picturesque, but also the most famous village of the island. It is a site protected by UNESCO. The small white houses, build right next to each other, the small natural harbor, the fortress and its small pebbled roads makes Lindos a must on the itinerary of every visitor.The Castle of Lindos serves as an entrance to the Acropolis and was one the administrative building for the Knights of St. John. From the Acropolis, you can see the tomb of Kleovoulos, one of the seven wise men of the ancient times. Under his government, Lindos had become the most powerful city of the island.  Lindos is actually a pedestrian area, protected by the Government and all vehicles muse be left outside the village. The only transportation within the village is by donkeys. After our guided tour of Lindos and our visit to the Acropolis we will have some free time for shopping. (B,D)

DAY 5

Tour of Philermos & Kamiros: We will depart from the hotel by mini bus and drive to Filerimos. The upper part of Filerimos is a large plateau and contains ruins of several buildings including the foundations of a temple, and early Christian basilica and a Byzantine church. In 1876, excavations brought to light the Hellenic temple of Athena Polias which was used as a spiritual place for the Order of the Knights of St. John. On top of the hill, there is a beautiful church which was destroyed under the Turkish occupation and later rebuilt by the Italians who housed the Capuchin monks. We will then continue to the site of the island’s ancient city – Kamiros. Kamiros was one of the three large Doric cities of the island, which united with Ialyssos and Lindos in the 5th century B.C. to create the powerful city – state of Rhodes. In 1929, archaeologists localized the ruins of the ancient city, and the excavations which brought it back to life continued till the end of the World War II.  Our dinner tonight is in a former building of the Knights of St. John’s within an utterly elegant environment. (B,D)

DAY 6

Morning at leisure then flight to Crete: Flight lands in Crete at 1:00 with transportation to our hotel in Heraklion.  Afternoon free in Heraklion with dinner out in the city at a highly rated seafood restaurant.  (B,D)

DAY 7

Spinalonga Island – Agios Nikolaos:  We make our way to the picturesque little town of Elounda. Upon arrival we will board our two traditional wooden fishing boats for an enjoyable crossing to Spinalonga island. The island forms a natural defense “mechanism” for Elounda harbour, and in 1579 the Venetians built a mighty fortress here on the ruins of an ancient acropolis. The Venetians kept control of the island even after the rest of Crete fell to the Ottomans in 1669 and it remained under their control for almost another half a century until its capitulation in 1715.  In later years Spinalonga was a Leper Colony.  Leisurely visit and lunch in Agios Nikolaos.  (B)

DAY 8

Heraklion & Wine Tasting/light lunch in the countryside: Our day starts with a visit to the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, one of the largest and most important museums in Greece, and among the most important museums in Europe. The museum houses representative artifacts from all the periods of Cretan prehistory and history, covering achronological span of over 5,500 years from the Neolithic period to Roman times. The singularly important Minoan collection contains unique examples of Minoan art, many of them true masterpieces. The Herakleion Museum is rightly considered as the museum of Minoan culture par excellence worldwide.  Afterwards, we move into the countryside for lunch and wine tasting at one of Crete’s premier wine estates.  Returning to Heraklion we will visit the Historical Museum of Crete. The Museum was founded and is run by the Society of Cretan Historical Studies with the focus of preserving and showcasing the cultural heritage of Crete from early Byzantine times to the modern era. Temporary exhibitions cover a wide span, ranging from Byzantine to modern art, showcasing key literary figures in Greece (Elytis, Kazantzakis), and presenting major historical events from the late 19th century to the Second World War.  Dinner: Cretan Feast at Arolithos! (B,D)

DAY 9

Knossos Archaeological site – Skalani – Nikos Kazantzakis Museum: This site has been inhabited since the Neolithic era. The Knossos Palace dates back to the Minoan civilization times, around 2000 BC and was destroyed 200 years later by an earthquake. A second palace, more important, was in turn ruined between 1500 and 1450 BC following the eruption of the volcano of Santorini. It was nevertheless inhabited for fifty more years, until its total destruction by a fire, which occurred around 1400 BC. The Minoan palaces were not only the seat of the sovereign, but also the administrative and religious center of the whole surrounding region.  Lunch – A highly rated restaurant in Skalani.  The Nikos Kazantzakis Museum pays tribute to the important intellectual, author, thinker, philosopher, politician and traveler. The Museum holds manuscripts and notes by the author; samples of his correspondence, politicians and authors of his time; rare photographic material; costumes and other material from theatre productions of his works in Greece and portraits and sculptures of the author.  The museum brings alive the memory of Nikos Kazantzakis and promotes his work and personality.  Dinner: Heraklion – Here’s the finest “balcony” in the city embraced by the soft breeze of the Cretan Sea, granting the most beautiful panoramic views of the old city harbor and the Venetian fortress you’ll ever see. With its buoyant, yet luxurious atmosphere, they offer a unique culinary experience. Fine local ingredients, cooked with imagination and respect towards authentic Cretan traditions, result in delicious dishes. (B, D)

DAY 10

Depart Crete:  After breakfast transport to airport for those returning home or to the port to pick up the catamaran for our Santorini extension.

MedSeas Accommodation

9 nights accommodations at 5 and 4 – Star hotels

Transfer to hotel on arrival/check-in assistance
Tours with luxury, a/c coach
Airline ticket between Rhodes and Crete

Welcome and Farewell dinner
Continental breakfast daily, 7 dinners, 1 lunch
All dinners include: water/coffee & wine

Euros to be collected at check-in – 95€ per person
Discount of $50 for each pilgrimage you’ve taken prior to 2018

Rhodes and Crete - Islands of Knights and Sun 2019

September 19 - 28, 2019
9 Nights, 10 Days

$2,985

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Continuing to Santorini

How about continuing with us to Santorini?

Our journey through the Aegean takes us next to Santorini…one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Named by the Venetians after Saint Irene, this ancient trading post of the Minoan Civilization is now immortalized by poets and painters.  Santorini is celebrated for its light, multi-colored cliffs, wonderful wines and whitewashed homes set against picture-perfect sunsets…join us!

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✓ I can’t make it on the above dates but please keep me posted for alternative dates.
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