Christian Crete: 8 Days
Day 1: Athens city tour
Αrrive in Athens capital of Greece and start your journey for a life-changing experience. Meet and assist at the airport and transfer to the centre of the city. On route to your hotel you will have a first glance of the ancient treasures and Christian history in a condensed city tour by bus, where our guide will point out the House of Parliament, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and Presidential Palace and the Panathenaic Stadium, also known as the Kallimarmaro (the "beautifully marbled"), an athletic stadium in the centre of Athens that hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. Check into your Hotel and have the remainder of the day free to relax or take a stroll along the streets of Athens to enjoy the flavour of the city. This evening you will enjoy the first of many delectable Mediterranean style dinners, overnight.
Day 2: Acropolis – Old city – Athens Metropolitan Cathedral
Following breakfast today you will visit Athens, the foundation of democracy. Early morning visit the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and Erectheum before viewing Athens atop Mars Hill where Paul stood and preached the truth to the Gentile nation. Additional sites include the Agora (ancient market place and centre of Athenian public life) and the fabulous New Acropolis Museum. A short walk through the narrow streets of the Old city, the famous Plaka with a multitude of shops and cafes. You cannot miss the little church of "Panagia Kapnikarea” one of the most important Byzantine monuments in Athens in the middle of Ermou Street that dates back to 1050 and the Annunciation Cathedral, the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens, popularly known as the "Mētrópolis" on Mitropoleos street. Afternoon transfer to Piraeus port for departure by overnight ferry-boat to Crete – the largest Greek island with a wealth of historical & Byzantine monuments, unparallel natural beauty, local Cretan customs and traditions.
Day 3: Crete - Chania
Early morning arrival in Chania, one of the 2 ports on the north side of the island. Start from the Old town of Chania, with the Venetian Harbour, the old port. Continue to Kolymbari visit the Monastery of Gonia dedicated to the Assumption of Virgin Mary, housing the first buildings of the Orthodox Academy of Crete (OAC) an Ecclesiastical Foundation a non-profit Institution, operating under the spiritual auspices of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Konstantinopolis. Afternoon free in Chania to explore the old city, overnight.
Day 4: Crete - Rethymno
After breakfast departure for the prefecture of Rethymno. Located at the South of Rethnymnon is the Holy Stavropegiac and Patriarchal Preveli Monastery of Saint John the Theologian (Evangelist), known as the Monastery of Preveli. The monastery is consisted of two main building complexes, the Lower Monastery of Saint John the Baptist and the Rear Monastery of Saint John the Theologian which is in operation today. The Monastery has a glorious history due to the active and leading involvement of its fellow monks in all national endeavourers for freedom and education of our people. Continue to the town of Rethymno where you will see the Venetian-era citadel, the Fortezza, one of the best-preserved castles in Crete. Evening free to enjoy the beautiful Cretan ambiance of Rethymno, overnight.
Day 5: Crete - Heraklion
After breakfast departure for the prefecture of Heraklion. About 25klm southeast of Rethymno visit the Historic Monastery of Arkadi, the monastery that played an active role in the Cretan resistance of Ottoman rule, during the Cretan revolt in 1866. The church is a basilica with two naves; the northern nave is dedicated to the Transfiguration of Christ and the southern nave is dedicated to Saint Constantine and Saint Helen. Next visit will be the Monastery of Savathiana, a large collection of buildings that house the order of nuns who live here. The harmony of these buildings, and the fine old church among them, allow the visitor to experience a great sense of calm. Walking along a path through the gardens, we come to the small chapel of Agios Antonios, projecting outward from an overhanging rock that forms the church's back wall. The monastery buildings are dated from an inscription over the church door to 1635, but documents show another date and we know that there was a holy place there in 1549. Leaving the monastery passing from the village of Rogdia we notice, looking down to the coast, the beach at Ligaria and turning to face the mountains we see a brilliant white speck against blue sky that is the chapel atop Mount Strouboulas, another feature of Heraklion's impressive skyline. Evening free in Heraklion.
Day 6: Crete – Heraklion
After breakfast depart for the ancient city of Knossos, situated 5klm South East of Heraklion. The Palace of Knossos is the most important archaeological site in Crete and the most representative relic of the Minoan civilization which once flourished on the island. Continuing our journey to the North-east, at the side of the gorge of Salinari is the small old chapel and newly founded monastery of Aghios Georgios Selinaris, founded early 16th century AD and eversince has been a place of worship. It is considered miraculous and there are various legends concerning miracles related with healing of sick people. Afternoon return to Heraklion port and board the ferry for overnight passage to Piraeus port.
Day 7: Piraeus port – Athens day free
Early in the morning you will arrive in Piraeus transfer to your hotel in Athens and have the entire day free to your leisure, to relax or go around the historic city shopping or have a special walking tour through the most popular Byzantine church in the centre of Athens.
Day 8: Athens-Return flight
Transfer to the airport for your return flight.