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8 Days Culinary Holiday and Olive Harvest in Greece

Chania, Apokoronas, Crete

Olive Picking in Greece

Take part in Cretes olive harvest and enjoy a local cultural tradition, largely unchanged for centuries. Join the local community, help pick the olives and make your own olive oil! The olive harvest is a unique experience, a mix of hard work and relaxation among the olive groves, a major agricultural event which becomes a fun activity for those lucky enough to take part. Join this amazing cooking holiday in Crete for a wonderful chance to discover the authentic cuisine and local culture of this unique Greek island.


  • Cheese and wine tastings
  • Cooking workshop with an olive theme
  • Natural cosmetics workshop on olive oil soap
  • Excursions and tastings at the olive museum and olive oil producers
  • Olive oil making workshop at a traditional olive press
  • Cycling tours around the surrounding rural areas
  • 7 nights accommodation


7 days with instruction
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Accommodation options are carefully selected and usually come in the form of a small local hotel, villa or house with traditional architecture. All are of exceptional quality as Hand Picked Greece pays close attention to every detail in order to ensure the highest standards. All accommodation is certified by the local tourist authorities and you can expect the hosts to be friendly and welcoming. Lodgings will be located within a short distance of the holiday base and will usually have wonderful gardens and swimming pools.

Your accommodation can range from small traditional cottages to larger luxury villas. All accommodation is located in and around the village of Litsarda, close to the olive farm. When you get in touch with Hand Picked Greece to plan your holiday, you will also discuss your specific accommodation requirements. They will provide a range of options for your particular tour, including photos, before you book the holiday.


Day 1 - Arrival

You will be picked up from Chania International Airport (CHQ) and transferred to your accommodation in the area of Apokoronas, a leafy region in the northern coast of Crete with numerous villages between the olive groves and vineyards. Upon arrival, there will be a small reception with drinks and meze along with info on the schedule of the week. The evening will be free to explore the village by foot or bicycles.

Meals included: snack.

Day 2 - Introduction to the local gastronomy

After breakfast, you will prepare the olive grove for harvest and learn to preserve olives. Afterwards, you will participate in a few olive oil, olive, cheese, and wine tastings, where you can sample a wide range of the local production. In the afternoon, you will take part in a cooking workshop, before sitting down for dinner, together with the group.

Meals included: breakfast, light lunch, and dinner.

Day 3 - Olive picking

After breakfast, you will join the harvest and spend a couple of hours picking olives. After collecting the harvest, you will go to the local olive mill to create olive oil and sample some of the fresh produce. Dinner will be served at a local restaurant.

Meals included: breakfast, light lunch, and dinner.

Day 4 - A region of Protected Geographical Indication

After breakfast, you will visit the region of Kolibari, an area that produces some of the best olive oil in the area. There, you can explore the olive tree museum and a traditional olive oil mill. The rest of the day will be spent in the town of Chania, visiting the central market, the Venetian harbor and discovering the street food of Crete.

Meals included: breakfast.

Day 5 - An artisan olive oil producer in Mylopotamos, Rethymno

After breakfast, you will join the harvest at the olive groves in Aggeliana, a tiny village at the prefecture of Rethymno, where you will visit a cold-press mill that produces a top-quality extra virgin, unfiltered olive oil with the lowest possible acidity. After taking part in a guided tour around the mill, you will have lunch at a nearby village. The evening will be free to spend as you wish.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, and early dinner.

Day 6 - Honey bees - olive oil soap

After breakfast, you will take part in a cycling trip to the local apiary, where you will learn about the local flora combinations and the types of honey produced in the area. You will sample honey and buy supplies for the following cooking workshop. Protective equipment will be provided, as well as an option for car transfer. Lunch will be served at the local kafeneio (caf) or at the beekeepers garden with wine and raki, herbal tea and honey sweets. After the visit, you will take part in an olive oil soap workshop, where you will have the chance to make your own handmade soap, using fresh olive oil. The evening will be free to spend as you like.

Meals included: breakfast and lunch.

Cycling or walking involved: 40 minutes.

Day 7 - Farewell dinner

After breakfast, the morning will be free to enjoy as you wish. In the evening, you will join the rest of the group for a farewell barbecue and the famous raki distillation. Raki is a spirit made from the leftover pips and skins of the grapes during winemaking. Typically such meals run for 3 to 4 hours!

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, and early dinner.

Day 8 - Departure

After breakfast, you will depart for Chania International Airport (CHQ) or city center, depending on your further travelling arrangements.

Meals included: breakfast.

Included excursions

  • Explore the region of Kolibari
  • Visit a local beekeeper, a wine producer, an olive oil producer and a cheesemaker
  • Visit the olive groves in Aggeliana
  • Visit the Venetian harbor of Chania


Crete is the fifth biggest island in the Mediterranean Sea and lies on the southern frontier of Europe, combining wonderful seaside sceneries alongside a mountainous terrain. With a strategic geographical position, Crete has always been a cultural crossroads with many Venetian, Arabic, and Turkish influences. It is a culinary haven for anyone looking to discover authentic cooking and eating. It is also a magnificent island with dramatic scenery and thousands of years of history.

The district of Apokoronas is in north western Crete, just on the foot of the White Mountains. A leafy, fertile region dispersed with numerous tiny villages where little has changed with the passage of time and tourism. Many of the residents still follow a very traditional and tranquil way of life. Local businesses are concentrated around artisan food products, farming and livestock. You will gain an insight into the local life and enjoy the wonderful bounty of the region.



  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Shopping nearby
  • Swimming pool
  • Wine tasting / tour


  • Beach nearby
  • Caf nearby
  • Garden
  • Hammock
  • Kitchen
  • Restaurant nearby
  • River nearby
  • Special menu request


  • Bicycle rental
  • Car rental
  • Local market
  • Tour assistance


Greek cuisine is a combination between the Italian and the Arabic cuisines. The people still eat what their ancestors ate hundreds of years back. They eat wild edible greens collected during long walks, snails, and different bean varieties. They use barley rusks instead of bread with their meals, make kalitsounia, little pies with dough rather than filo pastry, and fry them. They prefer the local cheeses and herbs, avoid veal, and celebrate with lamb or goat. Cretans eat cheese with honey and put olive oil everywhere, even in desserts. And, of course, they continue to cook at home in the same simple way their great grandmothers did. The result is a naturally sustainable way of life.

In Crete, the diet consists of mainly pulses, vegetables, and fruits. Dairy comes next; fish, chicken, and eggs follow; and red meat is eaten only occasionally. Traditionally, Greeks used to eat meat only a few times each month, most likely on a Sunday and usually in the form of a stew or casserole with plenty of vegetables, accompanied by handmade pasta or rice. Grilled or roast meat was served during celebrations. Elaborate desserts were only prepared during festive periods as well. Food is not only a mean of survival here; it is the foundation of the entire Greek culture. People are truly dedicated to eating and drinking and will spend long hours preparing and even longer sitting with family and friends to enjoy a meal.

Things to do (optional)

  • Attend local village events
  • Converse with the locals
  • Explore the nature and wildlife
  • Go hiking or cycling
  • Guided visit to archaeological sites
  • Pick fresh fruits and vegetables from the farm
  • Visit the coast and relax on the beach
  • Windsurfing

What's included

  • 7 nights accommodation
  • All fees for the activities and workshops
  • All transfers to and from excursions
  • Cheese, wine, and honey tasting sessions
  • Daily meals as specified in the itinerary
  • Excursion to Aggeliana
  • Excursion to Kolibari
  • Excursions to the olive museum and olive oil producers
  • Greek cookery workshop
  • Handmade olive oil soap workshop
  • Olive picking every other day
  • Olive workshops
  • Visits to a traditional olive press
  • Visits to local artisan producers
  • Wine and raki with cookery workshop meals

What's not included

  • Airfare
  • Airport transfers
  • Beverages other than those specified
  • Meals other than those specified
  • Travel insurance

How to get there

Arrival by airplane

Arrive at Chania International Airport (CHQ). Hand Picked Greece will pick you up from the airport. The pick-up is included in the price.

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