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8 Day Vegetarian Culinary Vacations in Crete

Apokoronas, Chania, Crete

Vegan Cooking Holiday in Crete

Refresh your vegetarian cooking skills during a wonderful vacation in Crete, where you will learn the culinary secrets of the famous local diet and enrich your skills, imagination and veggie choices back home. During your visit, you can expect lots of welcoming people, wonderful cuisine, and long meals among friends and family, which make rural Crete the magical place it is. Besides getting to know the culinary heritage of Crete, you will also have the chance to enjoy Cretes outstanding nature sites!


  • 3 Greek vegan cookery workshops
  • Handmade olive oil soap-making workshop
  • Cycling tours around the surrounding rural areas
  • Chance to relax in many of Crete's beautiful natural sites
  • Visits and tastings at local artisan producers
  • Discover authentic local vegan dishes
  • 7 nights accommodation


6 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. 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

Upon arrival at your lodging in Apokoronas, there will be a small reception with drinks and meze, and you will be provided with information on the schedule for the week ahead. The evening will be free to explore the village, either by foot or by bicycle.

Meals included: snack.

Day 2

After breakfast, you will accompany the chef on a visit to the central food market in Chania to buy provisions for your upcoming workshop. During this visit, you will have the chance to visit the Venetian harbor of Chania and walk around the old part of town. The cooking workshop will take place in the late afternoon, focusing on preparing dinner at the Olive Farm.

Meals included: breakfast and dinner.

Day 3

After breakfast, you will take a cycling trip to the local apiary, where you can learn about the local flora combinations and the types of honey produced in the area. You will have the chance to sample some fresh honey and buy supplies for the next cooking workshop. For those who are not interested in cycling, there will also be the option of travel by car. Lunch will be al fresco, either at a local cafe or at the beekeeper's garden with wine, raki, tea and honey sweets. After lunch, you will participate in an olive oil soap workshop, where you will learn 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.

Time spent cycling or walking: 40 minutes.

Day 4

After breakfast, you will spend the day in Gramvoussa and the beach of Balos, a nature reserve on western Crete. Transportation will be available either by car or water taxi. An early dinner will be provided in one of the best restaurants in the area, serving traditional Cretan food.

Meals included: breakfast and early dinner.

Time spent walking: 40 minutes.

Day 5

This day will be all about wine. In the morning you will visit the local winery and its beautiful vineyard. Crete is famous for its local grape wine and goat cheese production, so, while there, be sure to take advantage of the chance to taste them yourself during your lunch at the winery. Back at the Olive Farm, you will have your second cooking workshop in the late afternoon, followed by dinner in the evening.

Meals included: breakfast, light lunch and dinner.

Time spent walking or cycling: 40 minutes.

Day 6

After breakfast, you will go on an excursion to the coastal palm forest of Preveli, in Southern Crete, a protected area and natural reserve. There you will have the chance to admire the beautiful nature, swim in the river or sea and even take a windsurfing lesson if you feel up for a challenge. Dinner will be served in a small restaurant on the foothills of the White Mountains

Meals included: breakfast and dinner.

Day 7

After breakfast, the day will be free to enjoy as you wish. Later in the day you will have your last cooking workshop, followed by a farewell barbecue, vegan style!

Meals included: breakfast and dinner.

Day 8

Departure after breakfast.

Meals included: breakfast.

Included excursions

  • Explore the coastal palm forest of Preveli
  • Visit a local beekeeper, a wine producer, an olive oil producer and a cheesemaker
  • Visit Gramvoussa
  • Visit the beach of Balos
  • 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.


Cretes traditional cuisine only includes meat in the daily menu a few times each month, so naturally the local gastronomy has an exceptional variety of vegetarian dishes. Grains and pulses, fruits and vegetables are all on the daily menu with moderate amounts of cheese and eggs, so the local diet can easily be adapted to suit vegetarians and vegans. 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.

Most of them, of course, continue to cook at home in the same simple way their great grandmothers did! The result is a naturally sustainable way of life. Food is not only a means 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
  • Attend the natural cosmetics workshop
  • 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

  • 3 Greek cookery workshops
  • 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 Gramvoussa and the beach of Balos
  • Excursion to the coastal palm forest of Preveli
  • Handmade olive oil soap workshop
  • 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 Airport (CHQ) for Hand Picked Greece will pick you up from the airport. The pick-up is included in the price.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 100% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.

Value for money
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8 days / 7 nights
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This retreat is available all year round and can be customized upon request.

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