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2 Days Secret of Olive Orchard Holidays in Crete

  • Gortina, Mediterranean island of Crete

2 Days Secret of Olive Orchard Holidays in Crete

  • Gortina, Mediterranean island of Crete

Secret of Olive Orchard Holidays in Crete

Join Petassos in a journey through the Cretan olive orchards and the millennial history of olive oil and get familiar with the annual circle of farming practices which deliver a high quality product. You will learn how to understand the functions of the olive orchard ecosystem and read the agricultural landscape, while we will be introduced to the principles of ecological olive farming and understand the footprint of an olive orchard on the environment.

Highlights

  • Visit Mesara
  • Dinner in Zaros village
  • Walking from Gortina antiquity to Zaros village
  • Cooking lessons with local cooks in a traditional tavern and lunch
  • Swimming in Kommos beach
  • 1 night's accommodation
  • 2 days with instruction
  • English
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Sleeping in Zaros village. Zaro is a particularly attractive, refreshingly unspoilt village famous for its spring water, which are now bottled and sold all over Crete.Various excavations in the region indicate that the Minoans and the Romans settled here, lured by the abundant supply of fresh water.

This spring water supplied the great Roman capital of Gortina as well. In addition Byzantine Monasteries are nearly as abundant as the spring water. You can visit the most of them and live great experiences and of course you can walk the stunning Rouvas gorge. Therefore Zaro makes an ideal base for walkers and is relatively close to the nearby beaches of Kommos, Matala and Agia Galini and the area's archaeological sites.

How is the most basic ingredient of Mediterranean diet cultivated? Is olive oil better than other oils and why? Does landscape has an effect on the olive production, or is it the contrary? Do we produce today better olive oil than a century ago? Is cultivation of olives bad for the environment and does it really matter if its organic, or rather not?

Crete, besides being the cradle of Mediterranean diet, is a major olive cultivation place, where for centuries takes place the extraction of the precious ingredient, from millions of olive trees, within a landscape of wind and stars.

Starting location for guiding ad return location: Gortina village

Visiting, walking and guiding in ancient olive fields, as well as in olive groves that are currently cultivated by different methods. Swimming in Kommos, a famous beach in south Crete, from where the commerce (also of olive products) flourished in ancient times.

Schedules

Day 1

  • 10.00-18.00 : Gortina antiquity - plain of Mesara - Kommos beach - Zaros village
  • Starting location for guiding: Gortina
  • Return location: Gortina & Zaros village

Provisional programme

  • Visiting, walking and guiding in ancient olive fields, as well as in olive groves that are currently cultivated by different methods. Swimming in Kommos, a famous beach in south Crete, from where the commerce (also of olive products) flourished in ancient times. Dinner in Zaros village.
  • Distance covered by car: 65 km
  • Distance of trekking / walking: 0

Day 2

  • 09.30-15.00 : Gortina antiquity - plain of Mesara - Kommos beach - Zaros village

Provisional programme

  • Breakfast
  • Cooking lessons with local cooks in a traditional tavern and lunch
  • Distance covered by car: 65 km
  • Distance of trekking / walking: 0

Gortina is one of the most important cities in Crete with an unbroken history of 6,000 years and one of the most extensive archaeological sites in Greece. It lies in south central Crete in the fertile Mesara plain, the site of the first human habitation of Crete at the end of the Neolithic period (5th millennium BC).

Gortina is about 40 minutes drive south of Heraklion, on the same road that will take us to Phaistos and Matala. Gortys is about 1 km past the village of Agii Deka, at the side of the main road.

  • 1 breakfast
  • 1 night accommodation in double room on 3* hotels or traditional apartment with 3* facilities
  • 2 branches
  • 2 meals
  • A cook for the cooking lesson on 2nd day
  • A manual in English for each traveler (with references, texts, photos, maps etc)
  • Entrance fees to museums and organized archaeological sites
  • Extra guide for the next day (English or French speaker)
  • Guiding by a specialist agronomist in sustainable agriculture and agrobiodiversity (English speaker)
  • Group-work / mini seminar experiment / Cooking lessons
  • Personal Insurance
  • Water
  • Beverage (soft drinks)
  • Driver
  • Personal expenses, tips, visas cost, taxes
  • Rucksack, trekking poles
  • Tours to organised archaeological sites
  • Translator
  • Transfer from/to Crete
  • Transfer to the starting point of the trips & return
  • Transportation to the sites of the trip

Testimonials

  • Review by a traveler from United Kingdom
    10 out of 10

    "Chryssa organised a two week, self-drive itinerary for us which gave us an outstanding introduction to Crete. We had a great balance of sightseeing, history, geology, mountains, beaches and hiking. Just what we wanted! All our our accommodation was fabulous, unique and generally in spectacular locations. We were met at the airport and given our own personal handbook, maps and guides for our trip, Chryssa took us through the itinerary and set us on our way. She contacted us each day to see that everything was OK and was always quick to respond to any questions. A day spent travelling with Penelope was a highlight as she was so enthusiatic, very knowledgeable and provided an interersing insight into Cretan history and flora which you wouldn't get from a guide book. I would highly recommend Petassos Travel, they are superb."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Susan M from United States
    10 out of 10

    "We spent 4 nights as the Petasos Beach Hotel. It was a gorgeous property - so many options to relax by the pool, on a balcony, by the Aegean. The staff was fabulous - we never lacked for anything. The buffet breakfast every morning was lovely - we sat and looked out over the water on a lovely terrace and just enjoyed the wonderful food and view. The view from our balcony was spectacular. A fabulous and relaxing hotel. We will go back!"

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Helen J Huang from California
    10 out of 10

    "Petassos travel organized a day excursion to Plakias and Preveli beach for my husband and I earlier this month. The owner Chryssa is super nice and wonderful to work with. She not only organized a great trip for us, but also prepared a nice picnic lunch with Cretan local ingredients. Our guide Yiannis is wonderful, he is a geologist and paleobotanist, an expert in all things Crete. He not only introduced us to Crete geology and various plant life, but also Cretan music and food. I feel I learned more about Crete from Yiannis than I would have if I lived on the island for two months! We had an awesome time with Petassos travel and I would recommend their service to anyone who travels in Crete."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by a traveler
    10 out of 10

    "Visited in May, first time in Mykonos. Absolutely stunning, re-booking for 2017. Great location and staff really friendly, views hard to beat. Loved the island lovely food and great interiors shops. Thanks."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Sam and Marianne from Australia
    10 out of 10

    "We recently stayed for 5 days at this very comfortable and friendly boutique hotel, from first entry to the last minute everything we wanted and expected was there without fail! Staff were quick to guide us around whilst our room was being attended to, the staff were very fluent in English and extremely knowledgable, a big thank you to Kathy in Sydney for choosing this beautiful destination for us! This is location, location, location! Beautiful swimming pool, private beach area and wonderful staff in reception, pool area and breakfast restaurant vip lounge... Thank you to the management and staff for getting it right. Well worth a visit for any traveller who appreciates service and comfort in Mykonos!"

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by a traveler from Greece

    "very good organized alternative excursions, that allow you to discover another side of Crete!!! the real one!! Great team, thanks a lot Petassos!"

    10, edited

  • Review by a traveler from France
    10 out of 10

    "Chryssa arranged individual visits with an archelogist, an incredibly interestindgday about ancient and modern Crete, aromatic herbs specialists, moutain biking experts..."

    "On top of that, wonderful and quiet accomodations."

    "Petassos Travel also prepared a detailed roadbook with many maps, details, and tips, which helped us a lot. During our entire trip, we stayed in touch so that we could change the organization, in one instance, on the spot."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Pratik G from United States
    9 out of 10

    "This was our last stop on our Greece vacation and we couldn't have asked for a better hotel. This resort has literally everything you need. There is a private beach area around the corner and a hotel staff that is second to none. The rooms are good size and always clean. We had breakfast also included in our hotel stay which was definitely worth the time. There were ATVs nearby and buses just outside the hotel to travel into town. Would definitely stay here again."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by a traveler from United States
    9 out of 10

    "We were blown away by this beautiful hotel! Our hostess then surprised us with an upgrade with a private pool, gym and beach. Behind us were 100 plus foot yachts tied to the rocks behind our villa . Our family of five could walk our private path ten steps from our pool to the outside dining area overlooking the harbor. The main pool and outdoor lounge were off the chart. As well we were in walking distance of water taxi and great restaurants. We would definitely go back!"

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Robert Rocha from MA, US
    10 out of 10

    "At the tail end of a conference trip to Crete, several of my colleagues and I spent a great day tasting Cretan wine, sampling local food, driving through the vineyards and visiting some really interesting archaeological sites. Our hosts, Stella Vassilaki and Giorgios Maltezakis, were hospitable, entertaining and a lot of fun. Stella is a certified oenologist, food engineer and owner of the wine tasting room in Houdetsi."

    ""

    "Stella's dad, Ari, and Giorgios drove us to the vineyard so we could see the vines, olive trees, almond trees and visit some ancient wine presses at the top of the hill. The presses are a great example of ingenuity and very well preserved. The castle ruins and the Byzantine church from the 1300s were fascinating and a great step back in history. However, what was most amazing was the visit to Vathypetro, a 3000+ year old Minoan wine press and complex of buildings. For someone from the U.S., it's a rare treat to see something this old crafted by human hands."

    ""

    "All of the wine we tasted was very good. I particularly liked the Mandilara and the white wine that Stella created. We were treated to excellent food at Mesarmi and at the local restaurant we visited after the wine tasting was over. "

    ""

    "It was a full and filling (in the best way possible) day of tasting, learning, sightseeing and sharing time with great hosts. I definitely recommend this trip to anyone visiting Crete who would like to learn some history from a well-versed guide and taste some wine chosen, and in a couple of instances created, by an expert. If I wasn't so fearful of the bottles getting broken on the trip, I would have brought some home. However, I did get a small, sturdy bottle of their olive oil."

    ""

    "The Petassos Travel team did a nice job setting this up and communicating with us before and after the trip."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Robert Rocha from United States
    10 out of 10

    "At the tail end of a conference trip to Crete, several of my colleagues and I spent a great day tasting Cretan wine, sampling local food, driving through the vineyards and visiting some really interesting archaeological sites. Our hosts, Stella Vassilaki and Giorgios Maltezakis, were hospitable, entertaining, and a lot of fun. Stella is a certified oenologist, food engineer and owner of the wine tasting room in Houdetsi. Stella's dad, Ari, and Giorgios drove us to the vineyard so we could see the vines, olive trees, almond trees and visit some ancient wine presses at the top of the hill.The presses are a great example of ingenuity and very well preserved. The castle ruins and the Byzantine church from the 1300s were fascinating and a great step back in history. However, what was most amazing was the visit to Vathypetro, a 3000+ year old Minoan wine press and complex of buildings. For someone from the United States, it's a rare treat to see something this old crafted by human hands. All of the wine we tasted was very good. I particularly liked the Mandilara and the white wine that Stella created. We were treated to excellent food at Mesarmi and at the local restaurant we visited after the wine tasting was over.It was a full and filling (in the best way possible) day of tasting, learning, sightseeing and sharing time with great hosts. I definitely recommend this trip to anyone visiting Crete who would like to learn some history from a well-versed guide and taste some wine chosen, and in a couple of instances, created by an expert. If I wasn't so fearful of the bottles getting broken on the trip, I would have brought some home. However, I did get a small, sturdy bottle of their olive oil. The Petassos Travel team did a nice job setting this up and communicating with us before and after the trip."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by a traveler from United States
    10 out of 10

    "A fantastic experience. My husband and I embarked on the wine tour during our trip to Crete, and I can say it was a major highlight of our trip. We learned more in just a few hours with our knowledgeable, professional guides than from the museums, archaeological sites, and guidebooks put together. The team made sure we were comfortable, well-fed, having fun, and learning a lot. Highly recommended!"

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by a traveler from United States
    10 out of 10

    "Awesome Cretan wine tour and tasting. On October 1, 2015, I participated in a Petassos Travel excursion to visit archeological sites in the mountains of Crete and visit a modern winery. The company is extremely professional and provided great information in preparation for the day. It was a privilege to go on this trip. Our guide Giorgios, a cultural anthropologist, was knowledgeable and informative.He provided an overview of not just the historical sites, but also of the natural and political history of the region. We were also accompanied by Stella Vassilaki, owner of Mesarmi wines and tasting room. Her facility is lovely and sparkling clean. She prepared tea for us before our trip into the hills made from local herbs and shared the history of viticulture in the region. After our trek, Stella hosted us for lunch and wine tasting. Her knowledge of wines is extensive, as she has studied in France and the United States. As a young woman alone in business, she is producing miracles! Hand crafted wines in very limited quantities rival boutique vintages anywhere in the world. My only regret is that I couldn't fit more than a couple of bottles in my suitcase home. Stella's family also produces very high quality olive oil from the trees on their property. The rich history combined with great food and fabulous guides made this day the highlight of my trip. This experience deserves five stars."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by a traveler from United Kingdom
    10 out of 10

    "Excellent, an unforgettable day in the mountains of eastern Crete. My Neraidogoyla tour with Petassos was the highlight of my week in Crete. It offered me the opportunity to go trekking in a Cretan mountain forest, to visit a cave, and to experience rural Crete away from the main tourist centers. The tour was well-planned, and my excellent guide, Chryssa, presented information to me in an imaginative and well-organized manner.She even prepared some Cretan food for lunch. Petassos Travel offers tours that are both insightful and memorable. If you are planning a trip to Crete, they have tours to suit those who have an interest in Anthropology, Archaeology, Ethnography, History, Geology, Agro tourism, Folklore, Biology, and the environment."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by a traveler
    10 out of 10

    "An amazing day learning about Minoan archeology and history. While visiting Crete recently with my 11-year-old, we were very fortunate to have Petassos Travel recommended to us as a way to supplement our tour of Minoan palaces in the area. Petassos arranged for Dimitris to meet us at our hotel in Heraklion, and we spent the next six hours with our own private archeologist touring the area in and around Knossos. Dimitris, just completing his PhD in Minoan Archeology, was a superb guide, patiently explaining and answering our questions, and generally bringing the culture alive before our eyes.Dimitris was especially eloquent with my son, and was easily able to engage him in the tour. We visited several small but important Minoan sites that we never would have seen otherwise on a four-hour hike up and around Mount Juktus. The lunch provided was both healthy and tasty. We did the tour called Minos: the nine-year king. All their tours look great; I only wish that we had the time to do more. Very fun and informative. Put on your hiking boots and give them a call! I highly recommend them."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by a traveler from Greece
    10 out of 10

    "Wonderful excursions and wonderful people who make you love and respect nature! The adventure, the knowledge, and the explorative mood of their tours, blend in perfect harmony!"

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by a traveler from Greece
    10 out of 10

    "Travel outside the box! When passion for nature becomes a profession, the result would be Petassos Travel. Petassos team organizes great, out of the ordinary excursions that really make you travel in space and time. Give yourself the chance to travel out of the box and get back home with a piece of knowledge of the place you visited."

    TripAdvisor website, edited