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8 Days Eleo Olive Harvest Retreat in Crete


Olive Picking and Cooking Vacation Crete

Get to know in depth the most important product of the Mediterranean diet, the olive. Participate actively in the timeless, organic, traditional ways of cultivation, harvesting, processing, and consumption of its products. Delight in the opportunity to join the local producers and experts during the harvest, and learn about the historical significance of the olives of Crete, presented by an expert historian-archaeologist.


  • Enjoy picnics in the olive grove
  • Visit olive groves and participate in the harvest
  • Visit Messara and pick different types of table olives
  • Visit the fields and pick the greens you will be cooking with
  • Pick the olives you will take with you back home
  • Enjoy daily nutritious, traditional Cretan meals
  • Learn about the olive oil making process
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • 7 days with instruction
  • English
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On this vacation, you will spend four nights in a cozy traditional guesthouse in Kastamonitsa, a beautiful place with high quality facilities such as an outdoor swimming pool, a cocktail lounge and a sun terrace. For three nights, you will stay in another traditional family guesthouse located in the heart of Zaros, a picturesque traditional village. Here, you can enjoy the Cretan hospitality and the best breakfast in Crete made according to grandmas recipes.

Landlady, Katerina, prepares the breakfast herself using pure products right from the family farm: eggs, olive oil and cheese myzithra, made with goats milk. The houses lounge area is decorated with antiques, handicrafts, and woven materials. The rooms are big, bright and quiet, traditionally decorated, fully equipped with air conditioner, a kitchenette, refrigerator, bathroom with shower, television, and elevator.

You will get the chance to watch the whole process and the beauty of turning the olives into oil in the olive mill and take with you a quantity of virgin olive oil which you can use in your kitchens at home! Apart from the oil, you will pick different kinds of olives and you will get acquainted with the ways of producing edible (table olives) which lie at the heart of the Mediterranean diet.

Depending on the year, you will make hondrolia (meaning fat olive), tsakisti (meaning crushed olive), or psirolia (meaning small olive) which you are welcome to take with you, and you will also cook traditional Cretan recipes using olive oil. This trip is organized with the help of the local producers and an agriculturist. During the trip, there are many various themes relevant to the historical significance of the products of Elleo, presented by an expert historian-archaeologist.

Day 1 - Arrival

Arrive at Heraklion and be transferred to a traditional guesthouse in the village of Kastamonitsa. Meet the local producers, and receive an analytical presentation of the travel itinerary.

Day 2 - Trip to historical sites

After having breakfast, you will meet the archaeologist who will take you on a most interesting trip to places related to olive oil and olives historically and anthropologically. This day trip lasts eight hours. After the trip, return to the guesthouse and have some rest.

Day 3 - Olive harvest

Following a delicious breakfast, leave for the olive grove where the harvest will take place. During the day, there will be a break for lunch and a few other pauses where an agriculturist will explain to you why the local produces prefer the traditional olive harvesting methods in contrast to the more modern ones. The olives that will be picked during the day will be put temporarily into sacks and will be transported to a selected oil mill nearby. You will be in the fields for seven or eight hours including the breaks. At the end of the day, return to the guesthouse to spend some free time and enjoy your dinner.

Day 4 - Olive harvest

After breakfast, you will be taken to the olive grove once again to complete the harvest and for a picnic lunch break. At the end of the day, you will gather all the sacks with the olives and take them to the olive mill where they will be crushed to make the olive oil. You will watch this process for about three hours. When this procedure comes to an end, the local producers will pack some olive oil for you to take home. Next, return to the guesthouse, have time for yourself and have dinner. Afterwards, you will visit a place where there is a traditional rakokazano, a special cauldron, and you will watch the process of the making raki.

Day 5 - Olive harvest

Today you are heading to the western side of Crete, to the famous plains of Messara, in the middle of the county of Heraklion, after breakfast. Today you will devote to pick a specific variety of table olives called Mourati or Tsounati, which is rare and ideal for the production of the crushed olives tsakisti. From the plains of Messara, you will drive towards the foot of the mount Psiloritis where you will stay the night at a traditional guesthouse at the village of Zaros.

After settling in your rooms, you will go to another olive grove where you will pick other types of table olives such as hondrelia (fat olive) and psirelia (small olive). Later, you will return to the guesthouse to have lunch and rest. In the afternoon, with the guidance of a cook from the Zaros region, you will become acquainted with the ancient techniques of the production of the edible olives and these bitter fruits of the olive tree will turn into delicious proposals which can accompany salads, bread, rusks, cheese, and even roasts and casseroles. Next, it will be dinner time.

Day 6 - Picking wild greens

After enjoying breakfast, you will make your way to the fields where you will pick wild greens. The great reputation of the healthiest diet in the world does not owe its title only to the olive oil, but also to the consumption of great quantities and the inexhaustible variety of greens, each rich with nutritious value and with a wide variety of tastes. Later on, you will return to the village and go to a traditional tavern where you will cook the greens you have picked. After cooking in the tavern, spend time at your leisure.

Day 7 - Free day

Once you have breakfast, enjoy your day freely.

Day 8 - Departure

Following breakfast, you will be transferred to Heraklion.

  • Olive harvest at the fields of Katsamonitsa
  • Olive harvest of Mourati or Tsounati olives in Messara
  • Picking hondrelia and psirelia olives in Zaros
  • Picking wild greens in Zaros
  • Visit to historical sites

On this wonderful vacation, you will be served daily breakfast, lunch, dinner, and various picnics. The food you are served is adapted to the theme of the trip, follows the secrets of the most nutritious and flavorful Cretan diet, and uses products of local producers that Petassos Travel trusts.


Beverages (soft drinks) are not included.


If you have time, you are advised to visit the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion.

Olive oil soap workshop

If you wish, you can participate in a two-hour workshop of soap making based on olive oil, at an additional cost.


On day 7, you may take a tour around the monasteries of the region, or to take a three-hour trekking into the beautiful Rouvas forest.

  • 1 traditional cooking lesson
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day
  • Car rental
  • Information booklet about olives, olive oil and recipes
  • Olive harvest
  • Overnight stay in traditional guesthouses in the region of the County of Heraklion
  • Packaging of the olive oil (up to 15 liters) and the olives you wish to take with you
  • Presentation by an expert archaeologist-historian
  • The help and expertise of a local expert olive oil producer
  • The help and expertise of an agriculturist
  • Visit to a traditional rakokazano of the Heraklion County
  • Anything not mentioned above
  • Beverages (soft drinks)
  • Entrance fees to museums and organized archaeological sites
  • Guided tours
  • International flights
  • Personal expenses
  • Personal insurance
  • Tickets for national parks and boats
  • Tips

Arrival by airplane

Please arrive at Heraklion International Airport (HER). Petassos Travel will pick you up from the airport. The pick-up is included in the price.

Heraklion, Greece

Petassos Travel is an agency that organizes walking tours and travels that take you across space and time.

Speaks English

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