4 Days Luxury Vegetarian Culinary Holidays in Greece

  • Hotel Galaxy, Dimokratias 75, Heraklion, Crete 713 06, Greece

Overview

Foodie Vacations in Greece

  • Food tasting, market visit
  • Visit to an ancient olive tree
  • Lassithi food and cultural tour
  • Heraklion culinary and cultural tour
  • Vegetarian, vegan, Mediterranean cuisine
  • Palace visit, village trip, monastery trip, city tour
  • 3 nights luxury accommodation
  • Daily breakfast, lunch, dinner

Embark on culinary explorations that blend all the secrets particular of the region of Crete and let you enjoy and learn about them first-hand alongside the locals. Your guide will show you the culture of Crete, the vegetarian principles and nutrition during the drives, tours, and all visits on the island. Join local farm house ladies on an intimate culinary holiday into the heartland of Cretan regional Vegetarian cuisine for a gastronomic tour for the ages.

  • 3 days with instruction
  • English
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Hotel Galaxy

The luxury of simplicity, the feel of authenticity, the warmth of hospitality. The Galaxy Hotel Iraklio unfolds before your eyes, aesthetically superb yet functional at the same time. Supremely modern yet timeless. An adherent to contemporary design while being a true keeper of tradition.

Having been renovated from top to bottom along uncluttered, clean architectural lines, the Galaxy Hotel has once again opened its welcoming doors, ready to convert even more faithful followers, with the satisfaction of their every need being our paramount concern and mission.

Natural stone, wood, and water, the Galaxy Hotel Iraklio encloses a palette of hues in its embrace: greens within its well-kept gardens, blues in its enticing swimming pool and the warm colors of nature, of stone, and wood. So close yet so far away from the hustle and bustle, the hotel enjoys soothing surroundings just a heartbeat away from the energy of downtown.

Facilities

  • 24-hour Reception / Concierge
  • 24-hour security
  • Advanced, centrally-monitored fire safety including smoke/fire detectors and automatic sprinklers
  • Automatic emergency electric generator
  • Business center
  • Business rooms with oversized work area
  • Interconnecting family rooms
  • Fire exits, safety lights, fire alarms and extinguishers in all corridors and public areas
  • Fire-proof and safety certified guest room doors with electronic key-card system
  • Luggage storage
  • Non-smoking rooms
  • Pure Allergy-Free rooms with 99% purified air for the best sleep you've ever had
  • Recycling programme
  • Rooms for individuals with reduced mobility
  • Triple rooms with real third beds not rollaways

Services

  • Babysitting (on request)
  • Car rental
  • Complimentary baby cots and baby items (linen, bathrobes, sterilizers)
  • Complimentary coffee and tea making facilities (Executive Rooms and Suites on request in Superior Rooms)
  • Complimentary gifts and treats for children
  • Complimentary parking and valet service
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi or wired high-speed Internet
  • Fax machines available (on request)
  • Golf reservations
  • Ice buckets, ice service
  • Iron and ironing board (on request)
  • Laundry, pressing and dry-cleaning service (same-day service available)
  • On-call doctor available
  • Room service, in-room dining
  • Special rates and meal plans for families with children. When sharing same room (not applicable for connecting rooms) with parents, children aged up to 5 stay and eat free and children aged 5-14 are offered 50% discount.
  • Special requests (anniversaries, birthdays, celebrations, in-room bouquets etc.)
  • Transfer services
  • Turndown service (for certain room-types and packages)
  • Umbrellas (Executive Rooms and Suites on request in Superior Rooms)
  • Video on demand
  • Wheelchair available

Room amenities

  • Balcony with pool or pity view and retractable clothes line
  • Computarized remote-controlled lighting and air conditioning systems
  • Conveniently placed lights including adjustable LED bedside reading lights and mood lamps
  • Daily housekeeping service
  • Direct phone line with data services (speakerphone and voicemail in executive rooms and suites)
  • Double-glazed windows for sound and weather proofing
  • DVD player in executive rooms and suites; on request in superior rooms
  • Electrical outlet adapters, phone chargers
  • Electricity saving devices in rooms
  • Electronic safe box (laptop computer size)
  • Fully stocked mini bar including local snacks
  • Individually controlled independent air conditioning
  • Italian stone/tile flooring and wall covering
  • Jacuzzi bathtubs in all executive suites and selected executive rooms
  • LED and low consumption lights throughout
  • Luxurious bathroom amenities (Apivita Greek products as well as the exclusive Galaxy Hotel Iraklio signature series) including a wide selection of personal hygiene items (shaving, dental, shoe shine, shoe horn, sewing kit etc.)
  • Luxurious curtains and blackout drapes
  • Luxury anatomical Simmons beds and mattresses
  • Plush custom-made anti allergenic wool carpeting
  • Powerful hairdryer and magnifying make-up mirror in bathrooms
  • Satellite LCD TV (with CNN & BBC World among other international channels)
  • Selection of high-quality down pillows with varying hardness
  • Sitting area with table and armchair (sofa in Executive Rooms & Suites)
  • Spacious, crystal shower-cabin or tub with excellent water proofing and ideal water pressure with massage shower head
  • Telephone
  • Top-quality pure Egyptian cotton bed linens and duvets
  • Top-quality pure Egyptian cotton towels (including oversized bath towels and washcloths, terry bathrobes and slippers)
  • Walk-in closet with light (some Executive Rooms)
  • Well-lit desk work area
  • Well-placed power outlets

Day 1: Arrival

  • Arrival the Heraklion International Airport (HER). Reception at the airport. Transportation to the hotel. Accommodation at hotel Galaxy at the center of Heraklion city.
  • Dinner at traditional restaurant with variety of Cretan vegetarian Mediterranean specialties

Day 2: Excursion, food tasting

  • The driver will pick you up at 9:00 and drive east. The first stop will be at the ancient olive tree, 4000 years old; athletes of 2004 Athens Olympic Games were crowned by the branches of this tree.
  • Keep driving east and visit the fishing village of Mohlos where we have a break for aperitif ouzo with ouzo bites at a sea front tavern.
  • Keep driving to visit the 16th century monastery of Toplou, where we will lunch in company with organic wine. We end the drive at the palm beach of VAI.
  • On the way back to Heraklion, get a break at the village of Latsida for our dinner. You will be impressed by the simplicity and quality the food they serve in this small restaurant. Family runs the place last 35 years and quality and tastes remains as first day they started.
  • Back the hotel later in the evening.

Day 3: Excursion, food tasting, market visit

  • Today we will visit the palace of Knossos, built 3.500 years ago. A combination of archaeological discoveries and food tasting. Start at 9:00 and arrive at 9:30. The visit takes 1 hour.
  • After the visit to the palace, we drive back to the city and will walk the streets while we meet nutritional wanderings elevating the palate to heaven! We will explore unique tastes on this walking tour of Heraklion and join the real daily lifestyle the people of Heraklion lives.
  • The day will start in the best small pastry shop in the city. Gloria, a mixture of artistic feeling, imagination, and pure fresh ingredients that fascinates the palate with taste and quality. We will taste the Galatoboureko milk cream and filo pastry in syrup and trigono cheese cream and filo pastry in syrup.
  • Walk downtown to the heart of the city and visit the Platia Kornarou, where we will drink a cup of Greek coffee the traditional way, cooked in hot sand.
  • Walk the central market and stop for an Ouzo (anise) with Meze, small bites that accompany the spirit, at one of the traditional Mezedopolion of the street. We will be part of the people walking, talking, and arguing.
  • Visit the cathedral of the city Saint Minas, and then the Morozini fountain at the heart of the city, the now gallery Venetian church of Saint Marcus, and the church of Saint Titus.
  • Walk down to the seaside of the city where we will go for a light Cretan style slow food lunch with a variety of vegetarian dishes accompanied with cold white wine or retsina.
  • We end our walk after lunch visiting and taste the famous loukoumades Cretan style doughnuts sprinkled with honey and sesame.

Day 4: Departure

  • Breakfast and drive to the Heraklion International Airport (HER) for the flight back home.

In Crete, a meal is not only a celebration but also a culmination of various events. Enjoy culinary explorations that blend all the secrets particular of the region of Crete and let you enjoy and learn about them first-hand alongside the locals. Going from one region of Crete to another changes not only what you eat, but how you eat it, how its prepared and what accompanies it. Each region is a mystery unto itself. Immerse yourself in the fantastic flavours and mouth-watering smells of regional Crete.

We believe that the most authentic way to experience and understand the heritage of Cretan culture, nutrition, history, way of life and its people, is in the company of a local scholar, walking through streets which are alive with religion, art and history, immersing in the architecture, learning about the life, traditions, and customs of Cretan people, past and present.

You will sample some of the finest meals as well as fruit and vegetables in the world. You will drink selected spirits (ouzo, raki, liquors) and wines that will elevate your spirit and help you relax, and relish the excellent traditional cooking in some of the less obvious restaurants that we will point you out.

Follow Porto Club Vegetarian lead, come on a route of adventure, travel and wonder as you explore the mysteries, flavours and customs particular to various Cretan regions on our unique and authentic Cretan vegetarian food holiday. We can promise you we will not be part of any tourist trail or the sheep following mentality. Our aim has always been to offer quality not quantity, so Porto Club remains small but perfectly formed.

We offer a unique opportunity to experience at first hand authentic Cretan regional cooking techniques and recipes that have been developed and handed down over generations. All of the ingredients you will use are bought each morning from local open market and so you will be working with fresh fruit and vegetables in season.

Throughout our cooking you will learn about the ingredients and the traditions around the dishes. You will learn the passion of the Cretan kitchen and, importantly, have a lot of fun and enjoyment doing it. Your week in Crete will be as much a hands on cooking experience as a cultural one. George will introduce you to the philosophy of local cooking and its traditions. You will learn about the history of Cretan cuisine and how it was influenced by its occupation for more than 2000 years.

You will learn the inspirations behind the Cretan dishes, the methods employed by local producers, how to make a variety of Cretan dishes from simple ingredients you can find back home, how very few ingredients can be the basis for 6 or 7 dishes. You will learn how to prepare traditional Cretan dishes adapted to vegetarian requirements but never compromising on flavor as well as the cooking techniques and methods used to create the dishes.

Cretans eat an abundance of fruits and vegetables. The fat we use in our cooked food and salads is mainly olive oil. We eat pulses and vegetables in large amounts. They are the basis in our daily diet. No more than two or three days would go without pulses in a meal and not a day without vegetables, wild greens, olives, uncooked fresh vegetables and greens as salad, Cretan rusks and fruits. We eat more fruit than most, in fact, 4 times more than the other inhabitants of the Mediterranean.

A traveler in Greece when goes for lunch or dinner can find a huge variety of vegetarian and vegan meals in Estiatorion (restaurant). In these restaurants they present their specialties in show tables so guests can view the meals and choose one of them. Estiatorion is restaurant that operates mostly for local people. They always supply a big number of free-meat dishes we call them Ladera. You can find them at taverns or other kind of restaurants but Estiatorion is the ones I always suggest.

I have no compunction in saying that Crete and Greece is an ideal destination for a vegan or vegetarian, at least nutritionally. There is still a long way to go to connect with the philosophy and spirit of the vegan way, but any vegan visitor will be surprised at how harmoniously local Cretan people live with animals, almost all of whom free range in the fields or mountains. I hope and believe respect is a good first step between Cretans and vegans or vegetarians worldwide.

For many Greeks, especially in the countryside and islands, five days a week their meal is vegetarian or vegan. Yes, Greeks are meat and dairy eaters, but because such a large percentage of our diet consists of pulses, vegetables, greens and fruits, a vegan or vegetarian visitor will not have any difficulty in finding a huge variety of vegetarian food all over Greece. You don't have to apologize or explain why you don't eat meat.

Taste the healthy Cretan and Greek Mediterranean meat-free delicacies and our fine wine. You shall feel strong humanity, away from the stress of our daily life. You shall feel the warmth of Greek and Cretan company. You shall be captured by the place, perhaps because you think that time has stood still or because they welcome you with a shot of Tsikoudia with Cretan rusks and fresh tomato or a tsipouro or an ouzo.

Cretan dishes

  • Casseroles
  • Dolmadakia vine leaf wraps stuffed with sorrel, pumpkin flowers
  • Ladera
  • Mageirefta
  • Moussakas
  • Saganaki (fried cheese)
  • Sfakiani (stuffed pitta)
  • Soups
  • Stuffed peppers, tomatoes, courgettes and Aubergines (Papoutsakia)

Cretan bakery and desserts

Cookies: On Crete, these cookies are traditionally made and served over the Christmas and New Year's holiday season. They are enjoyed at other times of year as well, but in December and January, they come together to create a fabulous collection of tastes and textures.

Kalitsounia: These sweet cheese pastries are an Easter favourite on the island of Crete.

Kouloura: These sweet breads are an Easter favourite as well on the island of Crete.

Kourabiethes: Kourabiethes (also kourambiedes) are traditional celebration cookies, served at Christmas, New Year's, weddings, and baptisms. Toasted almond shortbread-type cookies topped with a generous coating of confectioner's sugar, they melt in the mouth.

Melomakarouna: Melomakarona are a Christmas tradition in Greece (but enjoyed at other times of the year). All over Greece, kitchens will be filled with the wonderful smell of these spice cookies that will adorn tables, be given as hostess gifts, and eaten in huge quantities.

Pastries: these cookies are traditionally made and served over the Easter holiday season.

Pies: Crete is famous for its cuisine and mostly of its traditional Kalitsounia, which are small pies that can be filled with different fillings, such as cheese (tyropitakia) or greens and wild herbs (Hortopitakia). These unique delicacies are served across the entire island and are a very tasteful and healthy snack you can enjoy any time of the day, as an appetizer or light meal.

Spoon Sweets: Spoon sweets are healthy confections, visually pleasing, distinctive, and extremely versatile. Offering them to guests is a wonderful tradition and a sign of "sweet" hospitality. Nowadays they are used as healthy spreads, in baked goods, and to top ice cream, cakes, and yogurt. Spoon sweets reflect the spirit of the Cretan and Greek hospitality. Spoon sweets are a traditional offering in Greek homes. Spoon sweets are fruits, preserved in syrup. They are commonly known as "spoon sweets" which translates to sweet of the spoon. due to the traditional way of serving the sweets on a well-filled teaspoon accompanied by cold water.

  • 3 breakfasts, 4 lunches on selected spots during the cultural drives, 3 dinners
  • 3 nights accommodation at fine 4-star hotel at city centerof Heraklion
  • 4 days chartered vehicle with English speaking driver who is well known the culture of Crete, the vegetarian principles and nutrition
  • Airport transfers
  • Arrival, greeting and traditional Cretan dinner
  • Fuel
  • Tours: region Lassithi culinary and cultural tour, region of Heraklion culinary tour, the palace of Knossos, walking and tasting Heraklion
  • Anything not mentioned above
  • Entrance fees at archaeological or historical sites
  • Tips
For information about the booking conditions, please send Porto Club Travel Services an inquiry.

Testimonials

  • Review by Carolyn and Ian

    "It was a memorable tour and as Ian said a true "slow food" experience! Thanks for your generosity and hospitality, for sharing your passion for Crete and showing us all the wonderful things it has to offer. Our time in Crete was much enriched by joining your tour. Thanks again."

    Porto Club website, edited

  • Review by Suzanne

    "First of all thank you for the wonderful week with you in Crete and immersing me in the Cretan culture, food and beautiful scenery. Your vibrant personality made it so much more fun. Thank you also for sending me the recipes, I will put them to good use. Again thank you again for the wonderful time in Crete, and the cave dinner was truly a highlight during that week."

    Porto Club website, edited

  • Review by Diana

    "I just wanted to say, that you are a true professional and a very special person. You made the experience truly memorable. You treated all of us like family instead of just strangers.You took us to local eating establishments which really enriched the experience. The cooking classes were a lot of fun, they were very hands on, which I bloody loved. You went out of your way to make sure that we all had a fabulous time.The lodgings were very nice and the location was really spectacular! George I will always remember my time there as very special, and wish you and your family the very best. I will always have a grand smile as I remember my time in Crete."

    Porto Club website, edited

  • Review by David from USA

    "I cannot thank you enough for the truly remarkable experience in Crete. Since I arrived back in the USA, I have cooked several meals using the principles you shared with us and enjoyed every one of them.Unfortunately we cannot get the freshest ingredients, but even the techniques you showed (simple combinations of ingredients that show up in most dishes, grating tomatoes, different ways of chopping onions, cooking with potatoes, and so on) have been very useful. I cannot wait to entertain others with the Cretan cuisine!The best part of the trip was that you took us to places that tourists would probably never know about, where you knew the people and their families. That made the vacation especially authentic and memorable. Even the long drives were okay, because we got to experience the wonderful sights of the island."

    Porto Club website, edited

  • Review by Christina

    "David and I enjoyed the week we spent in Crete. The sites we visited and the food that was cooked and ate were definitely unique and delicious. Below are some feedbacks on the culinary tour.Thaloris location in the mountains and it is integrated into the village provide a local Cretan experience. Georges knowledge on Crete history and Thaloris hospitality makes the visit enjoyable.The various local restaurants that we ate at enabled David and I taste local Crete food and cooking. The ingredients were very fresh, very delicious. The cooking experience where we got hands-on experience in preparing and cooking Cretan food each night.The small group setting allows the group members and George to interact and build close relationship during the week. This helps adjust the flexible itinerary if the group likes to explore/visit some different sites. The bottom line: the food and alcoholic beverages were great."

    Porto Club website, edited

  • Review by Chantal

    "Our trip was great, but of course, the highlight was our week on Crete. We have already made tsaziki, lots of boiled and sauted greens, the cucumber appetizers, the eggplant dip, and greek salad. We bought some grape leaves and phyllo dough so will try making some more dishes soon.As far as critical thoughts about our stay in Crete, we enjoyed the trip and learned so much about Cretan food, culture, and history. Thank you again for a fantastic week full of learning and good memories."

    Porto Club website, edited

  • Review by Rene

    "I am writing to you because I am still awestruck by the experience of a lifetime! I could never have imagined how wonderful, gracious, enjoyable and entertaining a vacation it was to be. I absolutely fell in love with Crete and George. I couldn't have planned a better trip and I can't wait to go back. Thanks for all your help and please tell everyone this is the vacation not to be missed. There was plenty of everything. I didn't want for anything!"

    Porto Club website, edited

Heraklion, Greece

Travel provider for small group exclusive weekly packages on the island of Crete. Food and wine, cultural visits and hands on cooking classes in Greece.

Speaks English

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4 days / 3 nights

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