6 Days Vegan, Mediterranean Culinary Tours in Greece

  • Hotel Olympic, Kornarou Square, Heraklion, Crete 71201, Greece

6 Days Vegan, Mediterranean Culinary Tours in Greece

  • Hotel Olympic, Kornarou Square, Heraklion, Crete 71201, Greece

Cretan and Mediterranean Foodie Tours

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. Your guide will show you the culture of Crete, the vegetarian principles and nutrition during the drives, tours, and all visits on the island. You shall find the true picture of Greece and Crete, not only in its magnificent monuments and tradition, but in its nature as well. You shall feel the magic of the clear skies, the smell of the aromatic plants, the full moon nights.

Highlights

  • Market visit
  • Food and wine tasting sessions
  • Vegetarian, vegan, mediterranean, pesco cuisine
  • Palace trip, natural springs tour, city tour, village trip
  • Excursions to Gortys, Phaestos, Knossos
  • Daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • 5 nights accommodation
  • 4 days with instruction
  • English
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Kouriton House Historic Manor

The House of Kourites is an authentic stone built lodging, dating back to 1750 a.d. Restored with respect to its history, the house is located in an unparalleled natural setting, blended with historical and cultural heritage. This hospitable house is suited for holiday makers, gatherings and a meeting point with the tradition, culture and agriculture of Crete. The house offers accommodation facilities for 23 persons and can be used as center for a variety of fieldwork activities on culture, agrotourism and education. Each room of the house has its own personality.

In the ground floor there is the oven-house, Dimitra, which includes an entrance-living room with long abbey-type table, ceramic earthenware jars, an apartment with two beds and a fireplace, a show-room with ceramic artifacts, and a double room with a traditional-textiles textiles showroom. There is also a room with two stone beds. In the first floor, there are four traditional rooms with antique beds and furniture. Each of these rooms is for three or four persons. Each room has a name of a Kouritis. Kouritis were the inventors of the agriculture and curators with herbs and dance. Each room has TV, refrigerator and couch.

There is a Cretan traditional lounge, in which you can taste homemade cake and traditional sweets or herb decoctions. In the library, you can find books related to the cretan tradition. In the external areas there is an amphitheatrical area for several events, and there is also a botanological garden with several plants in big ceramic jars.

Thalori traditional resort (April 10 - October 30)

Thalori guesthouses are an integral part of the residential complex of Kapetaniana. These traditional houses are renovated with respect to their Cretan architecture, maintaining the fortress and monasterial elements associated with the history of the settlement. At the same time, special care was given to the preservation of the distinct identity of each house and guest room. Stone and wood remain the dominant materials of the guesthouses whilst the natural rock is integrated harmoniously even in their indoor areas.

The wooden loft, the stone arches, the utilitarian recesses in the walls, and the stone-built fireplaces are still some elements of the traditional Cretan architecture which you will find here. This authentic Cretan atmosphere is complemented by the woven and embroidered carpets and fabrics, the handmade curtains and the traditional decorative objects. At the same time, Thaloris guesthouses are endowed with modern amenities such as flat screen TV, sound system, kitchen, personal care items in the bathroom. Thalori offers double, triple, quadruple and quintuple guesthouses ideal for couples, groups of friends and of course, families.

Villa Kerasia (April 10 - October 30)

Villa Kerasia is a registered villa in Crete and offers a wide range of quality services. It is featured in some of the most popular magazines and ranks among the most exclusive destinations in the area, in terms of design and aesthetics, location, character and services. Experience has shown that guests who have enjoyed a proper “villa experience” in Crete or abroad, never go back to hotels for their holidays. There are five double rooms and two suites.

Day 1, Sunday - Arrival

  • Arrival the Heraklion International Airport (HER) Reception at the airport. Transportation to the hotel. Accommodation at fine 3-star hotel center of Heraklion city.
  • Dinner at traditional restaurant with variety of Cretan vegetarian Mediterranean specialties.

Day 2, Monday - Excursion, food tasting, market visit

  • Today we visit the palace of Knossos. When visiting the island of Crete someone must see the ancient palace of Knossos, built 3.500 years ago. Combination of archaeological discoveries and food tasting. The visit starts at 9:00 and lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  • After visiting the palace, we drive back to the city and visit the farmers' market. The visit will take approximately an hour and, after ending the visit, we will walk the central market of the city to taste special cheeses in a small cheese shop. Later, have break for lunch accompanied with ouzo (anise) with a variety of vegetarian dishes at one of the traditional Mezedopolion of the street.
  • We end our walk after lunch visiting and tasting the famous loukoumades, Cretan style doughnuts, sprinkled with honey and sesame.

Day 3, Tuesday - Excursion, food tasting

  • After breakfast, take a drive through the vineyards and small villages of the Heraklion region.
  • Visit the 16th century monastery of Arkadi, and Margarites a small village famous for producing ceramics.
  • Next, you'll visit the city of Rethymnon, a city seeped in history and an attractive place to wander through its narrow streets and marvel at Venetian and Turkish architecture that house its restaurants, cafés and shops.
  • After browsing the shops and a coffee break, where you can mingle with the locals, you'll drive to the natural springs of Argyroupolis, a site boasting attractive cascades and an idyllic setting for lunch, where you'll enjoy Cretan vegetable and cheese specialties.
  • After lunch, you'll return to Heraklion.
  • Dinner at traditional restaurant at the heart of the city. You will enjoy local vegetarian specialties along with some raki and local wine.

Day 4, Wednesday - Wine tasting, food tasting

  • Spend the day with locals and the city of Heraklion
  • We will drive to a village near Heraklion and visit small fine quality family wineries, depending on the season, we may have the chance join the way to make the Cretan snap, Raki or Tsikoudia. Drink Raki and homemade, chemical free, unique wines and spend the day with the locals as you join them on their daily life and have lunch at a local home.
  • Go back to the hotel in the afternoon.
  • Dinner at local traditional restaurant in the center of Heraklion with variety of vegetarian and vegan specialties.

Day 5, Thursday - Excursion, food tasting

  • Combination of culture, food and history, Gortys will be your first stop. In the ruined capital city of the Roman province that included not only Crete but also much of North Africa you will find an impressive theater; the Basilica of St. Titus, the eponymous saint that converted the island to Christianity and was the first bishop; the Odeon; and the Law code.
  • Continue driving to visit the palace of Phaestos the second most significant archaeological site of the Minoan civilization. Phaestos is located at the southern region of the prefecture of Heraklion in the valley of Messaras. The site of the ancient city is very impressive and the palace compound, although not as extensively restored as the compound of Knossos, offers a detailed insight of the everyday life of such a historically remote period. According to mythology, the king of Phaestos was Rodamanthis, brother of king Minos of Knossos, and superior judge of the underworld.
  • Lunch will be in the fishing village of Kokkinos Pyrgos at the sea front restaurant of Kokkinos Pyrgos consisting of fresh sea food for the pesco-vegetarians and fresh local greens specialties.
  • Back to Heraklion later in the afternoon.
  • Dinner at local restaurant with a variety of vegetarian local Mediterranean foods.

Day 6, Friday - Departure

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

This retreat will take place on the beautiful island of Crete, in Greece.

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 yourself 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 flavors and mouth-watering smells of regional Crete.

It is believed 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 Porto Club will point you out.

Follow Porto Club's vegetarian lead, come on a route of adventure, travel and wonder as you explore the mysteries, flavors and customs particular to various Cretan regions on your unique and authentic Cretan vegetarian food holiday. Porto Club can promise you that you will not be part of any tourist trail or the sheep following mentality. Their aim has always been to offer quality not quantity, so Porto Club remains small but perfectly formed. They offer a unique opportunity to experience at first hand the 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 your cooking sessions, you will learn about the ingredients and the traditions around the dishes. You will learn the passion of the Cretan kitchen and, most importantly, you will 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.

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.

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)

For vegetarian and vegan

Simple, basic, without over spicing and without a distortion of taste, and quite delicious. A Cretan housewife never counts out of weighs ingredients. If you ask her how much flour is needed to make a certain dish, she will reply "as much as needed". Cretan cooking has its roots way back in Ancient Minoan times. We know that Minoans used olive oil just as Cretans do today. Porto Club knows that they stored their cereals and they enriched their meals with the pure wine just as Cretans do today. Olive oil, fresh vegetables, wild greens, and fruits are the elements of the Cretan Mediterranean diet with a beneficial action which Cretans are in the habit of purchasing and consuming fresh. The freshness of these products guarantees the quality of the foods and viability of the vitamins and physiochemical substances they contain.

  • 4 lunches accompanied by water and local wine
  • 5 dinners accompanied by water and local wine
  • 5 nights hotel accommodation at fine 3-star hotel city centre at city of Heraklion
  • A welcome drink and snack on arrival at the airport
  • A visit to archaeological sites of Gortys, Phaestos and Knossos
  • A gastronomic walking tour of Heraklion
  • A gastronomic walking tour of Rethymnon
  • All transport to and from the excursions
  • Daily breakfast
  • Return transfers to / from Heraklion International Airport (HER)
  • Anything not mentioned in itinerary
  • Entrance fees at archaeological / historical sites
  • Guide fees
  • Tips

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Heraklion International Airport (HER). Porto Club Travel Services will pick you up from the airport. The pick-up is included in the price.

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 30% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.

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 United States

    "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.

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6 days / 5 nights

Availability

This vacation is available all year round with arrival on Sunday and departure on Saturday.

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