Heraklion Shore Excursion
This full day Heraklion shore trip includes a private tour at the Palace of Knossos, followed by a visit to a local winery and the charming village of Archanes, one of the most picturesque villages on Crete, where you have a short tour and free time for lunch.
After meeting your guide at the port of Heraklion you will drive to the renowned archaeological site of Knossos. Upon arrival you enjoy a private guided tour through the fantastic ruins of the ancient palace complex, which served as the administrative and religious centers for the whole region. It has been restored by Sir Arthur Evans and these restorations, though criticized by some for their modernity, help the tourist to both visualize the palace as it was and understand its labyrinthine complexity. The living quarters of the king, queen and members of the royal court, rooms for state occasions, theater area, store rooms and potters' workshops are all within the palace complex.
For centuries the history of the Minoan culture had passed into the realm of legend and remained a distant memory in Greek tradition and mythology. It was not until the beginning of the last century that the history of Minoan Crete was actually pieced together to reveal that the civilization was not one of myth, rather it was one of the most advanced and important in prehistoric times. The amazing archaeological site of Knossos, the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Minos, provides the basis of our knowledge about this civilization named after the king of Crete.
The frescoes unearthed show the refinement of their art and use of color and embody the soul of the peace loving, lighthearted, but also powerful Minoans. The original palace of Knossos was raised around 1900 BC. About two-hundred years later it was destroyed by an earthquake and rebuilt on a grander scale. The final catastrophe occurred around 1450 BC with the eruption of the volcano in Santorini. Despite this blow, people continued to live here until a fire swept through the city around 1400 BC.
Later this morning you drive to the Valley of Peza which sits between the mountain ranges of Dikti and Psiloritis. You visit a winery in the Peza Valley and then visit Archanes which is considered one of the most picturesque villages on Crete.
This valley is the home of the wine-making industry on the island of Crete. While you are in the valley you will stop at a local winery to enjoy a tour and wine tasting.
Next you visit Archanes which is a small village which has been lovingly restored to its original beauty. It has been voted by the European Union to the be named one of the “Best Village Restoration Efforts”. The village is nestled at the base of Yiouchta Mountain, where legend says the god Zeus was buried. While you are in the village you can relax, while experiencing the famous Cretan hospitality and enjoying a light lunch (included) in a traditional Greek taverna.
This afternoon you return to the port of Heraklion.
Customized Heraklion Tours
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Heraklion tours and Heraklion shore excursions can also be customized to fit your needs. If you have a larger group, we can offer you a private Heraklion shore trip using a mid-size bus or full size coach. Please contact us with any questions or to receive a customized quote.