Wildlife Holiday Tour Autumn Bulbs Crocus, Stenbergias and Cyclamon on Crete with Greentours
Crete in October offers winter sunshine and warm seas, and after the first October rains there comes autumn colour from Colchicums, Crocuses, Sternbergias and Narcissi. We shall begin in the cool of the mountains staying in the village of Spili, familiar to many botanists visiting in the spring. The plateau above the town we will find pink Cyclamen graecum, Autumn Ladies Tresses and the purple endemic Crocus oreocreticus, mauve with three long red stamens. Swallowtails and Clouded Yellows are still on the wing as we enjoy two more cyclamen found in the west of Crete – Cyclamen hederifolium and Cyclamen confusum. On beaches along the North Coast and the tiny island of Elaphonisi (linked to the mainland by a sand bar) we shall find the sweetly scented Sea Daffodil Pancratium maritimum. There may still be hatchlings of the endangered Loggerhead Sea Turtle emerging from nests on these beaches, and scythe-winged Eleonora’s Falcons hawk overhead. There are woodlands of Chestnut and majestic Plane trees, Strawberry Trees and gnarled and ancient Junipers. On the Rodopou Peninsula we will see extensive populations of Cyclamen amongst the ripening olive groves and we will stop for a meal at one of Crete’s finest tavernas on Crete hidden in a tiny cove.
We shall explore dramatic gorges, with Griffon Vultures, Red-billed Chough and hopefully Lammergeiers overhead. The endemic purple Origanum dictamnus will be in flower amongst chasmophytes such as Inula candica and the endemic Ebenus cretica. We can find Sternbergias sicula, and the delicate white flowers of Allium callimischon subspecies haemostictum with red-dotted petals. Sweetly-scented Narcissus serotinus and pink Colchicum pusillum adorn many hillsides. Narcissus tazetta and the strange and tiny flowers of Biarum davisii emerge from rocky outcrops. Also in flower at this time will be Mandragora autumnalis, Ranunculus bullatus, Arisarum vuglare, Clematis cirrhosa and Erica manipuliflora. Large flowering spikes of Sea Squill Charybdis maritima, and drifts of the delicate Autumn Squill Prospero autumnale will be common. On the Omalos plateau we can look for Crocus laevigatus and the endemic Colchicum cretense, as well as the Cretan Goat or Kri Kri. We will be able to explore the archaeology of Crete’s long history, with frescoed chapels, the wonderful Venetian town of Chania, Roman cisterns and aqueducts of Polyrinia and the Monastery and Minoan Cemetery at Armeni. We will, of course, be sampling the excellent Cretan cuisine in the local tavernas throughout this trip.
Plants, especially autumn bulbs, birds and butterflies, and Cretan culture and food
Usually gentle, with some steeper slopes.
Included in the Price
All flights. All transport and meals in Greece. Services of your leaders. Please note: Drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature such as travel insurance, are not included.
One leader for a group of up to 6, two leaders up to the maximum group size of 12.
For the first five nights of the tour we’ll stay at the Grand Bay Hotel in the small town of Kolymbari. It is in a quiet location and has a pebbly/sandy beach in front, and a swimming pool. The rooms are modern and comfortable, en-suite and with free wi-fi in the rooms. There is a very good buffet breakfast spread and we’ll visit some excellent sea front tavernas and shops a few minutes walk away. Heracles Papadakis and his family will be our hosts for our visit to Spili. Their pleasant marble-faced rooms contain comfortable beds and the balconies overlook the surrounding gardens and olive groves. On the north coast we’ll be staying at small family run hotel. All rooms on this tour have en suite facilities.
UK flights are direct from London Gatwick or Manchester* to Chania and the return flights are direct from Heraklion to those airports. Add-ons are available from various UK airports*. Other indirect routes from regional UK Airports* are available.
*These routes may incur a supplement.
Warm and sunny with blue skies for the most part, although some rain and cloud can be hoped for, not least by the flowers!
How to Book
Contact us to check there is availability for the number of places you require. Download a booking form or contact us and we will send one to you. Complete and send to us. You will receive confirmation of your place and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. This will contain up-to-date health information.
Flower, butterfly and bird checklists are available.