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.
In shaded valleys we’ll 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 Elaphonisos (linked to the mainland by a sand bar) we shall find the sweetly scented Sea Daffodil Pancratium maritimum. 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 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 subspecieshaemostictum 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. We’ll 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, and the Roman cisterns and aqueducts of Polyrinia. We will, of course, be sampling the excellent Cretan cuisine in the local tavernas throughout this trip.
Dates and Prices
13th October - 20th October 2024 (8 days)
* doesn't apply if you're willing to share and a room-mate can be arranged
Plants, especially autumn bulbs, birds and butterflies, and Cretan culture and food
One leader for a group of up to 6, two leaders up tothe maximum group size of 12.
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.
Flower and bird checklists are available.
For the first five nights of the tour we’ll stay in the lovely Spilia Village, surrounded by citrus and olives and set on a hillside overlooking the seaside village of Kolymbvari. Hundreds of years ago the hotel was first a factory then an olive press but recently has been elegantly converted into a small hotel of great character. The rooms are stunningly furnished and very comfortable, there’s a spa and sauna, and the breakfasts are gorgeous! At Anapoli we have two nights at the welcoming Kopasis Rooms, which have balconies with stunning views over the magnificent gorge there. All rooms on this tour have en-suite facilities.
Usually gentle, however on some days we’ll walk a couple of miles or so, and on the Imbros Gorge day there is a downhill walk of some five miles. There will be another option with less walking on this day.
UK return flights are direct from London Gatwick or Manchester* to Chania. 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!
This tour can be combined with the Delphi Tour. Please contact us for details
Contact us to check if there is availability for the number of places you require. Click on the ‘Book this Tour’ button on this page to be taken to the online booking form or contact us and we will send one to you which you can complete and send back 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.