Our tour is timed to coincide with a truly spectacular spring floral display with great swathes of colour that sit cheek by jowl with wonderful scenery and famed archaeological sites.
Our main base is the peaceful old village of Spili, beautifully situated under the great limestone ramparts of Kedros Mountain. Close by is the centre-piece of our holiday, the Orchid and Bulb-rich plateau of the Gious-Kambos. Here there is a kaleidoscopic show of Anemones, Tulips and Orchids cloaking the unspoilt mountainous country. We can expect to see some forty species of Orchid, including some of the rarest and most beautiful in Europe. Swathes of Orchis boryi and lovely Milky Orchid mix with Pink Butterfly Orchid and yellow Orchis pauciflora even alongside the roads. We’ll find all manner of beautiful and varied bee orchids such as richly-hued Spruner’s Bee Orchid and large-flowered Ophrys episcopalis, as well as many Cretan specialities such as Ophrys gortynia and the local creberimma, cressa and creticola forms of Ophrys fusca. Elegant groups of Widow Irises, Cretan Arums and Fritillaries also adorn the limestone slopes. Our rooms have balconies that not only overlook olive groves, but also provide a panoramic view of the massive cliffs above, where Griffon Vultures are a frequent sight. Sunny Plakias has flower-rich dunes, migrant birds, several scarce butterfly species and the impressive limestone gorges above are home to Cretan Arum and Dactylorhiza romana.
Later we explore the magnificent White Mountains. Above the peaceful hamlet of Anapoli we can drive up to the snowline where a breath-taking scene awaits – a high mountain-rimmed plateau inhabited by Lammergeiers and Kri-kri, the endemic Cretan Wild Goat, and stunning groups of pretty Crocus sieberi and intense blue mats of Anchusa caespitose as well as Anemone coronaria and the endemic Orchis Prisca. We then visit the Imbros Gorge, where we will look for flowering Paeonia clusii. This is a very relaxing holiday with a guaranteed wild flower show which will live forever in your memory.
Dates and Prices
5th April - 19th April 2024 (15 days)
* doesn't apply if you're willing to share and a room-mate can be arranged
Orchids and Bulbs. Also other Flowers, Birds, Butterflies and Historical Sites.
One leader for a group of up to 6, two leaders up to the maximum group size of 122.
All flights. Transport, accommodation and all meals in Crete. Services of your leaders. Please Note: Entrance fees to archaeological sites, drinks, tips and items of a personal nature including travel insurance, are not included.
Flower and bird checklists are available.
Heracles Papadakis and his family will be our hosts for eight nights in Spili. Their pleasant marble-faced rooms contain comfortable beds and the balconies overlook the surrounding gardens and olive groves. Next we’ve three nights at Plakias Bay Hotel just behind the beach at Plakias. Clean, comfortable rooms and friendly welcoming staff make this a pleasant place to stay. At Anapoli we are at the welcoming Kopasis Rooms, which have balconies with stunning views over the magnificent gorge there. Food is typically Greek and very good, notably the lamb chops and various seasonal dishes made from wild plants such as asparagus which have been harvested from local hillsides. All rooms on this tour have en-suite facilities.
Such is the abundance of orchids that we rarely cover more than a mile in a day and always at a very easy pace.
UK return flights are direct from London Gatwick or Manchester* to Heraklion. Other indirect routes from regional UK Airports* are available.
*These routes may incur a supplement.
Expect a mixture of sun and cloud, and probably some rain.
It is possible to join this holiday for a week. Just select which week and contact us regarding availability. Cost of one Week = £1750. Single supplement £120.
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.