Greece: Island of Crete - The Land of Zorba Bike Tour
Bicycling magazine called Classic Adventures bicycle tour of Crete "one of the 50 best rides on the planet". For more than 30 years we have been refining our tour of this island paradise, with two optional hikes. Majestic mountains sweep down to emerald-blue seas. Lyrical sheep bells and the aromas of wild oregano and thyme add to the Mediterranean magic. Delight in feta cheese, thick homemade yogurt, honey-soaked walnuts, and grilled seafood.
We explore Venetian ruins of Heraklion and visit the Archaeological Museum with its fabulous Minoan pottery and jewelry. A guided tour brings to light the reign of King Minos. Relive stories of the bull jumpers and Theseus daring descent into the labyrinth to slay the Minotaur.
Highlights include the Lassithi Plateau where donkeys and old windmills echo a bygone era. Mountain vistas surround the village of Spili, noted for spring water. The famous Samarian Gorge (the most natural wonder of Western Europe) provides a spectacular hike essentially downhill! Six nights of lodging are on or near the beach.
Crete's magic also lies in its vestiges of the past. Our guides unfold rich layers of history for you. Our stories bring to life the real Crete, where Zeus was born and Europa was loved.
Ask about cycling options for 2017 - we still offer Extreme Crete rides for couples with different riding levels - choose either Crete trip: Land of Zorba or Extreme Crete.
Arrival in Heraklion, Crete, at Atlantis Hotel (A class). Orientation followed by dinner.
Explore Venetian ruins of Heraklion; guided tour of Archeological Museum. Transfer to Lassithi Plateau.
Circle the plateau accompanied by goats and sheep. Visit the cave where mythological Zeus was born. Visit folklore museum, or hike to Minoan site of Karphi. (15 miles cycling + 3-4 hour hike)
Downhill ride through Potami River Valley. Swim the Libyan Sea in Ierapetra. (29 or 46 miles)
Visit small 4th century Byzantine church with unusual frescoes. Travel the Plain of Messara to beach village of Matala. (35, 52, or 72 miles)
Bike to Phaistos, AghiaTriada, and Gortys or beach walk. (30 miles cycling or 3 hour walk)
Visit small 4th century church off the beaten path. Lunch at Aghia Galini. Spectacular upper road overlooking the Amari Valley and Libyan Sea or lower route to Spili. (25 or 40 miles)
Bike Kourtaliotis Canyon. Option to visit Rethymnon for dinner. (30 miles cycling)
Coastal ride to sea village Hora Sfakion. (36 miles)
Cross island to Almyrida. View majestic White Mountains and Libyan Sea below. (35 miles)
Samarian Gorge hike. (10 miles downhill) Swim the Libyan Sea. (5-6 hour walk)
Trip ends in Almyrida after breakfast.