Snorkel in idyllic turquoise lagoons, hike the stunning Imbros Gorge & master Cretan cooking at a rustic mountain farm
ABOUT THIS TRIP
Delve into ancient myths and immerse yourself in local life on this eight-day epic across Greece’s largest and most spectacular island.
Travelling from Heraklion to Chania, you’ll journey over the rugged White Mountains by 4×4 and through the deep Imbros Gorge on foot. You’ll learn time-worn crafts in traditional stone villages and cook up a feast of rustic recipes at a local farm. And you’ll uncover Minoan mysteries on a private tour of Knossos, tracing the footsteps of the legendary Minotaur.
There’ll be wine and olive oil tasting in boutique rural vineyards. You’ll lose yourself in the winding old town alleys of Chania and Rethymno. In true Flash Pack style, you’ll finish your trip with a beach-hopping excursion by boat, basking on the golden sand, snorkeling in turquoise lagoons and celebrating with new friends who have shared in your Greek adventure.
- Local transport
- Max 14 travelers per group
- Exclusively for people in their 30s & 40s
- Arrival transfer included
- All activities mentioned on the itinerary
- 7 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners
- Stay in hand-picked 3-4 star hotels
- Accommodation in twin rooms
- Experienced Pack Leader with you throughout the trip
Flashpackers must provide evidence that they have purchased travel insurance for the duration of their adventure. Remember, flights aren't included and prices are based on sharing a twin room. If you'd like to upgrade to a single room, you can add this during the booking process or by contacting our Customer Experience team.
Day 01 A Cretan welcome
Soak up the coastal views as you touch down in Heraklion, Crete’s bustling capital city, where a private Flash Pack transfer will be waiting to transport you to your beachside hotel. Fronted by soft golden sand lapped by gentle waves, you’ll slip effortlessly into the holiday vibe. Enjoy a welcome drink with your Pack Leader and group, before heading out for your first taste of traditional Cretan food. Tonight, you’ll get to know your fellow Flashpackers over a traditional three-course dinner and raise a glass of raki (Crete’s answer to ouzo) to your week of adventure to come. Yamas!
Day 02 Mountain cooking class
Today, you’ll take a 4×4 excursion into Crete’s stunning hinterlands: a rugged landscape sprinkled with pretty villages, neat vineyards and ancient olive groves, where traditional life continues much as it has done for centuries. You’ll stop at a shepherd’s farm to taste fresh curd, pick herbs and vegetables, and even milk the goats, before taking your ingredients to a nearby farm for a rustic cooking class. Together, you’ll rustle up some Cretan favorites, such as gemista (stuffed tomatoes) and tiropita (cheese pie), before continuing to a nearby pottery for a hands-on ceramics workshop. Spend a free evening exploring Heraklion or strolling barefoot along the sand.
Day 03 Enter the labyrinth at Knossos
Wake up to a Greek breakfast (think fresh coffee and pastries, yoghurt, nuts and honey), before exploring the ancient site of Knossos: center of Minoan civilization and Europe’s oldest city, dating back to around 7000 BC. A local expert will bring history to life as you explore the grand courtyards, vivid frescoes and elaborate drainage system (including the first ‘flush’ toilet) of this labyrinthine palace – an apt setting for the Minotaur myth. After your tour, you’ll head to the family-run folk village of Arolithos to hear stories of Cretan life and see local crafters at work. Try your hand at traditional skills, such as weaving and mosaics, while sampling island specialties and soaking up the mountain views.
Day 04 Rethymno town & wild lake swims
Starting early, you’ll journey west along the coast to Rethymno, with its impressive 16th-century fortress. Your Pack Leader will guide you through the tangle of old town stone streets, lined with pastel-colored townhouses and flower-shaded cafes, to taste typical local snacks like spanakopita (spinach and feta filo pie) and homemade ice cream. Next, you’ll visit Lake Kournas, a serene freshwater lake against a backdrop of rugged hills. Wild swim and spot turtles in the crystal water or relax at one of the lakeside tavernas. Arriving at your hotel in Chania, the evening is yours to explore the lively bars on Agia Marina beach. Sunset cocktails, anyone?
Day 05 Hike the dramatic Imbros Gorge
Fuel up at breakfast, as today you’ll be tackling Crete’s second longest gorge: a moderate 11-kilometer route packed with dramatic scenery. The trail begins in the tiny village of Imbros at 700 meters above sea level, and follows a former mule path used by thousands of British troops evacuating Crete in 1941. Together with an experienced guide, you’ll hike downhill between the sheer cliff faces (at times just 2 meters apart), dotted with fig, almond and oak trees, abandoned churches and blankets of wild flowers. Keep your eyes peeled for eagles and kri-kri (Crete’s shy, native ibexes) as you reach the village of Komitades, where a well-earned lunch awaits.
Day 06 Wine taste with a pro
You’ll spend this morning exploring the enchanting old town of Chania, its eclectic architecture mirroring the styles of the Minoans, Venetians and Ottomans. Take a stroll to the imposing lighthouse at the mouth of the picturesque harbour, admire the rose-hued domes of Kioutsouk Hasan Mosque and visit a local cutlery maker to see a traditional Cretan knives being made. For lunch today, you’ll travel inland to the village of Anoskeli, a boutique vineyard surrounded by olive groves and citrus trees. Here, you’ll enjoy a dual tasting of wine and olive oil, learning about production methods and sharing a wine-paired meze platter with your Flash Pack group on the shady outdoor terrace.
Day 07 Beach-hopping to turquoise lagoons
Pack your swimwear – today, you’re off on a beach-hopping excursion. Starting on beautiful Falassarna Beach – its pink-cream sand pounded by some of the island’s best surf – you’ll board an inflatable RIB boat and set off to the shimmering Balos Lagoon. Situated between Cape Tigani and the rugged Gramvousa Peninsula, the shallow turquoise water makes an idyllic snorkeling spot. Feeling energetic? Hike up to the huge Venetian fortress built to keep pirates at bay. Or simply relax with your toes in the sand before cruising back to Falassarna for lunch and a free afternoon. Tonight, you’ll gather with your group for a final farewell dinner. With Greek wine, music and dancing, it’s the perfect end to your trip.
Day 08 Farewell, Crete
All too soon, your Cretan journey has come to an end and it’s time to make your own way to the airport. You’ve formed new friendships over fine wine and food, and enjoyed experiences unique to Flash Pack. Not ready to go home yet? Why not explore more of Greece on our Athens and the islands adventure, or hop across the Aegean to discover Classical Turkey. Our trip experts are ready and waiting for your call.
OUR FAVOURITE HOTELS
Here's a taste of the hotels we sometimes use on this adventure. The hotels you'll stay in for your departure will be shared with you one month before you go.
Palmera Beach Hotel & Spa
In a prime position right on Hersonissos Beach, you’ll be dining to the sound of lapping waves at this four-star adults-only hotel. With freshly renovated rooms just steps from the sea, an outdoor pool and indulgent spa, beachfront stays don’t get much better than this.
Sink into spacious, boutique-style rooms in the resort of Ammoudara, 10 minutes by bus from Heraklion. It’s a short walk to the lively string of bars and cafes lining the long sandy beach, plus one of Crete’s oldest and best-known restaurants is right next door.
Santa Marina Plaza
Beach lovers will be in their element at this resort in Agia Marina. Kick back by the pool, work your way through the Mediterranean menu at the 3 onsite restaurants or indulge in an outdoor massage, before heading down to the sea for one of the best sunsets on the island.
- Which airport do I need to fly in and out of? Plus airport code
Fly into Heraklion Airport Nikos Kazantzakis (HER) and out of Chania International Airport Ioannis Daskalogiannis (CHQ).
- What time should my flight arrive? (to arrive in time for the welcome meeting)
We suggest arriving before 4 pm on Day 1, to allow yourself enough time to freshen up before the welcome meeting. Check-in at the hotel is from 3 pm.
- What time should my flight depart on the last day?
There are no planned activities for Day 8, so you can depart at your own leisure.
- Are airport transfers included?
Your arrival transfer is included and is private to Flash Pack. Transfers will be in a group depending on flight times. Sometimes this means waiting in the airport for a short while until other flights have arrived.
We don’t include departure transfers, but your Pack Leader can help book your airport transfer the night before, which will cost around 60 EUR. If you and other Flashpackers are getting the same flight, we recommend splitting the taxi journey.
- Are tips included?
Please note that tips are not included in the cost of this adventure. Suggested amounts per person are:
- Pack Leader: 10 EUR per day
- Drivers: 3 EUR per transfer
- Local guides: 5 EUR per half-day tour
- Your Pack Leader will be able to advise on how much to tip in restaurants, taxis, etc. Some Pack Leaders will collect a tipping kitty at the welcome meeting to take care of local tips.
However, all tips are at your discretion depending on what you feel comfortable with.
- What fitness levels do I need for this trip?
We recommend having a read-through of the itinerary above, and getting in touch if you have specific questions on fitness.
Overall, this is a fairly relaxed itinerary. The most strenuous activity is the Imbros Gorge hike on Day 5, which descends 11 kilometers along a rocky path over uneven terrain. A moderate level of fitness is needed.
- Will this itinerary change?
Please be aware that the itinerary, activities and hotels are subject to change. These changes can happen with little notice due to availability, poor weather, seasonal changes, or other circumstances beyond our control – but we’ll always do our best to ensure it has little impact on your experience. From time to time, we may also make changes to your itinerary to try out new ideas and keep things fresh and exciting.
- Do I need a visa?
You do not normally need a visa if you’re visiting as a tourist from the EU, UK, USA, Australia or Canada. Please check with your local consulate/embassy if the country you are travelling from requires a visa.
From 2024, ETIAS travel authorization will be an entry requirement for visa-exempt nationals travelling to European countries https://travel-europe.europa.eu/etias/what-etias_en.
We recommend that you have at least six months validity remaining on your passport and can show a return ticket.
Joining the Flash Pack comes with a few special guarantees
Our mission to create 1 million friendships so we obsess over the group dynamic. Everyone is aged 30-49, 98% travel solo & 80% stay friends. Want to know more about your group? GET IN TOUCH
We operate using a 3rd party trust bank account meaning we guarantee refunds in 14 days if your trip has to be cancelled BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE
Our trips are made up of ‘can’t-do-by-yourself’ experiences – think staying on your own private island in the Arctic and glamping in Land Rovers on the Serengeti SEE TRIPS
We only work with trusted local guides who know their destinations better than anyone.
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