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Leaving the Venetian walls of Heraklion behind us, we drive deep into the beautiful countryside of Greece’s largest island and the birthplace of Zeus according to mythology. We pass through Episkopi and Sgourokefali before arriving at the traditional village of Stironas. Here you take a deep breath, enjoy the fresh mountain air and take in the majestic view at 550 metres above sea level.
Stironas is made up of traditional stone buildings arranged amphitheatrically looking towards the mountains. You will see how the Cretans lived centuries ago. We also visit a botanical parterre, home to various aromatic and medicinal herbs from the mountains of Crete.
There will be the opportunity for a little wine tasting – wine has been in Crete since the Minoans, so the locals have a bit of experience in the matter. We visit a raki distiller and sample the product straight from the barrels in his cellar. After finding out more about production and bottling there will be a Cretan meze to enjoy with pure local olive oil and traditional dancers performing for their guests. You will have imbibed the true flavour of countryside life for a few hours.
We head back to historic Heraklion which was founded in 824 and learn about some of its key historic figures and the jewels in the crown of its wonderful structures including the ‘Koules’ fortress, Venetian Loggia, Basilica of St Mark, medieval monastery of St Catherine and the Cathedral of Agios Minas.