Heraklion Regional Unit
Desert Safaris

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Our most recommended Heraklion Regional Unit Desert Safaris

Zeus Cave and Lassithi Plateau Day Tour

1. Zeus Cave and Lassithi Plateau Day Tour

Start your tour with pick up in an air-conditioned Land Rover from your accommodations at 10 AM and head into the Dikti Mountain Range. You'll pass through several traditional and very picturesque mountain villages. There will be plenty of opportunities to stop for photos or to have a coffee at a real taverna. At the Lassithi Plateau, you might see eagles and vultures, as both nest around this area. Next, you’ll reach the base of Mount Spathi. The Psychro Cave, the birth place of the Greek god Zeus, is located on the north face of Spathi. You’ll walk 15 minutes up the steep hill to the entrance of the cave and from there follow the path down into the spectacular cave.   Next, enjoy a traditional Cretan meze lunch with local wine. After lunch, you'll continue around the plateau and then descend taking in views of the north coast and the impressive Aposelemis Dam. You will then visit a 2400 year-old plane tree, the oldest on the island, as well as the Selinari Monestary.

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Knossos Palace and Village Pottery Tour

2. Knossos Palace and Village Pottery Tour

Explore the Palace of Knossos and learn the traditional craft of pottery on this tour of Cretan culture and heritage. After pickup at your hotel, start your day at the Palace of Knossos, one of the birthplaces of the modern world. Visit the palaces, the villas and other excavated buildings. Continue to a traditional pottery village in the mountains, driving on pretty roads lined with olive trees. See how Cretans have produced their wonderful pottery for thousands of years. Enjoy the fantastic opportunity to try your hand at this ancient craft, with the guidance of a master potter.  During the tour, enjoy a delicious lunch at a local restaurant with wine or water included. At the end of a wonderful day, start the drive back to your hotel, where you’ll be dropped off.

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From Agios Nikolaos: Sarakina Gorge and South Coast Tour

3. From Agios Nikolaos: Sarakina Gorge and South Coast Tour

This tour will take you high into the mountains of the Lassithi Range (or Dikti Range), offering you an abundance of stunning panoramic views. Picking you up from your accommodation at 10:00AM, you will then start your climb up through several very picturesque traditional villages, one of which you shall stop at for a short break to shop or grab coffee. You will next go off road and move on up through the Kroustas Forest to a point approximately 1,000 meters above sea level. From way up there you will be able to see both the Lybian Sea (south coast) and the Aegean Sea (north coast). You will also be able to view the stunning peaks of the snow capped Mount Spathi (2,140 meters above sea level, second highest on the island), whose north face is home of the Psychro Cave, birth place of the Greek god Zeus. The views you will encounter throughout your tour can't be beaten, and there will be plenty of opportunities to stop for photographs. Whilst in the mountains you will be taken to a traditional Greek taverna for a meze lunch with local wine, and at the conclusion of your tour, you will be returned to your point of origin.

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Crete: Land Rover Safari Through the Plateaus

4. Crete: Land Rover Safari Through the Plateaus

Discover Crete with a drive through the plateaus. Follow the path of your choice and admire the rugged nature. Begin in the idyllic little town of Kastamonitsa at the foothills of the Afentis Mountains and enjoy a typical Cretan breakfast. Drive through the unbelievably beautiful landscape, along rural roads and mountain passes and discover the diversity of animal life. At the next stop, enjoy a one-of-a-kind view of the Lassithi Plateau and the northern coast of Crete. Visit the Psychro Cave, the birthplace of Zeus, father of the gods.  Then enjoy a selection of local and regional specialties in a local tavern. Discover the Lassithi Plateau, where time seems to stand still. The local people are mostly farmers and still use donkeys in their daily lives. Visit the little town of Krasi, known for its millennia-old sycamore trees and natural springs. On your way back, pass olive groves and admire the spectacular coast of Crete with its deep blue waters beyond. 

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From Rethymno or Heraklion: Jeep Safari to Preveli Beach

5. From Rethymno or Heraklion: Jeep Safari to Preveli Beach

Discover the southern coast of Crete in a Jeep and enjoy a genuine adventure through old towns and past impressive olive fields and vineyards. Visit the picturesque town of Spili and indulge in a little break with a refreshing drink from the town's freshwater spring. Continue to the beautiful palm tree-lined beach of Preveli. Enjoy a typical Cretan lunch in a traditional taverna on the beach, then take a dip in the crystal clear water of the Libyan Sea or relax in the shade of the palm trees. Continue your tour in the afternoon and take a look at the unique landscape around the Kourtaliotiko Gorge, then head back to Rethymnon on the old main road.

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Crete: Lasithi Plateau Off-Road Land Rover Safari with Lunch

6. Crete: Lasithi Plateau Off-Road Land Rover Safari with Lunch

Experience being driven off-road in a Land Rover through traditional mountain villages and historic landmarks on this Lasithi Plateau safari with lunch. Visit the Cave of Psychro, see the Roman aqueduct, and more. Admire the view from Afentis to the north, south, and west side of the island. The day starts in Hersonissos (Chersonisos). After the necessary briefing from the driver, head south towards the Lasithi Plateau. The road soon leads to the Aposelemis Dam. There you can see the abandoned village of Sfendili, which, depending on the water level, is visible or not. Continue driving on the provincial road among the olive groves to the picturesque village of Amariano. Here you can have a drink and see the remains of the Roman aqueduct. Then, the off-road driving begins. The landscape becomes wilder and the altitude increasing quickly. If you’re lucky, spot the vultures that fly in the area. The road ends at the fertile Lasithi Plateau where there were once more than 1000 windmills, which pumped groundwater to irrigate the fields. Next, stop at the impressive Cave of Psychro (Dikteon Cave) at an altitude of 1025 m. There, according to mythology, Zeus was born. The cave is considered an archeological site and can be visited for a surcharge. To reach the cave, follow a beautiful and short uphill path. If you do not want to walk, there are donkeys that take visitors to the cave for a fee. Right after your visit to the cave, get the opportunity to taste traditional Cretan cuisine in a local restaurant. After your meal, start your return. Travel through the col, where the windmills that the locals used to grind their flour are still standing. A few kilometers later, visit Keras Monastery (Monastery Panagia Kera Kardiotissa), one of the most important religious monuments in Crete. Due to its central location between Heraklion and the Lasithi Plateau, the monastery was used as a shelter for Cretan freedom fighters. Within a few months, between October 1866 and June 1867, Panagia Kera was burned twice by Omer Pasha's army. On the way back, make a final stop in the village of Mohos for a drink of raki (alcoholic drink). The view from the road to the Cretan Sea, Mallia, and Hersonissos as the sun sets is a perfect way to end the day.

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Southern Crete: Land Rover Safari With Lunch and Wine

7. Southern Crete: Land Rover Safari With Lunch and Wine

See Crete from a different angle on this all-day Land Rover safari tour. Begin the day in Heraklion, where you will get to know your guide and listen to a short presentation of the excursion before heading south, to the foot of Mount Giouchtas, where, according to myth, Zeus is buried. Continue the journey via the provincial roads through some of the oldest and historically rich villages of Crete until you reach Vasiliki. There, have a coffee or soda before heading to Tripiti Beach. Swim in the crystal water of southern Crete, enjoy the sun, and have a drink at a small hippie-style tavern. Later, visit the isolated and lesser known Fylakas Beach, and explore the seabed with a snorkeling mask. Enjoy lunch at an authentic tavern that offers delicious, high-quality traditional Cretan food, located inside the oldest known olive tree grove. Continue the journey toward the village of Krotos, and see the wild beauty of an untouched landscape. After a short drive, reach Panagia Vithano, where you can should be sure to take more photos.

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Crete: Land Rover Safari with Lunch in Agiofarago & Matala

8. Crete: Land Rover Safari with Lunch in Agiofarago & Matala

Journey into the wild and untamed side of Crete by Land Rover. Visit quiet, spiritual Agiofarago with its wild beauty, then experience the contrast of noisy Matala with its hippie style. After being picked up from your hotel, drive south through the plain of Messara, to Agiofarago: the gorge of the Saints. Enjoy a drink in the traditional village of Siva, then stop at the 14th century Odigitria Monastery. From there the rugged dirt tracks will lead you to Agiofarago. Stretch your legs along a 30 minute path crossing the gorge, scattered with oleander and olive trees. Discover a beautiful beach stretching to the Libyan Sea, where you can swim and snorkel. Enjoy a delicious picnic with local Cretan products. Continue to Matala, a small but crowded village, with a long sandy beach and crystal clear deep waters. Explore carved Roman tombs, have a swim at the beach, and eat lunch in a traditional local tavern.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Heraklion Regional Unit

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What people are saying about Heraklion Regional Unit

So we just liked it from the beginning to the end, our tour was postponed due to Corona, but great communication and everything went perfectly! You got to know the country and the people and our guide Petra was just great ... she seemed to us as if we had known her for years and she told so many interesting things about Crete and nature ... just great

Had a very nice tour and saw many "secrets" of the island. Nice dinner with a local shepherd. We were with an Italian and a German and she really took the time to explain everything in 3 languages, English, German and Dutch. If you are a Dutch person, I recommend asking about Petra! Thank you :)

We had a great time on this adventure. Our tour guide was super knowledgeable and did the whole tour in two languages (english and german). He made the trip super fun for us. We would highly recommend this excursion to others.

Our guide Petra did a great job! She shows us a lot of interesting spots and explain many things about Crete.

Very well organized tour with the cool guide Petra who is an expert in Greek and especially Cretan culture.