2. Heraklion: Northern Crete Coast Tour to Chania and Rethymno
Meet with your guide at the terminal of Cretan Spiti Travel at Eleftherias Square in front of Astoria Capsis Hotel at 08.30. We start our tour driving along the north coastal road, passing by Rethymno Town, the resort city of Georgioupolis, popular for its fine beaches, to the city of Souda, port of Chania, to visit the Venizelos Graves at the historical location of Profitis Ilias in Akrotiri where the tomb of Eleftherios Venizelos lays, one of the long-standing prime Ministers of Greece. We continue to the city of Chania for a visit to the small market, where local products can be found, such as the famous honey, cheeses, souvenir shops etc, before descending to the famous Venetian harbor of the city with the Lighthouse Faros and then drive back to Rethymno, one of the most beautiful places in Crete, Greece. It is located between the prefectures of Chania and Heraklion and its capital boasts an elegant Venetian style of architecture. In the region you will find both popular seaside locations and secluded coves. We will stop at Zisis restaurant for an optional lunch. Then we will visit the Venetian stronghold of Fortezza which is built on top of a low hill above Rethymno Town. The hill is known as Paleokastro, which means old castle in Greek and suggests the existence of an older structure in that place. This huge fortress, with its turbulent history, was built between 1540 and 1570 by the Venetian maritime power as a bulwark against Turkish pirates. More than 100,000 Cretans on compulsory labor and over 40,000 pack animals were used in the construction of this mighty fortress. However, the Fortezza was conquered by the Turks in 1646. After many upheavals during the next three centuries, only the outer fortifications of the Fortezza remain intact and few buildings are still under restoration. The Fortezza is visible from every part of the town and provides the visitor a panoramic view of Rethymno town. The visitors enter from the East Gate through an impressive archway. After the visit we continue driving across the north side of the island along the Cretan Sea and crossing the coastal villages of Bali, Fodele and Agia Pelagia, and reach the city of Heraklion, and end our tour at the terminal in front of Astoria Capsis Hotel at 18:00.