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5 hour excursion

Lassithi – Dyktaion Andron Cave – Kera – Krasi

Dyktaion Andron is the most important and most famous cave of Crete since 3000 B.C.. In the striking Dikteon Cave,which is rich in stalagmites and stalactites, the legend says that Zeus was born.
After the Dikteon Andron cross, the route through the Lasithi plateau with the hundreds of white-washed windmills follows driving through the beautiful villages of Agios Konstantinos and St. George arriving in the capital of the Lassithi province, the small town of Tzermiado.
Ten minutes from the plateau we find the Kera vilage, a traditional village that got its name from the Panayia Kera Kardiotissa monastery – one of the most important religious monuments of the island. We can then take a stop for lunch at a local Traditional Cretan Taverna were you can try delicious cretan dishes cooked in the wood oven. Five minutes from the Kera village we reach the Krasi village, a village with a huge tree in the center of it, with its estimated age being over 1000 years. It is great spending time under its branches catching a breath next to the natural springs of the village. Then leaving behind us the Lassithi Plateau we descend to Malia which is a well-known touristic area. The descending route to Malia is really breath-taking with the fantastic view of the deep blue sea emerging in the background as we go through the mountains reaching the coast line.
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Day trip

Rethymnon – Gortyna – Phaistos

Rethymno began a period of growth when the Venetian conquerors of the island decided to put an intermediate commercial station between Heraklion and Chania, its own bishop and nobility in the process. Today’s old town (palia poli) is almost entirely built by the Venetians. It is one of the best preserved old towns in Crete. The town still maintains its old aristocratic appearance, with its buildings dating from the 16th century, arched doorways, stone staircases, Byzantine and Hellenic-Roman remains, the small Venetian harbour and narrow streets. The city’s Venetian-era citadel, the Fortezza, is one of the best-preserved castles in Crete. Other monuments include the Neratze mosque (the Municipal Odeon arts centre), the Great Gate (Meyaan Mopta, Porta Guora), the Piazza Rimondi (Rimondi square) and the Venetian Loggia. The remains of Gortyna to the south of Heraklion tell a later tale than that of the other archaeological sites in Crete, particularly the important inscribed stones, known as the Gortyn Law Code, dating back to the 5th century BC: a complete code of law based on Minoan tradition.
 The Code stones are still preserved and exhibited in the north round wall of the Roman Odeon at the Gortyna site (although of course the theatre was built much later in the 1st century). Other highlights at Gortyna (which was capital of Roman Crete and Cyrene) include the Church of St Titus, where Christianity was first introduced to the island and the Temple of Apollo Pythios, dating from 700 BC. South of Heraklion lies Crete’s second most important Minoan archaeological site, the Palace complex of Phaistos, considered by many to be a finer example of Minoan architecture than Knossos. The west propylon, the monumental entranceway to the
palace, is particularly impressive, and the ceremonial staircase and great court are breathtaking. Like Knossos the site has actually been built on twice, with the original palace, built about 2,000 BC, having been destroyed by fire and replaced with a new palace around 300 years later.
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