Ancient history and rich traditions abound in Crete, as you will discover by visiting the excavated palace of the mythological king Minos and the village of Arolithos.
Depart from the pier and settle in for a relaxing drive across northern Crete to Knossos, once the capital of ancient Minoan Crete. The area was first inhabited in the 7th millennium B.C., and its grandeur has been slowly revealed through archaeological excavation. The palace that once stood here was known as the seat of power of the legendary King Minos, and the remains of this UNESCO World Heritage site reflect the glory of former times.
From 1900 to 1931, British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans supervised the excavation of the palace complex and surrounding area, and you’ll see firsthand some of the treasures he uncovered. There are royal quarters, shrines, a royal villa, workshops, banquet halls and other preserved monuments from the Minoan civilization.
Continuing on, you will drive to Arolithos, a modern recreation of a traditional Cretan village. Although Arolithos wasn’t inaugurated until 1988, it looks centuries older. Stone buildings, cobbled walkways, arched entries and other architectural touches lend the village an air of antiquity. To add to the ambiance, Cretan artisans such as ironsmiths, potters and weavers can be seen creating wonderful handicrafts. An abundance of antique art objects, gathered throughout Crete, are displayed in Arolithos’ alluring cultural museum.
Following your museum tour, you will have time for shopping and to enjoy a traditional Cretan lunch and folkloric show before returning to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 3-hours of moderate walking/standing plus any additional walking at the guests’ discretion during free time. There are some uneven surfaces and steps to negotiate. Travel time to Knossos Palace is approximately 2-hours by coach. Travel time from Arolithos to the port is approximately 1 3/4 hours by coach. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests. Those guests with mobility concerns are cautioned only to participate to the extent of their personal stamina and ability and may make arrangements with the guide to not participate in some of the walking portions of the tour. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; a bottle of water from the ship; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.