Complete Crete
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Private Self Drive Holiday 8 Days ex Heraklion

With hotels, rental car, and daily breakfasts all arranged, this suggested itinerary gives you many points of interest during your discovery of Crete. The largest of the Mediterranean islands, Crete is full of history, dramatic landscapes, and delicious local foods and wine. This eight day tour is the perfect way to discover all of these secrets and more in your own time and pace.


  • Discover the ancient and enigmatic sites of the Minoan civilisation – the oldest in Europe and one whom many claim is the ancient Atlantis.
  • Explore the myriad of local restaurants and cafes serving delectable local foods and wines.
  • Soak in the tranquil charm of traditional Greek fishing villages.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Car rental costs included in the prices above are for a Category B Suzuki Celerio or similar, and are for 6 days return hire. Car category upgrades, one way hire, or drop off after 10am on Day 8 will incur additional costs

Day 1: Heraklion

Arrive in Heraklion and be met by our local representative in Crete and transferred to your hotel. Remainder of the day at leisure.

Day 2: Heraklion – Aghios Nikolaos (B)

This morning your car will be delivered to your hotel for the start of your self-drive journey of Crete.

Depart Heraklion and visit the ruins of the Minoan palace of Knossos. This enigmatic site was named for the famed King Minos and is said to have been the home of the Minotaur. South of Knossos at the foot of Juchtas Mountain (the mountain range resembles the face of a sleeping man thus called “Sleeping Zeus”) is the village of Archanes well known since the Minoan period for its vineyards. In the village there are beautiful restored Turkish houses.In Heraklion visit the Archaeological Museum with its important finds from the Minoan period and the Cathedral of St. Minas - protector of the city.

Continue towards the quaint fishing village of Elounda the island of Spinalonga and arrive to the lively Aghios Nikolaos for overnight.

Day 3: Aghios Nikolaos - Sitia (B)

Today a short drive to Sitia, birth place of the poet Vincenzos Cornaros (17th century). Visit the picturesque harbour and the fortress Kazarmas built during Byzantine times. You may continue to the East coast to relax on the Palm Beach of Vai, the first place in Europe to watch the sun rise every morning or visit the Monastery of Toplou. Dating back to the 15th century, the monastery contains an inscription from the 2nd century BC and a famous 18th century icon by loannis Kornaros. Overnight Sitia.

Day 4: Sitia – Ierapetra (B)

Drive along the beautiful eastern coast of Crete. You might stop en route to visit the Minoan palace of Zakros, the site of a luxurious Minoan Palace the 4th of significance on the island.Overnight in Ierapetra the southernmost city in Europe.

Day 5: Ierapetra – Matala (B)

Today continue your drive West to Matala. En route stop at the small fishing harbour of Myrtos, a charming village along the southern coast that has preserved its strong Greek character. Overnight in the pleasant seaside village of Matala, famous for its pre-historic caves and for being a centre for the hippies during the 70’s.

Day 6: Matala – Chania (B)

Drive to Preveli Monastery built on a high rocky plateau. Drive via the narrow gorge Kourtaliotiko and hear the mysterious sounds of the constant blowing wind. Continue through small villages to Rethymnon before making your way to the charming town of Chania.

Day 7: Chania (B)

Spend the day exploring the Old Centre of Chania. Walk through the old centre and along the Venetian harbour. This afternoon you may visit some of Crete’s most famous beaches in Elafonissi or Falasarna, or visit the famous Samaria Gorge.

Day 8: Chania (B)

Visit Souda Bay WWII War Cemetery en route to Chania airport or Heraklion to return your rental car.

Note: The itinerary above is a suggestion only and you may want to visit different sites along the way. We recommend you buy a comprehensive map and guidebook of Crete to plan your self-drive according to your specific points of interests and make the most of your holiday.


  • Accommodation in chosen class of hotel
  • Daily breakfasts
  • 6 days Category B (Suzuki Celerio or similar) car rental
  • Arrival transfer from the port / airport to your hotel with assistance
  • Travel Notes


  • International airfares
  • Optional tours and excursions
  • Port Taxes and fuel surcharges
  • Porterage
  • Tipping/Gratuities (please refer to tour notes for a recommended guideline)
  • Personal Expenses
  • Departure taxes
  • Hotel charges for minibar or any extra charges
  • Visas (unless specified)
  • Any other services not clearly mentioned in the inclusions above

Cars in Crete:

The standard of the rental vehicles in Crete is generally lower than that of Central Europe and New Zealand. These cars are late model manual vehicles as opposed to new cars. They are well serviced and reliable. Automatic vehicles can be requested a surcharge applies. It is common practice that the car is delivered with a non-full (and quite often almost empty) tank. Make sure you fill in your tank before leaving town. At the end of your tour the car is expected to be returned with a similar level of fuel as when first delivered.

Accommodation based on the below or similar:


Tourist Class - Marin Dream (standard room)

Superior Tourist Class - Castello City (standard room)

Aghios Nikolaos

Tourist Class - Apollon (standard room)

Superior Tourist Class - Santa Maria (standard room)


Tourist Class - Itanos (standard room)

Superior Tourist Class - Itanos (standard room)


Tourist Class - El Greco (standard land view room)

Superior Tourist Class - El Greco (sea view room)


Tourist Class - Zafiria (standard room)

Superior Tourist Class - Zafiria (standard room)


Tourist Class - Kriti (standard room)

Superior Tourist Class - Porto Veneziano (standard sea view room)

** NEW HOTEL TAX**The Greek government has recently approved a new law (Law 4389 / 27-05-2016 article 53 Accommodation Taxation) that will be in force and effective as of 01.01.2018 regarding a tax for all Tourists staying in any kind of Hotel, Apartment, Villa, etc. in any destination in Greece. This tax will be applied locally and payable at checkin or checkout depending on your hotel. The tax is a fixed Euro amount based on the property rating.

**FERRIES**All ferry schedules may be subject to change, due to local conditions (including weather) and/or possible port congestion and the final requirements of the ferry companies. The cancellation or non operation of the ferries is a decision of the shipping company and the Ministry of Shipping. This is outside the control of our operators and Innovative Travel who confirm ferries in good faith.

If certain classes of ferries are not operating for any reason, the next best option will be used whether an alternate ferries or flights. Example: If Hydrofoils are non-operational for any reason, clients booked on them may have to use alternative regular ferries in a first class seat. If there are any additional charges these will be advised by the local operator and will be at the clients expense.

Greek Island ferries are usually quite large, offering restaurant/cafeteria/bar facilities, though normally no swimming facilities. Porters are rarely available at ferry ports, so your luggage should be only as much as you can carry.

Ferry Rhodes / Marmaris: Unlike standard ferries connections between Greek Islands, the ferry between Rhodes and Marmaris is an international one. Our local operator in Rhodes will provide you with a voucher that you will exchange at the port where you will have to queue to receive your boarding pass and pay the Greece departure tax.

Connecting to International Flights from the Islands. We suggest client do not depart from Athens on the same day as they embark on ferries from the Cyclades or beyond. If departures are scheduled for this day we suggest flying directly into Athens airport.

*** FERRY TICKETS***The majority of ferry tickets are paper tickets. A handling fee is included in the price of the tickets when purchased with other arrangements in Athens. If clients are not using the service of our local representative in Athens a delivery and additional handling fee may be charged. ( This applies particularly when an island hopping programme begins on the islands). Ferry tickets are non-refundable and non-changeable once issued. All tickets are issued locally in Greece.

Ferry schedules in Greece are constantly changing. Final ferry tickets are generally issued 2 weeks prior departure. To avoid client disappointment tickets are purchased on the best available scheduled departure at that time. If a client wants to make changes after tickets are purchased a change fees will apply payable locally and clients will be responsible for collecting the tickets from the ferry terminal on the day of departure. Final embarkation timings will be confirmed to clients by our representative in Greece.

The local Greece representatives are available to assist clients in case of emergencies or cancellations of ferries. They will also assist to make changes to a booking – any additions or changes to service may incur charges. These charges will be advised and are the responsibility of the clients and must be paid locally.

*** TRANSFERS***Transfers are supplied by drivers and are not guided. Some drivers may only have a basic command of English.

*** THE ISLANDS***Traditionally the Greek Islands main travel season is from May to October. For clients arriving in April and towards the end of the season, many facilities and hotels may not be operational. The infrastructure on Santorini and Mykonos is well developed the other islands accommodation including Naxos and Paros have less developed infrastructure with accommodation generally a slightly lower standard. This is compensated for by atmosphere and charm.

**DOUBLE BEDS**Please note we have requested a double bedded room/cabin but cannot guarantee one will be available. In Greece/Turkey double room/cabin are very limited. Please ask on check-in with the hotel/cruise boat to see what is available.

*** CRUISE DEPARTURES FROM ATHENS ***We suggest that a pre nights accommodation and an arrival transfer are booked, from your Athens Hotel to the port, to connect with the correct ferry/cruise. Due to the size and congestion at the port it can be difficult to find the correct terminal and the cruise departure point often changes without prior notice. The local operator will be informed of these details to avoid potential problems.

*** CABIN ALLOCATION ON CRUISES ***Celestial Cruise Cabin numbers are confirmed generally 2 weeks prior to cruise departures. This may vary from the cabin allocated at the time of confirmation of the booking.*** CRETE SELF DRIVE ***The standard of the rental vehicles in Crete is generally lower than that of Central Europe and New Zealand. These cars are late model manual vehicles as opposed to new cars. They are well serviced, and reliable. Automatic vehicles can be requested, a surcharge applies. It is common practice that the car is delivered with a non-full (and quite often almost empty) tank. Make sure you fill in your tank before leaving town. At the end of your tour the car is expected to be returned with a similar level of fuel as when first delivered.

*** ATHENS SIGHTSEEING & GREECE MAINLAND COACH TOURS ***Scheduled tours and sightseeing are bilingual unless specified. Wifi may be available on full day tours to Delphi, Argolis and all multi day tours.

Enquire About This Itinerary

Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however all offers are subject to reconfirmation at the time of booking. Note prices usually display available discounted rates if any, (eg. Early Bird Deals if applicable). All featured tour itineraries and offers maybe subject to change due to seasonal variations without notice, or due to local conditions or other conditions. Please confirm all details at time of booking. Travel insurance is mandatory for all Innovative Travel bookings. All passports must be valid for 6 months prior to your return to your home country. Visas are the responsibility of the traveller. Special VIP meet and assist offers are valid for New Zealand passport holders, for other nationalities please check at the time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.

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