COME AND HAVE AN AFFAIR WITH ME ON THE ISLAND OF CRETE, GREECE!
Crete changes people and they return again and again and again!
“Both my wife and I declare that our trip to Santorini and Crete was one of THE most memorable trips we have enjoyed over the years. The level of enjoyment comes from the excellent organisation by Francesca Muir.
The skill Francesca has in knowing the local places and people and the language was amazing. We received the best tables in restaurants and the best attention – all because Francesca spoke the language and opened doors that would be difficult for any ordinary tourist. She is a natural and with her personality and knowledge she is THE BEST person to show you her beloved Greece.” – Tom S.
“I am writing to thank you for the wonderful Greek holiday we had that you so expertly organised. From the moment we touched down at Santorini airport to the time we left Crete, it was perfect. We loved Crete for the food and wine and places of interest that you showed us. A particular favourite of mine was Spinalonga, the old leper island near Elounda, so laden with history and sadness but a must for visitors. I also was in awe of Knossos, the old Minoan ruins, also another must see. The cost of the holiday was very reasonable thanks to you getting the best bargains available. I highly recommend you to anyone thinking of going to Greece as your knowledge is spot on and I look forward to doing it again with you.” – John T.
“If you want to travel with a small group to Crete, have fun, eat great food, enjoy a relaxed itinerary and sometimes do the unexpected, Francesca Muir’s tour must be your choice.” – Diana C.
“Travelling with Francesca to Greece was a life-changing experience – her knowledge, passions and insight into the Cretan life made out trip one our family will never forget.” – Celia H.
Crete – An Aegean Odyssey
5-18 June 2020
4-17 September 2020
Make 2020 the most memorable yet, and join me on a small personal tour to the island I call my spiritual home – Crete, Greece.
My affair with her began more than 30 years ago and I’ve been in love with her ever since, for she changed me forever. She leaves an indelible print on people and I have yet to meet anyone who is not equally besotted with her and all she has to offer and who promises to return – and they do, time and time again.
To this end, I take small personal tours to the island where we dip in and out of her culture and explore her culinary depths. We visit traditional villages where the locals live as they have for centuries and almost travel the length of the island where you can see first hand the snow-tipped mountains, deep gorges, fertile valleys and sublime beaches snuggling up to azure seas.
I believe the best way to get to know a place is by immersing yourself in the local culture, meeting the locals who will regale you with stories about their history and lives, and wherever possible, getting off the well-worn tourist tracks. Though we will, of course, visit the Minoan Palace of Knossos and the island of Spinalonga, which was the site of the last leper colony in Europe.
I am not a tour guide. I am a tour concierge. I ensure that your trip is seamless and stress-free and I employ professional, fully accredited guides along the way. I take only small groups on my tours to Crete, to give you a very personal insight into the island that lies at the heart of the Mediterranean Diet and the cradle of civilization thanks to the ingenuity of the Minoans.
My tour is for 13 nights and 14 days and limited to 8 people only to ensure a very personal experience. For the first week, we stay for seven nights in the port of Agios Nikolaos in Eastern Crete with rooms overlooking the tiny “bottomless” lake – Lake Voulismeni.
• a day in the ancient mountain village of Kritsa where age-old traditions such as pottery, leatherwear, lacemaking and weaving are still carried on today.
• spending time with a shepherd as he milks goats and makes fresh cheese.
• eating a traditional Minoan Feast cooked in traditional Minoan pots with Potter, Anthropologist and Archaeologist Jerolyn Morrison.
• a day tour into the mountains to learn about the local and Minoan history.
• catching a local fishing boat for a walking tour of the Island of Spinalonga.
• tour of the Minoan Palace of Knossos and the Knossos Museum.
On the eighth day, we take a bus trip across the island to the Old Port of Chania (pronounced Hun-yia), western Crete. We travel via the capital, Heraklion for a guided tour of the Minoan Palace of Knossos and the Knossos Museum. We will then enjoy a delicious Cretan lunch in the heart of the capital before continuing our journey.
In Chania, we will stay on the Old Port in a unique modern hotel housed in a building built by the Venetians during the 13th century. They built it on the ruins of a 9th-century Arabic hammam (baths).
For the next week, we explore beautiful Chania with all her little alleyways and lanes and the mountains of western Crete.
• a day trip to two of Crete’s most famous wineries for a wine tasting and lunch, visiting a modern olive oil factory as well as the oldest olive tree in the world.
• visiting an ancient village in the White Mountains to learn the secrets of the Cretan Diet, participate in a hands-on cooking lesson and indulge in a sumptuous meal in an old disused olive press.
• a day trip to historical Agia Triada for a tour of the monastery.
• discovering the hidden delights and the history of Chania’s famous Old Port.
In case you are wondering, I do NOT:
• walk around with a flag held up high so you can find me amongst the throngs of tourists
• eat at touristy places where the food is so-so and the service equally so
• take large groups on a package tour
• run a manic whistle-stop schedule where we spend more time in transit and queues than actually at the locations
• get you up at the crack of dawn to watch a pomegranate-coloured sun come up over the bay (unless of course, you want to).
I can promise you:
• tomatoes and potatoes that taste like they used to!
• an inside view into life on a Greek island
• plenty of free time to swim, shop, explore, walk, sleep
• 14 Cretan breakfasts; 8 lunches and 6 dinners and more home-cooked food than you can imagine
• endless Cretan hospitality and generosity (called filoxenia – a friend to strangers)
• a visceral experience that will stay with you forever.
Cost €5,200pp / Non-refundable deposit of €700pp.
Places are strictly limited to 8 people.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.