- Lassithi Plateau
with mammoth Diktion Cave.
- Traditional villages
in the Psiloritis Mountains
- Romantic Venetian-era
city of Hania
- Minoan palaces of
Knossos and Malia
- Rethymno's fabulous Fortezza
As Greece’s largest island with an extended road network and breathtaking mountains and seascapes, Crete makes a provocative destination for cyclists.
Apart from splendid cycling, ancient Minoan ruins are an exciting feature en route, including famous sites like Knossos and Malia, and unheralded ones of equal interest, such as the Armeni Minoan cemetery and Fourni in Arhanes.
Clients rave about the precious accommodations offered on this tour. Charming old villas, country inns and boutique hotels provide a personal, intimate exchange with the hospitable local hosts.
Cost per person
8 or 10 days
A slight price increase for hotels may apply in August.
All tours are priced in euros, the currency of Greece.
Click here for daily exchange rates
The 8 Day or 10 Day tour both start in Athens where you test your bike. You can either fly or take an overnight boat to Herakleion, Crete. In either event, from Herakleion early morning the next day you/bikes/luggage will be transferred to Tzermiado for Day 1 of the10 Day tour or transferred to Knossos--Arhanes for Day 1 of the 8 Day tour. Note -- 8 Day tour itinerary starts at Day 3 on Itinerary below.
The tour ends in Hania with daily flights and boats back to Athens. You leave the bike in Hania.
Day 1: Tzermiado
The Lassithi Plateau, one of the highest farming areas in Greece, once had 20,000 windmills which only a generation or so ago were still in use, which gives you an idea of how traditional this region is. Make a giant loop of the plateau, stopping at Diktion Cave to marvel at the gigantic stalactites and stalagmites.
Day 2: Tzermiado
Descend almost 3,000 feet to the coast to the Minoan palace city of Malia. Most alluring are the giant earthenware pithos jars, as tall as you and the scent of orange blossoms as you enter the archaeology site. Stop for lunch in Krasi, known for its humongous plane tree and fresh water springs.
Day 3: Arhanes
10 Day Tour: Heading west, over mountain ridges, cycling on back roads with goats and donkeys. Listen for the sound of their bells. Your destination is Arhanes, a one-time Minoan village whose contemporary residents continue many of the same traditions, from growing grapes for wine to idling around shady trees.
8 Day Tour: Transfer from Herakleion to Arhanes. Cycle a rural route which includes a stop at the Museum of Nikos Katzantakis, Crete's beloved novelist and author of Zorba the Greek. Enjoy a dinner at a converted olive oil factory.
Day 4: Arhanes
Visit the famed Minoan palace city of Knossos and the Herakelion Archaeological Museum with priceless frescos. Ancient Minoa was the first civilization on European soil. By all accounts it was a peaceful empire.
Day 5: Zaros
En route stop at Vathypetro, a Minoan villa dating back to 1600 BC. The ride from Arhanes 1245 feet (380 meters) ascends to the cheerful mountain village of Zaros 1394 feet high (425 meters). Zaros is known for its bottled mineral water, fresh trout and the E4 (European) hiking route. Optional afternoon hike in the Rouvas Gorge.
Day 6: Rethymno
Back country roads, lots of climbing, breathtaking scenery characterize today’s ride. Advanced cyclists can detour to Spili, 1358 feet high (414 meters), a delightful mountain village of cobblestone streets, an amazing Venetian fountain and local crafts and produce. The day's final destination is Crete's best kept secret, Rethymno.
Day 7: Rethymno
A bike ride into the low portions of the Psiloritis Mountains. Visit Melidoni Cave and learn its poignant history. Rethymno's old city has an imposing Venetian fortress, car-free alley-like streets, great restaurants with traditional Cretan cuisine and a fourteen kilometer sandy beach.
Day 8: Hania
The ride to Hania runs parallel to the sea on a mountain ridge before descending down to the flat coastal road via the incomparable Therissos Gorge. Hania’s beautiful harbor with Venetian architecture is dominated by a mosque surviving from the 400 years of Ottoman occupation of Crete. Take time for a bit of shopping in Hania – handmade knives or gold jewelry.
Day 9: Hania
The ride climbs from sea level to 3600 feet but it only takes about 3 hours to ascend these 23 miles, and half that time to return. Gradually the scenery dramatically changes to alpine-like forests. Omalos is where hikers overnight to get an early morning start on descending the Samaria Gorge which you may opt to do at the end of your cycling tour.
Day 10: Departure
Total Miles 313 miles 504 km. Average Daily 35 miles, 56 km
Day 1 15 miles, 25 km, flat atop plateau, almost no hills
Day 2 32 miles, 54 km descend 2920 ft, ascend on return same route.
Day 3 27 miles, 44 km highest ascent 1968 feet, 8 Day: 28 miles, 46 km rolling hills
Day 4 15 miles, 25 km descend then ascend back up 1300 feet
Day 5 31 miles, 50 km highest ascents 1692 and 2040 feet
Day 6 50 miles, 80 km climb from 1050 feet to 1790 feet, then downhill. Additional mileage for Spili, add 18 miles, 30 km, and two 1000 feet climbs
Day 7 39 miles, 63 km rolling hills
Day 8 58 miles, 94 km, 1100 foot climb in 8 km, highest climb 2000 feet
Day 9 46 miles, 74 km ascend 3600 feet, descend on return. Actual riding time is about 2.45 to ascend, 1½ hours to return.