CRETE – ‘wonderful, dramatic’ Crete – has been famous for centuries for its flowers, many of which are unique (endemic) to the island. The Minoan people who built the great palaces such as that at Knossos admired flowers, and plants (accurately portrayed) appear in their frescoes and on their artefacts.

While it is a relatively small island, Crete’s native flora is remarkably rich. There are about 1,800 different species of flowering plants recorded, and of these around 180, one-tenth, are unique and found nowhere else in the world – such plants are called endemics. So Crete is a marvellous island for plant-hunting. (For comparison, Britain and Ireland combined have about 1400 native flowering plants.)

Among the endemics are the white peony Paeonia clusii, Cretan ebony (in fact a relative of clover) Ebenus creticus, the so-called “wall-lettuce” (it has no good English name) Petromarula pinnata that you will see even in Hania, a cyclamen, two tulips Tulipa cretica and the enigmatic Tulipa saxatilis (or T. bakeri supposed to be confined to Omalos), a close relative of the date-palm Phoenix theophrasti, and several orchids. Indeed Crete is an orchid enthusiast’s paradise; 14 different genera occur on the island.

The Cretans still harvest and use their wild plants. In the island’s markets, sacks full of grape hyacinth bulbs are on sale. In fact the tassel hyacinth (Muscari comosum) has been a delicacy since antiquity and its Greek name means edible bulb. In places such as Omalos Plain you will see small groups of women and men, all bending down and evidently digging up local plants. They are collecting spiny chicory (Cichorium spinosum), a vegetable delicacy that is blanched and served in olive oil with lemon juice.

Wildflowers of Crete

An invitation to join a private tour party for a week wandering among flowers and ancient sites.

Proposed programme for a one-week (8 nights) private visit to Crete of one of expert licensed...

Duration: 25th March- 2nd April 2023
Lang: English

Archanes Wildflower Tour

The valley of Archanes stretches along the foothills of Mt. Youchtas. It is renowned for its vast vineyards and olive groves, which produce products of exceptional quality, including a variety of...

Duration: A half day tour
Lang: English

Other Experiences

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Village experiences

Visiting in land Crete can be a real challenge! In the villages of Crete one has the opportunity to experience the Real Crete, the heartbeat of the island.

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One can never experience the true heart and soul of Crete, without tasting its raki and dance to the sounds of Lyra – Crete’ s emblematic musical instrument- along with its beautiful and friendly inhabitants.

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Through your visit in Crete you should be prepared to immerse yourself in roughly 8.000 thousand years of history and constant human presence.

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Mountains and gorges, villages and beaches, valleys and plains, ancient city remains, olive groves and gardens, endless wine fields. A landscape diverse and stunning.

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The whole Crete, a virtual Archeological thematic park with finds dating from Neolithic times, hosting the impressive remains of one of the most glorious cultures in the history of mankind.

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Andreadaki 13-15 Heraklion, Crete
712 01, Greece
Tel.: +30 2810-342222
Fax: +30 2810-342212
ΜΗ.Τ.Ε. 1039 Ε 6000 00870 00
Office hours: Mon - Fri: 9.00 - 15.00

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