2. Heraklion:Cretan Villages with Patsos Gorge
Meet with your guide at the terminal of Cretan Spiti Travel at Eleftherias Square in front of Astoria Capsis Hotel at 08.30 and start driving to our first stop Zaros, an attractive, refreshingly unspoiled village famous for its spring water, which is now bottled and sold all over Greece, and an ideal base for walkers to explore the beautiful nature. Zaros also has some fine Byzantine monasteries, and delicious farm-raised trout served up in tavernas around town and on emerald-green Lake Votomos which will be visited. Then we continue our drive to the traditional Cretan village of Vatos, a small village hidden in the green where we find all the elements of its tradition. Walking down the alleys we visit the old school and its fountain as well as the museum with the farming tools and utensils of earlier times. We finish at a cauldron of the village where you make Raki (the famous alcoholic beverage of Crete). Spili is our next stop known for its Venetian snake with a long line of 25 stone lion heads that run cool water from their mouths. Optional lunch at Spili. Then we visit Lampini, the church and the museum of Panagia. The church is inscribed with a cupola, and depicts frescoes of the 12th and 14th century. It was an Episcopal church, since the village of Lampini once accommodated the seat of the famous Episcopate of Lampis, which had existed since 431. Drive to Gorge of St. Antonios, walk through a very nice hiking trail in the gorge with super green and lush surroundings up to the cave of St. Antonios. Late in the afternoon at 18:30, we return to Heraklion at the terminal in front of Astoria Capsis Hotel.