Travel to the eastern mountains of Crete for a private tour of the Byzantine Church of Panagia Kera and the traditional village of Krista.
After meeting your professional guide on the pier, you will depart Heraklion and begin a scenic drive to the east end of the island and the Mirabello mountains, approximately two hours away. A photo stop will be made to see the world famous island of Spinaloga, a small rocky island that has protected the harbor of ancient Olous and Elounda Bay since antiquity. It once was home to the most powerful fortresses of the Venetians, with walls built in 1579 that can still be seen today. After the Turkish conquest of Crete, Spinaloga was a refuge for many Christians who fled there to escape. From 1912 to 1958, the island served as a sanatorium for the lepers of Crete.
Your drive then continues inland to the Church of Panagia Kera (Our Lady Kera). It was built in the 13th and 14th centuries, and it is the most important Byzantine-era church on the island. It is dedicated to the Virgin and the Saints Anthony and Anna, and is adorned with many important Byzantine frescoes of the 14th and 15th century. There are also 14 scenes portraying the secret life of the Virgin Mary after Christ's Crucifixion and Resurrection. Because of its continuous building over several centuries, the church also serves as a timeline of sorts, as the frescoes exhibit the development and trends of the Cretan school of painting through the centuries. Then, drive to the mountain village of Kritsa, a magnificent traditional village, which sits on the side of a rocky hill at an altitude of more than 1,230 feet above sea level. It is one of the most picturesque towns in Crete, and its approximately 2,000 inhabitants keep the old Cretan customs and traditions alive. The town is considered one of the most important centers of the Cretan folk and weaving art. You will have approximately one hour to explore on your own through the narrow streets before starting your drive back to Heraklion.
Please Note: This tour offers customized departure times between 7:30 AM and 7:00 PM. If your preferred departure time is not listed, please contact us to place your request.