Half Day Tour
From ± 18:00 Until 22:00
This tour is for those who would like to get to know Cretan culture and traditions while enjoying a four-hour off-road excursion.
We will visit a modern olive mill, so that you can get a “close-up” picture of how olive oil is produced, and we can also enjoy the opportunity to sample some of the oils.
After this, we will explore some myths and stories hidden in the stones of an early Christian church which was used as a hiding place by people who were evicted by the Turks. We also learn about the history of a 400-year-old tower which was built by the most fearsome Turkish Janissary and is still almost intact to this day.
After that we will “climb” 1100 metres above sea-level on an off-road route. We will travel through the Lefka Ori woods and you will be stunned by the panoramic view from the trail. Later, we will meet a shepherd who will show us how Cretan cheeses are made and we can try some of the cheeses he makes himself.
Finally, we will bring the evening to a close with a traditional meal. There will be lots of food and traditional dishes for everyone to enjoy.
The tour includes:
Olive oil is a main source of nutrients in the much-discussed Mediterranean Diet. Many experts agree that following the Mediterranean Diet is one of the best ways to stay healthy and to enjoy a long life. The flesh of olives is 20-30% oil and the way that oil is extracted has remained almost unchanged for hundreds of years. The olives are harvested, washed and then crushed in oil mills to produce virgin olive oil. As well as being used in cooking, olive oil is also used for lamps, for scents (aromatic oils), for body care products, tanning and soaps etc.
Cretan livestock farming has hardly changed over the years. It is based on small animals, mainly sheep and goats, rather than cows, and in the main part the animals graze freely or are partially stabled. All year round, the animals either roam free or are kept in traditional pens, and they feed almost exclusively on Cretan herbs and bushes. The plants and shrubs which are native to Crete have a distinct scent and high nutritional value. This specifically Cretan flora, combined with the local breeds of animals, contributes to the distinctive character of Cretan products. Local breeds of animals are fully acclimatised to the island’s weather and there is no need to use either drugs or antibiotics. Cretan dairy products are made from goat and sheep's milk, which are also used to make cheeses and yoghurt. Traditionally, small quantities of dairy products are a daily part of the Cretan diet. Studies have shown that eating dairy products reduces the risk of hypertension, stroke and colorectal cancer.
Cretan dances express the islanders’ rich inner lives. Cretans use song and dance to express their feelings – enthusiasm, disappointment, love and war. The dances which are known all over the island have their roots in the ancient Minoan ceremonies and every dance is different.
Cretan cuisine has all the elements which make up the famous “Mediterranean Diet”. The island’s geological diversity means we have access to a wide range of locally-grown raw ingredients which are all high in nutritional value. Even today, the mainstays of our diet are vegetables, greens and a small amount of meat. Stuffed vegetables with rice and herbs, wild greens with olive oil and lemon, briam (an oven baked dish with aubergines, potatoes, tomatoes and courgettes) and baked aubergines stuffed with tomatoes, onions and cheese are just some of our traditional recipes that are full of flavour and nutrients, and don’t contain a trace of meat. Of course, we also have delicious meat dishes with little fat which we eat with vegetables for a balanced meal.