Wildlife holidays in Crete
Tell me about Crete …
Crete is the largest of the Mediterranean islands. It is 258km long and 56km wide.
The island is dominated by four – largely limestone – mountain chains which stretch from east to west, rising to 2,450 metres at their highest point. From the island’s central mountainous ‘spine’ streams empty into the Aegean Sea to the north, and through deep gorges into the Libyan Sea to the south.
Crete’s climate, position and variety of both altitude and terrain have created its outstanding flora.
Our Crete specialist recommends..
"Our ‘Crete in Autumn’ tour reveals the wonderful autumn flora of this beautiful island. Following the long and hot dry summer the early autumn rains bring a wonderful variety of crocus, cyclamen, colchicum and narcissi to life."
What’s special about the wildlife?
Botany: Crete’s flora is world-renowned. It has an exceptional collection of characteristic Mediterranean flora, as well as about 140 endemic species, making it one of the most exciting places to see wild flowers in Europe.
Birds: the Greek islands serve as ‘stepping stones’ for migrating birds, and Crete is no exception.
Naturetrek Tours to Crete
We offer two 8-day wildlife holidays on the island of Crete: one of these focuses on spring flowers and migrating birds, and the other goes in search of the island’s wonderful autumn flora.
Highlights from our tours to Crete include:
- Autumn-flowering bulbs such as crocuses, colchicums, narcissi & scillas
- We’ll look for endemics such as Narcissus serotinus, Crocus boryi, Origanum dictamnus, Colchicum creticum & many other species
- In the spring we’ll enjoy the island’s proliferation of spring flora, as well as search for specialities such as Snake’s-head Iris, Giant Orchid & Drooping Star-of-Bethlehem
- We’ll hope to coincide with ‘falls’ of tired passerine migrants in the coastal maquis & olive groves, plus see eastern Mediterranean specialities such as Eleonora’s Falcon & Ruppell’s Warbler
- A visit to the Palace of Knossos, Crete’s most famous Minoan site
The Venetians, Romans and Byzantines have all left their mark on this delightful island; however, Crete is perhaps most famous for the Minoan civilisation, a Bronze Age civilisation which flourished here from the 27th to 15th century BC, and from which the legend of the Minotaur arose!
WHAT YOU'VE BEEN SAYING ABOUT OUR Crete HOLIDAYS
The tour leaders' knowledge of both the area and their specialisations was very impressive. While I've visited western Crete a couple of times some twenty years ago, there's nothing like being taken to places by people who know what to look for and where to look for it. The hotels were both good, and Hotel Horizon is a particularly good find, with lovely rooms (it was wonderful waking to the sound of the sea and sparrows).
Leaders - better than excellent. Vastly knowledgeable enthusiastic, hardworking and pleasant people with it.
I really enjoyed Crete, and saw more orchids than I expected. I looked at the ground rather than birds, but still enjoyed seeing the birds. Plus good weather.