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
This combination of leaders works particularly well. We had glorious weather and plentiful botany to see and enjoy. The Omalos plateau was a joy with its tulips and anemones and a wonderful way to end the trip. We had full days and a very satisfactorily tiring ones! It's good to be tired at the end of a day well-spent!I liked to combination of half-board and Plakias and bed and breakfast at Chania.
The itinerary worked well, as it's been honed over many years. Good variety of wildlife over a good range of sites. Archaeological interest too, and some historical sites. The tour leaders were excellent and really made the trip. The Alianthos Beach Hotel in Plakias was particularly good, with excellent buffet for breakfast and evening meal.
David is a superb leader and very attentive to the requirements of the group. Always approachable and willing to go the extra distance to fulfil the wishes of the group paying particular attention to members as they require it. My knowledge of plant species was not great at the start but his enthusiasm was very infectious, and not just for plants, but those people interested in birds were also catered for in some depth. I thoroughly enjoyed my first Naturetrek holiday and will travel with you again sometime next year.