Excursion's, Crete Island
prices for 2012 if you need to book with the above,
Spinalonga 99 euros premier
Taste of Greece of Crete 69 euros
Heraklion market 35 euros
plus others please expand photo for full list
Unique Suggestions: try the local companies will be around 20% cheaper
Fun Alternatives: hire a car!!!!
One of the best excursions you can do while in Crete is visiting the old Venetian Castle Island of Spinalonga. It is a short sail accross the lively town of Agios Nikolaos and the village of Elounda in Lassithi.
The castle is somehow well preserved, the walls are impressive. This little island was used as isolation for the lepers in Greece until the early '50s
You will not loose your time visiting the island. Yous better sail from the village of elounda, the trip is shorter (10-15 min) yet you get to see a lot of the surrounding of the Mirabello bay. If you select to sail from Agios Nikolaos the trip will be longer (maybe 45 min) the ticket higher and you will be burned under the sun in the island and the boat.
Do get water and a sandwich as there is no shop to get something (only a little shop with nice souvenirs).
If you consider this excursion you can gather more info on the net, searching the story of spinalonga on google. I can only suggest one of the best organisers that do this excursions for years it is Cretan Holidays SA, a cretan office with long experience in excursions. You might want to check either their corporate site www.cretanholidays.gr or their reservations (individual holidays) site : www.beeinnet.com.
They can arrange an excursion either in Spinalonga or other places like the minoan palaces of Knossos and Phaestos, or a Jeep safari...Ask them and they will handle everything quite efficiently for Greeks...
Our tour director who met us at the plane and took us to the hotel where we were based gave several possible outings that his company "Provides". One was the "Anopolis Folklore Festival" (with dinner)...this outing was touted as being "typical Crecian Folklore, with dinner and unlimited wine"...The "folklore" was limited to dancing (very poor and stunt flled, such as you will see in the photos) and the wine was VERY watered down (I enjoy wine and could not drink more than one single glass of bad watered wine). I have seen folk festivals in Greece and this was NOT TYPICAL of them, just an expensive rip off. Oh yes, forgot to mention that the place was packed with about 500 diners, so when they opened up the tables where you had to stand in line to serve yourself, it was push and shove to get your plate full. I think the building had originally been a factory of some sort, the acoustics were worse than in a cow shed.
Fun Alternatives: Normally I check with locals here on VT, they can usually point out places that they enjoy experiencing their own culture in a more authentic setting. Did not have enough time to plan this trip, so this bogus "folklore" was "payment" for lack of planning here on VT.
We stayed on Crete for a week and discovered that there are excursion companies in most of the major cities and their prices are way cheaper thatn those same excursions as booked by an agent from the cruise ship on the boat. For example it costs 55 eu to book an excursion to the Samaria Gorge from the agent on the Cruise boat, but 29 eu from the agent across the street from our hotel in Hersonissos. The locally booked trip included the price of a guide, the bus to the gorge and from the ferry boat back to our hotel.
The guide was not that useful in the gorge, but acted more in the capacity of a shepherd to make sure that his travellers got back on the bus.