OVERVIEW: Enjoy a cultural experience in Crete that includes guided sightseeing at Lake Kournas, the Arkadi Monastery, and Rethymnon.
HIGHLIGHTS: Walk around Lake Kournas and savor a "sfakiani pie", a traditional cheese pie with honey. Visit the Arkadi Monastery which was built in the last Venetian period and whose history dates back to the Byzantine times. You will explore the town of Rethymnon which despite the modern development and tourism, has retained much of its charm and remains the intellectual capital of Crete.
NOTES: Guests must be able to walk approximately 2 miles over various surfaces of gravel paths, cobblestones and rough paths with steps and inclines.
Enjoy a cultural experience in Crete that includes guided sightseeing at Lake Kournas, the Arkadi Monastery, and Rethymnon.
-Lake Kournas: Walk around the lake and savor a treat of “sfakiani pie”
-Arkadi Monastery: Visit this set of fortress-like buildings
-Rethymnon: Enjoy a guided tour and some free time
During this tour, you’ll see Lake Kournas. The name was derived from the Arabic word for lake. Dense vegetation surrounds the lake and the southeastern bank is lined with ancient olive trees. A strip of white sand along the lake provides an area for locals to swim. You’ll walk around the lake and get to taste "sfakiani pie," a traditional cheese pie with honey.
Continue your tour with a guided visit of the Arkadi Monastery, built in the last Venetian period. The monastery consists of a set of fortress-like buildings. The history of the monastery dates back to the Byzantine times. A monk, possibly Arkadios, founded the monastery that in turn was named after him. In the 16th century, the monastery played an important role in the cultural life of Crete.
Continuing the tour, you'll visit Rethymnon. It is the capital of the prefecture of the same name and it is built between two other large cities of Crete. In the east is Iraklion and to the west is Chania. There is evidence that Rethymnon City was built on the site of ancient Rithymna that flourished during Mycenaean times. Rithymna retained its autonomy and independence, as is evidenced by the coins that, as free city, it continued to mint. During the Byzantine period, the town continued to be inhabited and parts of Roman and Byzantine mosaics have been found which date to the period. You will explore the town on a guided walking tour which despite the modern development and tourism, has retained much of its charm and remains the intellectual capital of Crete. The old quarter is rich in elegant, well preserved Venetian and Ottoman architecture.
What to Bring:
-You should always take your SeaPass card (provided onboard ship) and photo identification when in port
-You will need Euros and/or credit cards for any purchases (foreign currencies are not accepted).
What to Wear:
-Comfortable walking shoes, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen are recommended.
-Conservative attire with no exposed shoulders or knees is recommended for the visit to the monastery. Short pants, tank tops and revealing clothing are not acceptable.
-Guests must be able to walk approximately 2 miles over various surfaces of gravel paths, cobblestones and rough paths with steps and inclines.
-The drive to Lake Kournas is approximately 30 minutes. The return drive from Rethymnon is approximately 1 hour, dependent upon traffic conditions.