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Enjoy Incredible Crete Out of Season

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Enjoy Incredible Crete Out of Season

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Enjoy Incredible Crete Out of Season with Jet2Holidays. Visit Crete in October, when the beaches are empty, but the weather is still warm

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Crete
Spinalonga, Crete

Enjoy Incredible Crete Out of Season with Jet2Holidays. Visit Crete in October, when the beaches are empty, but the weather is still warm.

You will also find many restaurants, bars and tavernas still open, but less crowded. Plus, the queues to see some of the spectacular historical sites and cultural centres Crete has to offer will also be quieter.

I hope you all find my ideas below, about where to visit, stay and what to eat, helpful when planning a stay on this stunningly beautiful island.

The Knossos Palace, Crete

I have shared the ideas and many photos below, of only just some of the wonderful places I visited in Crete, on a recent trip with Jet2Holidays in October.

As well as enjoying Cretan food and wine, I also had an opportunity to visit world-famous historical sites, some that I’d only ever read about before. It was a magical break and one I’d love to replicate again.

I have travelled with Jet2Holidays before, and I can whole heartedly recommend them for family holidays, couples get aways, beach breaks, and of course out of season trips too.

Cretan Meze
Cretan Taverna

Enjoy a gentle hack and the opportunity to meet a local beekeeper.
We were met by EUGENIA AND GEORGE, the owners of Fouri Horses, who talked us through what we’d be doing before we set off for our ride through the stunning Cretan countryside.


Halfway round, we tethered the horses in the shade of an old olive grove, and watched and learned about beekeeping, as well as having the chance to hold the frames, complete with bees and honey.


After a gentle hack back, we were treated to some fresh honey, dripping from the honeycomb, whilst the sun set over the mountains creating a golden glow over the landscape.

Fourni Horses

A family winery with outstanding wines, we enjoyed a totally immersive food and wine pairing, which was accompanied by the fascinating story of how the winery was started.

Surrounded by vineyards and olive trees, the Aggelakis’ family wineyard is located in Thrapsano Pediados, a village identified with the art of pottery since antiquity. T

his identification is supported by the existence of shards of ancient ceramics that are regularly found, called “thripsala” or “thrapsala”, which have given their name to the village.

My favourite wine was Cornelia, a fruity and full-bodied red, which was named after the present owner’s great-grandmother, who started off the business after being widowed in 1934.

The little village of Thrapsano is world famous for its pottery. We stopped at one of the largest potteries where we were able to throw our own pot!

The potters still make pots that are from the Minoan era in history, and the amphoras and jars would not look out of place in a museum, even though they were only just made.

The shop that is attched to the pottery was filled with exquisite items of glazed and unglazed pottery, and the owners very kindly gifted us each a candle burner.

The little village of Thrapsano is world famous for its pottery

After a traditional Cretan breakfast, we all enjoyed a magical trip to Knossos. The Palace of Knossos is remarkably intact with painted walls and cool courtyards.

Knossos was a major centre of the Minoan civilisation, and is known for its association with the Greek myth of Theseus and the minotaur.

The remains of the once-sprawling Palace of Knossos, is the legendary royal residence where Minos’s wife Pasiphaë gave birth to the Minotaur, half-bull and half-man, and where Theseus destroyed the beast.

You can also visit the Throne Room, a chamber located in the heart of the palace complex that was built for ceremonial purposes during the 15th century BC.

Palace of Knossos

A visit to the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion was the historical icing on the cake. The museum is well set out with multiple rooms taking you through Cretan history.

Here I saw a plethora of exquisite pottery, jewellery, cooking utensils, mosaics and frescos that were all discovered in Knossos and other areas of archaeological interest in Crete.

Invest in a guide – we had a hugely inspirational guide, Popi, who brought the history of Crete alive, as well as sharing her knowledge of Cretan lifestyle, food and culture with us.

Heraklion Archaeological Museum and learn the history of the Minoan Civilization
  • Visit an Olive Oil Mill. Walk in Olive Groves and enjoy an Olive Oil Tasting Session with Cretan Food – with Cretan Ark

I remember sitting under the shade of an olive tree, in an olive grove, enjoying beautifully prepared dishes, all created by Cretan Ark on the family run olive farm, with the Kokolakis Family.

From the creamy vegetable velouté soup, with its hidden surprise of traditional Cretan soft cheese, to the “Monastery Bread” topped with smoked pork, caramelised onions and sun-dried tomatoes…..each dish was adorned with a flourish of liquid gold, Cretan olive oil.

We started this al fresco feast by joining in with an olive oil tasting workshop. The olive oil tasting experience comprised:

A visit to the olive mill

A walk in an olive grove

Olive oil tasting

Traditional cretan treats

As the Kokolakis family say:

“The olive tree, the cretan’s land sacred tree. The domestic cultivation of olive trees began in Greece and specifically in our island, Crete. The fruit of this sacred tree, the olive, was always a symbol of struggles, prosperity, peace, fertility and euphoria.

Just another unique experience as part of my Jet2 October break in Crete. October is the perfect time to visit this enchanting Greek island, with fewer people, and less crowds.

It’s also still warm with average temperatures of 25c to 28c, plus experiences such as this olive oil tasting, as well as horse riding, wine tasting, pottery workshops and visits to archeological museums have more availability.

  • Visit Zeus’s Cave in The Mountains and See the Ancient Windmills of Crete – Diktaion Andron

After a very steep climb up the hill, we arrived at the entrance to the cave. You can also go up on the back of a donkey, but we all walked up. (Please note, it is a VERY long and steep climb that takes about 30 minutes)

The impressive Dikteon Cave is accessed by a long single metal staircase. Rich in stalagmites and stalactites, it is said that Zeus was born there according to legend.

Dikteon Cave was and still is famous in antiquity, dedicated to the worship of the greatest of the gods, and many offerings have been found there to support this.

On the way up to the cave, you will see some remarkably well preserved mediaval windmills, as well as some stunning views of the Lassithi Plateau.

Lassithi Plateau.

Only pausing to take a photo of Agios Nikolaos from a hilltop, the heat seemed to envelop around us, with the sun suspended over a sparkling diamond filled Aegean sea.

We were in our way to visit the island of Spinalonga, made famous in recent times by Victoria Hislop’s book “The Island”.

An island with a fascinating and ancient history, probably most well known as being a leper colony between 1903 and 1957, the island was fortified during the Venetian occupation, and was one of the last places to fall when the Ottomans invaded.

This barren island of 85 acres is now one of the most popular places to visit in Crete.
We arrived by boat, skimming over turquoise seas with a cooling wind refreshing us. On disembarking, our guide took us on a circular walk around the island, telling us about the island’s rich history as we walked.

Looking into the clear, crystal clear waters, fringed by prickly pears, it was was difficult to comprehend how dismal it would have been to have arrived on this island, had you’d been banished as a leper.

It’s well worth planning a visit into this enchanting island whilst staying in Crete – and Autumn and Spring are some of the best times to visit, being less crowded with temperatures being warm but not overly hot.

By boat to the Island of Spinalonga
The Island of Spinalonga
The Island of Spinalonga

On day three of my trip to Crete, we enjoyed some fabulous, and authenitic Cretan food.

Greek Salad

……after a steep mountain climb up to Zeus’s Cave (Diktaion Andron) in the Lassithi Plateau, we visited a traditional pottery, a local winery for wine tasting, then back to the hotel for “pool time” before going out for dinner in old Hersonissos, at the delightful taverna, “Stou Stereou homemade food”.

When I say dinner, what I really mean is a Cretan feast!

Cretan Food

We were treated to local bread, grass green olives, garlicky tzatziki, Kalitsounia (little pies), fava beans in olive oil, steamed greens, stuffed courgette flowers, dolmades, grilled sardines, whitebait, calamari and hand cut chips.

We sat outside, in the balmy October evening, with lights twinkling all around us, wine glasses chinking and the gentle hum of chatter and laughter.

What an end to a truly fabulous day.

  • Our first day ended with a delectable Cretan feast at the Platanos Taverna in Fourni…..here we were treated to numerous small plates of dips, grilled vegetables, salad, toasted village bread, pork in wine sauce, beef stifado, pork with leeks and chicken cooked with tomatoes and allspice – all cooked by Maria and using local produce. Maria told us it was her dream to be able to cook typical Cretan food, with all the ingredients coming from within 5 to 6 miles of the village.
Cretan Food
  • Archanes traditional village – Likastos tavern. All the delicious Cretan style “village food” food is cooked by Mrs Ketis and all the vegtables are home-grown.
Cretan Food
  • Peskesi restaurant – A very special restaurant serving elegantly prepared but authentic Cretan cusine in the heart of Heraklion. Dine in the restored mansion of a sea captain, which was utterly magical and very unique. The food here was amazing, especially the smoke and fire flamed chops that were hanging and finished at the table.
Peskesi Restaurant Crete
Olive Wood Crafts

Let’s not forget the shopping on Crete. There are many shops all over the island, all selling high-quality and wonderful authentic crafts.

My tips for lovely things to take home are:

Olive Wood – Utensils, Boards, Bowls, and all manner of Kitchen and Dining related products.

Olive Wood Spoons

Olive Oil – the Cretan Olive Oil is delectable and if you can’t manage any bottles, you can always buy it in tins.

Pottery – the hand made pottery on Crete is lovely, with some fabulous smaller pieces to take home that will easily fit in your hand luggage.

We stayed in the wonderful King Minos Retreat Resort & Spa’

I was lucky enough to have a room overlooking the sea with my own private swimming pool!

King Minos Hotel and Spa

Perched amphitheatrically on the verdant hillside, King Minos Retreat Resort & Spa’ and ‘Jet2holiday features a 5-star hotel in Crete, proud member of the GOLDEN Hotels & Resorts, enjoying an enviable location with unobstructed sea views on the north coast of the Cretan Sea. This charming hotel in Hersonissos consists of a main building with brilliantly appointed rooms and suites, specially designed family rooms and Mediterranean-style rooms scattered throughout the colorful gardens.

King Minos Hotel and Spa

The food was FABULOUS and I loved my Cretan Breakfasts every morning!

  • The prices change regularly, however you can book your trip from £60pp deposit. See below for more information about the deposit.
  • Why visit in October: October is the perfect time to visit this enchanting Greek island, with fewer people, and less crowds. It’s also still warm with average temperatures of 25c to 28c, plus experiences such as olive oil tasting, as well as horse riding, wine tasting, pottery workshops and visits to archeological museums have more availability.
  • Autumn and Spring are also some of the best times to visit, being less crowded with temperatures being warm but not overly hot.
My room in King Minas Retreat and Resort

Disclaimer: I WAS A GUEST OF JET2HOLIDAYS; ALL OF MY TRANSPORT, TRANSFERS, FOOD, ACCOMMODATION AND EXCURSIONS WERE INCLUDED IN THIS COMPLIMENTARY PRESS TRIP; ALL VIEWS AND OPINIONS REMAIN MY OWN AND I WAS NOT ASKED TO WRITE A FAVOURABLE REVIEW, NOR WAS I PAID TO ATTEND THIS TRIP

Heraklion

Our flights to Crete were with Jet2

There are plenty of flights from London Stansted to Crete

There are many options for holidays to Crete in October

If you don’t want to book online or via the Jet2app, you can use the travel agent finder to find your nearest Jet2holidays travel agent

Spinalonga
Archanes Crete
Archanes Crete
The Cats of Spinalonga Island
The Cats of Crete and Spinalonga Island
The Cats of Crete and Spinalonga Island

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