The autumn and winter months are the ideal time to explore this stunning Mediterranean island and its treasures.
An emerging food, wine and cultural trail aimed at showing off this is easily accessible from ELEONAS Hotel with free maps and information. At the heart of the trail, ELEONAS Hotel is championing locally sourced, sustainable food and wines, some of which are only found in one region of this island.
The World Health Organisation recognises the Cretan diet as the world’s best
The trail starts in the island’s capital and gateway airport - Heraklion - heading south through Crete’s green hinterland and prime wine growing territory to the lush agricultural heartland of Mt Psiltoritis National Park (UNESCO).
Zaros village is located at the mouth of the little visited Rouvas gorge which provides Greece with bottled natural mountain spring water.
The bustling working village of Zaros and ELEONAS Hotel overlook the sunsoaked fertile Messara Valley towards the Libyan Sea. This tourist free zone is a bucolic network of quiet rural roads which meander through the dense glistening olive groves, vineyards and family run farms – once the breadbasket of the ancient Minoan culture.
Cretan diet - Warming climate
The World Health Organisation recognises the Cretan diet as the world’s best, not surprisingly having the highest percentage organically registered farms, bringing unprocessed products to market with little changed over the last few centuries. This means every village has market days bursting with ripe harvests or fruits and vegetables.
Enjoy the warming climate even NovemberAs the most southerly of Greek islands, and closer to the shores of north Africa than Athens, the climate is perfect. Temperatures are in the mid to late 20s, so the sunny mornings can be spent exploring groves and endless walking trails through dappled gorges. Crete attracts all kinds of nature lovers in autumn through spring, especially walkers and bird watchers. In November, the seas are at their warmest temperature, perfect for swimming or diving at beaches like Matala or Agia Galini.
The fascinating ruins
Crete is scattered with fascinating ruins and remains like the Minoan sites of Gortyn and Phaestos. Out of the busy summer period even the most well known, Knossos and the Archaeological museum are crowd free.
Whatever season you arrive Crete has a astonishing year round larder, and is known for its network of small farms, orchards and wineries. Starting with the bustling olive harvest every November, through to the raki (or grappa) production, taking in Crete’s dazzing fiestas, to the early carpet of rare springtime orchids and poppies. Visitors can book wine tastings at local wineries, olive oil tastings at mills, watch shepherds making soft cheese from goat and sheeps’ milk, and learn how to outdoor barbeque, Cretan style.
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