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Crete: Matala & Phaistos

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Days 5-6

Much of Western Crete's landscape—soaring mountains, deep gorges, and rolling lowlands—remains largely untouched by tourism. This region has abundant Minoan sites, including the Palace at Phaistos, as well as Byzantine churches and Venetian monasteries.
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  • Archaeology
  • Natural Beauty


  • The Palace of Phaistos is one of the greatest Minoan monuments. Unlike Knossos, it has not been reconstructed. Visitors will find apartments, palace workshops, and the central court.
  • To reach Arkadi Monastery, follow a gorge inland across rolling hills. It is a place of pilgrimage for Cretans and a shrine to heroes in the fight for independence from Turkey.
  • Visit the charming Venetian quarter of Rethymnon, which is dominated by Fortresssa Castle.


  • For the July 20th celebration of St. Elias, a traditional pea and onion soup is served, followed by sweet desserts and folk dancing.

Side Trips

  • Chill out on the black-sand beach of Kamari; deck chairs and umbrellas are available to rent.

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