Wildlife Holidays in Crete

Tell me about Crete …

Crete is the largest of the Mediterranean islands. It is 258km long and 56km wide.

The island is dominated by four – largely limestone – mountain chains which stretch from east to west, rising to 2,450 metres at their highest point. From the island’s central mountainous ‘spine’ streams empty into the Aegean Sea to the north, and through deep gorges into the Libyan Sea to the south.

Crete’s climate, position and variety of both altitude and terrain have created its outstanding flora.

Naturetrek Tours to Crete

We offer two 8-day wildlife holidays on the island of Crete: one of these focuses on spring flowers and migrating birds, and the other goes in search of the island’s wonderful autumn flora.

What’s special about the wildlife?

Botany: Crete’s flora is world-renowned. It has an exceptional collection of characteristic Mediterranean flora, as well as about 140 endemic species, making it one of the most exciting places to see wild flowers in Europe.
Birds: the Greek islands serve as ‘stepping stones’ for migrating birds, and Crete is no exception.

Highlights from our tours to Crete include:

  • Autumn-flowering bulbs such as crocuses, colchicums, narcissi & scillas
  • We’ll look for endemics such as Narcissus serotinus, Crocus boryi, Origanum dictamnus, Colchicum creticum & many other species
  • In the spring we’ll enjoy the island’s proliferation of spring flora, as well as search for specialities such as Snake’s-head Iris, Giant Orchid & Drooping Star-of-Bethlehem
  • We’ll hope to coincide with ‘falls’ of tired passerine migrants in the coastal maquis & olive groves, plus see eastern Mediterranean specialities such as Eleonora’s Falcon & Ruppell’s Warbler
  • A visit to the Palace of Knossos, Crete’s most famous Minoan site

Anything else?

The Venetians, Romans and Byzantines have all left their mark on this delightful island; however, Crete is perhaps most famous for the Minoan civilisation, a Bronze Age civilisation which flourished here from the 27th to 15th century BC, and from which the legend of the Minotaur arose!

Our Specialist Recommends

"Our ‘Crete in Autumn’ tour reveals the wonderful autumn flora of this beautiful island. Following the long and hot dry summer the early autumn rains bring a wonderful variety of crocus, cyclamen, colchicum and narcissi to life."

Operations Manager - Kerrie Porteous

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