Tour Summary – What’s Included
- A small tour of plant explorers – between 8-12 people
- Return domestic flights – Athens – Chios – Athens / Athens – Crete – Athens
- Transport on Chios and Crete by bus.
- All Breakfasts, Lunch and Dinner on Crete and Chios. Water and wine with meals included.
- Accommodation in comfortable hotels.
- Experienced tour guide with expert botanical knowledge.
- 1 night – Athens (Greece) – Sofitel Airport Hotel, Athens Airport.
- 4 nights Chios (Greece) – Comfortable 4* hotel (details to follow).
- 4 nights Crete (Greece) – Comfortable 4* hotel (details to follow).
- TBD – Between 30 March and 12 April 2020 (Exact dates to be determined)
Inspired by famous plant hunters of the past, we are organizing a botanical expedition to Greece in Spring 2020 to discover orchids and flowers growing in the wild. Places on this all-inclusive tour are limited to 12. If a botanical adventure is something you’ve always dreamed of doing, then this is the tour for you !
We travel from Athens to two completely different Greek Islands: Crete and Chios. Both are charming and full of botanical interest. The temperature during our tour will be pleasant and the sun will be shining over the shores and rocky outcrops that are our hunting grounds for spring orchids and wild flowers.
Your tour guide is a leading expert in his field and can recognize and name all different types of Orchid. He also knows exactly where they grow! The genera of wild orchids that we might find is impressive: Serapias, Orchis, Ophrys, Dactylrhiza, Barlia, Cephelanthera, Anacamptis and many others. All should be in flower during our visit. There is also an excellent chance you will see several species of each. Other spring flowers you will see during our expeditions are Ranunculus, Cyclamen, Cistus, Fritillaria, Iris, Allium, Ferula and many more. All will be growing in their nature habitat and flowering before the intensity of the sun increases and the land become arid.
On Chios and Crete, we will settle into a daily rhythm of traveling to numerous ‘secret’ locations by minibus. On reaching each location, we walk short distances to hunt for plants. It’s a plant hunting adventure and nothing is guaranteed of course but we’ve led such an expedition before and have had outstanding success. Each day is loosely planned according to what we have found on the previous day. We’ll have plenty of time on each Island to visit some wonderful authentic villages and meet locals over lunch and dinner. Crete and Chios are a botanist’s delight.
Day 1 – Athens / Welcome Drinks
- Make your own way to Athens airport and check-in to the Sofitel hotel conveniently located opposite Athens Airport itself. Meet your fellow plant hunters over a complimentary drink this evening.
Days 2-6 – ATHENS – CHIOS / BREAKFAST, LUNCH & DINNER INCLUDED
- After breakfast, we check-out of the hotel and depart Athens on a short 40 minute domestic flight to Chios island. On arrival we travel by minibus to our luxurious estate hotel for the next three nights. From this hotel we will make several expeditions to various places on the island to look for stunning spring flowers. It’s an adventure. We might find loads of wild tulips flowering in a remote valley. Or sensational orchids from the genus Ophrys; some of the most beautiful that you’ve ever seen. They grow everywhere on the island. Other spring flowers you will see during our expeditions are Ranunculus, Cyclamen, Cistus, Fritillaria, Iris, Allium, Ferula and many more. To read a short account of our tour to Chios earlier this year please read our blog entry.
- We won’t spend all our time on Chios hunting for Spring flowers. We’ll have plenty of time to visit some wonderful authentic villages and meet locals over lunch and dinner which are all included in the price of this tour. Mastic trees can be found all over the island and still provide an important source of income for folks on the island. Mastic is used in cooking as a prized ingredient as well as an important addition to medicines. Don’t forget to taste the amazing sweet oranges when you’re there: a special treat!
- We eat lunch and dinner together at local restaurants where the a freshly grilled ‘catch of the day’ with a glass of local wine is the norm! No buffet lunches here…!
- Evenings are spent at leisure.
Days 6-9 – CHIOS – ATHENS – CRETE / BREAKFAST, LUNCH & DINNER INCLUDED
- We return to Athens by plane and take the next available flight to Crete (there are no direct flights from Chios to Athens). Crete is much larger than Chios and has a completely different character. Here is everything larger. Although Crete is a popular destination for sun seekers, we avoid contact with them choosing instead areas of the island popular with nature lovers. No beach resorts on this tour. Just a comfortable hotel surrounded by nature, a rocky coastline and the sea.
- On a daily basis we will travel to various locations around the island to find wild flowers. Some highland areas are literally covered in a wide variety of different species of orchids. In fact when we visited this year in Spring there were so many that it wasn’t possible to walk anywhere without crushing a few. We will come across fields full of brilliant flowers as well rocky outcrops where we might be surprised as to what we find. As we explore impressive valleys on foot we may see flowers that we saw earlier in Chios but the vegetation that we will come across is by-in-large completely different. We can also expect to see the beautiful giant fennel, Serrula, wild tulips and the amazing white Ranunculus asiaticus. To read a short account of our tour to Crete this year and a number of pictures, please read our blog entry.
- On our daily expeditions we’ll pass by many ancient historical sites and we’ll take time to stop off at some of the most important. As on Chios, we eat lunch and dinner together at local taverna where the a freshly grilled ‘catch of the day’ with a glass of local wine is the norm! We’ll also explore some of the many local villages that we pass through.
- Evenings are spent at leisure.
Days 10 – CRETE – ATHENS / BREAKFAST INCLUDED
- After breakfast and check-out we travel to the airport and fly back to Athens where this plant hunting expedition ends.
What’s Not Included
- Flights to and from Athens, Greece.
For More Information
For practical information concerning this cruise please visit our dedicated FAQ page and read our Bookings Conditions. Please Contact Us if you have any questions or comments or visit our Home page for more of our superb garden tours.
- AccommodationGood Quality 4* Hotels
- Land TransportationMinibus
- CostRegister for Details
- Single SupplementRegister for Details
- Tour BookletOn Arrival
- DatesRegister for Details
- Welcome Drinks1