9. Rethymno: Full-Day Small-Group Tour with Lunch
Start your Rethymno excursion with a visit to Maria's traditional wood oven bakery, passed down from generation to generation, in the picturesque village of Axos.
Here, enjoy a short demonstration on how to make traditional Cretan baked goods, like paximadi, a twice baked bread, and smell the freshly-baked biscuits coming straight out of the oven. Close off this visit with a sip of local Raki, a fragrant, grape-based pomace brandy.
Next, continue further into the village and meet another local resident, Mr. Giorgos, who makes spectacular, oversized wooden sculptures. Using wood from local fallen trees, some of his sculptures are three meters high, including the iconic image of Hercules killing the lion of Nemea.
Carry on to visit Mrs. Antonia, who is known for her traditional embroidery and weaving techniques. Learn how Cretans have used sheep's wool to create intricate patterns over the decades, and follow the process from start to finish from the spinning of the wool to the weaving in a traditional loom.
After another drink of warming Raki, visit the ancient St. George of Diskouri Monastery to learn about Crete's long-standing religious customs. Marvel at the premises, full of colourful flowers, and verdant trees and bushes, all carefully tended to by the nuns. The monastery resembles a small fortress, as it was built during the last period of the Venetian rule when they were protecting the island from the potential invasion of the Turkish army.
End your tour with a delicious traditional lunch in the historically important village of Drossia, and in the most famous tavern in the area. Tuck into pork, potatoes, and salad, or a vegetarian option, as your guide recounts the island's history.