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Toplou Monastery, Crete

Toplou Monastery, Crete: Our most recommended tours and activities

From Heraklion: Palm Forest Beach of Vai, Ierapetra & Sitia

1. From Heraklion: Palm Forest Beach of Vai, Ierapetra & Sitia

Start your day tour from the lovely town of Ierapetra, the sounthern most of Europe, known for its warm weather and local products. Continue the tour, to discover the beautiful east part of Crete. Visit the largest palm forest in Europe, Vai Palm Beach. The palm forest draws thousands of visitors each year. They come not only for its wonderful palm forest, but also for the large sandy beach spread out at its foot. The day tour includes a visit to Toplou, a 15th-century monastery located in a dry and barren area. Toplou monastery is one of the most significant monasteries in Crete, dedicated to Panagia (Virgin Mary) and St. John the Theologian. Last stop of the day the cozy town of Sitia, with a lovely beach road and Venetian castle. Detailed Time Schedule: Morning Pick Up We will start collecting participants from pick-up points in the morning. Depending on the place of your hotel/apartment the bus drive will differ. Bus Drive to Ierapetra: almost 1.5 – 2 hours 1st stop: Ierapetra. 40 minutes Visit Tthe most southern and warm town of Europe, famous worldwide for its agricultural products distributedall year round. Enjoy some free time for a walk on the lovely beach road. Bus Drive: 1 hour 30 minutes 2nd stop: Toplou Monastery – 40 minutes Our participants willenjoy a visit to the historical and beautiful Monastery of Toplou.There they will spend about 40' of guided time and free time to take photos of the unique architecture and the Cretan Natural landscape outdoors. Bus Drive to Vai Beach: 20 minutes 3rd stop: Vai Beach – 2 hours Stop at Vai, the biggest natural palm forest in Europe. Enjoy 2 hours of free time to swim, sunbathe, have lunch and take photos of this exotic landscape of Crete. Bus Drive to Sitia: 30 minutes 4th stop: Sitia – 40 minutes Participants will enjoy some free time to explore the town on their own pace, walk by the cosmopolitan beach road, have a coffee at a traditional cafe or taste the delicious local homemade sweets. End of the tour – Arrival at resorts: Embarkation in the buses and drive back to the hotels where we gathered participants in the morning. Depending on traffic and on the pick-up places of each one, the time of journey back to the hotel will differ. Return Bus Drive to Heraklion: Around 2 – 3 hours hours

Agios Nikolaos: Toplou and Vai Palm Beach Day Trip

2. Agios Nikolaos: Toplou and Vai Palm Beach Day Trip

Following collection from select areas, the experience starts from Agios Nikolaos heading east. This is an excellent opportunity for you to admire the sublime Gulf of Mirabello, which is Eastern Crete's riviera. You will then pass through many picturesque villages before reaching the 15th-century Toplou Monastery. The compound features a small museum with notable exhibits of Christian-Orthodox art, such as sacred utensils and chalcography by the monks of Mount Athos. There is also an olive press which produces olive oil of outstanding quality, as well as wine-making facilities. Both the olive oil and the wine produced in the monastery are exported all over the world. You may participate in a wine and spirit tasting session (optional) at the monastery’s cellar, after which you will pay a visit to one of the main attractions in eastern Crete, the protected Palm Forest of Vai. It is unique in Europe and is located next to one of the most beautiful beaches of the island. At this location there will be plenty of time for you to enjoy swimming, as you bask in the rare beauty of the landscape. On your way back, you will stop at Platanos where you can watch the sunset in an area which boasts an enchanting view.

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What people are saying about Toplou Monastery, Crete

Overall rating

4.0 / 5

based on 4 reviews

The trip was amazing! It's really well organized and the schedule is simply perfect: you have the right amount of time to visit each of the stops acceptably. In Ierapetra we visited the sea side part of the city which is full of souvenirs shops and where you can have a nice breakfast by the sea or, instead, you could have a look to the venetian fortress and the house of Napoleon. Then, the Toplou monastery. The museum it's pretty small but nice to visit anyway and the monastery itself it's considerably small as well. The entrance price is 4€ per person, I'm not entirely sure if it worths this much, but you'll judge. Talking about the Vai Beach : it was just outstanding. Palms surrounds a charming sandy beach with crystal looking water. It deserves a visit, absolutely! Here you can buy local honey and olive oil, but we don't suggest to do so since when you'll reach the last stop, the nice city of Sitia, you'll get the chance to buy this things at an extremely cheaper price.

I found it a very entertaining and varied tour, with different stops. Yes, it is true that I recommend it for young people and not for older people, because if you want to take advantage of the stops there is little time and therefore you have to run, in my case I squeezed it to the maximum but I did notice that the older ones walked a little overwhelmed I lacked more interaction on the part of the guide, since he only explained things to us on the bus and then left us at the stops and told us the time of the meeting (I would have liked him to take us to a monument or outstanding site and explain his history since that is what a guided tour is for).

Very nice trip! The beach of VAI is really very pretty and the bathing time is sufficient. We were able to buy local products there (olive oil and thyme honey), which turned out to be excellent when tasted. Our guide was available and very friendly. She spoke French very well and explained the history of the cities visited and of LASITHI very well. The bus driver is also very knowledgeable. I highly recommend.

Beautiful experience! Enchanted places, but it is a pity that we were very little at the beach of Vai and at the other cities as the journey took us twice as long as the time spent in the place

Very nice excursion, Hilight the palm beach of Vai