Gournia & Kritsa: An Ancient Way of Life

Gournia archaeological site, Panayia Kera church and the village of Kritsa.

  • Code
  • Level
  • Approximate Duration
    4 hours

This half-day excursion gives you a full appreciation of the Crete of ancient times. At the Minoan settlement of Gournia, you will see the well-preserved ruins dating to 1550 BC. And in the village of Kritsa, you will discover how old traditions are maintained, even as the 21st century unfolds.

Departing the pier aboard your air-conditioned motor coach, head south through coastal villages to the Minoan settlement called Gournia. While the ancient name of the town remains unknown, the modern name of the site is derived from the small ancient cisterns, or “gournes,” discovered here before the main excavation took place.

Gournia holds tremendous archaeological value, as its ruins shed light on the everyday life of Minoans. The remains of houses, streets and a large hilltop structure, which was probably the overlord’s residence, are remarkably well-preserved, especially considering that the settlement was destroyed, probably by fire, around 1200 BC.

After your exploration of this fascinating site, enjoy the approximately 30-minute journey to the traditional village of Kritsa. One of the town’s highlights is the unique Byzantine church, Kera Panayia. “Well-preserved” is yet again the way to describe what you will see, as the church’s old murals are in beautiful condition.  In fact, these 14th- and 15th-century murals are some of the best in Crete.

The structure of the church itself is also interesting. The church you see today has three aisles. However, the original structure, which was built in the 13th century, had no aisles.

A short drive from the church takes you into the heart of the village, where you will have the chance to stroll the streets and admire the textiles and other handcrafts for which Kritsa is famous.

Before returning to your Crystal ship, enjoy Greek coffee and tasty treats at a traditional coffee house.

Important Notes:

As this excursion involves walking over uneven surfaces, it is not recommended for guests with walking difficulties. It is recommended that guests wear flat, comfortable shoes. The order of sights visited may vary. Pre-reservation of this Crystal Adventures excursion is recommended.

Availability: Limited



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