Vira Natura

Crete - Springtime delights - Greece

5-12 April 2022
From €1,500.00 per person
A land of sublime mountain landscapes and picture postcard coastlines crammed with flowering macchie that conceal a confusion of fabulous orchids, oceans of ravishing pink tulips and  many endemic gems. The Greek island Crete is very much its own entity and should be on the wish list of every botanist.

Day 1     To Crete

On arrival into the northern town of Chania we’ll transfer south to Plakias Bay and our pleasant hotel on the coast. Overnight Plakias Bay

Day 2     Plakias & Areopoli

The coastal phrygian that clothes the cliffs next to our hotel has a good population of Aristolochia cretica as well as various Ophrys. Next to the town are also slopes with plenty of the lovely Ebenus cretica, surely on of the finest of all legumes in the Mediterranean. Moving along the coast we’ll climb a lot higher into the hills where huge numbers of Asphodeline lutea create a yellow haze. Fields are fringed with the beautiful Ophrys spruneri. Heading back we’ll stop for a large number of the impressive (if smelly) Dracunculus vulgaris, with huge reddish spathes. Overnight Plakias Bay

Day 3     Gious Cambos

A remarkable and well known area for orchids. This superb area of limestone mounds and fields harbours so many Ophrys, with fuciflora, kotschyana, lutea, scolopax in various forms alongside plentiful Orchis italica. Next to this abundance are fields with hundreds of glowing red Tulipa orphanidea. Rocky knolls have the striped bells of Fritillaria messanensis and olive groves are carpeting in Lupinus hirsutus and hidden dells with Cyclamen creticum. Elsewhere, areas of serpentine rocks have many dainty whitish Tulipa cretica growing alongside more superb orchids including some stunning forms of O. fuciflora as well as Orchis anatolica. Overnight Plakias Bay.

Day 4    Gortes and coastal mountains

We divert west to enjoy roadsides with abundant Ranunuculus asiaticus, mainly white but with some charming soft pink forms. We’ll visit the historical site at Festos and some inland slopes with good orchids including Anacamptis pyramidalis and Ophrys kotschyi. Depending on the year there can be amazing stands of stately Ferula communis and clumps of Gladiolus italicus. Overnight Plakias Bay.

Day 5    To Omalos

Heading across country we pass through gorges with Linum arboreum and the endemic campanulaceae Petromarula pinnata stopping for flowery roadsides brimming with poppies and macchie glowing golden with Phlomis fruticosa that hide Ophrys ferrum-equinum. As we climb onto the Omalos Plateau we will hopefully find the last spathes of white Arum ideaum. Overnight Omalos.

Day 6     Omalos

This superb area is almost legendary, and on a good year the displays of Tulipa saxatilis ssp bakeri are dazzling, with thousands of pink flowers colouring the area. Among these are many mainly purple Anemone coronaria and stands of Iris tuberosa creating a wonderful mixture. The hills above will hopefully have late snow patches with the ravishing Crocus sieberi, one of the finest of all crocuses. Another little enclave hosts a relict population of Primula vulgraris. Overnight Omalos.

Day 7     Flights home 

We’ll drove back to Chania for return flights.


5-12 April 2022


Per person (twin share): 1600 Euros

Deposit 275 Euros

Single Supplement 230 Euros


  • Accommodation
  • All food
  • Ground transport
  • Guide services
  • Entry fees
Not included:
  • International Flights
  • Visas
  • Travel/Medical Insurance
  • Alcoholic and soft drinks
  • Personal expenses


*Minimum number of participants 5, maximum 12.  

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