Crete with Christina Xenos

May 13 - 19, 2023 | Reserve Your Spot

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Heart & Soul of Crete

Immerse yourself in the cuisine, wine and joyful culture of Crete

May 13 - 19, 2023

One exclusive departure with Christina Xenos

7 Days, 6 Nights

The very best of Crete from Heraklion to Chania

Price from

$6,100

per person, based on double occupancy

Questions? Text or call us
+1 (855) 219-8018

Your meal this evening is Cretan barbecue, the kind that local shepherds have been preparing for millennia. You step onto a stone terrace and breathe in the salt-tinged air—along with a heady mix of savory oregano, spring wildflowers—as the last rays of sun ignite the Aegean. This is island living as you’ll only find here on Crete, packed with ancient ruins, stunning mountain ranges, breathtaking beaches and, most of all, the food—a sumptuous collision of organic tradition and experimental dishes you won’t find anywhere on the mainland. You raise a glass of crisp white wine made from grapes grown just a few steps away, and toast your journey: This is the Crete you’ve been dreaming of, with a focus on playful discovery, beach time and centuries of artisanal craftsmanship— all peppered, of course, with the best cuisine the Mediterranean has to offer.

With us on this unforgettable adventure is Christina Xenos, the Greek-American chef and noted cookbook author. Christina is no stranger to Crete: her family has a home here, and the island is a deep source of her culinary inspiration. With Christina at our side, we’ll have deep and personal access, immersing ourselves in Crete’s culture and cuisine as Christina shares the traditions and flavors of her ancestral homeland—with, of course, plenty of time to soak up the sun on Crete’s sun-kissed beaches.

This is a trip for the curious and joyful, a celebration of good company and delicious food. We’ll sit down with vintners and farmers, local producers and artisans, learning their crafts and sampling everything as we go. Join us for an unforgettable week of culture and cuisine, and the warm hospitality that is at the heart of the island.

Celebrate

Ancient ruins, rich culinary traditions, world-class wines

Discover

Golden beaches, local culture, the best sunsets

Renew

Seven days to explore, slow down, and focus on you

Connect

With Crete, Christina, and a group of passionate travelers

3 Reasons to Travel with Christina

Christina believes deeply in philoxenia, the Greek concept of hospitality that literally means 'love of the stranger'. Her hospitality—and her passion for healthy Greek cuisine—has made her Los Angeles pop-up experiences take the city by storm, landing her in the pages of Food & Wine, and in the kitchen with master chef and 'First Lady of Greek Cuisine,' Argiro Barbarigou, as part of the prestigious Les Dames d'Escoffier International.

Crete is Personal

Christina is a scholar and journalist, who digs deep into the roots of Greek cuisine. She’s traveled extensively throughout Crete to collect the recipes and traditions that have appeared in her cookbooks, including OPA! The Healthy Greek Cookbook, and on shows like the Cooking Channel’s Food: Fact or Fiction?

Lifelong Passion

From an early age, Christina cooked alongside her yiayia (grandma), baking Greek delicacies and learning to appreciate the traditions and stories behind her Greek-American family recipes.

Delicious Simplicity

“My goal is to transport you to Crete through food. This trip is an opportunity to connect with where ingredients come from and embrace the delicious simplicity of the region.” We couldn't have said it better.

Your Experience

“Greece is like many countries in one. No matter how many times I visit, there’s always something new to discover.”
Christina Xenos

Heraklion | Chania

“In Crete, the stranger is still the unknown god. Before him, all doors and all hearts are opened.”
Nikos Kazantzakis

Day by Day

Day 1

​​Welcome to Crete! Ancient ruins, master artisans and vineyards first planted in the Bronze Age—we are quite literally in the cradle of modern civilization, and the site of Europe’s first urban settlement. We’ll dive right in this morning, exploring the walled old town of Heraklion. We’ll wander through covered markets and into tiny shops and bakeries to sample fresh almira cookies and tangy goat cheese, exploring Cretan kafeneon (coffeehouse) culture.

The afternoon is ours to rest and relax, or to continue exploring Heraklion—the world-famous collection of Minoan antiquities at the Heraklion Archeological Museum is highly recommended. We’ll reconvene for a farm-to-table welcome dinner at Peskesi, set in a design-forward mansion and specializing in traditional Cretan dishes with an emphasis on the pure, balanced Cretan diet. Over slow-cooked goat in yogurt, smoked pork chop with smoldering herbs and eggplant stew, we’ll raise our glasses to a whole week of discovery and joy. στην υγειά μας!

Day 1 Highlights

  • Heraklion Old Town & market tour
  • Welcome dinner at Peskesi
  • Stay at Aquila Atlantis in Heraklion

Day 2

The theme for the day is bounty, and we’re up early to experience some of the finest olives, herbs and wines Crete has to offer. Olive trees have been cultivated on Crete for over 12,000 years, and this morning we’ll sample some of the island’s finest liquid gold, as Homer called it, at a family-run estate nestled in the hillside near the ruins of Knossos.

Next, we’ll take a stroll through the nearby village of Archanes, whose narrow alleyways offer a photogenic mishmash of Minoan ruins, Byzantine churches and neoclassical facades. Our destination? An herbal apothecary where we’ll learn the medicinal properties of Cretan herbs and sample a few local remedies. We’ll have all eyes on Christina here, who regularly forages for herbs and wildflowers on Crete and has promised to share a few of her secret recipes with us. 

Organic herbs in hand, we’ll make our way to Iraklio wine country for a visit to a women-run winery whose excellent natural wines incorporate Cretan varietals like spicy, pungent kotsifali, a dry red known as the “soul of Crete.” Lunch at the winery will include a tasting of hyper-local sheep’s and goat’s milk cheeses, many of which are virtually impossible to find off-island.

Day 2 Highlights

  • Olive estate tour
  • Private tasting and winery lunch
  • Stay at Aquila Atlantis in Heraklion

Day 3

This morning we head to Chania, a buzzing coastal township and our home base for the next four nights. Along the way, we’ll head west along the coastline to Rethymnon for a behind-the-scenes tour of its well-preserved old town—think Venetian arched doorways, Roman staircases and ancient loggias. Breathtaking architecture aside, we’re here to visit the workshop of one of Greece’s last traditional phyllo masters, whose tiny bakery has been hand-making the layered dough for more than 50 years. We’ll watch in awe as he billows and stretches each papery layer by hand until it’s the size of a large kitchen table.

Appetites whetted, we’ll head to the 17th-century courtyard of nearby Avli restaurant and roll up our sleeves for a hands-on Cretan cooking experience with Christina—and then sit down to lunch filled with our exquisite creations. We’ll continue on through Apokoronas province and stop at the home studio of a renowned ceramicist whose 150-year-old dwelling is anointed with cobalt- and emerald-colored basins, platters and candelabras of his own design.

The evening in Chania is ours to explore, from the seaside tavernas to the glorious views from our hotel’s rooftop garden. 

Day 3 Highlights

  • Visit with master baker
  • Ceramicist home studio tour
  • Hands-on cooking & lunch with Christina
  • Stay at Casa Delfino in Chania

Day 4

Relax, restore, explore—today is ours to slow down and enjoy. A spa treatment at the hotel, a few hours on a secluded beach, or exploring the back alleys of Chania’s old town, the choice is yours.

We’ll meet up in the evening for a stroll along Chania’s magnificent harbor—its pastel-colored houses aglow in the setting sun—and sit down for an unforgettable dinner at Salis. Savor the riches of the sea with dishes like octopus carpaccio, fried flying squid and whole sea bream in smoked olive oil, alongside Crete’s most extensive selection of local wines (Salis’ list earned a Wine Spectator‘s Award of Excellence in 2020).  

Day 4 Highlights

  • Time to explore Chania
  • Dinner at Salis
  • Stay at Casa Delfino in Chania

Day 5

There’s another liquid gold on Crete—honey!—and we’ll start off our day at an apiary visiting the bee gardens and tasting a range of honeys fragrant with wild herbs and wildflowers; Christina is a fan of the local thyme-accented honey, renowned for its resinous, savory notes.

It’s a short hike to Milia, a traditional village of 15th-century stone houses that’s been converted into an eco-retreat. We’ll explore the gardens and then roll up our sleeves again: we’re here to help make hard-crust paximadi spelt bread and Crete’s famous cheese pies, fresh with herbs, greens, and local goat and sheep cheeses, followed by a lavish lunch of Cretan delicacies (zucchini fritters, smoked pork, pan-fried snails).

We’ll close out this remarkable day with a dip in the turquoise waters of Falassarna and a beachside aperitif.

Day 5 Highlights

  • Apiary visit
  • Hands-on cooking & lunch
  • Falassarna swim & beach cocktails
  • Stay at Casa Delfino in Chania

Day 6

Today we head to Manousakis winery for an immersive tour of their hand-to-vine-to-table practice, as we marvel at the centuries-old vineyard and sample the fiery varietals that have grown here for millennia.

It’s a magical, and delicious, prelude to our farewell dinner prepared by Christina and a local chef: a traditional Cretan barbecue, unique to the island and historically prepared by shepherds. As night falls, our Cretan adventure culminates in a full-on bacchanalia of music, laughter, dancing and, of course, a delicious feast celebrating our time together in Crete. Opa!

Day 6 Highlights

  • Manousakis winery tour & tasting
  • Farewell dinner by Christina
  • Stay at Casa Delfino in Chania

Day 7

It’s time to say goodbye to Christina, and to this incredible group of humans, and transfer to the airport in Chania. With all we’ve tasted, experienced and learned, Crete now feels like home away from home, and we’ll never forget the lessons of this storied civilization. Adío! for now.

Day 7 Highlights

  • Transfer to Chania airport

Where We Sleep

Contemporary design and traditional Cretan warmth and hospitality combine to provide the perfect island sanctuary at both our hotels.

Aquila Atlantis

Heraklion

This classic mid-century hotel offers contemporary luxury in the heart of the ancient world—Crete's world-renowned Archaeological Museum, a treasure trove of Minoan civilization, is located just steps away. In addition to walk-in rain showers and private balconies, its rooftop pool offers stunning views of the harbor and the 16th-century stone fortress that protects the entrance to the old port.

Casa Delfino

Chania

Tucked away in the labyrinth-like back alleys of Chania’s walled Old Town, this former merchant’s house is now a boutique hotel lovingly tended to by sixth-generation descendants of Genoese merchant Giovanni Delfino. From the tranquil pebbled courtyard to the rooftop terrace, which boasts a bar, whirlpool tub and panoramic views of the harbor below, this is less a hotel than a retreat. Sit back and watch the technicolor sunset melt slowly into the waters of the Aegean, the night sky turning a hundred different shades of blue as seagulls wheel over the harbor below.

Loved the authenticity of everywhere we ate. The food was fresh and delightful.
Rachel W.
Every day we had a new surprise that blew my mind!
Sharzad K.
Each hotel became more beautiful, each quaint and modern and staffed by the greatest humans ever.
Sarah L.

Book Crete with Christina Xenos

Number of Travelers

Payment

Reserve your spot today with a $1,000 per-person deposit plus room supplements (if relevant). Full payment is due 180 days prior to your trip departure date. We’ll email you a reminder. If your trip departs in less than 180 days, we’ll collect full payment either 30 days from when we receive your deposit, or 60 days prior to your trip departure date, whichever is sooner. For details read our Deposit FAQs

$6,100

per person, based on double occupancy

Can't travel on these dates?
Call us at

+1 (855) 219-8018

Questions?

We have answers! Read our FAQs below. Or text or call us at +1 (855) 219-8018 to speak with a Modern Adventure trip specialist.

  1. What does the price include?

    Six nights of four and five-star boutique accommodations; most meals; private travel for all day trips and excursions; departure airport transfer; private tours with local guides and cultural experts; exclusive VIP access and tastings; entrance fees; daily breakfasts, most lunches and dinners; local beverages with meals.

  2. What is not included?

    International roundtrip airfare to Crete; travel insurance; transportation to the trip’s starting point; activities not included in the trip itinerary; hotel incidentals including room service, laundry service and hotel bar tabs; food and beverages not included in itinerary; gratuity for Modern Adventure trip leader.

  3. Where does the trip start and end?

    Our adventure begins at the Aquila Atlantis Hotel in Heraklion, Crete. The closest international airport is Heraklion International Airport (HER). We recommend arriving one day early in Heraklion to ensure you’re at our starting point on time. Our adventure ends in Chania; on our final day, we will organize a transfer to the airport (CHQ) in Chania.

  4. What travel documents are required?

    US citizens are not required to have a visa for stays in Greece of under 90 days. Just bring a valid US passport. For citizens of other countries, please check with the Greek embassy or consulate for information and requirements.

  5. Do I need to pay a supplement for a single room?

    Yes, for solo travelers there is a $1,200 single-supplement fee—paid at the time of booking—to secure a private room. These spots are highly limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

  6. Who is going on this trip?

    Our adventures typically have between 10 and 16 guests, plus our Modern Adventure team. Our experiences are fun and inclusive and you can expect to be joined by a diverse group in terms of age, background and interests—including solo travelers, couples and friends traveling together. This adventure is for travelers age 18 and above.

  7. Who is leading this trip?

    This trip is led by an expert Modern Adventure trip leader. They’re an experienced travel guide, a representative of Modern Adventure and your go-to person for questions or concerns on the trip. We’ll be joined throughout our adventure by local, expert guides who are deeply knowledgeable with respect to local cultures, customs and history and are passionate about sharing that with us.

  8. Do I need travel insurance?

    We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance. Travel insurance allows you to seek reimbursement for your trip costs; if your trip plans change for unforeseeable reasons, or if you need to get medical help, emergency transport, and for theft, loss or damage of items while traveling. For best coverage, always insure the full trip cost within two weeks of your initial trip deposit and note that most ‘Cancel For Any Reason’ policies must be purchased on the date of your initial deposit.

  9. What is the cancellation policy?

    You may cancel before January 13, 2023 and receive a full refund minus a $500 per-person service fee. If you cancel on or after January 14, 2023 there is a 50% cancellation fee. On or after March 14, 2023 there is a 100% cancellation fee. We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance as we are not able to make exceptions to this policy in cases of family/medical emergency or cases of the trip being canceled (see our Terms and Conditions for full details).

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