Daily botanical tours around Crete
Flower enthusiasts have the opportunity to see some of the remarkable 1700 wild plants found on the island (larger than the UK which has around 1500). Even more exciting is that one tenth of these are endemic (found nowhere else in the world)!
Our botanical tour is based in the Amari valley, half an hour south of Rethymno, and focuses on orchids and endemic tulips of the Amari Valley and the Gious Kampos plateau. We will also identify other flowers, birds and butterflies, as well as visit historical sites and Byzantine churches, always at an easy pace.
Among the many bulbs, herbs, shrubs and trees we expect to see during our tour, are asphodel, anemones, cyclamen, tulips, poppies, mullein, chrysanthemum, sage, Cretan ebony and the slightly disturbing and profoundly smelly Dragon Arum. One of the highlights of this unique flora is the 60 or so different orchids found on the island, the majority of which flower March through April.
On the Gious Kambos plateau we will see a carpet of flowers, particularly orchids and irises. The great profusion of flowers is due to the limestone on which the plateau is situated. Shocking-pink Naked Man Orchids mix with Milky Orchids and the stunning blues of Iris cretensis and Barbury Nut. One of the highlights of this plateau is the extremely rare Tulipa doerfleri and it occurs in in such great numbers that the fields are coloured red! However, it only flowers for a short period so we need luck to see it at its best.
In the beautiful Amari valley, sandwiched between Mount Kedros and the snow-capped peak of Psiloritis, there are fields full of orchids including some Pink Butterfly Orchids, Fan-lipped Orchids and Giant Orchids. Ophrys candica is one of the rarer species we hope to show you today. There are many small villages set amid an enchanting landscape, and richly-frescoed Byzantine churches such as that of the Panagia at Thronos and the Assumption of the Virgin Mary at Meronas. The scenery is stunning, the views magnificent and the flowers abundant.