Last updated on May 4, 2024 by Stefano Ferro, founder of MEL365, following extensive travelling in Crete

Jeep Safari Tour of the Minoan Route by Land Rover in Crete

This Jeep Safari Tour is the ideal experience for travellers looking to understand more about the Greek and Minoan history in Crete.

Moreover, the tour goes through some unique areas in the island accessible only by 4WD where you will discover the local flora and fauna besides being introduced to the local Cretan life.

The day starts with a visit to the Aposelimi dam, completed in 2012 and providing water to the area that goes from Heraklion to Agios Nikolaous.

Then the Jeep Safari Tour goes deeper in the unexplored Crete, through olive groves and a unique landscape till the next stop of the Roman aqueduct of Lyttos.

There is also time for some Raki (a local spirit similar to the Italian Grappa) and Olive oil tasting at the picturesque village of Kastamonitsa where the local producer gives more information about the making

More off-road into the ancient Minoan Route and more tasting, this time the home-made cheese, well needed after the Raki.

The Jeep Safari Tour keeps going till the next stop at the Lassithi Plateau for an amazing viewpoint of the island.

The most historical site visited by the tour is, however, the Zeus Cave where the mythological father of all gods was born. 

It’s a full-on tour with many things to do and places to visit and the lovely BBQ lunch is a great break for some relaxing time (they cater also for vegetarians).

Here is a big surprise. Wine is included in the price and although they generously offer as much as you like, I highly suggest to stop at the second glass (well maybe the third one) if you do not want to fall asleep on the jeep and miss out on the view

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The Jeep Safari Tour of the Minoan Route by Land Rover – In a nutshell

Location: Safari Club Crete, Parlama 22, 70007 Malia, Crete, Greece

Pick up Area: the tour picks up directly from the hotel, or the AirBnb, in the popular areas of Heraklion, Hersonissos, Malia, Sissi as well as Ammoudara, Kokkini Chani, Gouves, Analipsi, Anisaras, Koutaloufari+Piskopiano and Stalis.

Typical duration: The duration of the tour is approximately 8 hours. Pick up between 8:00 am and 08:45 am and drop off around 4:30-5 pm, based on the area of stay

Available Days: The tour runs every day except on Sunday

Languages spoken by the tour guides: The tours are available in English, German, French and Dutch

Available vehicle models: Landrover Defender for 8 customers + driver (due to COVID 19 restrictions 5 customers + driver ) and Mercedes Vito for 8 customers + driver (due to COVID 19 restrictions 5 customers + driver )

Off-road experience: This tour gives a mixed experience of on-road and off-road. The part running on dirt roads is, however, the most spectacular one, with an incredible view over the Lassithi Plateau. 

Water/Lunch: The included lunch is so fresh and delicious, consisting of several traditional small dishes and a main, with options for vegetarian and children. Water is included as well as the local Cretan wine

Don’t forget: suncream, comfortable walking shoes, cameras, sunglasses, hat. Flip-flops are not suggested as the tour goes through a few walking areas with sharp stones.

Top 3 unmissable attractions in the tour: 

  1. Aposelemi Dam and the sunken village of Sfendili. The dam was completed in 2014and water started pouring in as planned from the Dikti mountains and Lasithi Plateau, making it the biggest lake in Crete. Here you will be able to see also the submerged village of Sfendili, abandoned after the construction of the dam. A very unique experience that you really want to document with a few photos.
  2. Lyttos – Roman Aqueduct. The tour explores a part of the 22km long aqueduct built over 2,000 years ago, an incredible and unique project dated back to the Roman Empire.
  3. Dikteon Cave, the birthplace of Zeus according to mythology. A beautiful cave at an altitude of 1,025m with impressive stalactites and stalagmites everywhere. As you descend, you can see the many areas used in the past for worship, all well preserved. 

Children friendly: Families with kids of any age are welcome to join this fun tour, however, people with physical disabilities and pregnant women are not eligible to participate due to the nature of the tour

The Jeep Safari Tour of the Minoan Route – How to contact

Photos of the Jeep Safari Tour along the Minoan Route – what you should expect

The off-road part of the Jeep Safari Tour goes through areas of Crete that are hardly touched by any sort of tourism. The view is absolutely majestic
The off-road part of the Jeep Safari Tour goes through areas of Crete that are hardly touched by any sort of tourism. The view is absolutely majestic
Part of the 22km long Roman Aqueduct built over 2000 years ago during the Roman Empire. Impressive and incredible that it's still there
Part of the 22km long Roman Aqueduct built over 2000 years ago during the Roman Empire. Impressive and incredible that it’s still there
Amazing viewpoint along the Minoan Route. You will not believe it you are still in Crete. On the left side you have the Aposelemi Dam, the biggest artifical lake in the island
Amazing viewpoint along the Minoan Route. You will not believe that you are still in Crete. 
Viewing platform at the Dikteon Cave, where, according to mythology, Zeus, the father of all gods , was born. Platform are build throut the cave, very easy to follow and explore.
Viewing platform at the Dikteon Cave, where, according to mythology, Zeus, the father of all gods, was born. Platforms are built through the cave, very easy to follow and explore.
The small village of Sfendili is today empty. Based on the amount of water in the artificial lake, it can get partially if not all submerged.
The small village of Sfendili is today empty. Based on the amount of water in the artificial lake, it can get partially if not all submerged.
It's not uncommon to meet goats along the Minoan Route in this very isolated part of Crete
It’s not uncommon to meet goats along the Minoan Route in this very isolated part of Crete
Goat feeding and hand-made cheese tasting at the local sheperd. Always interesting to have a bit of an inside to the island, well far from the tourist route
Goat feeding and hand-made cheese tasting at the local shepherd. Always interesting to have a bit of an inside to the island, well far from the tourist route
The best way to explore the "real" Crete is to go off-road and visit the mountain villages where the life is around the main square, with restaurants, a cafenion, maybe a bar, a convenience store and maybe a couple of shops
The best way to explore the “real” Crete is to go off-road and visit the mountain villages where the life is around the main square, with restaurants, a kafenion, maybe a bar, a convenience store and a couple of shops
Raki and Olive oil tasting in the characteristic village of Kastamonitsa, started as a small settlement during the Venetian period. There is enough time to seat, experience and go through a driven tasting session
Raki and Olive oil tasting in the characteristic village of Kastamonitsa started as a small settlement during the Venetian period. There is enough time to seat, experience and go through a driven tasting session
Stefano Ferro - MEL365.com Founder and Editor

About the Author

Stefano is a seasoned travel expert and the visionary founder of MEL365.com, a leading travel website with traffic across 6 continents. With a rich background in the travel industry, Stefano spent four pivotal years at Amadeus Travel Distribution System, gaining invaluable insights into travel technologies and distribution.

2 thoughts on “Jeep Safari Tour following the Minoan Route”

  1. Thanks for this fantastic website. One of the best I”ve seen for travel. A true gem of a resource. My question is can one do the Minoan road trip oneself if one gets a 4W drive? Or is this something best left to professionals? Also, related question, I plan to rent a car for most of my two weeks on Crete…should I get 4W drive or is this overkill?

    Reply
    • Hi Alanh, I would personally suggest to join the tour for the Minoan Road, hard to have a full route otherwise, plus you are going to miss out on the little secret stops.
      About the car, 2W drive is enough for 95% of the roads. Check out the small letters though, most of the companies do not allow to drive in unsealed roads and in case of trouble the insurance would not pay a cent. Usually they mention clearly, for example, that you can’t drive to Balos Beach. In saying that, everybody does it, although you should know the risks that come with it.
      Enjoy Crete
      Cheers

      Reply

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