AAIA 2107 Tour of Crete and Kythera

Tour Leaders: Helen Nicholson, Lita Tzortzopoulou, Archondia Thanos


April 16 to May 5, 2017

Spring is a delightful time to visit Greece, when wildflowers can transform the country-side into a kaleidoscope of colour. Led by Australian archaeologists the focus of this three week tour is the archaeology of Crete and Kythera with visits to well known, and a few not so well known sites, monuments and museums. Both islands hold a special place for Greeks and Australians today because of the role played by Australians in Crete during WWII and the many Kytherian families who migrated to Australia in the late 19th and 20th centuries.

Tour Overview


Our journey begins in Crete with three nights in the island’s capital Heraklion. Here we visit various sites, monuments and museums and have the opportunity to take in the rich contemporary culture that awaits the visitor to the island today. We then relocate to the scenic Gulf of Mirabello and explore eastern Crete before heading west to spend four nights in picturesque Chania where the Venetian legacy is evident in the historic centre. Here we also consider sites significant in the Battle of Crete in 1941.

From Chania we fly to Athens and spend three nights in order to take in aspects of the city’s Classical, Byzantine and Ottoman past. From Athens we then fly to the island of Kythera and over four days crisscross the island visiting archaeological and historical sites, churches and villages. The tour then returns to Athens for an overnight stay and a farewell dinner. Throughout the tour there will be plenty of opportunities to sample local produce and enjoy the local cuisine.

Tour Highlights

  • Expert, experienced and well regarded archaeologists as tour leaders, Helen Nicholson for the whole tour with Dr Archondia Thanos on Crete and Dr Lita Tzortzopoulou-Gregory on Kythera
  • Visit the Minoan sites of Knossos, Phaistos, Gournia, Mallia, Archanes, Gournia and Zakros on Crete
  • Two full days in Athens exploring museums and archaeological
    sites in the historic centre
  • Important sites in the 1941 Battle of Crete with the option of walking the track taken by evacuating Allied soldiers in 1941 through the Imbros Gorge
  • Discover the charm of Kythera, past and present, on this island rarely visited by tourists

Tour Inclusions

  • Economy class flights in Greece
  • 17 nights’ accommodation
  • All breakfasts, 5 lunches and 9 dinners
  • All tips to guides, drivers and at meals provided
  • Three qualified archaeologists as tour leaders, with local guides at selected sites and museums
  • Comprehensive tour notes
  • Entrance fees to museums and sites in the itinerary

Tour Leaders


Helen Nicholson (Crete & Kythera)

Helen holds degrees in Archaeology from the University of Sydney, spent three seasons working at Torone in the 1990s and has been a core team member for University’s excavations at Paphos, I Fani, Pella, Rukeis and in Uzbekistan. She has extensive teaching experience that ranges from undergraduate lecturing for the Department of Archaeology through to running education programs for gifted and talented school students as well as adult audiences. Helen has designed and led more that 30 overseas study tours, including the highly successful AAIA 2015 tour to Greece. She managed the Education Programs at the Nicholson Museum in the mid 1990s, spent several years working at the Powerhouse Museum and is currently working as an archaeological consultant in Sydney.


Dr Archondia Thanos(Crete)

Archondia holds a BA(hons) in Archaeology and a Graduate Diploma of Museum Studies from the University of Sydney, an MPhil from the National Kapodistrian University of Athens and a DPhil from the University of Oxford. Archondia is now undertaking a Secondary Education degree, working with teachers for their professional development as part of the new curriculum. Recently Archondia has been teaching at the
University of Sydney, the Nicholson Museum and various high schools in Sydney. She continues her research on the Greek Bronze Age and the History of Archaeology. She has extensive excavation experience in Greece, Italy, Cyprus and the Middle East and has conducted many tours to Greece.


Lita Tzortzopoulou-Gregory ( (Kythera)

Lita holds degrees in Anthropology and Archaeology from the University of Sydney, and a Doctorate from La Trobe University, Melbourne. She has worked extensively in Greece, but also in Cyprus and Jordan. For a number of years she taught and managed the Education Programs at the Nicholson Museum. Since 2011 she has been teaching at Columbus State Community College and at the Ohio State University, and is project co- ordinator of the Ohio State University Excavations at Isthmia. She is Co-Director of the Australian Paliochora-Kythera Archaeological Survey, and currently holds the position of Executive Officer in Athens of the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens. Lita’s Kytherian heritage makes her passionate about Kythera, and she is looking forward to sharing her love and knowledge of the island with tour participants.

"I’m so glad that I did the AAIA Greek tour. It was a special treat.”


Spring is a wonderful time to visit Greece as the summer tourists holidaying on the islands haven’t yet arrived. On Crete average April temperatures range from 12 overnight to daytime temperatures around 20. Similar temperatures can be expected on Kythera. It is reasonable to expect wind, especially on Kythera, as well as rain and grey skies on some days. Packing a lightweight waterproof jacket is recommended.


In order to visit and enjoy archaeological sites, natural attractions of the countryside and the historical centre of towns it is usually necessary to walk, as bus and car access is difficult. This walking often involves stairs and slopes, as
well as cobbled, slippery and uneven surfaces. When visiting archaeological sites we often walk along rough tracks, through vegetation and over loose surfaces. This is especially so on Kythera. A comfortable pair of shoes with a good grip and support is essential. You should be fit enough to walk for periods of up to 90 to 120 minutes with only short breaks. On a few days you may be on your feet all day although where possible these days will be broken up with refreshment breaks. It is fine if you want to take a day off on tour and just relax.

Accommodation & Meals

The accommodation on this tour ranges from five star to quite basic rooms and facilities but has been chosen because of its location and proximity to modern facilities. Breakfast each day is in the hotel and these will range from a full English breakfast buffet selection to more modest fare. There are 9 dinners and 5 lunches included.



AU$7970 (single supplement $1320)

Day by Day Itinerary

AAIA Tour 2017-Day by day

Booking Form

For further information and bookings please contact or call +61 (2) 9351 4759

For payments (and to book international flights) contact Chryssa at our travel partner on or call +61 (2) 92413211