Aromatic journeys2018-01-24T21:30:58+00:00

Let yourself guided by nature and the rest will follow! When you come to Crete, you find yourself in a different world where most villages have no street names (not even house numbers). Instead, streets are running along olive fields, orange grooves and avocado trees. The special microclimate of the island and an extremely diverse flora offers an unforgettable experience with lots of exciting adventures for a lifetime to any herbal or aromatherapy enthusiasts and professionals alike.

There is plenty to explore by simply walking near the beaches, where you can easily run into the purple-flowered shrubby Cretan Rock Rose (Cistus creticus L.), so well known by those engaged in botanical perfumery. The mountains smell from thyme (Thymus capitatus), sage (Salvia officinalis, Salvia triloba syn. fruticosa and other varieties), winter savory (Satureja montana L.) and other wild herbs abundantly growing over the rocks at higher altitudes. No matter which time of the year, the herbal wheel of life will surely turn on your senses.

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Depending on the season, you may get a chance to join us harvesting and distilling local aromatic and medicinal plants. Hands-on learning opportunities will enrich your knowledge and understanding of herbs and aromatherapy that no book learning can provide. Such an immersive involvement will help you enjoying a close relationship with our floral helpers, and getting a clear picture and deep understanding of all the hard work behind one small bottle of some precious essential oil.

A teaser of activities we can pick from on our Aromatic Journeys in Crete:

Wild herbs and essential oils from Crete
Wild herbs and essential oils from Crete
Excursion to the small village of Kallikratis at 700m altitude in the White Mountains. A magical place, unique on the island. Our hosts are Janina and Babis, founders of Wild Herbs of Crete, who started to wildcraft and distill aromatic plants in 1994. With high respect to the spirit of nature and ethical collection, they were true pioneers doing research on the Cretan herbs and their therapeutic use. They produce essential oils in their own distillery, their wild-crafted oils from over 12 different plants are the highest quality pure masterpieces.
Collecting wild aromatic plants
Collecting wild aromatic plants
How to collect herbs in the wild? How is it to walk out in the fields, up in the mountains, and go from one plant to another, individually? Like how to gather wild carrot flowers with the ripe seeds? Information hardly available in the books as the best way of learning is experience. Learn and practice sustainable non-destructive wildcrafting. This field work is subject to weather and season, and in the right time we might encounter plants like bay laurel, chastetree/vitex, cyprus, eucalyptus, lentisk, myrtle, thyme, rosemary, sage, wild lavender, wild carrot and winter savory.
Organic lavender farm experience
Organic lavender farm experience
Visit to the organic lavender farm where the life-changer English owners have been following the principles of the Zen master farmer Masanobu Fukuoka. They plant lavender in concentric circles and grow them without pesticides and herbicides, just in perfect harmony with the rhythm of nature. The farm features various lavender varieties and they carry pure therapeutic grade organic essentials oils. One of their signature products is the unforgettable lavandula spica oil with its high 1.8-cineol content and genuine spicy aroma.
Cretan Rock rose 
and the mountain goats
Cretan Rock rose 
and the mountain goats
In the footsteps of the mountain goats, we find Cistus creticus, the magical plant with sticky leaves and beautiful pinkish flowers that keep proliferating around the Mylopotamos area. This endemic shrub is used in so many ways in aromatherapy and many healing modalities, while also a highly-demanded raw material in cosmetics and perfume-making. Collecting the resin from the leaves requires a special tool and lots of efforts in the heat of the summer. We meet with Dimitris Nyktaris, the local shepherd who invites us to learn about the traditions of the sweet, woody, amber-like scent of labdanum that covers the area of Sisses village.
Distilling plants with copper alembic
Distilling plants with copper alembic
Living-room distillery? Sniffing in the aromatic workshop of Ildiko, where there are no secrets, just wisdom and experience gathered over time putting energy into studies, research and exploration. Practical understanding of the mystical process of alchemy where the freshly picked medicinal plants are distilled in a beautiful traditional copper alembic. Inspiring hands-on learning to both beginners and professionals in aromatherapy, giving insights to the making of essential oils and aromatic waters. Expanding knowledge through a personal touch that takes us further in recognising pure natural materials which are unique in both composition and energy.
Botanical Park & Gardens of Crete
Botanical Park & Gardens of Crete
Breathtakingly rich walking path on a nearly 20 hectares of land, where the land’s formation and the region’s microclimate make it a paradise for hundreds of plants and animals. Species include endemic plants from Crete and other areas of Greece, as well as an exciting collection of herbs, medicinal and ornamental plants from all over the world. A botanical lexicon coming alive. A real spiritual pilgrimage where you can lose your sense of time while admiring nature’s beautiful creatures. The Botanical Park has its own vegetable and herbs garden that supplies ingredients for the delicious Cretan tastes that visitors can enjoy with a fantastic view from the balconies of their restaurant.