Iolkos Private Tours: Tours in Crete with a Local Couple

Coming up: Crete excursions, local food, a married couple, views of Libya, gorgeous gorges, doing what most tourists don’t, and local-led things to do in Crete.

As you probably know, Crete is Greece’s biggest island (and with a population of over 600,000, it’s larger than most visitors expect!)

… but because it’s Greece’s biggest island, it’s hard to know what to see and do here.

Iolkos Private tours Crete Upiria

So: who do you reckon knows the best things to do in Crete? Google? Lonely Planet? 

TripAdvisor? Or a local married couple who’ve been living together on the island for more than 25 years?

Yep, probably the last one.

So let’s meet them:

Antonis and Eleni Stathaki: lifelong locals 

Iolkos Private Tours Chania Crete Seaside View Upiria

Over 70 years ago, Chaidemenakis Thrasivoulos was born on the island of Crete (in the small local village of Amygdalokefali).

Raised in the rural farmland of the village, he spent his childhood surrounded by ancient tavernas, hilly streets, age-old homes and seaside views.

… then, in 1960, Chaidemenakis moved to Athens. 

Here, he and his wife gave birth to Antonis (a man who’s gonna be pretty important in this story). A little while later, in 1994, the couple returned to the island of Crete, bringing their son with them.

Eleni was born on the island of Crete, in the north-coast city of Chania. After leaving school, she moved to Athens to study. And after finishing her studies, she too moved back to the island.

Then, in 1999, Eleni and Antonis met.

They married, they opened a hotel in Chania in 2001, and they began offering tours of the island.

(and: that’s where you come in… because we think you’ll love exploring the island with them).

But why should I choose Antonis and Eleni? There are SO MANY tour operators in Crete!

Yep, you’re right:

There are hundreds of them.

But here’s the thing: Antonis and Eleni aren’t just another ‘tour operator.’

… they know the island WAY better than most. They’ve worked with Crete’s visitors for over 20 years, they know the people and places of the island, they’ve built a life here, and they’re friends with many of the Cretans you’ll meet.

Yes, they know all the best things to do in Crete—but they also know much more than that. They’ll help you meet real local people and real local life. On a big busy island like Crete, it’s hard to feel like you’re having a ‘real’ experience. But with Antonis and Eleni, that’s exactly what you get!

And that’s why they’re working with Upiria: they’re lifelong locals, we’re lifelong locals, and we want you to see some real local life!

Which tours in Crete can I do with Antonis and Eleni?

Lots of them! You can expect:

Chania tours, Heraklion trips, beaches, lakes, springs, monasteries, museums, the island’s botanical garden, history and heritage, small towns and villages, insights you can’t get elsewhere, Chania Airport transfers, Heraklion Airport transfers, overnight stays in their hotel, and lots of drool-inducing local food.

Iolkos Private Tours Crete Chania Monastery Arkadi upiria

Iolkos Private Tours Elafonisi Beach Crete upiria

… but two of their most popular experiences are: 

  • Elafonissi Beach and Chrisoskalitissa Monastery: on this trip, you’ll see one of Europe’s most popular beaches (a tropical hotspot with pink sand), and an iconic shoreside 17th-century Eastern Orthodox Christian monastery—AND lots of en-route stops (including mountains, gorges, traditional villages, views of Libya, and stories of miracles). Antonis is from this part of Greece… so, you’ll also meet local people, hear local stories, visit under-the-radar cafes and restaurants, and see some of Antonis’ favorite places. Way more than just a standard Crete tour.
  • Samaria Gorge: for this experience, Antonis will drop you at the top of the gorge, and pick you up from its bottom. Along the way, you hike 18 km (11 miles), seeing views of springs, pools, mountains, and many narrow rock formations. The best Samaria Gorge Crete tour you'll find? Probably.

All experiences and activities are listed on this page, to the right of the words you’re looking at right now.

What’s the atmosphere of the tours in Crete with Antonis and Eleni?

They’re always relaxed and fun (just like Antonis and Eleni are!).

They know you’re on vacation, so they’re not gonna stress you out—or make you stick to a fixed program. You’ll do things the way local people do them: that’s with a big smile, and a laid-back attitude.

… and because both Antonis and Eleni are locals, there’s a big focus on authentic local life. 

You’ll see:

Iolkos Private Tours Crete villages upiria
  • Real people
  • Small villages
  • Greek homes and gardens
  • Small tavernas and cafes (where only the locals hang out)

AND: on all tours, you get total freedom and flexibility—maybe you want to:

  • Go slowly, and learn everything there is to learn about the ONE place you’re visiting
  • Cut your intended trip short, and see other stuff in the nearby area
  • Spend most of your trip eating local food in local tavernas
  • … or something else!

The point is this: all experiences are totally bespoke and flexible—so you’ll see what you want to see, you’ll move as slowly or as quickly as you want to, and you never get exactly the same experience as any other visitor.

This isn’t a normal Crete tour. Instead, this is real Greek hospitality (or, as we call it in Greece, ‘filoxenía’!).

Oh: and EVERY Crete tour is hosted by Antonis. So whenever and wherever you visit, you get a guide who knows the people, places, and language of the island. Expect bespoke recommendations, answers to all your questions, and even some on-the-fly changes (if you want them!)

In which languages can I take these Crete tours? And how do I book an experience?

You can take all tours in both Greek and English.

And you can book them here on this page—on the sidebar to your right. 

As we say in Greece: páme!

Share now:

Facebook Share LinkTwitter Share LinkInstagram Share LinkLinkedIn Share Link
Book Now

Community Marketplace

Meet new travelers and showcase your travel experiences through our vibrant community marketplace.

Mobile App Main Screen
Mobile App Experiences
Experiences Categories
Experiences Map
Experience Main Screen (Mobile App)
No items found.
Weekend Escapes
Nature and Wildlife
Music and Entertainment
Games and Entertainment
Food and Drink
Culture and History
Classes and Workshops
Adventure and Adrenaline