Favorite thing: Mountain villages, long sandy beaches, rocky bays, beach-bar-boogie & nightlife. There are magnificent mountain ranges, water-sports, tranquil locations and clean swimmable seas. The climate is one of the best in Europe and the cuisine is one of the most healthy in the world!
We have stayed in a few locations on the south of Crete and the sunsets are memorable. I am a real sucker for photoing and video-ing sunsets and my family get rather bored as I stand for hours filming. Later, they are even more bored when they are forced to watch the action replay on video!!!
Fondest memory: Sitting in the balmy October evening enjoying an ouzo or two and watching the sun sink into the Libyan sea. Amazing.
In 2005 I drove the rough road through the Gramvoussa peninsula. It start a bit after Kastelli Kissamos, you have to follow the "Balos beach Hotel" road sign and than follow the path.. it was quite uneven, with hole and stones but driving very slowly and carefully it have been possible with a normal car in about one hour. Off road vehicle would be better even because the rental company's insurance never cover the bottom of the car.
You will get to a park area up in the last part of the peninsula and you will have to walk down a path for maybe 30 minutes to reach the beach... the view from up there is breath taking..
Please This place is a corner of paradise... make sure to bring with you ALL your rubbish when you leave!!!
The tavernas are the typical Greek restaurant, usually not too expensive. You can find them everywhere in Crete also in the smaller villages...
Mezedes are the appetizers and quick dishes (more or less like spanish tapas) that you can enjoy in these places, but also great fish, traditional dishes like Moussaka, Souzukakia.
Retsina is the pine resin wine sometimes served by the kilo into copper jugs.
The most brilliant Aegean island civilization, however, was the Cretan or Minoan civilization which flourished in Crete mainly in the 3rd and 2nd millennia B.C. and took its name from the legendary king of Knossos, Minos.
They built magnificent palaces, such as those of Knossos, Phaestos, Malia and Zakros.
It suddenly and misteriously disappeared at the end of 1500 B.C. after the volcanic eruption of Thera (Santorini) which, according to one view, also caused the destruction of Crete.
Whilst visiting the very good Lychnostatis open air folk museum (see seperate tip) I came upon this poem on a wall, which I thought summed up Cretans rather well.
It evokes rather well the slightly belligerent history of the islanders and the slightly macho gun culture which apparently still exists in places.
"the gun of a Cretan
Should never be sold.
It's place is in church,
Never to be used again.
High up on the wall should it hang,
Surrounded by spiderwebs,
And as the dead hero shall turn to dust,
So shall his gun turn to rust.
I really liked it.
During the month of August it seems to be common for the northern wind called the Meltemi to blow. This is a cooling wind but it can be quite strong at times. It certainly churned up the waves around Mochlos from where this photo was taken.
The wind did help to bring a fresher air to the region so it was welcome but if you're trying to go sailing or snorkelling it could affect your plans.
You'll not be able to do anything about it but just be prepared .
Favorite thing: Crete has an astounding array of flora and fauna species.Being separated from the mainland for millions of years it also hosts many indigenous spieces,found nowhere else in the world. The wild goat Kri-Kri (capra aegagrous cretensis) that is mainly found in the gorge of Samaria is the most famous example.During spring a great variety of wild flowers blossom making Crete a paradise for botanists and nature-lovers.
Favorite thing: In the sixties a group of Hippies started to live in the caves of Matala that are already existing since the young stone ages. First it was accepted by inhabitants of the village and the government, because the Hippies organized their life well and also hygienic. With the years more and more "summer" dropouters who did not take care of the caves,. That is why they were closed after that.
if you prefer individual tourism,leaving heraclion,go and visit south coast....
(even in may!...I cannot imagine july or august...)
Fondest memory: ecology doesn't exist ...in the smallest village you cross,you find,at least,one unclaimed car or van along the main street or avenue...
Favorite thing: Crete is the southernmost region of Europe. Being so south(as south as Tunisia and Morocco) the island's landscape is quite exotic for European standards.The palm trees and in parts the barren scenery(eastern island) remind that the African coast is very close.The landscape you can see in the picture is Kourtaliótiko gorge situated in Rethymno prefecture's southern coast,looking towards the Libyan sea.
Favorite thing: A good long walk is from near main bus station, on the sea road past the Politechniou,round the headland called ring road under the Fortress to the Venetian Harbour,on to the Waterfront pass the Marina to the beaches. Returning just turn into the town streets, back at the harbour. On the map the bus station is bottom left and the Beach bottom right
Favorite thing: I booked a room in Hersonissos for a week, but I didn't like much that place. One evening, after having walked a bit uphill, I discovered three small villages not far from Hersonissos. Their names are; Koutoloufari, Piskopiano and Old Hersonissos. They are really nice places to spend some hours.
If you have the possibility to rent a car, you can visit the old monasteries (most of them orthodox) placed in the most remote and scenic valleys and mountains of the interior of the island.
Some of them can be quite hard to reach, even by car.
If you are in Greece and want to call abroad to get the external line is 00 and then you add the country code you want to call.
001 United states
Stayed in October 2006, and really have no complaints about the accomodation,Very friendly and...more
The 5-star Creta Maris Hotel is a unique combination of Aegean architecture and luxurious...more
A world-class Thalasso and spa with beautiful gardens and a private beach are just a few of the...more