Places the Locals go, Crete Island
Elfonissi, a beach located on the southwestern edge of Crete is, as you can see from the photos, a dream place. It was wonderfully clean and with few people, an ideal place to take a few hours off from our hectic life as tourists.
A part of the beach is comprised of a light pink type sand and there is a huge shallow lagoon before you reach deep water. Even in the cool breeze, the sun manages to warm this shallow area making it great for sunbathing.
To get there take the main road west from Chania till you get near Kissamos, there you look for the road south to Elfonissi (also there are alternate spellings, depends on which map you look at, like Elafonisi).
It is certain there is not a family in Crete, that at some time during the year, has not either been directly or indirectly involved in the production of Cretan wine. For it is from this huge island’s vineyards, that Cretan wine has so unsparingly been given to all that thirst.
Taking the road to Arkalohori from Irakleon, one arrives at the village of Alagni, a settlement dating back to the Venetian times. In 1414, 6 vineyards were given to the Lyraraki family. These were to become the foundation on which the Alagni Agricultural Enterprises, S.A. would be established.
In 1966, the Lyraraki family founded their first company under the name of Lyraraki Brothers & A. Pavlakis Wine Making J.S.C. This company continued to produce wine until 1977, when it was incorporated into the current company of G.E.A., S.A. Alagni Agricultural Enterprises.
At this time, the winery began developing and cultivating what is considered to be the best local varieties of vines from which their successful Vilana, Kotsifali and Mandilaria wines are derived. It was also at this time, that the first organized vineyards of the Vilana variety were created by Alagni. Not only did Alagni supply other vineyard with roots for planting new vines, but grafts from the Vilana variety were cut and then distributed to other vineyards on the island in order to create sturdier, disease resistant varieties. These vines continue to grow and produce plentiful healthy grapes for the making of today’s Cretan wines.
Driving directions : From Heraklion drive to the south (direction: Viannos). After 18 km you will reach the village of “Alagni”. Follow the “Lyrarakis” signs on the road.
Contact information / visitors support: Lyraraki winery is able to host groups of 10 to 40 people, but only after making an appointment on the following phones: firstname.lastname@example.org
and +30 2810 – 741482. You can also email us: email@example.com
The Hope is an old cafe in the village of Mavrikano, which is a short uphill walk from Elounda. I first visited the Hope around twenty years ago and fell in love with it. The owner Mikalis is a legend in Elounda I popped in to see him this year to find him still there entertaining customers and now at 95 years old. My photograph from all those years ago is still on the wall and he instantly recognised me. The last visit was 2003, and he remembered that we were there for a wedding. I would love to go in 2011 for the 100 birthday party and I suspect that A lot of frequent visitors to Elounda and the Hope Cafe will be there too. the view is also magnificent from The Hope and well worth the short climb.
In the town of Sitia, the nightlife is very rich. You can find cafe's, bars, places to dance and a lot of restaurants. But the locals especially people from 30 y.o. and more they usually go to the "kafeneia". Kafeneia is the places where you can have "Raki" (raki is the local drink, like grapa or arak.etc) with "Mezedes" (mezedes= many small plates with food). Don t miss it. You will have the chance to eat your steak/ french fries with the Greek salad also in your country, but dinner next to the sea in the Kafeneio drinking Raki and eating the local Mezedes, i don t think that you will have this chance :-).
To find this places: Just follow the road from the main square to the small port with the fishing boats. You will find many of these places.
Don' t go there before 20:00