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The Greek islands make up 19% of Greece’s total area, and the largest island of Crete contributes nicely with its 8261km2. With its splendid size, there is something for everyone in Crete. So whether you are at vibrant tourist life, on the Chania coast or in the area of Heraklion and Hersonnisos, or more local island life on the inner island, or deserted beaches on the south and east coasts, the possibilities are here.
We know only of the area around Chania, where we have been a couple of times in late April. Crete is really good for a spring break, as the island early in the year has hot spring days due to its southern location. Another great advantage of Crete is that there are lots of flights to the island, so often cheap tickets can be found.
Chania town is a really nice city with many small streets and beautiful old buildings. If you are in town life, there are plenty of places in town, where you can rent at local or small cozy guesthouses in Chania city. We have contacts with some landlords in this city.
“Chania town is a really nice city with many small streets”
We think Chania town can be nice to stay in on a spring or autumn holiday, but maybe not so appropriate during the summer period, when there are REALLY many people in Chania town. In the city, you just have to give yourself plenty of time and slap around and sniff out the many impressions — and there are plenty of them. Most tourists flock around the harbor promenade with the many cafes and tavernas, but we think it is much nicer in the small streets behind. If you want to avoid the tourist traps, which include food from bad ingredients, florists, sellers with cheap wristwatches, etc., then it is a good idea to avoid the harbor promenade, and instead look for where the locals eat. In Chania, it is the area behind the old mosque on the harbor. Walk past the old shipyards and you will come to a number of taverns that the locals use.
Finally, do not miss the narrow street Skrydolof which is the “leather street” It was here that the tanners lived in the old days, and nowadays there is an almost endless selection of leather goods in the many shops. And there is definitely an opportunity to make a really good trade. However, not everything is local crafts, but “made in china” At last you must not miss the huge market that is every Saturday morning in the area behind the marina. It’s really impressive, and when you walk up the many vegetable shops, the intoxicating scent makes you consider becoming a vegetarian (-:
“Finally, do not miss the huge market every Saturday morning”
There is also a large market hall in Chania, which is open every day. The market hall is shaped like a cross and should be a copy of an equivalent in Marseille, France. In our opinion, the open-air market on Saturday is far better and more interesting. There are also several different open-air markets in Chania and you can read more about them all here
Before leaving Chania you must also try “Slowfood Taverna”, which we had recommended by the local potter in Chania town. At Slow food tavern, all food is cooked over open fire in pottery pottery from this pottery in Chania. The food is original old Greek dishes and you have to look far beyond Musaka and Pastitsio, because it is not here.
“At Slow Food Tavern, all food is cooked over open fire in pottery pottery”
This place is definitely worth a visit. You drive up the mountains from the road between Chania and Agii Apostoli. The city is called Drakona. More description of the slow food tavern at CreteTravel, which has little info here
Comment on Tripadvisor about the Slowfood tavern can be seen here
“The Chania Coast does not look like our favorite destinations, but still has a lot to offer. Just in its own touristy way”
Preferred holiday-destinations are very different, and I’ll be careful on what to write about the Chania coast. It is by no means our favorite destination, but still has something to offer. Just in its own way. With the number of tourists who go to Chania and the surrounding area every year, there is no doubt that it is a popular area. If you are partying and enjoying nightlife, it is certainly not the worst place you can choose for your vacation. From Chania town and off the coast to the west comes one resort town after another. The first one is Agii Apostoli with its 3 bathing coves with fine soft sand.
“This entire Sunday there was a fantastic scent of grilled lamb in the hot spring air”
In fact, Agii Apostoli was a pretty nice place when we visited the place last week in April 2016, where it is clearly felt that the season starts. During the week we were there, more and more stores closed up on the main street and the beach that was pretty desolate at the beginning of the week was significantly more covered by sunbathing tourists at the end of the week. In the area of Agii Apostoli there is also a campsite. There is also a large park behind the beach and it was widely used in the weekend by the local for grilling lamb and ordinary family shelter as the Greek Easter falls in the last week of April. This entire Sunday there was a wonderful scent of grilled lamb in the hot spring air. The great thing about Agii Apostoli is the short distance to Chania Town, as some of the missing cities in all these holiday resorts along the coast are local city life, and this is what you can see in abundant quantities in Chania.
“The best meal of the holiday was this amazing well-prepared Kleftico”
The best meal of the holiday was this wonderfully well-prepared Kleftico at the Farmers house taverna in Agii Apostoli. It had to be ordered the day before, so it could be cooked properly from the bottom and long-term simmer. It was a little fun to tavern’s other guests. who had ordered from the menu menu available on the day, came over and asked what it was. They were attracted to the amazing scent that spread when the waiter came in with the two big clay pots and lifted the lid. There are two people in each dish, so the minimum order is for 2 people. You will find Farmers house here
“Platanias is probably the city that is considered a “party town”on the chania coast”
If you continue from Agii Apostoli out of the coast, you reach Agia Marina and Platanias, which have almost grown into a city. Platanias is probably the city that is considered a “party town” on the chania coast and here is a long main street which has plenty of bars, restaurants, taverns and miscellaneous glaciers. The beaches in these cities are very touristy with beach chairs in many and long rows as far as you can see. In Platanias it may be difficult to find a path that goes down to the beach between all the hotels and bars, which are close to the whole coast.
Even if you, for example, in Platanias, can get up into the old town behind me, in these cities, I miss the real Greek city life, which here has the vegetarian place in the name of tourism. It’s a shame. But it is still fun that in a tourist town like Platanias, you can walk a hundred yards into the hinterland, and suddenly you go to dirt roads between fragrant orange plantations. Just orange plantations, there are very many in Crete, and they have more varieties, so there are fresh oranges most of the summer half.
“The beautiful beach of the Balos Lagoon – Gramvoussa”
If you go west to the coast, you arrive at Gerani and Maleme, which are not real towns, but a lot of hotels along the very long sandy beach. Then we reach a large peninsula, which we do not think is particularly exciting. Continue past this, reaching the very local Greek port city of Kissamos, where you can experience real Greek city life. Then we reach the Balos peninsula where you can choose to turn right on the peninsula where you can reach the beautiful beach of the Balos Lagoon – Gramvoussa
It’s really a nice place, and especially if you arrive at a time when the tour boats, are not there. One reaches the beautiful bay after a good ride on dirt roads, and then a walk / climb awaits you down to the beach. I absolutely think it’s worth a visit. If you prefer a car or a tripboat, both is a possibility.
See more about the Balos Lagoon – Gramvoussa here
“The beach Elafonissa is most known for its pink skulls”
If you do not go out on the Balos peninsula, you can continue on to Falasarana beach, which is a long bay with a large sandy beach. The trip down there is somewhat spoiled by the large number of greenhouses found in the flat area behind the beach. On this side of Crete, you will also find the Elafonissi beach, mostly known for its pink skulls.
On this part of the island you will also find Paleochora – as someone enjoys calling “The Greek Maldives”
Paleochora is, after Greek conditions, a fair new city, which only originated in the late 19th century. Prior to that, there were only scattered settlements of primitive cabins where the area’s peasants could live while they were employed in the fields. These cabins were also used for storing gear and crops. There was quite a large production of mainly olives transported by sea to Chania. That’s why you founded the upcoming town where the ships could lay in shelter of the old castle. From the small harbor on the eastern side of the city there are daily departures with one-day trips to Elafonissi and ferry crossing the charming south coast to Sougia, Agia Roumeli, Loutro and Sfakia.
Already comparing Paleochora with the Maldives is somewhat misplaced in our opinion!
“But the homemade raki is worth bringing home to a cold winter with a sore throat”
On the way back along the coast you can possibly. make a dirt into the country to the small mountain village of Polyrinia, where you will b. can meet a nice greek in the local souvenir shop. Here he sells his own homemade handicrafts in olive trees and not least his homemade raki with honey, which tastes amazing. And he is very good at the tastings (-: A small tour of the little hobby carpentry was also. Upstairs behind his shop there is an old church and shown some ancient ruins if you want to go further. Otherwise not much else in this little typical Greek mountain village, but home-made raki is worth bringing home to a cold Danish winter with throat throat. It is not called “medical water” for nothing and every reasonable Greek who has been affected by illness always tries “treatment” with raki (cold or hot) before the doctor as the last resort is sought, if it does not help (-: Most people drive enough to the city because of the ancient ruins, so I’d rather be a little cultural and link it. You can read about it here.
On our next trip to Crete, we would like to explore the area at Ag. Nikolaos and Elunda Bay in north eastern Crete. We would also like to visit the ancient Spinalonga island of Spinalonga, located in Elund Bay, next to the small town of Plaka. Can we find a place to live in the small town of Plaka it could be exciting. But more about it later.
A book about Spinalonga has been written that is recommended for reading before the visit. Read more about the book here
Another great link with information and pictures from Crete can be found here
If you are looking for serious car hire companies in Crete, with reasonable prices, full insurance and control, we can recommend Justrentals
View more photos from Crete on Instagram #KruseTravel.dk.