Discovering Crete (Part 1)

After a two week blogging break, I am back ! Our family spent 2 weeks in Crete without a computer so … no blogging what so ever. But now, I am home in Paris and will be back at work on Tuesday.

My husband has wanted to go to Greece for a very long time, but most of the Greek Islands are very small and there isn’t much to do for more than 3 or 4 days unless you want to beach it the whole time, which is not what I wanted to do. When we were first thinking about the trip, the guides and travel agencies recommended changing islands several times if we were to be there 2 weeks. Well that had absolutely no appeal to me, so we decided to spend our 2 weeks on the biggest Greek Island, Crete.

This was our first time and we were very very pleasantly surprised LOVED IT.

  • The people are absolutely wonderful, with a great sense of service and just generally ”nice” people. I didn’t ever feel rushed, or feel like they just wanted to take our money.
  • The food was great. There were a ton of restaurants and choices, and many healthy choices. There is a ton of fruit and fresh produce.
  • There were not too many people so that it became annoying. We could always find a table at a restaurant we wanted without waiting, we didn’t sit in traffic, there were not long lines anywhere. Because many French people have stopped going to Northern Africa for vacation (because of the terrorist threats) many are going to Spain, Portugal and Greece, so we were a bit worried about the crowds.
  • It was very inexpensive. You could get freshly squeezed orange juice for 2 to 3 dollars (in France it would be at least 5 to 6 !) I found everything was 25% to 40% less expensive than in France.
  • The weather was great. 95 to 100 every day but low humidity. Two out of 14 days were partly cloudy.
  • There is so much public transportation, buses can take you everywhere. While we rented a car, you don’t need to have one. Again, it was quite cheap.

Crete is divided into 4 regions :

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We spent the first week in Chania and the second week in Rethymnon. The first week we rented a small ”maisonnette” (which is a sexy word for an apartment) in a small complex with 10 apartments, about 8 miles west of the city of Chania. It had a pool and was a 3 minute walk from the beach. It had a family feeling and we go to know the other people who were staying there. It was very charming and perfectly situated for sightseeing of the Chania region.

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We found this region very authentic and there was something for everyone. Some of the highlights :

We visited the town of Chania. Very charming, tons of restaurants and shops.

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We went to 3 beaches, two of the most well known on the island, Elafonisi (on the South West coast) and Falassarna (on the West coast). I am NOT a beach person but I did not want to leave. These beaches were the most beautiful I have ever seen, and you can see how few people there are in the water.

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Elafonisi, Crete

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Falassarna, Crete

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My husband snorkeling

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Falassarna, Crete

Hiking in the gorges. Crete has some of the most beautiful gorges in Europe and the most well known is Samaria, but we were worried about the amount of people and the distance (10 mile hike). So we hired a private guide for the day and he took us to one with few tourists / hikers : Agia Irini. We did a 5 mile hike.

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It took us a little over 3 hours, then we went to a coastal town for lunch, and to swim in the ocean.

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On other days, we visited a cave (there are many)…

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… amazing views…

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…and also Polyrrina, a site that was founded 6 centuries B.C. The guide book didn’t mention it was a 2+ mile STEEP hike to the top…. ugh. Mandatory selfie to prove we survived. No complaining from this crew ! We were the ONLY ones at the top. No wonder ! (but the view was worth it)

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We were thrilled because everything was pretty much within an hour’s drive, and there was something for everyone. Other vacation posts coming soon !

Ever been to Crete ?

 

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Comments: 16

  1. Marcia August 13, 2016 at 9:28 pm Reply

    Looks absolutely perfect! I agree with you about the Greek people. So warm and welcoming and low pressure. Glad you enjoyed!
    Marcia recently posted…Coconut Oil Goodness and a GiveawayMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France August 15, 2016 at 12:17 pm Reply

      For once, I felt there were people who were not out to get my money !

  2. Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home August 14, 2016 at 2:07 pm Reply

    Oh my goodness, it’s beautiful there! My parents took a trip to the Greek Isles a few years ago and I was stunned by their pictures. Imagine living in such a beautiful place!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Book Review: Boston BoundMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France August 15, 2016 at 12:16 pm Reply

      We love the ocean, and it is definitely and ocean lover’s dream. Lots of water sports too.

  3. Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner August 14, 2016 at 6:34 pm Reply

    I absolutely love Greece. We did a Greek Island cruise a few summers ago and one place is more gorgeous than the next. Mykonos and Crete are my faves. Looks like a fabulous trip was had by all!
    Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner recently posted…Summer Struggles Are RealMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France August 15, 2016 at 12:16 pm Reply

      We would definitely go back. Hadn’t thought about a cruise.

  4. Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy August 14, 2016 at 9:52 pm Reply

    I haven’t been to Crete, but my very first trip to Europe was to Greece (a work trip for Mr. Judy). With his best friend (and then a coworker), who is Greek American and has family there, so we did go to one of the smaller islands, because that’s where some of his relatives live.

    it was a very special vacation. They were actually there. If we’d gone with them, like I’d wanted to, we might have avoided the whole Bandit mess!
    Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted…To race or not to race: 8/8-14 Weekly WrapMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France August 15, 2016 at 12:15 pm Reply

      Maybe you’ll make it back one day… so much to see and do.

  5. Coco August 15, 2016 at 2:07 am Reply

    Wow, so gorgeous. The town looks so cute and the beach looks divine! I haven’t been to Greece at all. Now I want to go!

    • Karen - Fit in France August 15, 2016 at 12:14 pm Reply

      We were really pleasantly surprised how much there was to see and do.

  6. Sonia August 15, 2016 at 11:28 am Reply

    Haven’t been to Crete but I went to Santorini and loved it. Beautiful pics! So glad you enjoyed it.
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    • Karen - Fit in France August 15, 2016 at 12:14 pm Reply

      Haven’t been to Santorini… next time !

  7. Tricia Vaughn August 16, 2016 at 8:32 pm Reply

    Ohhh the beautiful blue water!!! Man I bet it was hard to leave this place! How cool things were cheaper than in France! Bet that was a very nice surprise!
    Tricia Vaughn recently posted…National Rum DayMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France August 16, 2016 at 9:08 pm Reply

      I loved it ! And yes, the low prices were a nice bonus.

  8. Karen Bayne August 16, 2016 at 10:11 pm Reply

    Wow that hike looks awesome 🙂 That would be my kind fun! The place is stunning, the water, the shoreline, everything is so pretty. Your vacation maisonette looks great too. Looks like a win for the whole family.
    SO nice the weather was good for you the whole time.
    I have never traveled over seas anywhere.
    Karen Bayne recently posted…Klutzy and HotMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France August 18, 2016 at 7:53 pm Reply

      Traveling is so great. There really is so much to discover. I love it. Its my type A personality. I can sit still and I always need to be trying something new.

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