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 :
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.
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.
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.
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.
It took us a little over 3 hours, then we went to a coastal town for lunch, and to swim in the ocean.
On other days, we visited a cave (there are many)…
… amazing views…
…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)
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 ?