According to Greek mythology the Olympian god Zeus was born in Crete. IU think he chose a beautiful island and it worth at least once in life to go there. The best way is to borrow a car for several days and you can explore the high mountains, turquoise lagoon and sleepy Greek villages. Smaller car in a local rent office will cost about 30-40 € per day and it is a better choice than overpriced hotel services. Crete is 260 km long and it is hardly possible to visit all the interesting places within one vacation stay. We focused on nicer west part of Crete.


The visited places are marked by stars.

The whole north coast is lined by something like a highway, but having only one lane wide. Cars drive one wheel at roadsides and allows for faster vehicles overtaking. It must get used to a little wild driving style of the locals with frequent using of honks. Cretan-Stiga Stiga (slowly-slowly) applies everywhere but not just on the road. Few people here observe the speed. Within three days we have driven over 800 km and policemen we saw only once. Even just sitting in the car a short distance from our hotel. But it is true that we did not see any accident on the road during our stay there.





The first day we went to the center of Paleochora on the south side of the Libyan Sea . Path led along Chania and winding paths through the mountains towards Kandanos . We saw several Cretan villages . All are characterized by the fact that there was a place only for one car on the local road. Usually followed by several sharp bends through the center of the village and after about 100 meters you have been outside the village where a normal road continued. Through the village apparently previously travelled only on horse or or on the ass and later, there was a  problem to build wider road because they have already built houses. So if you were in the village and some car appeared accros of you, it was necessary to reversing back to the beginning of the village . In almost every village there were tavern, store, and sometimes also a gas station . Hard to say what the people in these mountain villages  do to survive there. I have no idea axcept of goat farming (goats are everywhere). Obviously this will be one of the reasons why young people leaving Crete for life on land , and especially in Athens.



PALEOCHORA

Paleochora is a beautiful and typical Cretan port town with a great atmosphere. I really liked it and I would imagine that it will be great to spend the whole vacation there. In the town itself there are several gift shops, travel agencies, taverns.



In the garden tavern - Niki Pizzeria we had a great pizza. It was prepared by woman right in front of us and baked in the oven.



In the western part of Paleochora is a beautiful sandy beach about 1 km long. Western part is occupied by of nudists and the rest is reserved for "textile people". Swimming was very nice, the Blue Flag beach was equipped with everything needed to enjoy pleasant day.



For the afternoon we had planned lagoon Elafonisi. Although on the map the distance seems to be very short, it took us about an hour and a half we got there. The main reason was that we ignored the quickest way through Milli, such our navigation machine recommended and we went through the mountains towards Voutas. The way was beautiful, but full of the stones which falled on the road. We never met any car and we accounted as the first discoverers of Crete. After a few kilometers we came across a sign Elafonisi with the inscription 17 km. However, we got scared the way, extreme descent so we prefer to return a few meters back to our "highway". However, it meant to continue other 45 km through the mountains....



What was really beautiful were pink and white oleanders lining the highway, as well as other Cretan way. The local people planted them, because they are toxic and prevent wild animals to go to the road.



ELAFONISI

Elafonisi ... if somewhere there is a paradise on earth , its name has to be Elafonisi . Nicer beach and a pleasant place I have never before find. Water in the green- blue lagoon has at least 30 to 35 ° C. The water depth is only 30-40 cm , but if you want to swim , go deeper into the crystal clear waters outside the lagoon. That is not so hot, but swimming is wonderful, never make any waves, no stone anywhere, just pure white sand, which gets on the banks of beautiful pink color. At the time of 11.00 to 16.00 there are quite a lot of people, mainly from bus tours . All of them have the cameras and take pictures to remember that place. On the beach itself you will find several shops with overpriced food goods. Two chairs with parasol can be rented for EUR 7 per day. But the lagoon will impress you so that instead of lying on shore you prefer lying in warm water lagoon and enjoy these " natural spa " with all the beauty around you . The only negative is 20-30 minute queue for toilet in exposed parts of the day .



We stayed there until about 19.00. At that time on the beach was a minimum of people and therefore there was the best time to do also some photos to commemorate.









Back to Kavros we returned through mountain road over the sea towards Platanos. The road is beautiful, but we caught up clouds that overshadowed us views of the mountains and the sea around us. In the village Amigdalokefali  we took pictures of nice church exposed setting sun. The sun was reflected on the sea.





PLAKIAS

Plakias is a larger resort with nice sandy beaches and restaurants on the sea shore. Like in Paleochora there is a section of the beach (near rock) reserved for naturists. After nice swimming we had an  excellent gyros and pizza in the nearby restaurant.





PREVELI

We continued towards Preveli. First we climbed by car into the famous monastery Preveli. This played an important role during the 2nd WW. Statue of a monk with a gun in hand, it's very unusual. We did not go to the monastery, we are pleased the eye around, after cats laying in the shade of a tree, goats and ponies grazing next to them.





In order to visit the famous Preveli beach it was necessary to park our car about 1 km below under the monastery and followed a steep descent  through 470 steps down to the sea.



Preveli Beach is famous with the freshwater river lined with palm forest which directly on the beach flows into the sea. . That way you can enjoy swimming in salt and fresh water, or mix the two waters at the point where the river meets sea. I wondered that the water in the small river was about 2 degrees colder than the sea. The beach itself is full of small stones. The sharp stones are also in water and it was actually the only beach in Crete, where we needed shoes into the water.





Followed by the obligatory photo shoot at a known rock in the shape of a heart, which sticked up from the sea and after that "only" ascend back to the parking lot. To my surprise, we made ​​it within 15 minutes. Journey to Kavrós over Armeni already was very quickly using the Cretan luxuriously wide highway. Another nice day was over.



GRAMVOUSA AND BLUE LAGOON BALOS

The excursion to Gramvousa and blue lagoon of Balos in our hotel costs 42 euros per person. The same trip the local agencies offered for 28 Euros. It was about 1.5 hours of travel by bus from Georgioupolis to Kiskamosu, embarking on a huge cruise ship (600 passengers) and hour cruise to Gramvousa. There was a terrible wind during our voyage. The only enclosed space was on the first floor and it was hopelessly full. Passengers on the two remaining floors had to stand on strong wind.



After landing on the island Gramvousa the share of passengers decided to swim at the beautiful beach and the remaining few hundred excursionists were continued up to the fortress. It was necessary to climb more than 400 steps. Fortress served in the 19th century pirates. During the two years sank 155 ships, until the powers decided to intervene. View from the fortress was very nice.







After descending and boarding continues 15 minutes cruise to the blue lagoon of Balos, where Princess Diana and Prince Charles spent honeymoon after the wedding. Lagoon is beautiful, although quite small. You can admire and collect white shells from clear water. All the time, however, the annoying wind blew also there.





After about 2-hour swim, we again embarked and followed hour cruise to Kiskamosu and return by bus to Georgioupolis.
 
CHANIA - THE CAPITAL OF WESTERN PROVINCE

Chania together with Rethymno is one of the most beautiful places of Crete. It lies on the north coast in the southeastern corner of the Bay of Chania on the Cretan Sea. The old town is surrounded by 3 km long city wall from the 16th century. In the north there is the Venetian harbor with lighthouse. The city has a specific atmosphere, narrow streets, many shops and architecture, which is a mixture of Arab and Venetian. We saw here even interesting cat with differently colored eyes.









What to say in conclusion? Crete is really beautiful. There is not many islands in Europe where is possible directly from the sea of altitude 0 admire the high mountains almost 2,500 meters.
I would like to come back here ever again and bathe in the lagoon Elafonisi ...


No comments !

people like this article