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CRETA: PHOTOS AND TRIP REPORT
It's surprising how Crete in the mid of August can look like a deserted paradise.
In a few hours you can drive from some active nightlife to completely isolated beaches.
So here below there are almost 50 beautiful photos (they are beautiful because of the landscapes, of course,
not because of our photographic skills) and an entertaining trip report. Check them out!
If you haven't seen it yet, there is a map of the travel itinerary here: www.wildtrips.net/crete.htm.
CRETE TRIP REPORT
If you are looking for a journey to a Greek Island with empty beaches, mountains and canyons, then
Crete is the best one. It is the largest island of the greek archipelago. During a relaxing holiday, you can
enjoy the beaches and nightlife of the northern coast, but the rest of the island can be explored as an adventurous trip.
So, here it is a phantasmagoric (to be modest) trip report.
We flew from Pisa to Chania,
we landed at 3PM. We rented a Suzuki Jimny, a
4x4 convertible for our holiday: 490 euros for a week with Anna Cars
(a local agency), including insurance - high
season price. After just twenty minutes driving we parked the Jimny in Stavros,
on a beautiful beach with crystal clear water and
a rocky mountain as background. A good start for our
improvised travel itinerary.
For the evening we stopped in Chania, perhaps the most
fascinating town in Crete; it lies on the sea, is full of bars and
restaurants, with streets and alleys on the water and an old,
quaint harbor. There were lots of tourists and the city was quite animated.
The next day we drove to Balos beach
along dirt roads that became more and more panoramic. You can reach this beach also by ferry, with organized boat trips,
but the view from the top on this bay is something unique and
the lagoon and the rocky islands.
The dirt road to Balos is viable even with a
normal car, albeit very slowly, so the road access is really advisable. We took several photos and we explored
the hidden corners of this very famous yet
We left Balos in the afternoon. While walking uphill, towards the car, under the sun, we understood while many prefer the boat...
But still, it's not so terrible, and there are also mules for rent. We reached Falasarna before sunset. Here we found a huge quiet beach
and a double room in a hotel with a superb view and a
swimming pool for only 20 euros per person (even if it was mid-August!).
In the following days, this kind of room and
price would prove to be the norm during our holiday in Crete, despite the
last-second organization and the peak season.
The day after we arrived at Elafonisi, a famous beach
destination in Crete.
As always during our journey in Crete, the beach was touristy and crowded, but it was sufficient to walk for a few hundred meters along the sandy peninsula
to find beautiful, secluded bays with crystalline waters.
We explored the area, then I hired a windsurf.
In the afternoon we decided to continue our travel itinerary along the coast (we didn't have a precise plan, but
we wanted to follow - more or less - all the perimeter of Crete).
We followed a run-down signal in Greek characters,
that indicated Paleochora along a dirt road that seemed to follow the coast.
In the Suzuki Jimny we shaked a lot, but that trip was great!.
We arrived to a beautiful beach when it was about 4PM. Later, we continued our drive, we crossed Paleochora
but in the end we decided to continue to Sougia, where we arrived at sunset. The place
was amazing: the town looked out on a long beach
surrounded by huge cliffs.
The day after, our trip continued
to the interior, toward the canyon of Imbros, which we walked on foot,
downhill, between imposing cliffs.
At the end of the trekking itinerary, lasting two to three hours, we got a passage to the departure point.
Satisfied by the trip to Imbros Gorge,
we drove down to the sea and we continued
along the beautiful coast.
We arrived at Plakias at sunset, another great destination in the south of Crete.
Plakias is perhaps the most touristy place on
the southern coast of Crete, thanks to some large
beaches within easy reach. At this holiday destination
you can rent canoes, as we did the next morning, and try windsurfing, sailing dinghies, water skiing, etc.
the kayaking itinerary, we were back in the Jimny and we continued for several hours
along dirt roads overlooking the sea, until we reached Agia Galini at sunset,
where we decided to stay overnight.
So far the trip was great... and I also forgot
to write that, between Plakias and Agia Galini, we visited the beautiful
Preveli beach and the lush canyon behind it.
The next destination was Matala, famous
for its natural caves inhabited since prehistoric times, but also
by the hippies in the 60s. The village is really picturesque, although
a little touristy, and it overlooks a beautiful bay. Not far from Matala and
reachable on foot through a short but strenuous trail,
there is the beautiful Red Sand Beach.
When we left Matala
we abandoned any logical travel itinerary and we drove to the north of Crete.
We reached Mohlos, or Mochlos, a beautiful village, then Sitia, a nice town where
we found accomodation.
The traveld destinations of the next day were two: Vai
and its beach with palm trees, and Palekastro,
an ideal place for windsurfing. Vai looked too turisty to us.
Palekastro was wilder, with dozens of windsurfs in the sea, a huge empty beach
and a red promontory in the background.
By driving offroad we reached some secluded bays.
We had lunch at 3PM: in Crete you can eat at any time, and out of the touristy places the food is very good.
Then we drove to Malia, where we found a guesthouse.
Before taking the plane from Chania, though, we had
the time to visit the ruins, largely rebuilt, of
Knossos - quite disapponting, touristy and a bit fake.
On the way to the airport we stopped for one hour in Rethymno, a charming seaside town of
Venetian origins. The prize for the most beautiful city of Crete remains in Chania, in my
As conclusion of this trip report, I am
to write that an adventurous holiday in Crete is possible even in August:
it takes just a rental car, some
initiative and ability to improvise the travel itinerary.
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