Tag Archives: Crete

The 10 most beautiful beaches of Crete

Crete is an incredible island, and its beaches are mostly equipped to satisfy every needs; you can however still find many small free beaches, especially those which are difficult to reach and less touristy. For those who love rocks, then, there will  be even fewer problems to find a quiet corner, as the cliffs overlooking the sea are numerous and accessible only by those who can venture on climbing the rocks.

Crete is an island that attracts many tourists who can find everything you would expect from a beach holiday: sun, crystal clear sea, culture and so much good food. The most important cities are located on the northern coast, such as Chania and Heraklion, which are easily accessible by ferry. These two towns are very picturesque and offer travelers and tourists who come to visit the very best of Greek culture. Even from a gastronomic point of view, Chania and Heraklion are the best and of course you will find many beautiful beaches in the surroiundings. The south coast, although certainly full of beautiful places to visit and amazing beaches, it is a bit wilder than the northen one. In any case, from north to south and from east to west, the sea is always beautiful, with clear and warm waters, and occasionaly colder traits. The water is very pleasant for swimming, diving or performing other water sports.

– The first beach we propose in this short list is certainly one of the most striking, although not easy to reach; it is called the BALOS lagoon. This charming place is located in the northern part of the coast, in the Gramvousa peninsula; the beach presents white sand and the water is low. If you’ll be taking over the rocks, the depth increases dramatically to the delight of snorkelers.

Balos_1

Photo CC-BY-SA 3.0 Olaf Taush

– Always on the northern coast, but this time only 10 minutes drive from Chania, there is the small town of STAVROS along Cape Akrotiri. It is a small bay with a protected side by a rocky ridge. Near the port is the main beach which is very well equipped; The smaller beach is very pretty. Both boast fine sand and they are sheltered from the wind. Nearby there are also several Orthodox monasteries to visit.  A curiosity: it seems that here some scenes of the movie Zorba the Greek were shot!

– The ORTHI AMMOS beach is located about 80 km away from Chania, in the south of the island. It is a beach formed by sand dunes and the sea shows a beautiful emerald green colour, although sometimes it gets huge waves in the windiest days. This beach has an area reserved for nudists.

– A KASTELLI, which is a quite important town in the Gulf of Kissamos, 40 km west of Chania, there is a beach that has a beautiful stretch of sand and pebbles. It is a fairly quiet beach, suitable for families.

– In the area west of Heraklion, on the other hand, we find  the PALEO KASTRO beach, about 15 km away from the town. It is a sandy beach, and it is equipped; its particularity comes from the castle (more precisely the ruins of a castle) located on a rocky outcrop overlooking the beach. It is not uncommon to see young people that plunge from the rocky ledges. The landscape is magical but very difficult to reach, since the access to this beach is not really the easiest one.

– Only 5 km from Heraklion city center there is the AMOUDARA beach, which is an organized beach, big enough for tourists and locals; there is still a part of the beach that remains free. It is very convenient for families. The beach has been awarded the blue flag.

AmoudaraPhoto CC-BY-SA böhringer friedrich

– Again, close to Heraklion, about 20 km away from the town, there is the beach of Agia Pelagia, presenting pebbles and equipped for tourists. Bathing and swimming is very pleasant here because this area is protected from the ocean currents.

– On the east coast, in the Gulf of Massara, there is the MATALA beach. Here we find a beautiful stretch of sand, but also a cliff with prehistoric caves dug into the rock.

– Staying in Matala, only 800 meters from the main beach, there is a real natural gem: THE RED BEACH. Its name comes from the reddish color of the sand; the visual effect is stunning, especially at sunset. This beach is certainly not easy to reach on foot: you must follow a path and climb a little on the rocks, but the reward at the end is also very worthwhile! It is a beach mainly used by nudists, but not only and everyone is welcome.

– Always on the east coast there is a lagoon which offers a heavenly landscape: we are talking of an area called ELAFONISSI. The beach, partially equipped, has white sand, and the water is shallow. The lagoon is a protected area because here the sea turtles “caretta caretta” come and reproduce. Not far from the beach there is also a monastery, namely the Chrissoskalitissa Monastery.

On the coast, whether on the north or the south, including the cities and small fishing villages, the beaches are so numerous that it is impossible to mention them all. You will find also closeby many campsites and hotels available to accomodate you and your family.

Wheter you prefer the convenience of sandy beaches with sun beds and umbrellas or instead the peace and tranquillity of small hidden coves, or even an exciting adventure by climbing wild cliffs to see breathtaking sunset, the island of Crete is undoubtedly the right choice to spend a relaxing holiday in nature!

Chania (Crete): the best sights

Chania or Hania or even Chania is located on the northwest coast of the island of Crete; we are in the south of Greece and the Peloponnese. Arriving at Chania from the sea, by ferry, you arrive at the port of Souda, 7 km to the east. It has a very impressive view of the city, with VENETIAN DISTRICT gathered around the Old Port, dominated by the lighthouse. The Venetian rule began in 1252 and lasted more than four centuries has left some very obvious signs throughout the island: the Venetians called the military architect Michele Sanmicheli who erected the walls of walls still partly visible with its ramparts; the best preserved section of wall is to the west and this area has been transformed into a green area. Two of the four bastions: the Bastion Saint Dimitrios, with a 1477 tower and the rampart Schiavo located towards the sea, and which has been converted into a hotel.
After the Venetians came the Turks, and so began a new rule that lasted until 1898.

Chania

Foto CC-BY-SA 3.0 Lapplaender

The city is a real treasure to discover, thanks to the atmosphere of the past that you breathe in the old city. The Venetian walls constitute a separation between modern and historical city center. The narrow streets of Topanas and EVRAIKI neighborhoods are bordered by small palaces decorated with coats of arms and the stone balconies. From here we come to the most important monuments: the Archaeological Museum which is located in the former Church of St. Francis; here we can admire ceramics, pottery from all Roman era Neolithic objects, statues like that of Aphrodite in marble sarcophagi and splendid paintings resurfaced in the Armenian cemetery.

The Nautical Museum which is located near a bastion, was set up in an old Venetian house and makes visitors retrace the maritime past of Crete.
Behind him, the Church of St. Saviour Monastery houses the “Vizandini kai Metavizandini Silogi” vast collection of Byzantine and post-Byzantine art.
Certainly worthy of note are the Mosque of the Janissaries, the “Džami tou Kioutsouk Hassan”, built in 1645. It has a cubic structure topped by a hemispherical dome supported by four arches.
The Greek Orthodox Cathedral of 1860 is located opposite the Roman Catholic Cathedral. In Toranas district, we have the ETZ Hayyim Synagogue, recently restored.
Very interesting the Venetian Arsenal and the open space that precedes it that makes you think of being in Venice, with the Church of St. Mark and the Venetian Loggia embellished all external marble and Latin inscriptions.
The Church of Agios Nikolaos is also particular, with a very eventful history: it was founded as a place of worship Dominican, and later became a mosque and finally, in 1918, an Orthodox temple.
To visit is also the Dimotiki Art Gallery, where you can admire an interesting collection of sculptures and paintings by contemporary artists.

In the streets that line the harbor and the walls are many bars and nightclubs and it is certainly pleasant to meet here to enjoy a drink while admiring the sea, or immerse yourself in the nightlife, discos where you can dance all night, do not forget to take a ride in places where you listen to Greek music. However in the old town and in the modern one there are plenty of nice places to relax, perhaps sampling the local specialties.

Chania_old_town

Photo CC-BY-SA 3.0 Leonardo G

Just 10km from Chania you can get to PLATANIAS, with discotheques.

Surroundings of Chania

It is also worth to discover the surroundings of Chania with natural environments of exceptional charm, wild mountains and beautiful beaches.
Akrotiri peninsula lies the Gouverneto Monastery, which was built in the sixteenth century near the cave where St. John had withdrawn Hermit and his confreres.
An example of a hike in the unspoilt nature: the Samaria Gorge, “Farangi Samariás” where he was a national park established in 1962. The trips may not last more than a day because it is absolutely forbidden to remain on site overnight. The Samaria Gorge you get to Agia Roumeli beach.

As for precisely the beaches, the GRAMVOUSSA peninsula is a must see: the rocky shores are accompanied by beautiful sandy beaches. A KASTELLI there is a long and beautiful sandy beach, but you can also visit the castle, all ‘inside, the theater and the temple.
On the tip of the Bay of Chania, after the Kolymari beach, there are small and pretty fishing villages.

The STAVROS beach attracts tourists not only for its beauty but also because here were filmed several scenes in the film Zorba the Greek.

During the summer season there are many events that attract both tourists and the inhabitants of Chania. In the months of June and July is the Festival Theatrou Skion (popular theater festival of shadows). From July to September there is the Cultural Summer of Chania with theater performances, concerts of classical music and light, art exhibitions and festivals.

At the end of the holiday, you will have only one thought: to go back to Chania as soon as possible!

The Greek Islands: Crete

The silhouettes of the islands on the horizon, the crystal clear sea lapping the sand or gravel, a beach bar, the white houses contrasting with the blue sky: for many visitors, these are the main features of a great holiday in the Greek islands. But to discover the beauty of Greece is also venturing inland and appreciating the villages’ ancient beauty, countryside cousine and  relaxed lifestyle.

The island of Crete is almost a country in itself. Known as the cradle of the Minoan civilization in the second millennium BC, Crete is a large island far off Greece’s coast.
The north coast beaches are long and sandy and exposed, while other beaches tend to be shorter but more secluded.
But the attractions are not limited to the beaches. The interior of Crete dazzles with its exquisitely frescoed Rock Churches of the 14th and 15th centuries, its Minoan palaces and its cities in ruins.

urlaub crete 1

Photo CC BY  by Henry Mühlpfordt

When to go

The season to visit Crete extends until the end of October, especially in the south of the island. To get the discounted rates you can choose the period from mid-May to late June and throughout the month of September; during the months of July and August everything is working perfectly and the sea is warm, but the places are crowded and the heat is intense.

Crete is also an excellent destination for hiking in the spring / fall, with hiking trails that focus on Hania Lefka Ori (White Mountains).urlaub crete 2

Photo CC BY by Henry Mühlpfordt

Getting around
Public transport along the north coast between major cities are frequent, but poor through the hills and the south coast.
Taxis can take up to four passengers each, so the fare is shared and almost reduced to that of a bus ticket.
To reach the island you can instead take advantage of a fantastic ferry trip: for all the infos you can visit our website at www.ok-ferry.com/en/creta-ferries.aspx.