Travel around Crete
I had to think a lot in order to decide which is the best way to propose
some tours in Crete.
I finally decided to present it as an imaginary tour
of me and a friend of mine on a motorcycle.
The tour I am going to describe
reflects my experiences and my personal preferences.
Crete is a big island,
therefore the tour is going to be a long one, but not the only one possible.
I have been travelling around the island for several years, and I still
believe it is an unexplored place for me. It's easy to visit various places; it's really difficult to say that
you know them.
I am Yannis Samatas and I live in Heraklion
of Crete. My friend is Vangelis Markakis and he lives
in Hania. Our best friend during this tour is going to be Vangelis' motorcycle,
a Honda Transalp. Our tour begins in Chania in middle May.
Travel around Crete: from Chania to Milia
Day 1: Chania
tour starts in Chania, a pretty city located in western Crete. Finding
a hotel is not a real problem as long as you avoid coming here in July
and August (this applies for the whole island). There are some nice hotels
in the center of the city (1866 square), as well as in the narrow
streets in the old city (by the Venetian port).
Late in the afternoon we have a cup of coffee at the cafè by
the Naval Museum. This is the best time to take a walk at the old
port, the prettier in Crete. We walk all the way to the east and back,
entering the old city. We spend quite some time wandering around, looking
at the various shops and trying to locate the best taverna; it's not so
easy as there are so many excellent selections. We also spot some bars
and cafès for later in the night. We decide that we want to listen
to some Jazz tonight, so we will go to the Fagotto.
Day 2: Agia Marina, Platanias, Maleme, Kissamos, Falassarna, Balos
Early in the morning we head west on the road to Kissamos (Kastelli). The road goes through
Agia Marina, Platanias, Maleme. These places form
a chain of rooms for rent, restaurants and bars and they all are close
to the sea.
In Maleme there is the German War Cemetery; 4,500 german
soldiers are burried here. They were killed during the Battle of Crete,
when German parachutists invaded Crete. The resistance
of almost armless Cretans was strong, but finally Germans managed to occupy
We keep going past Kolympari and then turn left and head to Kastelli.
Today we are going to stay at Falassarna; it's at the western coast
and used to be an ancient port. However due to the rising of the west
part of the island there is no harbour today, but you can see the
ruins of the Minoan settlement. The beach at Falassarna is really great and sunset
here is the most impressive in Crete.
We are not in a harry so we decide to do some hiking today. From Kastelli
we take the road to Kalyvianni village. We keep going past the
village following a dirt track for a few km to the north, along Cape
At the end of the road we leave the motorcycle and follow
the path leading to the west. Ten minutes later we admire the astonishing
view of Mpalos Lagoon: white sand and all shades of green and blue
in the sea.
We descend the stairs and dive into the warm sea. When you get here
take a closer look at the sand; it isn't sand actually but millions of
tiny sea-shells. The only drawback to this unique place is a really bad
tar problem which as not been solved so far.
Mpalos may also be approached by boat from Kastelli.
Late in the afternoon we return to Falassarna, we find a room and enjoy some
fresh fish at one of the many tavernas.
Day 3: Topolia, Vlatos, Milia
Early in the morning we leave Falassarna and head back to Kastelli.
Right past it we follow the road to Topolia and Vlatos.
A couple of km past Topolia we drive through a small tunnel.
past the tunnel there is the cave of Agia Sofia. It's a
huge cave with a small church built in it. It certainly worths a visit.
At Vlatos we turn right and take the dirt road to Milia. Milia
(tel. 28220-51569) is a newly built eco-village, and it has been built
in the traditional architectural style.
All houses are made of wood and stone. There is
no electricity, except some lamps that use solar energy. These houses
are separated into rooms for rent. Food served here is also produced here.
Milia is a totally different experience from what we are used to.
About 1 km past Vlatos there is a park, the Park of Friendship and
Freedom. It was made by the German army and the people of Vlatos.
Walking through the trees of many kinds is really pleasant after all this
It's late afternoon when we get to Milia and we enjoy a great dinner and
relax at the terrace of the taverna with the help of a few glasses of
raki, the strong, colourless drink of Crete.