Travel around Crete

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Travel around Crete

virtual tour around Crete, Vangelis MarkakisI 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

map of crete, hania

 

Hania, CreteDay 1: Chania

Our 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.

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Day 2: Agia Marina, Platanias, Maleme, Kissamos, Falassarna, Balos

Maleme, CreteEarly 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 the island.

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 Gramvoussa.

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.

Gramvoussa, Crete

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.

Gramvoussa, Crete

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

Milia, CreteEarly 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.

Right 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.

Milia, Crete

 

 

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 driving.

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.

 

 

 

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