September is finally upon us and the crisper mornings, falling leaves and infinitely darker evenings means the children will soon be picking conkers off the trees and cheerfully bashing their friends’ conkers on their way to school. Although this traditional scene may have become synonymous with a British autumn, it is the Greek island of Crete, which by boasting impressive chestnuts that makes ours look like tiddlers in comparison, hosts an annual Chestnut Festival, devoted to the delicacies of its fat, sweet and juicy chestnuts.
Surrounded by the thick boughs of many chestnut trees, the Chestnut Festival is held in the village of Elos, in the southwest corner of Crete each October. Although Crete is no stranger to some unusual festivals, with every month of the year being devoted to some kind of eccentric celebration, the Chestnut Festival is one of the island’s quirkier annual events. Visitors to Elos during the Chestnut Festival can enjoy witnessing and participating in some traditional local entertainment, including drinking, eating, music, dancing and of course indulging the palate in the pleasures, both sweet and sour, produced by roasting the chestnuts.
The annual Chestnut Festival however delightful it may sound is not the only mentionable feature of town of Elos. This small Cretan town, which is often known as Kastelli, after the Venetian castle built there, is steeped in history and culture. Once visitors have managed to prize themselves away from the many natural running springs which surround the town, as well as the old and gracious boughs of the many chestnut trees providing welcoming shade from the strong rays of the sun, they can wander through the old Venetian governor’s palace. The town also has a museum and mosaics dating from the Roman times.
Spending an warm October weekend on the island of Crete, discovering the ancient wonderments of its rich culture and history, whilst experiencing one of the island’s most delightfully peculiar celebrations and tasting the wondrous savours produced by the chestnuts, sounds like quite an idyllic autumn break. Doesn’t it? Check out our luxury accommodation in Crete here.
This year the Chestnut Festival will be held on October 17 2010.
For a comprehensive list of festivals in Crete click here.