No cars in the tiny village of Loutro
Only approached by boat from Hora Sfakia in the South, this amazing tiny village has a simplicity of lifestyle and an incredible beauty untouched by the outside world. It is a town consisting of three rows of white-washed, blue-roofed hotels, restaurants and homes built around the edge of a beautiful bay. There are no tides, but simply long hot days of water, swimming and kayaking. It's probably too far to try for a day trip, but check out the small pensions there and stay overnight - it's magical!There are no cars or motorcycles there, only boats that peacefully come and go from the little town.
Friendly and delicious
On the way from from Chania to the beach of Elafonissi via Drapanias there is a sign stating "Wine museum", a b hit like the Agroturismo places in Italy. The Pnevmatikaks Winery is a nice and delicious wine tasting place, a business of a family that grows grapes and olives. You can taste all they produce: different wines including a wine called Romeiko, produced the way it was done in Antiquity. The Romeiko has a taste similar to a nice sherry and is 14.5 proof.Recommended are their olive oil taste and Raki (tastes similar to Grappa). So have good time and if you purchase wine and oil and they packed the bottles in such a way that they arrive safely home.
Journey to Anogia in the Psiloritis Mountains and
enjoy a Greek coffee at the square in the upper village (Agios Georgios square), the atmosphere here is wonderful - hospitality and welcomes are surprising in their warmth. 740 metres up on the north face of Mount Psiloritis to be precise. It's a short hop from here to the stunning Nida Plateau, the Ideon cave (mythology: Zeus grew up here), the observatory at the top of the Skinaka as well as the ancient settlement of Zominthos. In Anogia, excellent local cheese and Raki are available to buy, at the shop on one corner of the square. You are more likely to see men wearing the Cretan baggy trousers tucked into their boots, heads decorated with nets, here than just about anywhere else. This is miles from "designer name" mecca. The small church of Agios Georgios is worth a visit if it is open.
Ela - where?
Elafonisi (Island of Deer) is like paradise on earth, and posessess a wonderful beach with pink coral sand and crystalline waters, a small islet connected to the rest of Crete by a shallow reef that can be crossed when the sea is calm. This islet is lying on the south-west corner of Crete, the journey itself is amazing, with a narrow tunnel and stunning wild Cretan scenery. Beware in high season, it can get very busy, but is so large, there is always a peaceful spot to be found. There is an excellent taverna at the beginning of the sand dunes.
Pedaloes across Kournas lake
This breath-taking lake is the only one in Crete, and the brillliant aquamarine waters are a wonderful backdrop for a spot of lunch. Afterwards, you can rent peddaloes or a small boat for half an hour and row yourself around the lake, and work up an appetite for supper!
Take a drive to Stavros beach on the Akrotiri peninsula, not only is it a beautiful beach, but also famous as the beach that Anthony Quinn as the famous Greek Zorba in the film Zorba the Greek, danced with Alan Bates. Check out the film and see if you can dance a few steps - obah!
Ask for Dakos –
A Cretan speciality served in most tavernas as a starter. Dried crusts soaked in tomatoes and topped with crumbled feta cheese – delicious!
The "Cretan Runner" written by Giorgos Psychoundakis is a great book describing some of the heroic exploits the Cretan resistance along with British soldiers and pilots got up to during the second world war. Giorgios was originally a shepherd but became a member of the resistance after the German invasion. His heroic and selfless exploits and the general population are described in the book. It is regarded as a classic book of its type. There are two British War cemeteries in Souda Bay, however, much of the action took place around Maleme where a large German War cemetery dedicated to German soldiers was until recently tended by Giorgos himself. The British cemeteries are in a beautifully kept place, moving and humbling.
Try the three Greek"O"s Olives, Octopus and Ouzo!
Treat yourself to a typical Meze a series of tiny dishes that accompany the aniseed based liquor, you can try an Ouzerie, that is similar to a Spanish Tapas bar a great way to spend a lazy afternoon, there are plenty in Chania Town in the old sector - try " To Avgo tou Kokkora" - behind the big church, Mitropoli, off Halidon.
Visit the ancient site of Aptera
Here you can visit the remains of a very important city dating back to the 5th century BC. It really is a lovely walk, and with there being no admission charge, a great cheap day out!
Visit the Wetlands!
Ornothologists may spot the glossy Ibis, the crane, the white stork and a variety of egrets and herons, as well as warblers and wagtails. For the dedicated bird-spotters; Crete is one of the last strongholds in Europe of the Lammergeier, or Bearded Vulture – with a wingspan of almost 3 metres. There are 9 to 10 pairs on the island and they frequent higher altitudes.
Drive down South to
Frangokastelo to see the old fortress - or rather its surviving walls,and then a a must-do trip up to Anopolis - the village high above Chora Sfakia. Close to the beginning of the village on the left is the Anopolis bakery - for some of the best sfakian pies and the chance to buy the delicious local sweet rusks, honey and other baked goods. Sit outside and have a mountainscape view and an elliniko (coffee).
If it gets too hot down by the sea, drive up to Spili a picturesque village located at an altitude of 430 metres, 28 kilometres south-east of Rethymno.Due to its altitude the village offers an astonishing view. It is surrounded by verdant vegetation and is filled with trees, fountains, springs and chapels and churches with wonderful murals. The main square of the village is lovely and has a fine stone fountain constituted by a row of stone carved lion heads from where crystal-clear water flows.The water guarantees that the air is fresh, cool and pure. It is also known for a unique type of weaving and has a few tavernas and an old fashioned atmosphere
One Man's folly is another's delight
On the way out of the village of Kalyves going West to Kalami there is a sign and arrow to Koumos This place is worth a visit and is known as one man's folly. A collection of buildings including a taverna and a chapel with a domed roof all built from local small misshapen stones. This eclectic mix of buildings are all made from small rocks and all built by one man over a period of 10 years. There are mosaics on the paths; whilst walls display images of fish, snakes and various animals. There are also stone tables and chairs. If you just want to wander around, take photographs or just be amazed,pop along as there is no admission charge. Look out for the occasional ostrich or even a llama - quite surreal as these weren't made out of stone!
Got your walking boots?
The area around Vamos and Apokoronas is a great place to discover on foot! If you stay in Vamos it is great to go for a nice walk in the countryside. There is an interesting book available about the traditional village of Vamos, Discover Vamos...On Foot. The book contains many beautiful pictures and information about the history of the village. There is a village walk that brings you along the sightseeings of the village and there are additionally 7 easy country walks in the area of Vamos. Each walk description includes extra information and a detailed map. A second book in this series is about the area of Georgioupolis (Discover Kavros & Georgiouplis...On Foot). This area is very close to Vamos and easy to reach from Vamos. Both book you can buy in our Tourist Office in Vamos.
Wine tasting at the Manousakis Winery Vatolakos
The Manousakis Winery is the culmination of the dream and passion of founder Theodore Manousakis. Ted, as he is more frequently called, was born in Vatolakkos in 1943, and spent his early childhood years in the village until the age of 11. For reasons much beyond his control and much too complex for a young boy to understand, he left his home to find a better future in the far away “Promised Land”, America. Following his university education in the U.S., he entered business and was successful in a number of business endeavours including industrial security, real estate development, and hotels. Meanwhile, he assimilated in the great melting pot of the world, America, and nearly forgot his native language and Cretan traditions. Yet during the years away from his native village he always yearned to return home and find his roots; if not permanently, certainly more than as a mere visitor. Wine was a way of life in the village for as long as he could remember from his boyhood years. What a way to pay tribute to and honour the Cretan traditions and way of life, he thought. And, what a wonderful and civilized way to bring people together to enjoy the simple joys of life! The combination of nostalgia or “nostos”, as the ancient Greeks made reference, along with the perfect soil, sun, and weather conditions of Crete were the driving forces behind our first vineyards in the foothills above Vatolakkos. For Ted, the Manousakis Winery represents his roots; his yearning to return, his tradition, his heritage, and, above all, his family. Our logo with the three flowers called “Manousakia” in the Cretan dialect, (from which our name is derived), represents his three daughters. It is only fitting that the inspiration of this symbol is a blending of the beauty and exquisite fragrance of nature and the warmth and comfort of family! Ted Manousakis has his permanent home in Washington, D.C., but the winery remains a family-run business. His youngest daughter, Alexandra, moved to Chania in 2007 following studies at New York University, and now manages the Manousakis Winery. - See more at: http://nostoswines.com/index.php?ID=History#sthash.RkNkh6V5.dpuf
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