Visit the wonderful Naval Museum in Chania
(Maritime Museum) - it delivers a superb introduction to the History of Crete and is by no means only for maritime mavens, you will learn more here in half an hour than most could teach you, about the events that filled Crete's moving past.
This is one of the best Minoan palaces to visit. It has been less "enhanced" than Knossos that makes it easier to imagine it in days gone by. The scenery on the drive up to it is beautiful and its location is stunning. Information panels are all all around to help you make sense of it all, although a guide book can be handy. One thing is that there is not much shade, so if you are there in the summer maybe get there early before the day heats up. There is a nice snack bar to refresh you once you have seen it all, and a good size gift shop to stock up on souvenirs.
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.
Sail to historic Gramvousa and beautiful Balos
From May to October, you can take daily cruises from Kissamos port (42 km west of Chania), to Gramvousa and Balos leaving in the morning and returning in the evening. Gramvousa (also called Tigani peninsula) has a castle on top of the island built by the Venetians to protect Crete from a Turkish occupation. It was one of the last unconquered bastions and it was the first area of Crete to be liberated from the Turks in 1825 (Turks were expelled from all the rest of Crete only by 1898). 3000 Cretan rebels were planning operations from Gramvousa.During this period of turmoil, the residents of the island started looting boats passing through, which gained the island its pirate reputation! The Gramvousa/Balos region is a protected biotope. There are 400 different plants on Gramvousa, 26 of them endemic to Crete. The Anthemis glaberrima (a type of daisy), the Allium platakisi (a wild onion) and the Silene litegripetala are found only in this area and are protected species. In the shallow parts of the sea, the Mediterranean plant Posidonia oceanica thrives, providing shelter for marine life. 98 bird species have been reported in the area. 20 of them are protected and 14 of them are threatened species (like the vulture Europe Gypaetusbarbatus). The Mediterranean seal (Monachus Monachus) and the Caretta Caretta turtle find shelter in this area. Also, a flock of wild donkeys lives on the peninsula.! .
Visit the main indoor market in the heart of Chania
This vast "agora" is a bustling noisy colourful place, where the abundance of fruit, vegetables, fresh fish, meat and everything edible is spread out over four sections fashioned like a cross. It is based on the famous marketplace of Marseille. There are plenty of bargains to haggle and great for barbecues!
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.
Peddaloes 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.
Have you visited Old Bakery?
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