Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Crete, Greece

If you have ever wanted to visit Greece, I would recommend the island of Crete. It is about 60 miles long, the largest of the islands, and has the most variety (in my opinion) of anywhere in Greece in a compact area. The best way to get there is to work your way to Athens, then take a quick flight (about an hour or less) to Heraklion. Once there, I would recommend the village of Elounda.

On our last trip (I have visited many times), we stayed in Elounda at the Elounda Beach hotel. Directly on the water, our room had a spa, sauna, fitness room, and a few minutes from the village (pricey but worth it, you will save by dining and drinking in the villages).

There are tons of places to visit, the monastery town of Vai (the only place with palm trees, supposedly ancestors of seeds brought from traders from Africa), of course the Minoan ruins of Knossos in Heraklion, the sleepy town of Chersonnisos (which is not actually sleepy now and plenty of restaraunts and cafes on the water), Agios Nikolaos (the beautiful village on the water) the villages in the mountains (people still ride donkeys in some villages as main transportation, rent a car for sure so you can get around), Crete has it all.

The people are fantastic, very polite and accommodating, and will welcome you like no other place. At night, the clubs and discos go till almost dawn (but they don't crank up until 10 or 11). Enjoy the Metaxa with coke, the Ouzo, the greek salads, the lamb, the tsaziki (cucumber and garlic yogurt dip), the house wines, etc. It's all authentic and great.
As part of our trip, we also took a day trip to the volcanic island of Santorini on the high speed ferry (catch it out of the town of Heraklion), well worth the day.

Here are a few pictures of the island and the hotel. Don't go for less than 10 days to two weeks, you will need that much time to see a good portion of the island.

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