Crete is a charismatic harbour in the glittering Mediterranean. It is the largest island in Greece, and the fifth largest one in the Mediterranean Sea.
We visited in July 2016. Spending 7 days in an all inclusive hotel in Hersonissos. I had no idea what to expect since it was the first time in an all inclusive, outside of the Carribean. The richness of the Greek food, the hospitality and the sea makes the vacation heaven.
We rented a car, which I highly suggest doing, that way you can get around the island discovering various beaches soaking up the sun, oh and there are so many spectacular ones.
WHAT TO SEE
- The Palace of Knossos: It is an impressive large sized archeological site that is definitely worth a visit. The site is on a hill outside of Heraklion. You can get to the site by bus from the station near the archeology museum. The trip there will cost around 2 euro. I would advise you to go with the guides as they have a wealth of knowledge allowing you to get the best from your visit, or get yourself informed on Crete’s history of the Minoan civilization.
- Spinalonga: It is a small island near Elounda in East Crete. Spinalonga is also known as the Leper Island, as that is where lepers from Crete and the rest of Greece were quarantined until 1957.To get to Spinalonga you must take the boat from Agios Nikolaos, Elounda or Plaka. Boats depart from Agios Nikolaos in the morning. Apart from the trip to Spinalonga, they also offer lunch and the opportunity for a swim off the beaches behind the Kolokytha Peninsula, before returning to Agios Nikolaos in the afternoon.From Elounda harbour, there is a boat to Spinalonga every 30 minutes throughout the summer. It takes about 20 minutes to reach the island.There are also boats from the little village of Plaka just north of Elounda. The trip from here is shorter, taking about 7 minutes, as Plaka is directly opposite Spinalonga.
- Elafonissi Beach: Pink sand and clear water. It is one hour drive from Chania. The water level is low to the most part dividing small sand hills forming island like areas.
- Balos Beach: Balos is famous for its turquoise waters, the wild natural beauty and the beautiful exotic scenery. The sea is very shallow and warm. Easiest way to get there is to take the morning ferry from Kissamos (around 25 to 30 Euros).
Day trip to Santorini
Santorini is a volcanic island in the Cyclades group of the Greek islands. It is located between Ios and Anafi islands. It is famous for dramatic views, stunning sunsets from Oia town, the strange white aubergine, the town of Thira and naturally its very own active volcano.
We decided to book a day trip to Santorini, how can you not, it was only a 1 hour and 45 minutes by ferry. We were picked up from our hotel. We departed Heraklion port at 9:00 in the morning, with the Hellenic Seaways Highspeed 7 ferry (picture below). The Highspeed 7 is the most stable highspeed ferry that runs from Crete to Santorini and the best choice for those prone to seasickness. Definitely a fancy one. 🙂
We did book with a tour company, though I cannot remember the name of it. It is a relatively long day out. You can also book your tickets direct with the ferry company and once on Santorini do things under your own steam.
The arrival into the archipelago of Santorini is amazing as the cliffs of the caldera come into view. The island slopes downward from the cliffs to the surrounding Aegean Sea.
Once arrived we were picked up by our bus, it honestly felt like straight out of a movie. I couldn’t believe it. The views, the architure, everything seemed surreal. Keep in mind, the roads are narrow, and so I was a bit scared since was also very steep.
At times with a tour guide they can make it felt rushed and our guide made the day so easy by having a terrific itinerary in mind. He was very knowledgeable and we learned a lot about the island. We stopped in Oia and Fira, had time to ourselves to grab a bite to eat and explore a bit. Also visited the black sand beach for a quick lay out in the sun.
One day in Santorini I can say it may not be enough. Must come back and really explore the island.