Crete Journals

Crete - My favourite island in the sun

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A September 2004 trip to Crete by GB from Devizes

Milatos Caves Photo, Crete, Greece More Photos
Quote: We visited again this year, Crete being our favourite destination, to see some places not previously explored. This second Crete journal gives me the opportunity to describe these new places, give updates on some familiar ones, and to present some new photographs.

Crete - My favourite island in the sun

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Overview

A busy harbour Photo,
Quote:
For this holiday, we decided to explore further east, an area not previously visited but full of archaeological and historical sights. We opted to stay in our much loved resort of Anissaras, a small village some 3km west of the sprawling resort of Hersonissos. Anissaras has a great beach and a small selection of decent bars and tavernas, but is quiet and peaceful.Knossos Palace, on the Archanes road south of Heraklion was visited for the first time in three years, although much of the site is undergoing extensive work at present and is cloaked in scaffolding and plastic sheeting, making our time there a little frustrating.The tiny fishing villages of Sissi and Milatos to the east of He...Read More

Villa Marina

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Hotel

Villa Marina Photo, Crete, Greece
Quote:
Villa Marina is set back from the main road that links Hersonissos with Heraklion. It has around 20 large apartments and sits in an elevated position with lovely views down to the coastline. We had rented the apartment via out tour operator in the UK, Golden Sun.All the rooms are large and comfortably furnished, although some of the furniture has seen better days. Every room has a shower, WC, and hand basin, plus the very necessary balcony on which you can enjoy a glass of local wine before the evening volta.It boasts its own large pool, well maintained and cleaned every night, plus a decent sized and well-stocked bar. Food is served from 10am till late, and is the stand...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 27, 2004

Villa Marina
Mavrikiano, Elounda, Lassithi
Crete, Greece
+30 6974-608709

Milatos Caves

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Attraction

Milatos Caves Photo, Crete, Greece
Quote:
Milatos Caves are situated about four miles north of Neapoli, high above the village of Milatos. The caves are poorly posted from any major routes but, upon entering the village, you will find a sign indicating the narrow, twisty road leading up to the caves. There is no set aside parking area, but there is room for a dozen cars or so at a pull-in 100m past the entrance to the pathway leading to the caves. The pathway is initially formed of well-worn large cobblestones, rather like the path up to the Diktaean cave, but this gives way to larger rocks set into the ground, as the pathway winds up to the entrance. A wooden hand rail is provided, but I shouldn't lean on ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 26, 2004

Odos 1866 - Heraklion's bustling Market St

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Attraction

Odos 1866 Photo, Crete, Greece
Quote:
Odos 1866 is the bustling market street in Heraklion, the island's capital. Nowhere in Crete provides such a "bazaar" atmosphere; the street is no more than three meters wide and contains a dazzling variety of permanent stalls, selling meat, cheese, fruit, bread, vegetables, herbs, spices, baskets, leather goods, shoes, boots, rugs, pottery and of course, the usual tourist souvenir tat. The street runs almost south to north and stretches from Bikela to the Turkish Fountain in Plateia Nikolas Foka, which itself is close to one of the major squares in the city, Plateia Eleftherias Venizelou.All the goods on sale can be haggled over, but as the market principally aims at the tourists, you pro...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 26, 2004

Limin Chersonisou

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Attraction

Limin Chersonisou Photo, Crete, Greece
Quote:
Hersonissos has often been described as the place to avoid in northern Crete, due to its unrelenting array of bars, burger joints, and trinket shops. Whilst this is certainly true of the majority of this large town, there are a few treasures tucked away in the old town area that are worth seeing. The town is officially known as Limin Hersonisou, with the older town of Hersonisou situated a couple of miles away, just off the road to Kastelli. If you head for the seafront area, you will no doubt find the vast number of restaurants that border almost the entire beach area. Most of these turn out typical kebab-and-chips fare, but one we can recommend...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on September 27, 2004

Knossos Palace/Bronze Age Archaeological Site

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Attraction | "Knossos - Minotaurs, Palaces and Kings"

Knossos Palace/Bronze Age Archaeological Site Photo, Crete, Greece
Quote:
Knossos has always been my number one place to see, and this year’s visit was somewhat disappointing compared to previous trips. The site is to be found on the Archanes road that leads south from Heraklion and is no more than four miles out from the city. We chose to use the excellent bus service that departs regularly from bus station A, close to the ferry port. Bus service #2 takes around 25 minutes for the trip due to the nose-to-tail traffic that is a constant feature of Heraklion.Knossos was busy as usual and after we had paid our 6 euro entrance fee, in we went. Much of the site is currently undergoing restoration and is under cover and not visible. Even by previous years' visits, the sc...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 27, 2004

Knossos Palace/Bronze Age Archaeological Site
Heraklion
Crete, Greece

Sissi

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Attraction

Sissi Photo, Crete, Greece
Quote:
Sissi is a lovely little fishing village situated a few miles east of Malia and a mile or two west of Milatos. The village is, as of now, mainly unspoilt, and, as you enter on a very narrow road, you come into the village square where you may park. The sea side of the square is overlooked by several fish restaurants, most of their menus being caught locally by the small fleet of one-man fishing boats. Walk back the way you drove in and you will see the tiny harbour, protected from winter storms by a huge, boulder-formed breakwater. The water is crystal clear, and we actually saw a swimmer crossing the harbour, something you'd ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 27, 2004

Elounda Photo, Crete, Greece
Quote:
As you drop down into Elounda on the mountain road from Neapoli, you are confronted with a stunning view of the Gulf of Mirabello and the Spinalonga peninsula.We pulled over just to take in this glorious panorama before continuing down into this small resort town. The central square is surrounded by hotels and tavernas, and it seemed that most of the holidaymakers here were Brits, mainly in the 45 to 70 age rangeIt is a laidback place and is the quickest way to get across to Spinalonga Island by way of the several small ferries that ply this part of the Aegean.British tourists of a certain age will remember Elounda as the location for Who pays the Ferryman...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 27, 2004

Plaka and Spinalonga

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Attraction

Plaka Photo, Crete, Greece
Quote:
Drive a few kilometers up the coast road from Elounda, and you will arrive in the tiny village of Plaka. Plaka has two claims-to-fame; first, it has some fantastic fresh-fish restaurants, unrivalled anywhere on the island, and second, it offers superb views across to Spinalonga Island. Plaka has a beach comprised of large pebbles, so sunbathing can be tricky. The restaurants are to be found just up from the beach back towards Elounda, and, although we didn't frequent any of them, the menus looked superb and were cheaper than Elounda. Spinalonga sits at the end of the peninsula of the same name and has a well-documented past, lying as it does at t...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 27, 2004

Agios Nikolaos Photo, Agios Nikolaos, Greece
Quote:
Drive south from Elounda, across the mountain, and Agios Nikolaos is presented in all its glory from your vantage point several hundred feet up. You drop down on a switchback, but wide road, into the northern end of the town, and eventually find your way to the recently reconstructed harbour where you may park your car.Agios Nikolaos is at the eastern end of the northern highway giving it fast, direct links to Heraklion, Rethymno, and Chania and, as such, has blossomed into a busy town with a resident population of around 9,000.The town is very busy and quite unashamedly caters for the younger and more well-heeled tourist. It does not have the history or architecture of the oth...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 27, 2004

Neapoli

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Attraction

Neapoli Photo, Crete, Greece
Quote:
Neapoli was described for the reader in my first Crete journal, but we stopped off here again this year (2004) and took a couple of pictures, including one of the old lady selling her fruit and vegetables at the roadside from the back of a beaten up truck. I took the picture on a zoom setting, as she was very busy and I didn't want to impose upon her or her time. I feel this picture sums up quite a lot about life in rural Crete. Neapoli is a thriving market down situated at the foot of the steep climb up to Lassithi. Much of this route is currently undergoing massive refurbishment. It has a central square lined with restaurants and tavernas, from where it is ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 27, 2004

Modern mosaics Photo, Heraklion, Greece
Quote:
No trip to Crete is complete without a visit to its bustling capital, Heraklion. This year was no different, and we were fortunate to find several sights that were new to us.Every year since 2000, there has been a huge boarding covering up the row of vaulted Arsenali down by the harbour. It has now been removed, and, for the first time, we were able to see the restoration work taking place on these huge hangars where the Venetians built and repaired their galley fleet.Much of Crete's lower mountain slopes were once cloaked in thick pine forests. When the Venetians took control of the island, they saw this natural resource as an ideal way to repair and maintain their fleet of ocean-goin...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 4, 2006