My family and I had been planning our annual holidays for quite some time and when my husband suggested a trip to the Greek island of Crete everyone agreed. Because we booked our plane tickets ahead of time we saved quite a bit of money.
We arrived at the Chania airport about 10:00 in the morning and travelled by bus to the south west of Crete. We were going to hire a car, but were told that we wouldn’t need one since our first stop would be Agia Roumeli. We chose this destination first because it was at the end of the Samari Gorge which my husband and I had wanted to check out for years. Apparently the Gorge is closed during the winter, but reopens in the spring. Our teenagers were not very excited about what they called a boring walk, but we were going to spend a couple of days at a very nice hotel in Paleochora so they could have some fun too. The seaside hotel has a pool and all kinds of water activities that they can participate in while my husband and I go sightseeing.
We checked into a great little hotel that was right on the beach in Agia Roumeli. Our accommodations were comfortable and the views of the sea were spectacular from our private balcony. The restaurant had great authentic cuisine including snapper and barbecued shrimp. We really enjoyed have breakfast outside on the deck. There was a great little snack-bar next door and the beach was literally steps from the hotel.
The next day we made our way to the Samari Gorge which is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Crete. Apparently almost a million people make the trek from May to October. We were told to wear comfortable hiking shoes and I am sure glad that we did. The path is well maintained, but it can get quite rocky and is pretty steep. The trip takes about 5 hours. We made it in 4 and even stopped for a picnic lunch in the village of Samaria which is eerily deserted. The kids were actually enjoying themselves and got some spectacular photos of the Iron Gates. The wildflowers were in full bloom as we made our way back to Agia Roumeli. After a good nights sleep we spent most of the day relaxing on the beach. The hotel offers guests beach chairs and umbrellas and since our ferry didn’t arrive until 4:30 to take us to Paleochora, we decided to take advantage of the warm spring weather.
The ferry ride to Paleochora was beautiful and we couldn’t have asked for a nicer afternoon. When we arrived at the hotel we were pleasantly surprised. Our room overlooked the pool and we were only 5 minutes from Sandy Beach. After we unpacked we made our way down to the pool. We were really impressed with the outdoor bar and the pool was massive. We were going to have breakfast at the hotel the next day so that night we decided to look for a restaurant with views of the sea. We found a great little authentic Greek eatery that has been around since 1968. The family restaurant overlooks the Libyan Sea and serves fresh seafood dishes like swordfish and calamari. After dinner we headed back to the hotel to get some sleep so we would be well rested for our last two days in Crete.
The next morning we had a huge breakfast of eggs, sausage, mushrooms, toast and coffee. We were going to rent a fishing boat, but decided to go on a kayaking tour. We paddled out to sea and were amazed at how clear the water was. We stopped off at Grammeno and had a bite to eat at one of the local restaurants before we paddled back to Paleochora. That evening we had a delicious meal at a lively taverna that was a short stroll from our hotel. Even the teens were impressed with the live band and were dragging us out on the dance floor.
The next morning we took a cab back to the airport to catch our flight back to the UK. We were sad to leave, but we will be back. We love the great outdoors and found quite a few nice areas where we could set up camp. We want to spend a couple of days in Nopigia and plan on renting a caravan so we can see everything that the beautiful island of Crete has to offer.