A great holiday destination
Crete is the largest of the Greek Islands and really has something for everyone but as always it is imperative that you choose your holiday resort well and consider the best time to visit.
The East of Crete tends to have the hottest, driest and sunniest weather and it is not unusual for this side of the Island to experience no rain at all from April until late September. However early in September there can be strong winds.
The West of the Island however can become overcast and have some rain at almost any time of year, although on the whole it is still very warm. The West of the Island also has a different feel from the East.
There are many small places to visit around the Island, really far too many to mention them all, so I have detailed some of the main resorts and these should fit most peoples requirements.
These are all on the Northern coastline of Crete.
There are resorts on the southern side but these are not visited quite so often by British tourists apart from day trippers.
We took a local bus to Irepetra and loved this resort although it was windy when we visited. My poor suntanned back blistered due to being sandblasted on the beach!
Still I would like to stay here if and when we visit Crete again.
Ag Nik, Agios Nikolas, has a good bus station with a reasonable timetable. Buses travel all around the Island and are good value. Not far from the bus station just alongside the tiny beach was our favourite taverna. Locally caught swordfish was Hubby's favourite whilst I preferred the Kleftiko. This was lamb in filo pastry. I have eaten this dish on different Greek Islands but it was totally different here in Crete.
For those interested in Ancient history there are the remnants of The Palace of Knossos nearby.
All in all Crete is a great place to holiday. The locals are warm and friendly and all speak fluent English. The currency is now the Euro.
Watch out though. If you visit in high season, or certain resorts, as you may find the night life frightening. Choose the perfect time and place for you.
Hints and Tips
Rethymnon had some great shops and places to eat and is a large resort. It has a quarter that has venetian influences and this shows in the architecture.
Chania, pronounced HANIA, is a great place to buy local leather goods. There is a large market here which is interesting to visit. Chania is a lively place and was bustling with people when we were there. There is an airport close to Chania.
We also visited Souda Bay and for some of our fellow travllers this was there main reason for the visit. It holds a war memorial dedicated to those who lost their life as part of the World War Two battles on Crete. Even though we had no personal links here we found it a sad, peaceful, pretty, quiet and moving place to walk around.
As part of this tour we also visited Crete's only natural lake.
Lake Kournas had ducks, pedalos, a cafe, some mystery and those dreadful Greek toilets which are two foot plates at either side of a hole in the ground. Still they caused quite a bit of hilarity amongst us tourists.
The lake is surrounded by mountains and it was here we saw our only sight of any rain during the whole of our two-week holiday. It was only a brief display of rain splashes and it was still very warm.
The Samaria Gorge can be visited by booking a specific excursion here. We decided to give this one a miss. It is a long and tiring day, or so we were told. It involves a coach and bus trip as well as a long, hot walk through the Gorge. However if you want to see fabulous views and experience the flora and the fauna this could be for you. Come prepared though.
Animal welfare or lack of it
Animal Welfare in and around the Greek Islands leaves a lot to be desired. I thought long and hard about what image to display here. In the end I opted for the Save The Animals Of Crete, image. There were some dreadful images of half starved dogs that ended up being euthanized.
As an animal lover this is one of the hard things I find when travelling abroad, especially in Greece. Dogs and cats tend to live a street life. Some eat reasonably well but they often have no true home. Tourists will feed dogs and cats tit-bits and often buy pet food at local stores.
If you do this remember that the animal may not be able to stomach rich tinned pet food. Use your common sense and always take care of your safety. If you are bitten you could be facing Rabies shots or worse.
Up to now we have always fared well with the local dogs and usually have one or two following us around. It is not easy as you are damned if you do and damned if you do not, as far as feeding these animals goes. Just follow your heart.
This problem is not just a Greek problem but is all too frequently a European one.
If you can offer any financial assistance to animal charities fighting this lack of welfare please give generously.
Where in the world do you want to go today? One Woman uses personal experiences to show you some of the best places to visit in the United Kingdom and beyond. Enjoy!