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Greece, Crete – The Island of Historical Sights, Mountains, and Sea I

Published: 21.3.2016
The title suggests that Crete is island of several great tourist attractions. People who love culture, those who love history and nature or just laying on a beach will all enjoy a stay here. The history of Crete is, however, very colorful. Therefore, it would be a pity to spend your vacation just being lazy on a beach.

In the era between the years 2700 BCE to 1450 BCE the Minoan culture flourished here. Sometimes it is called a “palace” culture for many palaces it had built in Knossos, Mallia or Kato Zakros. In various degrees the palaces have survived until the present day. You really can feel old history almost everywhere on the island. No wonder then that tourist swarm in great numbers every year.

 Balos beach

In case you are not a fan of a Cretan sun the best season to visit the island is spring or autumn. It could be more raining, on the other hand temperatures are milder and the number of tourist is lesser. Also, accommodation is much easier to find than in the high season (June-September).

 olive grove  in the south coast

We planned our trip so we would really enjoy it. The quickest way to Crete is by plane, of course. Direct flights operate between Prague and Heraklion, the capital of Crete. Flight tickets would cost you up from 5000 CZK (depending on the date of departure). People who love adventure can try to get on Crete on land. First you would drive to some Greek or Italian port and then take a ship.

 coastline at Palm beach  Vai beach

To travel across the island renting a car is the best option. And we did it. We also considered travelling by bus which drive, however, only between larger towns. Because of our plan to travel up into the mountains or more remote beaches, we had to leave this one. Visiting Crete out of the main tourist season has another perk – it is much cheaper to rent a car. There were only two of us so we rented a small car. It cost us around 120 euro for 6 day and insurance was included. There are no trains on Crete.

Heraklion

We intended to stay at camps and sleep in our own tent. There are about 11 camps on the island therefore we had to thing of the direction of our trip thoroughly. Thanks to the fact that we traveled not it the season we didn’t have to book our place at camps. Prices were also much lower. On average we paid around 13-14 a night for us, tent and the car. Camps are of various quality. But basically they are good and included all necessary facilities including free WiFi.

Lefka Ori

We planned to travel across Crete to the west from Heraklion at first. We would travel across Rethymno and Chánia up to the northwestern beach of Balos. Then we would drive down to Paleochora in the south. We wanted to walk through Europe’s longest gorge of Samaria in the Lefka Ori mountains. Our next destinations would be Preveli monastery, a palm beach and Faistos palace.

 Knóssos palace  Knóssos palace

Then we were planning to move to island’s east to the area around Kato Zakros palace, a town of Palekastro on Vai beach. We would return to Heraklion along the northern coast. Our trip would conclude by a tour in the capital and Knossos palace. We had only eight days for the whole journey. Therefore, our schedule was really packed. We planned also to make a trip to the Lefka Ori mountains. Eventually, bad weather prevented us from completing this.

the sunrise in Paleochra palác Kató Zakros

In the following parts of our series we tell you more about our journey. It will come out on every Monday.

GPS: (Heraklionu airport) 35°20'22.3"N 25°10'28.9"E

Text and photos: Vojtěch Bližňák



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