Greece, Crete: A Trip to the Largest Greek Island I
After several articles on London we jump across Europe to the Mediterranean, actually to the east part of the sea. Today we will have a taste of sun after rains of London, and warm waters of the Sea of Crete.
Greece is a very popular destination for the Czech . After all, you just look at webpages of some tourist agencies. There you would learn that you can visit almost all important Greek islands such as Rhodos, Kos, Korfu, Santorini, Lefkadu or, indeed, Crete.
The fact that the Czechs are frequent visitors means that sometimes the Czech books are to be bought souvenir shops or in some bookstores. However, in terms of numbers are significantly outweigh the Germans, Russians and citizens of English speaking countries. Inscriptions on shops or businesses are quadrolingual, including Greek.
To some extent, Crete overshadows the other islands of Greece. It is mainly due to its history. The Minoan Civilization, flourished there from approximately 2700 BC to 1500 BC. It is naturally a great attraction for tourists, who like ancient Greece. The Minoan civilization is associated with some famous stories of Greek mythology and myths. About them but we will talk later, in connection with the monumental palace at Knossos .
The capital of Creta is Iraklion. If you decide to spend your island vacation here, it is the Iraklion airport where your plane would land. Iraklion, with its nearly 200 thousand inhabitants, the largest city of the island, where a total population of over 600,000 people.
Iraklion, about which we will talk more in following articles, should not escape your attention. There are many outstanding museums in the foreground is Archaeological Museum , Museum of Cretan history or Cretaquarium . Just a few minutes drive from Iraklion is located in the Palace of Knossos.
Especially during the peak tourist season, which runs right now, right after landing you will know that you are in a zone where the sun is a little more ruthless than us. Even though it could be about speculate. Temperatures well above thirty degrees will automatically begin to draw you to the sea. As already mentioned above, in north Crete is surrounded by the Cretan sea. Further north there is the Aegean Sea. In the south, the island shores are washed by the Mediterranean sea.
But to spend all time on the sea can make you miss another interesting places that Crete has to offer. These includes the city of Agios Nikolaos , the island of Spinalonga , the city of Rethymno, Samaria gorge etc. About this and even more we will talk in the following articles.
To be continued.
Text: Maxim Kucer
Flickreview R2 , Maxim Kucer
The green island of Thassos is situated in Eastern Macedonia. It is green because mountain peaks are covered by pine and olive groves. Its rocky shores are washed by the tranquil Aegean Sea. You will not find any airport or industrial zone. That makes the air here great. Thanks to the marble subsoil, one of the best marbles in the world is mined here.
One of the most popular holiday resorts in recent years has been Greek island of Samos, the birthplace of famous Pythagoras. What reason stands behind large numbers of tourists coming there between June and first half of September? There are actually couple of them!
Today we visit Greece's forgotten corner.
Last time, we wandered around the best beaches you can find near Thessaloniki. Unfortunately, these are not as close for you to reach it on foot. However, beautiful environment should do.
Last Friday, we visited an underground museum that is, honestly, not very interesting except for being underground. Today, our trip goes to other, more interesting museums.
We return to Greece again to see another less known place. Well, more or less...
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.
A delegate of the company we rented our car from had been already waiting for us once we arrived at the airport. It was apparent that there is some fierce competition among car rental companies. The way how they treat their customers is the consequence of the fierce competition. Once we had settled all documents we needed we get in our car and drove to the west. There are no official freeways so you don’t pay any toll.
We woke up to nice and shinny day. Nobody was on the beach we went to so we just laid around. I recommend you Camp Mithimna, the camp we stayed at. Its owner was very kind and helpful. After a short talk with him we left for Balos, the beach in the northwest on the Gramvousa peninsula.
The longest European gorge of Samaria was another point of interest. The Samaria is located in Crete’s western half. The gorge is in the middle of the White Mountains (in Greek Lefka Ori). The gorge became a national park in 1962 when the inhabitants of Samaria village was displaced. It was situated in the middle of the gorge. Also, the gorge is a world biosphere reserve.
On this day, we planned to make a short trip to the Lefka Ori mountains. Bad weather prevented us from going there. Therefore, we decided to travel to Moni Preveli monastery instead.
We left early in the morning the Agia Galini camp for Phaistos (Faistos) palais. It is considered the second most important Minoan palace (the first one is Knossos). The palace is situated on Kastri Hill which is in central area of the Mesara Plain. Up from there you can get beautiful vista of the Idi mountains.
The next day’s morning we woke up while it was still being dark. Because we spent the night at a cottage, we quickly packed our things. At 6 o’clock we were already heading to Kato Zakros, another important Minoan palace. Unfortunately, the weather was not good. It rained all day. Yet this was no thing that would make us to loose our spirits. At around 8 o’clock we reached our destination. The information in the book guide said it the opening hours start at 8. However, right there we found out it would be at 10. Two hours of additional time meant we made use of them and walked along the coastline.
The last day before leaving Crete by plane we did want to spend in Heraklion. Most of all at the most famous Minoan palace of Knossos. At around 8 o’clock in the morning we left the camp of Sissi. About one hour later we were in front of our hotel. We parked the car and went for Knossos right away. This largest tourist attraction on Crete is only 5 kilometers to the south from Heraklion. Buses depart every twenty minutes for the palace and you pay 3 euro per ticket.
This time we decided to set off to explore towns and cities in Greece. Litochoro was one of our first stops. This "stone town" is situated close to the Olympic Mountains.
Upon our visit to Litochoro, we moved several kilometers on. Our next stop was a typical Greek village with amazing nature, interesting architecture and amazing vistas.
There was a large testing staircase in the center of Asklepion. To ensure good reputation of the hospital, the patients were supposed to walk up the stairs to the sanctuary without any help. If some died, they removed his body quietly in the night so nobody would see it...
I go up a moderate hill to reach Asklepion where Hippocrates had his “office”. How Asklepios became a god? It was like this: Appollo, a god of health, wanted to teach his son Asklepios. He perfected heiling powers and thus became the god of medicine.
Kos is one of many Greek islands. It is a popular destination not only for Czech tourists. It is located in the Aegean Sea near the Turkis shores near the Bay of Koss. It is a small island – it is 45 kilometers long and 10 kilometers wide. The shore is 112 kilometers long.
Last week we have lured to you to our trip to Crete. This hilly island hides many things, no healthy tourist would miss that. Today we will take a look on one of the largest cities of Crete, Rethymno. First, we will talk about local cuisine. Next week will visit some landmarks.
After unveiling gourmet side of the Cretan city rise from the comfortable sitting in one of the local restaurants and we will explore the historical legacy left by several millennia of human habitation.
In Rethymno we have already spent a lot of time. We saw something of its historic heritage, even if there is yet much more to see. We just randomly mention some of them.
We left Rethymno. It slowly fades behind us. We travel towards Cretan nature in the Samaria gorge.
After Samaria we move today to Agios Nikolaos.
Last look at Agios Nikolaos and a trip to Spinalonga.
Today we travel to Greek island of Kos. I met there Iva, a nice Czech, so we travel together. On the ship are all kinds of nationalities – French, Italians, Germans, English, Hungarians and us, Czechs! It is funny that I understand almost everyone yet they don’t have a clue. Our journey is pleasant. It takes around 50 minutes.
Based on Hippocrates the present Hippocratic oath was formed. Right in a shop I buy a papyrus with full oath in Czech!
The fashion is to fly to exotic countries and bring home the images of white beaches. Paradise of islands, beaches and beautiful nature hides a much closer - in Europe. Greece is a country, that you can´t know during one summer vacation - you'll want to come back again and again.
The city with cultural traditions, with known rhetorical school (attended by Cicero and Caesar) and the famous sculptural school. Ever since its foundation (408 BC) the capital of the island is Rhodos, lies in whose northern tip.
The third part of our little serial about the island we will finish by its greatest attraction is beach, where in 1980 wrecked smuggler ship.
Local people don´t call the island other way than tell Zante. This home of giant tortoises, not about a typical Greek island with countless historical monuments, but if you will go there, you spend nice a very pleasant holiday, at which you will surely like to remember.
In the first part of our journey across the island of Zakynthos, I suggested that this place is indeed an ideal holiday destination, but there are not too many attractions. It is waste to invite every lovers of ancient architecture, because frequent earthquakes destroyed everything in the past, what could be kept from the time of Homer.
The last and final part of our journey around the island we will finish in places where I had the opportunity to spend summer holidays - Limni Keri.
One of the most attractive places on Rhodos east coast is Lindos, a city built in the rock. It has a acropolis and the temple of Athena of Lindos. The knights of the order of Saint John built the greatest local landmark.
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