» Greece, Crete – The Island of Landmarks, Mountains, and the Sea VII
Greece, Crete – The Island of Landmarks, Mountains, and the Sea VII
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.
However, this bad weather had something good in it. We were the only married couple on the entire compound. Unlike at Festos palace, here existed only one palace. It was between the years 1600 and 1450. Below the palace, there are buried remains of former settlement. It is unlikely though that these would be ever unveiled. This part of the island has been slowly sinking into the sea.
It is the place of invaluable value for many important findings were made there. Natives had only little time to flee from the massive tsunami wave which wiped out the entire Minoan civilization. Most of the findings are stored in the Archeological Museum, Sitia. The palace is quite small therefore it doesn’t take long before you are finished. The price of ticket (2.50 € per person) is adequate. There are couple of bars and taverns in the village as well as a nice beach.
We decided to go on in the direction to the north to Palekastro village and then to Vai, a palm beach. It was a quick walkthrough through Palekastro. There is nothing to see though. Only a small museum displaying agricultural tools and equipment in old vitrines is worth of mention. Should you love to eat sweet pastry, make sure to visit local bakery. It is right next to the main square (sincerely recommended). 20 minutes of walk from the city in the direction to Chiona beach there is another excavation site free of charge. However, we missed it and went on to Vai, about 9 kilometers north of Palekastro.
Sun rays greeted us after arriving at the beach. Immediately we set off for a walk along the coastline. True, Vai was not as impressive as a beach next to it behind rocky cliff. Vai is pretty much crowded as it is mentioned in every possible guide book. Therefore, we had followed the coastline further until we reached an abandoned beach, a nudist beach that is to say. Moreover, the rainbow which appeared above the sea made our impression even stronger. I can only recommend this beach before Vai and especially when you do not consider yourselves being a fan of crowded beaches.
Despite we really did not want to get out of there, the time constraints required us to retreat into our last tented shelter. IT was a camp near Sissi town on the north coast of Crete. There is no camp closer than this one on the east of the island. By car, it takes about two hours to get there. The camp is right by the sea. When walking it takes about 15 minutes to reach the town. We spend the evening of our last day in a tavern and then we departure for Heraklion. Next week we tell you more about Knossos palace and the city of Heraklion.
GPS: (Vai beach) 35°15'15.3"N 26°15'53.8"E
Text and photos: Vojtěch Bližňák
Santorini (Thira in Greek language) is a relatively small part of the Cyclades archipelago, with a width of only 6 km and a length of just over 25 km. Its area, however, strongly balances the geographical and geological location of the island and its rich history. Situated 220 km from Athens and 110 km from Crete, Thira has always been an important and often necessary stop on the route between these major shopping centers. As a result, traces of the largest Minoan settlement outside Crete have been preserved on the island.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
From Old town with medieval buildings and watchtowers we head into the New Town district, where you can also find monuments from different periods, which was together with historical centre right declared by UNESCO as world natural and cultural attractions.
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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