» Greece, Crete – The Island of Sights, Mountains, and the Sea III
Greece, Crete – The Island of Sights, Mountains, and the Sea III
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.
Balos is one of the most wonderful, one of the most beautiful beaches you can find on Crete. Beautiful lagoon is aright at its shores. Even people who don’t know how to swim can enjoy bathing there as water is shallow and at the same time crystal clear. Basically, you can walk your way to Tigani island. The island raises up 100 meters above the surrounding sea. Its name suggests its shape as it resembles a frying pan laying bottom up (Tigani means a frying pan in translation). There are basically two ways how you can get on the island. The first one is great for easy travellers and its includes a cruise from Kissamos. Usually, such cruises are for all day and they stop by on Gramvousa island and also you can visit a Venetian fortress which bears the same name .
Another option was to drive by car along peninsula’s east coastline and then walk another 20 minutes towards the lagoon The road is pretty long and difficult yet there are beautiful views of the sea, the beach, and the lagoon. As we intended to have a bird’s eye view of the lagoon and for we did not want to be part of crowds of tourists we took the second option. And we did it even though the insurance did not cover roads that were not paved. I drove very very careful, I admit it. Goats surprised us along the road. They were far from being timid. Quite contrary they were very brash. They nudged tourists’ cars to be fed. 45 minutes later we arrived at the beach. It was truly rewarding to have the view of the lagoon, Tigani island and the sea. We felt like in paradise on the beach. Fortunately, there were not many people around. Therefore, we truly enjoyed it.
As we planned to see couple of things that day we had to leave Balos beach. Driving along west coast to the eco village of Milia. The village consists of couple of stone houses in the middle of mountainous landscape. Only a stone road goes there. The village was founded in the 17th century. Only shepherds lived there. Being so remote the village had been abandoned for a long time. In the 1980s the village was rebuilt to be self-sustainable. Tourists were enabled to go there and stay there for a while. The village itself has very peaceful atmosphere, the locals grow their on organic food, meditate, rest in the middle of beautiful nature. The village is small. 15-20 minutes is enough to see it. Be cautious to respect peace and quiet. These are the ground rules for every villager and visitor.
We moved Paleochora which is 30 kilometers away on Crete’s south coast in the evening. What we planned to do was to found us some accommodation on city’s eastern end. It would take us 20 minutes by walk to reach its center. However, there is not much to see expect the castle ruin from 1279. Usually, people travel there because of Pachia Ammos, a long sandy beach along the bay lining Paleochora. Nearby there is the pebble beach Chalikia. In the center, there are many shops and restaurants with guys standing in front of them trying to lure people in. However, having a tiring day behind us we enjoyed grilled veggies with crème. Then we walked on the beach listening to the sound of the sea. Thus, we ended our day. On the following day, we planned a day-long trip to Samaria, the longest gorge in Europe. Therefore, we hit the bed pretty early.
And what does the gorge actually look like? Well, you can find out next week.
GPS: (pláž Balos) 35°35'00.9"N 23°35'21.4"E
Text and photos: Vojtěch Bližňák
Greek Kefalonia is the largest island in the Ionian Sea, located between Lefkada and Zakynthos. People come here mainly for beautiful beaches and peace, because it is not so touristy yet. The capital is Argostoli, which is also worth a visit. We stay in Lixouri and there is a ferry every 30 minutes between Lixouri and Argostoli. One trip costs less than 3 euros and takes 20 minutes.
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.
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.
Corfu (Kerkyra in Greek) is one of the smaller islands in the Mediterranean Sea. Most tourists come here with a clear destination - relax on the beach, gyros and tzatziki, ouzo and maybe one or two trips to the most interesting sights. This 60 km long island with a long and interesting history can offer much more.
Beautiful nature, green olive groves and many famous beaches, that is Zakynthos. It is the southernmost and third largest island in the Ionian Sea. The symbol of this island is the beach with the wreck of a smuggling ship. But don't expect historical monuments like Rhodes or Crete.
The island of Mykonos is not big, it has an area of only about 100 km². And so the ideal way to travel the whole island is to rent a scooter, motorbike or quad bike. In addition to a varied nightlife, Mykonos is famous for its rugged coastline with beautiful beaches and a very pleasant climate. Today we will go to explore some of its most famous beaches.
Cosmopolitan Mykonos is an island in the Greek Cyclades archipelago in the Mediterranean. The world is known as the island of celebrities, creams and nightlife. Recently, however, it has come to the forefront of popularity and Czech travel agencies are beginning to offer it in their catalogs.
Lefkada is said to be a pearl in the Ionian Sea and to have just the most beautiful beaches in all of Greece. The name Lefkada dates back to ancient Greece and was derived from the bright white cliffs at the southernmost tip of the island. And we will take a closer look at this gem together today.
Wondering if you will end up heading out to sea? Would you like to fly to Crete? This island is so famous that we will not talk about it now. But while you're here, we know of a great day trip. That you don't want to walk around the sights in the awful heat? Be calm, this trip will absolutely captivate you. We set off to Chrissi Island.
This gem of Ionian Islands. It is known not only for beautiful beaches but also for its charming Greek countryside. You can enjoy it to the fullest on the island. Lefkada is situated south of Corfu and north of Cephalonia.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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