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A Weekend in Crete, Greece

February 7, 2017 / by Liz

Back a couple of weeks ago, Hitchen and I spent a long weekend exploring the Greek Island of Crete. It’s the largest of the Greek Islands, and is known for its amazing food and scenery. Being mid-January, there were virtually no other tourists around, however, it also meant that some of the smaller communities were basically shut down for the winter, and it wasn’t quite warm enough for lounging on the beach (though it didn’t really stop us). Here’s what we crammed into our three full days in Crete!

On Thursday evening, we flew into Heraklion, the largest city on the island, and picked up our rental car. Since it was a little to late to drive anywhere that night, we spent the night in Heraklion, and squeezed in a late supper at Peskesi Restaurant (would highly recommend).

On Friday morning we took a couple of hours to explore the waterfront and city center, before hoping in the car to make our way to the town of Chania – about a two hour drive. We stopped into Elia & Diosmos, a winery and restaurant, along the way for lunch. The food was awesome, but we were the only ones in the restaurant (probably due to the time of year)! The drive from Heraklion to Chania was incredibly picturesque, and we stopped quite a few times to take in the view. It was nearly dark by the time we reached Chania, so once we were all settled into our hotel, the only thing left to do was eat again! We ate at Tamam – a casual restaurant with traditional Cretan food, located inside the walls of the old town – so good!

{Heraklion waterfront.}

{Heraklion city center.}

{Elia & Diosmos.}

{Driving from Heraklion to Chania.}

{View from our hotel in Chania.}

First thing Saturday morning, we hopped in the car and made our way to Elafonisi beach. Google will tell you that this drive takes about an hour and a half from Chania, however, the mountain road is incredibly twisty and steep in places, and there are herds of goats everywhere, so I’d allow a little extra time! Plus the scenery was gorgeous, so we stopped multiple times for pictures. While this beach is very popular during the warmer months, and apparently can get quite crowded, again we were the only ones there! And despite it being only 16°C, Hitchen swam in the ocean (while I sat on the beach using the towels as blankets). That evening, we ate at Salis, a slightly more upscale restaurant on the waterfront in Chania. Both the food and service were incredible, and the prices were actually quite reasonable (especially in comparison to Paris).

{Driving from Chania to Elafonisi Beach.}

{Elafonisi Beach.}

{Hitchen in the water + taking photos, naturally.}

{Trying to keep warm.}

{Taken in the town of Palaiochora, which we passed through on our way back from Elafonisi.}

On Sunday, we hit the road early again to make our way to the town of Imbros, where we would hike the Imbros Gorge. (The Samaria Gorge is actually a more popular hike, however, it’s closed during the Winter months). The hike is about 8 kilometers downhill, with an elevation change of 650 meters. The bottom of the gorge brings you to the town of Kommitádes, where you can get a bus or taxi back to your car in Imbros, but at this point in the trip we were skeptical that we’d be able to find a ride (since most of the small towns seemed quite deserted in Winter) and decided to hike back up. It was quite a bit more strenuous on the way up, and we were beginning to get concerned that we wouldn’t make it out before dark… but the thoughts of hiking this secluded gorge with goats everywhere in the pitch black motivated us to pick up our pace, and we ended up hiking up out of the gorge even faster than we hiked down! The whole hike took us about 4.5 hours – 2.5 to get (almost all the way) down, half an hour for a quick rest and a snack at the bottom, and 1.5 hours to hike back up. It was one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever completed.

{Goat! Baby goat!}

{Shameless SLR-timer-selfie.}

{If you look closely, that tiny person at the bottom is Hitchen.}

{Amazing rock formation.}

{At the narrowest point in the gorge – just 1.6 meters.}

For our final night on the Island, we enjoyed supper at Οινοποιείο (really, there’s no english name). It came recommended from several sources, as a place that locals enjoy and that serves traditional Cretan food, and it definitely didn’t disappoint!

We loved our weekend exploring Crete, and can’t wait to go back to Greece to check out some more Islands!

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3 thoughts on “A Weekend in Crete, Greece

  1. Rockin' Rhonda says:

    Looks beautiful, would like to visit sometime!

  2. Aunt Pat says:

    Beautiful pictures! You and Andrew will have such beautiful memories.Enjoy it while you can. Certainly different from Nfld😉

  3. Liz says:

    Thanks Aunt Pat! Looking forward to getting home :)

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