Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and is a paradise for tourists seeking sunshine, beaches, and culture. Chania lies on the northern coast of Crete. It’s the second largest city on the island and is served by an airport. Upon arrival, hire a car and drive the 30 kilometres up to the White Mountains. This beautiful setting is perfect for relaxing or doing a spot of walking and is also a good base to explore the region’s attractions.
Chania is an old harbour town with a medieval heart and is worth checking out. The seafront quarter includes a little mosque which is a remnant from the 17th century when the Turks controlled the area. These days the mosque’s been converted into a very nice art gallery. Make sure you also check out the Archeological Museum which is full of Minoan artifacts, including a glass display packed with pottery bulls. These were found in a grave site and it’s believed the pottery bulls were included in the graves where sacrificing a live bull would have been too expensive!
Elafonisi features a beach that stretches for miles. The water is very shallow with white sand that gives it its wonderful green/turquoise colour; making it look like a Caribbean lagoon! There’s even an island that you can safely wade out to. Elafonisi is also very popular with the locals and can get very busy at weekends, so it’s best to go during weekdays if possible.
Crete has changed hands several times over the centuries and the Romans occupied it from the 1st century BC to 4 AD. As well as the ruins of the Roman buildings, there is an abandoned monastery which dates back centuries but was only abandoned in 1964.
Driving up the mountain road above Maheri, you’ll see signs for the ancient church called Agios Nikolaos. Along the way the chances are that you will encounter herds of goats, some with bells around their necks. They will determinedly clank their way past you and add a real wild charm to the holiday experience! Agios Nikolaos is nestled in a valley with huge trees in front of it and it is an enchanting place. The church is Byzantine and is famous for having very old frescoes, as well as a graveyard surrounded by rows of orange trees.