With a little less than one week to go before I hop on a plane to Puerto Rico, I’ve found myself going through old vacation albums. My family normally strives to go on vacation once per year, but last year we couldn’t go because we were busy moving house.
I think the perfect vacation for me is a well balanced mix of cultural activities, relaxing, and adventure! Our vacation in Crete was exactly like this. We took this trip way back in 2014, and I thought I would share with you all what it was like and what we did there. With pictures of course!
First things first, Crete is actually a pretty large island. We didn’t even come close to seeing it all. Our apartment was on the north coast very close to the city of Chania. Honestly this cute town looks exactly how you would expect. Meaning there are loads of little shops, cozy alleys and activities.
The city also has a very rich history. There are excavation sites that provide evidence for Minoan settlements. Chania changed hands a couple of times after that, having been under Byzantine rule, Arab rule, Venetian rule and Ottoman rule.
Fun fact: After the fourth crusade, the entire island was sold to Venice for 100 silver marks!
During our two-week stay on Crete we went into Chania several times. Especially the restaurants are amazing! My favorite foods were definitely anything with sea food like mussels or calamari (honestly trying the calamari counts as adventure for this north-western European). What I also loved is that it’s a very pedestrian friendly city. Thank god for that, because the old city center is way too pretty to have cars everywhere!
Like I said Chania was under Ottoman rule at one point in its history. One of the most iconic buildings (at least, I think it’s iconic) in Chania is the Kucjk Hassan Mosque which was built in 1645. It functioned as a mosque until 1923! It is also the oldest Ottoman building on the entire island.
Speaking of religion, the vast majority of Greeks are Greek orthodox. Mix this with beautiful architecture and you get the Church of Trimartiri. I have to be completely honest, I do not remember actually going inside… I have no pictures of the interior, so I assume we did not. My family is not religious at all, but for some reason we always visit a couple of churches or cathedrals on vacation. The architecture if often just so beautiful!
Of course I can’t forget about the adventure part! There is a really famous gorge called the Samaria Gorge. We did not walk that one. We went for a smaller version called the Imbros Gorge. During our 3.5 hour walk we encountered maybe two other people. This was also the only time we were in the car before 8a.m. because if you go any later you will melt from the heat!
The walk was entirely downhill and ended at the beach! The only downside was that no one thought to bring hiking boots, so I ended up walking 3.5 hours on extremely cheap Vans knock-offs… Those, and my feat, were entirely dead by the end of the walk.
Obviously I can’t forget about the relaxing part! Being on the coast, we naturally checked out a bunch of beaches. Our local favorite was Kalathas beach. It was never too busy, and the water was beautifully sparkly blue! We also always try to do a boat trip every vacation. We love relaxing all-day tours that take you across miles of sea!
And of course we spent long hours next to the pool at our apartment as well!
What is the best vacation that you have ever been on? What did you do there?