Finding that special island paradise for a few weeks of RnR can be tricky but there are a few spots across the world that really deliver the whole package. One of the best destinations for real island living are the glorious Greek islands and the most pretty of all is arguably Crete.
Crete is steeped in history from the ancient greek gods to the second world war. It is a long thin island with beaches offering a variety of visual pleasures. From the pink sands of Elafonisi to the long stretching golden miles of Falasarna. Not a renowned noisy destination for global tourists, but the hot spot for greeks taking a break from the mainland, the northern city of Chania offers you something magnificent. The Venetian harbour could almost have you thinking you are in Italy, with its cobbled narrow streets and dozens of outdoor restaurants, this is a city for romance. Sitting outside surrounded by ancient ruins dotted in fairy lights you will realise this island paradise is more appealing than a tropical paradise.
The landscape is varied and what will strike you is just how mountainous the island is. Lush green gorges make this a hiking holiday dream and for those who love to forage you will be rewarded with wild capers and wild horta (A wild green which is native to Crete, packed with vitamins and served in almost every restaurant)
Beach life is incredible and due to the amount of fantastic quality sandy shores, you won’t be subjected to over-crowding or sunbed fights. Crime on the island is very low so you can slip off your thongs, abandon your towel and not be worried they will go missing whilst you take a dip in beautiful turquoise waters. Whilst there are resorts offering up a fantastic range of watersports, these tend to be focussed on the west side of the island. Head north-east for real idyllic time out and the craziest action you’ll get is someone mooching past on a pedalo.
Whilst Greece is known for the greasy kebab and does offer up a large variety of fried foods, head away from the photo card menus to the smaller, quieter eateries. Dakos is a must try and truly a unique fusion between meze and bruschetta. Served on a barley rusk instead of bread and drizzled in the famous olive oil, the crisp rusk soaks up the juices of tomato and saltiness of feta cheese. Almost every village in Crete has it’s own signature cheese so ask your waiter to bring you their local version. Try the wine, white is better, red is a little hit and miss but if you find a good one then you will experience a beautifully smooth, full bodied drink which will stay with you. The island diet is predominantly vegetarian however they do specialise in chicken and squid. Try the deep fried courgettes with a little squeeze of fresh lemon.
Crete is an island to fall in love with and will have you desperate to return again and again.