The Island of Crete, Greece
Team Kaptain Kenny Contribution #1: Anna from @bluetraveltales
Before I begin with Anna’s story on Crete, I want to explain how the Team Kaptain Kenny contributions work. You see, our community is growing and it’s simply filled with talent and enthusiasm for travel. However, many people don’t have their own websites. I wanted to give some selected members of our community a chance to have their voices heard and their creativity seen. For this reason, I’m excited to introduce Anna, who was born and raised on the island of Crete. She is most definitely equipped to tell today’s Greek tale.
Crete: The Places You Don’t Want to Miss
Hello, my name is Anna, I recently got the chance to revisit my favourite places in Crete, capture them and share them with you. Hopefully, you will be inspired and get to love them as much as I do! In this trip, I visited Chania and Rethymno, two of Crete’s most beautiful towns, as well as several beaches in the south of Crete. I was born and raised in Crete so I have been going to these places as long as I can remember. There is no doubt that they are true gems. I hope you like them.
Introduction: our adventure begins in Chania.
Chania – The Most Beautiful Town in Greece.
The Venetian harbour is one of the greatest landmarks of Chania. It reflects the history and architectural changes that Cretans went through in the past, as many architectural elements of Egyptians, Venetians and Turks remain intact and make the old harbour and the entire town of Chania really stand out. The harbour itself is long and lovely to walk through, as it offers magnificent views. The long coastline is filled with cafes and restaurants, but the hidden gems lie in the narrow lanes filled with colourful houses and unique shops. You will find many architectural similarities with Venice.
Seitan Limania is a unique and hidden beach located in the northern coastline of Chania just 20 km away from the city, a beach different from all the others. The only access to this beach is by climbing down. So make sure you bring sneakers or mountain shoes. The view is outstanding, the water is a visual paradise and there is a great deal of mystery to it. The places to jump off into the water are endless and swimming through this long water canal is beyond any imagination.
I’d highly recommend going during October or September because it’s still warm but way less busy.
The beach itself isn’t too big and is shared with some mountain goats who are constantly walking around trying to snatch food. We enjoyed their company and we even got some nice pictures. They are quite willing to pose!
It’s a good thing to bring food, water and other supplies you might need with you because in ’Seitan’ itself you will find none of these. But don’t worry, on the way to the beach you will come across plenty of mini-markets and grocery stores, plus you can also try our delicious Cretan traditional products. We brought popcorn, sandwiches, koulourakia and orange juice with us and had a great picnic by the sea. Of course, we had to share some with the goats.
The town to stay and wander
Rethymno is also a town with tonnes of history and architectural importance. The landmark of Rethymno is Fortetza (Italian for ‘fortress’). It was built by Cretans during Venetocracy in the 16th century and was captured by the Ottomans in 1646. I’d highly recommend visiting it as you get to witness an incredible view of every side of the town. The experience of being inside the fortress, walking around the stone walls with tiny window holes (that were used during defence) is unforgettable. Every corner brings a new frame. In summer, concerts and theatre shows are held nightly at the amphitheatre of Fortezza. The atmosphere up there is pretty romantic.
Beach #2 - 15 minutes from Rethymno
Spilies beach is just 15 minutes from Réthymno. Spilies means ‘caves’ in Greek and is a beautifully secluded pebble beach that doesn’t get too busy. As the name indicates, the beach consists of many caves and interesting rock formations. The water is clear and great to snorkel around as you can swim through the caves. If it is not too windy, I recommend choosing a spot to lie down, under the western cave, where you can swim and relax while listening to the sound of waves crashing onto pebbles. The acoustics are great.
If you feel like diving / jumping off into the water, there is a path that leads you to the top of the cave where you can also see the very interesting rock formations of the northern coastline and the bridge of Geropotamos. We even collected sea salt which is naturally produced in the ground holes that are on top of the cave. You can choose to rent a sun bed, a gazebo or neither like we did. A canteen will be able to provide you with coffee and food. The parking lot is right behind the sunbeds so it is really easy to access the beach. If you have kids, they will love this beach. I remember my preschool bringing us to this place, it felt so dreamy and magical back then.
Beach #3 - 25 minutes from Rethymno
Damnoni beach is located in the south of Crete and the drive from Rethymno is really interesting as you drive through the “Kourtaliotiko” canyon. The huge cliffs of the canyon reach a height of 600 meters and are full of openings and caves, where significant fauna species live, such as the Lammergeier vulture. The canyon is also crossed by the Kourtaliotis River which flows up to Lake Preveli. The drive is about 20-25m from Rethymno.
What is special about this beach is that the water is always clean and even when it is super windy, (a phenomenon pretty common in August), you can still swim and enjoy the atmosphere. Damnoni beach is surrounded by mountains and cliffs just like most of the beaches in south Rethymno. There are plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas but if you want a slightly less crowded place, I recommend either going to the right or to the left end of the beach. The sand is soft and not so pebbly. If you are a watersports fanatic, I would highly recommend going to Hapimag sports for the ultimate experience. There you can rent a jet-ski, go kite surfing, kayaking and so much more in order to explore the unique coastline and the deep blue water. You can scuba dive or water ski too.
If action sports don’t thrill you, I would then recommend renting a water bike for an hour to explore the coastline and visit each one of the little beaches located next to Damnoni like Amoudi, Amoudaki, etc. If you want more fun then go with the water bicycle that includes a water slide. The last activity I shall recommend, if you don’t want to waste too much energy, is to book a water sofa ride which lasts about 15 minutes. You just sit comfortably on a water sofa while the boat gives you a speed ride through the beaches. You will be amazed by the landscape of south Rethymno.
After spending a day at the beach the best thing to do is have an unforgettable dinner. The place you need to go is ”Mariou” village. There you will find the best restaurant in south Rethymno, especially known for its traditional Cretan cuisine. It is the ultimate place to go and be around nature while enjoying the gorgeous views of the sea and mountains. The best hour to go is right before sunset. At that time the sky has so many tones and there is this beautiful golden light that makes every scenic spot look so precious. You will forever remember this place.
If you are wondering what traditional plates you need to try, do go for a Cretan traditional salad called ‘’koukouvagia or dakos”, a fried cheese called ‘’saganaki’’, ”mousakaka” or ”pastitsio” and don’t forget to try Cretan red wine.
Beach #4 - 1h + 10 minutes from Rethymno
Triopetra beach is my favourite and ultimate destination. It is about 1h and 15 min from Rethymno or 30’ from Spili, a traditional Cretan village, worth visiting in south Retymno. It is called Triopetra which means ‘three stones’ in Greek because there are three magnificent rocks that emerge from the blue sea. People from all over the world visit Triopetra in order to meditate, relax or practice yoga because of the energy that these stones and the massive amount of water this beach has. To be more specific, there are two beaches. The ‘’Mikri’’ Triopetra meaning small and the ‘’Megali’’ Triopetra meaning large. Mikri is on the east and Megali is on the west.
I can 100% recommend going to Megali Triopetra. The coastline looks endless and there is a massive amount of water. It also has the most amazingly warm and pebbly sand that is really good for your feet – you can lie down and really relax here. In addition, you can walk to the very east side and climb on the rocks or the hill for some breathtaking views and pictures. There are dozens of spots where you can jump off into the water since every rock has a different and very interesting formation. The beach has crystal-clear water and breathtaking sunsets: the perfect setting for peace and quiet and so relaxing.
Did you know that there is a yoga centre at ‘Mikri’ Triopetra? You can stay and meditate by the beach. A final tip: if it’s extremely windy then you should go to ‘Mikri’ Triopetra because it’s less windy there.
Some last tips
Villages worth visiting: Sfakia in Chania, Spili in Rethymno, Kapsaliana in Rethymno, Kournas lake in Chania.
Food: you NEED to try: pastitsio, dakos/ kukuvagia, mousakas, bureki, lamp, sfakianes pites, snails, kaltsounia, gamopilafo, souvlaki, Cretan wine and raki.
Experiences: Grape picking, pottery lessons, hiking any mountain or canyon (Samaria, Aradena, Miloi), olive oil making, renting a bike in Rethymno (bike friendly city).
That’s all the places I shall mention for now. Of course, there are hundreds more worth visiting, since Crete is an enormously big island where every spot is unique and magical. If you decide to visit I’d love to give you more information and help you to discover the rest of the beautiful beaches and sights.
Where to find me:
Instagram: @bluetraveltales Email: firstname.lastname@example.org YouTube channel: Anna Nik ___________________________________________________________________________________________
So what did you think?
Our 1st Team Kaptain Kenny contribution is done. Thank you, Anna from @bluetraveltales
I really thought Anna did a wonderful job of the photography and storytelling. This makes me want to book a trip to Greece, pronto!
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