At the end of August I went on the most perfect holiday to Greece. It was an excellent way to end the summer with my favourite person and I would highly recommend anyone looking for sunshine, happiness and lots to do to pay a visit to the island of Crete.
We stayed in the Lena Beach Hotel in Kalathas, Crete. The views were absolutely amazing! Our room looked out to the pool, the ocean, the beach, the pretty buildings and little islands in the distance. Blue skies and turquoise waters was our view for a week, it was postcard perfect to say the least. There was a small restaurant right beside the hotel which was really cute with it’s outdoor seating looking over the ocean. It was some of the best food we had tried so we had to go twice. Just two minutes down the road was Kalathas Beach which was beautiful. Silky sand, warm waters and a great bar/ restaurant which really made it. On one of our evenings we spent time relaxing in the sea at golden hour followed by drinks watching the sun go down. Perfect right? It was! This was one of the many times we indulged in Moussaka and yummy fried aubergine which was the perfect end to a perfect day.
We had read on Tripadvisor that this was the place to be when visiting Crete. So one morning we took off to make our way to the famous lagoon. When we finally came to the entrance of the trail to Balos Beach, we were informed that it was quite a drive to our destination and when we would get there it was a further 20 minute hike by foot. We were more than up for the adventure but it wasn’t a simple journey. It was a steep, dusty, rocky and very narrow road across a cliff. We were very concerned about our poor little car and had to reassure her that she would make it. Passing out stalls selling olive oil, mountain goats, a mini chapel and signs warning us of ‘falling rocks’ we finally made it to the top.
This is where we made our descent to the famous beach, and it was definitely a climb. Down thousands of crumbling steps we went, and every bit of breeze that came was welcome. The views were incredible and we had great fun making the journey. Although I’m not too sure everyone else there was particularly enjoying it, a few brave dads were carrying sleepy toddlers up and down this hefty hill which was already difficult in the scorching sun. We saluted them. At the bottom, the pretty lagoon had plenty of places to relax, sunbathe and even a restaurant and bar for drinks and a bite to eat. We were just glad to rest and enjoy the light breeze late in the day. The trip back was challenging but stopping for water and taking in the view kept us going. To end our adventure we went to possibly one of the prettiest restaurants I’ve ever been in to eat some of the yummiest food I’ve had, which I’ll talk about next.
The Food of Crete
One of the main reasons I was so keen to get back to Greece was for the fantastic food. Unfortunately I can’t remember the names of the places in which we ate, but we definitely spent most of the trip devouring the amazing dishes that they had to offer. I think Martin ate Moussaka more than enough times, but to be fair we came across some seriously delicious versions of the Greek dish. Being on the coast we couldn’t resist the fresh seafood that was always offered and boasted on the menus. We sampled a little bit of everything from mussels to snails and from delicious Cretan salads to plain and simple steaks. Although their wine wasn’t something we ended up getting used to, the iced coffees were just as good and extra refreshing over there.
From our hotel it was a 15 minute drive to Chania town which is so so beautiful! We took about three or four trips here as it was so lovely to stroll around and explore the markets. The highlight is definitely the Old Venetian Harbour at the heart of Chania. When you research Crete, this old town always comes up because it’s probably one of the most interesting and busy parts of the island.
Here there are a number of restaurants, shops and activities to fill up for your time. We wined, dined and spent a lot of time looking through the specialised shops that had handmade everything from leather bags, belts and boots to pretty pottery. My favourite thing that we did though has to be the the island boat trip on our last day.
We chose the afternoon Chania Boat Trip which brought us out to sea for 3.5 hours with interesting history stories and snorkelling in clear waters. I swam along side colourful fish and we were even brought to a part of the ocean where an airplane from WWII remained underwater. When we weren’t in the water, the deck was the perfect place to relax and enjoy the views and the captain even caught an octopus amongst other sea creatures and brought them on board. Safe to say I didn’t touch them but it was definitely a fun element and of course they were released back into the ocean. For only €15 it was a really enjoyable day out and we would highly recommend!
It was truly the holiday of a life time and we both came back happy, tanned and relaxed. Despite all that is going on in Greece at the moment, we felt safe, welcome and never had any issues with money. For all these reasons and more, I would highly recommend visiting this beautiful place. Next on my bucket list is the neighbour island of Santorini…