The Greek Island of Crete - Holiday, Beaches, Walks and Photos.
Crete has great food, excellent beaches and is wonderful for walking and sightseeing so a lovely scenic choice for a Greek Holiday.
We decided to go to Crete
perhaps somewhat wary of going to such a large island since we normally prefer the
smaller Greek Islands such as Samos or Skiathos, however actually getting to and finding accommodation in early April on many Greek Islands is somewhat difficult since many are closed.
Despite this being a two week stay on the Island and just concentrating on Western side, even this was too large an area to get to know very well in such a short time.
Crete's gorges and ravines are spectacular and certainly Crete has some of the best scenery around for walking through and for taking sightseeing car-trips. As it seems is always the case on Greek Islands, tavernas provide good and plentiful food at very reasonable prices - even lots of different vegetables can been found on the menus and of course with the normal Greek Island type of friendliness ever present.
Crete Island Greece Beaches Guide and Photos.
The Crete beach we used mostly (firstly because it was just a small beach which we like
rather than big beaches and secondly as it was ok for naturist sunbathing and swimming) is located at Damioni
. Damioni Beach is reached from Rethimnon by heading due south across the narrow part of the island. Actually this was also the only naturist beach we could find in the Western area in fact though we were on Crete really for walking and hiking so we did not try
too hard to find other Crete naturist beaches.
Since we were on the Island very early in the year we did not go to that many Crete beaches - weather being not that fabulous for beach days, although of
course pretty good for us walkers. There are quite a few images of Crete's Palm Beach - this beach is really picturesque and sort of unusual - certainly one to try and visit. There are of course beaches everywhere on the island
both large and small with quite a few sandy ones.
Being topless is generally OK as is generally the case on the Greek Islands but as far as
Crete naturist beaches are concerned we did not particularly look too hard to find any. There were so many people not
around at the time of our holiday that just about anywhere could be used by naturists but this obviously changes as the holiday season progresses. We did twice visit Damioni beach
which is naturist - this is a quite small Crete beach but well protected from the wind on three sides and with the sun shining was pretty good to be on
- one imagines that this beach roasts during the summer months though. Please note
- there are no naturist type photographs on our site - just photos of Crete Beaches. The picture on the right is of Falasarna Beach Sheep on their way for a bit of sunbathing and a swim.
The photos below are of Palm Beach, Crete.
These are photos of Damioni Beach, Crete
- the beach is situated in a rocky small cove and is as small as the photo
suggests and because it is favoured by naturists does tend to fill up quite quickly.
Even on our early holiday we found the beach got quite hot so presumably it scorches once you get into the Summer. There are no facilities on the beach.
Whilst on holiday on Crete we were unable to take the walk through the Samaria Gorge because of weather (sea) conditions which was a disappointment. However we did walk the Prassanos Gorge - seemingly not many people know about or walk this rugged and spectacular gorge. Its well worth the effort but you need to
ensure weather conditions are ok i.e. no heavy rain either imminent or having occurred in the previous couple of days since it could be quite dangerous. We also hiked through the Imbros Gorge
which is well used and a very easy walk i.e. not difficult at all especially compard with the Prassonos Gorge mentioned above.The photo on the right is Palm Beach - an unusual and scenic spot - we walked
there and this is described on our Crete - Palm Beach topic.
Crete - Rethymno. Rethymno
is fairly typical of the larger Greek island towns, with the usual traffic chaos and lack of road signs
etc. It's long promenade and the harbour are fine to wander around and the inner harbour is saturated with tavernas and bars - mostly used by tourists. The older part of the town is more interesting to look around - also of course the fortress is easy walking and not hard to spot
as it dominates the town and can be seen from miles away.
You can walk to the fortress from the inner harbour, just follow the coast road round and up until you see the fort's entrance.
It does not cost very much to go into the fortress and once in there are plenty of bits to see and photograph - also you get pretty good views of the town below.
We stayed about 4kms outside of Rethymnon at a place called Platanias
, and found the tavernas here much better than those in Rethymnon, both for food quality and quantity as well as prices and
also the friendliness of the taverna staff / owners. If you travel west from Rethymnon you follow alongside almost constant sandy beaches until you get to the small fishing village
The causeway shown in our picture goes out 10 miles into the sea (only kidding), however walk along this causeway to visit the small church at the end and get views of Georgioupoli's small
beach and harbour either side. There is a very large village square and we found this very pleasant for a stop and a coffee.
Inland from Georgioupoli you find Crete's only freshwater lake at Kournas - very popular even in April with coach trips and tours etc. You cannot walk right round the lake but if you park near where the paddle boats were for hire, you can go anti-clockwise round the
lake and get to the hills seen the other side - a track will take you up into the hills so far before it becomes a very very steep path which will allow you to continue up over the hills to Alikampos (a climb of 1650 feet).
We stopped off at Kolimbari, a small fishing village to the west of Chania and had a look round. We also took a quite narrow road
up into the mountains passing the Moni Gonia and then made a circular drive round and back to Kolimbari - well worthwhile for the views and scenery.
An interesting drive to try whilst on holiday on Crete is to go to Polirinia and Falsarna.
Start off by leaving the main road just before entering
Kissamou - the small pot-holed road goes off to the left but is quite easy to spot. The road is quite narrow and wanders around as it makes it's way up to Polirinia.
Once you get there you can park by the taverna - it's not worth or even very possible to drive right in as you will see once you have a walk around. Our trip was somewhat curtailed by a heavy hail and thunder storm (hence no pictures since it also went nearly pitch black
and we thought our car was going off for a trip on it's own because of the high winds) generated by the nearby high hills so perhaps it's worth doing this on an uncloudy day.
On the way from Polirinia to our next intended stop off at Falasarna the intention was to have lunch somewhere but there seemed a distinct lack of tavernas - we eventually found only one which was at Platanos. Platanos's taverna can be found immediately after you turn right off the main road
Falasarna is located in a farming area, the tiny port only had a few fishing boats - however it does have a very long sandy beach. There are also considerable numbers of sheep wandering about everywhere (see the photo towards the top of this page) - plus a considerable amount of sheep poo to go with them.
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