After our short but brilliant stay in Athens we took a plane to Chania in Crete, (I know not as adventurous as going on an overnight ferry but still). We had hired a car from Surprice which I highly recommend as a company. The car could practically go any where if you wanted to and was much better and bigger than the one we ordered.
We then drove to the estate agents and met the owner of the house we were renting and followed her to the town of Kissamos further along the west coast.
We stayed in an area called Zerviana about 7km outside of KIssamos, with beautiful views of the mountains and sea. The house was a lovely old, stone cottage.
My favourite beach that we went to on the island of Crete was Balos beach, unfortunately we only got to go once. In summer when all the tourists are here I think you can take a boat there instead which is probably easier but it wasn’t that difficult by road and trekking. It takes an hour from Kissamos down a long, rough, dirt track on the Gramvousa peninsula. Most people say not to drive it without a 4 wheel drive but we don’t listen to most people.
Once you arrive at the car park you have to walk down to the beach which takes around half an hour on a steepish track. Unfortunately we couldn’t take the pram so Jed walked most of the way and we carried him some.
For about 200 meters you walk on sloping earth but then it turns into steps all the way down to the beach. Once you reach the steps the view of Balos Lagoon and Gramvousa Island is visible and it really is incredible. The sea was crystal clear and different shades of aquamarine, fluffy clouds floating in a perfect blue sky and the beach was a wondrous white.
Once we reached the beach we turned right and sauntered through the cool water towards the island. We didn’t go on the island but we stayed at the bottom and took over the full beach with our kite.
As usual there was no one there so it was brilliant. We paddled and played and sunbathed and had a picnic, it was so peaceful. We left as the sun was disappearing and took some great sunset photos.
The other beach that we enjoyed was Elafonissi which I read about on the news as it is apparently one of the best beaches in the world.
It was around an hour and a half drive through the incredible scenery of western Crete.
There were pink beaches and white ones and the sea was beautiful and clear.
Once you reached the island and turned towards land it’s an incredible view.
There’s a church on the island too
and lots of sand dunes where Jed had loads of fun running up and down and jumping off. We came here a few times and even found lots of money one day on the beach as there had been a big storm the night before. I think we found about 15 euros and other coins.
Our other favourite was Falassarna beach (another world class beach) which was a lot closer than the other ones.
We came here for the solar eclipse too which was also the summer solstice. We didn’t see as much as people did in Britain or the north but we got part of it and took some photos.
We came here mostly for the small sand unes which Jed loved just running up and down on. The beach was huge as well. There is also an ancient site here but it was closed for winter.
The local people grow a lot of fruit and vegetables here in greenhouses which are dotted everywhere.
Another beach we went to (which isn’t one of my favourites but worth a mention for the drive) was on Rodopou peninsula. It took us nearly an hour just to find the right track (after a lot of stress and navigation) but on the bright side we at least saw a lot of the peninsula.
It took another hour plus to get to the end which was no easy track, with boulders in the road and cliffs that fell 100 meters down one side. It was basically a 4wd track but again we did it thanks to TUTS (The Ultimate Traveller) excellent driving skills, thanks TUT.
In the end we finally made it to Menies beach
which is located at the ancient site of Diktynna which had only a few remains.
They worshiped goddess Vritomartis and goddess Artemis. There was also a paved road that connected this site to Polyrinia which you can still see part of. The beach was pebble but was situated in a lovely bay. We stayed only a short time and then had to head back before it went dark and we got stuck out here.