Two years ago Shaun & I visited Santorini and it was without a doubt the best holiday I’ve been on. It was so much fun, the island was ever so picturesque and the food was heavenly. Some of you might have done a bit of island hopping from one Greek island to another which has become an epitome of blogger holiday in the past year. I’m more of a fan of a thorough exploration if you ask me, but since we haven’t had time to go on any holiday this year because of all the moving shebang, here’s a guest post on holidaying in Crete – one of our ‘to visit’ destinations! Hope you enjoy reading it!
Crete is a Greek paradise for more than one reason. Yes, the weather is gorgeous with long golden beaches, but that’s not where Crete’s magic ends. The birthplace of Zeus himself, this island has snow-topped mountains, astonishing valleys and cliff-lined coasts – all filled with interesting coves just begging for exploration.
It’s little wonder then, that Crete has been the inspiration behind so many creative projects, both in modern times and historically. So now it’s time to escape to Crete and recharge your batteries, fuel energy into that creative piece you’ve been meaning to finish. Or who knows, Crete may even inspire your next masterpiece.
6 REASONS WHY CRETE IS PERFECT FOR CREATIVE MINDS
THE NUMEROUS HIKING TRAILS
There is nothing like a long walk surrounded by nature to clear your mind and boost creative inspiration. Crete has so many beautiful hiking trails but first on your list should be the 16km hike down Samariá Gorge – the longest in Europe. Take in the superb views of this stunning canyon as you surround yourself with unique species of flowers and plants (it’s illegal to pick a single flower here!), ancient temple ruins, springs, Venetian castles and even wild goats!
For seasoned hikers, the E4 European Long Distance path encompasses most of the island, all of its mountain ranges and various Cretan landscapes of interest. This would take you several weeks to complete, but you can look at the trail and pick your own starting points and destinations for a far shorter walk.
SOME OF THE WORLD’S MOST GORGEOUS BEACHES
For picturesque beaches with golden sands and crystal-clear waters, look no further than Crete. Elafonisi beach, in particular, is the prettiest beach in Crete with its pink sands. Similarly, Balos beach is famed for its turquoise waters that are warm and shallow. Both can get extremely busy, so if you’re looking for something quieter, try Sougia beach. This 1.3km stretch is long enough for you to feel like you have the whole place to yourself, even during high season.
IT’S ENRICHED WITH HISTORY AND CULTURE
Crete’s history has inspired so many great books, including The Island, The Egyptian and Zorba the Greek. Nikos Kazantzakis, who authored Zorba the Greek, actually has his own museum in Crete, which is certainly worth a visit for any writer or literature fan. You can find out about the author’s life history as well as seeing some of his original manuscripts.
For a more expansive look into Crete’s history, the Historical Museum of Crete includes artefacts and paintings outlining the island’s life, including the Minoan times. Or visit the Palace of Knossos – known to be Europe’s oldest city.
THE LOCAL ISLAND LIFE
If you’re looking to be inspired by the Crete way of life, then a hotel is no good. To really immerse yourself into local life you should stay in a traditional Cretan house in the mountains. There’s something incredibly meditative about escaping the bustling towns below and blanketing yourself with tranquillity. Imagine being surrounded by the smells of growing Mediterranean herbs and spices, as well as exotic fruit plants such as mango, fig and avocado trees. It’s the perfect environment to relax and focus your mind.
THE YOGA RETREATS
Crete is home to many yoga retreats that aim to uncover the diverse beauties of Crete – the perfect mind frame to get those creative juices flowing. The retreats don’t just focus on yoga – you’ll also be encouraged to immerse yourself in Cretan culture by learning the history, going on hikes, swimming, sailing and even sleeping on some of the island’s beautiful beaches. You can even choose where you’d prefer to stay – whether that’s in a luxury hotel, Tipi, traditional Cretan Inn or a mountain shelter.
THE AMAZING FOOD
Of course, it’s practically impossible to feel inspired on an empty stomach, and the local Cretan food is simply delicious. So, to keep your creative mind working to optimal level, be sure to indulge on your trip. A favourite local dish is Chaniotiko Bouréki, similar to a lasagne it contains layers of courgette, potato and local cheeses.
Methexis is a hugely popular local restaurant famed for its unusual dishes and large portions. Expect to try dishes like goat and lamb liver roulade as well as locally-sourced seafood. Bakaliko is a combination of a restaurant, deli and cooking school. Known for both local and international dishes, you particularly need to try the desserts here as they are divine.