My, my, my. I just came home from eight days in Greece and am already leaving again to Qatar followed by Bali and South Africa on Tuesday. After one of the most terrifying nights in my life I’ve been packing and unpacking basically the whole day with a short stop at my parents for dinner with them and my boyfriend to drop off the jars of honey I bought for them in Greece. Hopefully (hehe) you got concerned when I wrote that I had a terrifying night so let me clarify why – burglars, or rather what was originally presumed to be an attempted break-in but later written off as someone who had had a little bit too much to drink accidentally walking into the wrong house. I was all alone in my boyfriend’s parents’ house and was about to make the bed when I noticed that the garage door, that always is closed and locked, stood open leading straight into the basement. Trying to be realistic considering the promising crime statistics in the area I just closed the door and went upstairs to get my phone when I spotted a shadowy figure moving in the garden. Once again I thought it was probably just the deer that likes to eat my mother in law’s flowers but was feeling a bit anxious so I called my Dad and after a few minutes, breaking the silence, I heard loud bangs coming from the door and window in the living room whereupon I screamed out loud and my Dad called the police. They arrived after like fifteen minutes at the same time as my Dad who had rushed to the car when he heard my screaming with two police cars, one helicopter and a dog that flashed me his teeth as if in a smile, which was like so cute. Anyway, with the aid of the helicopter’s heat detectors they soon determined that I was the only one on the premises and with no signs of it being a burglar but rather a drunk they left and my Dad stayed until Hugo came home five minutes later and all was well again, even if I was kind of shaky and agitated up until I fell asleep to the sound of Mary Poppins.
That being told I am glad to present to you today this short guide to Crete. As those of you who follow me on Instagram (@helena_de_ilenczfalva) already know I was there with my grandma who was kind enough to pay for the flight and hotel, which is one of the most generous gifts I have ever received. Approaching her 80’s she booked an accommodation in the quiet Kato Stalos outside Chania where we spent most of the days at the beach (I even befriended the most adorable little two year old Ukrainian Norwegian girl named Sofiya who swam up to me in the water with her inflatable teletubby and really liked to sit in my lap and laugh at me for no particular reason). However, Kato Stalos is very conveniently located on the island, making it possible to reach certain landmarks and other islands very easily.
Where to stay
As you know I loooove lifestyle experiences and most often stay at 5* hotels, though I think it’s important to point out that this is not because I want to appear as fancy or show off a wealth that I certainly don’t possess but because I think it’s an important part of the travel experience and I have a weak spot for things that feel luxurious which people of a greater intellect than me would probably consider a weekness. However, this is certainly not a necessity and I was very, very happy to stay in a beautiful apartment hotel with a balcony overlooking the sea.
Tropicana Beach Hotel: I certainly recommend you all to stay at this hotel offering both apartments and suites. It was very light and clean with the bed situated right in front of the balcony so that we could wake up to the most breath taking sunsets every morning. Thanks to the kitchen supplies it was also possible for us to start every day with some Greek yoghurt, honey and fresh peaches. Apart from the adjacent beach the hotel also has a pool and a bar/restaurant with delicious Greek food and super friendly and helpful staff. A buss stop and super market can be found on the road right outside in addition to lots of restaurants.
Harbour of Chania: We went here one day for lunch (very easily reached by bus) and the area was so beautiful even though there were people literally everywhere. It is definitely a must once you’re nearby.
Knossos: This palace is located in Heraklion and can be reached by bus even if it takes at least two hours. Being the oldest remaining of a civilisation in Europe I definitely recommend you to see it and if possible book a guided tour as they will tell you a lot about the history and even Greek mythology. For Scandinavians I recommend you to book a trip through Apollo.
Samaria Gorge: One of the most beautiful national parks in Greece with lots of interesting history of a previous small little village located right inside the gorge, making it one of the island’s most popular tourist attractions.
Boat trip to Santorini: Santorini is one of the most beautiful and iconic islands in Greece with its’ white houses and blue doors. The place is really like no other and as it’s rather small and can easily be explored in one or two days it is definitely an option to stay on another island and take a daily boat trip to Santorini for a reasonable fee.
Where to eat
As my grandma has issues with her knees and can’t walk longer distances without pain we mostly dined at the same spots and agreed on one favourite.
Maria Taverna: Surrounded by flowers, palm trees and even a lemon plant which was my favourite to watch, this restaurant is a very nice and modest option with lots of food on the menu. It is owned by the sweetest guy with an even sweeter little six year old son who often played alongside the tables and for those looking for typical Greek food the waiters can provide you with the best recommendations.
See you in Bali!