I tend to find that I’m always on the go for holidays so when two of my friends said they were heading to the Greek island of Crete for a few days after the early May bank holiday I jumped at the chance to join them. We headed to a B&B a few minutes from Gatwick Airport to stay the night before as we had a 5 am flight and after what felt like just minutes of sleep we were back in the car, parking up at Gatwick and getting the shuttle to the main airport.
We headed there on Thursday 4th and due to an early flight we had landed, collected our luggage, taken a bus to Chania town centre and found our accommodation by midday. We were pretty tired on our first day so opted to walk along the harbor front in search of a beach so we could just sit back and relax and thankfully the weather was on our side with 30-degree heat throughout the trip. We spent a lovely few hours sunbathing, reading, having a quick swim and just generally enjoying the beautiful sunshine. There’s a lot of fresh seafood on the island so my first night started with Shrimps and spaghetti against a beautiful sunset backdrop. Perfection.
On Friday started off with a nice early morning walk along the harbor and some ruins before the crowds arrived before we headed off on a little glass bottom boat tour for some swimming and snorkeling. In all honesty, there wasn’t a great deal to see under the water but it was a fun, albeit cold, exploration of the seas. We had a leisurely afternoon sitting on our apartments rooftop enjoying the sunshine and views before going for a wander through the back streets of the old town and doing a little bit of shopping. We even came across a beautiful hidden restaurant which is where we headed later that evening for more seafood and some live traditional Greek music.
Saturday was our most active day and it was a trek of Samaria Gorge which is located in the Southwest of the island created by a small river running between the White Mountains. The trek itself is 13.2km for the gorge starting at Omalos, and another 3km to the shore in Afia Roumeli which starts at an altitude of 1,250m. The gorge is actually a national park and is always on the top things to do in Crete lists, although we had started the day thinking we were just going to do the ‘lazy’ 4km route. I have to admit this walk was one of the toughest things I’ve done due to the uneven terrain on the walk which despite all being downhill was a big challenge. I had a few stops along the way but it did take the best part of 7 hours’ to complete, which when you pick up the coach at 7.45am and don’t arrive back after all the travel until 8.30pm makes for a very long day. If you’re planning on doing the trek check out my top tips for survival.
We wanted some relaxation on Sunday so took a 2-hour coach ride to something called the ‘Pink Beach’ which was meant to have pink colours showing all along the edge of the sea. While we didn’t see anything which looked pink it was a lovely beach and a really nice relaxing day out where I did nothing more than sunbathe, swim, read my book and have a quick lunch. It was exactly the kind of day I needed after the long trek the day before, although silly me did get a little burnt on my back.
By Monday it was time for me to bid farewell to my friends’ who were staying on for another day and head back to Chania airport for my flight back to London and back to reality. It was a great holiday and really nice to feel the sunshine and relax, but to be honest with so much traveling in the past month I was really glad to finally be home.