Last year, PackThePJs attended a pre-inaugural sailing of Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship, Carnival Vista. Beautiful ship. Amazing few days. We docked in Heraklion, Crete, and this is where our maritime journey ended. As we were driven to the airport to head home, we commented that we’d have liked longer to explore Crete. When the plane took off, we looked at the island beneath us and regretted not extending our stay.
With summer in the UK coming to an end (did it ever begin?) we’re already thinking of short haul destinations where we can grab some much-needed sunshine over the coming months. Crete was instantly mentioned, but we know very little about this Greek island. What is there for a family to do?
One place I’ve always wanted to visit is the idyllic looking Seitan Limania beach, east of Akrotiri Cape. It looks beautiful.
However, our research tells us that the beach is very difficult to get to, and quite dangerous. Not suitable for our young(ish) children then 🙁
Experiences of others …
So I asked my blogging friends to recommend some ‘highlights’ of their own family holidays in Crete. And this is what they told me.
Lasithi Plateau and Hercules Cave
Lauren from The Helpful Hiker recommends that we hire a car and visit the Lasithi Plateau and Hercules Cave. Lasithi Plateau is 900m above sea level and is a vast expanse of green fields interspersed with orchards and almond groves. There are very few villages here, so it’s a true taste of rural Crete. It sounds wonderful.
Elounda, Spinalonga and Samaria Gorge
Jo, from Cup of Toast stayed in Elounda a few years ago, which she said was beautiful. They visited Spinalonga which they found very moving. Spinalonga (officially called Kalydon) is located in the Gulf of Elounda. It used to be part of Crete, but during Venetian occupation, for defence reasons, they separated it from the main island and built an imposing fort on it. From 1903 to 1957 the island was used as a leper colony (one of the last active ones in Europe).
The Samaria Gorge was also recommended by Jo. However, she warns that this is exhausting but well worth the effort! Having researched it, it looks AMAZING … but does warn that it will take 5-7 hours walking over rough terrain to appreciate it fully.
Cat from RockAndRollPussyCat says that Agios Nikolas as being beautiful. She recommends a visit to the gorgeous marina and to try out the many varied tasty restaurants there. Agios Nikolas does sound like ‘our kind of place’. It is quite modern, yet maintains a strong local character. There is a circular lake surrounded by a pedestrian path lined with cafes and restaurants. It’s a trendy town – it’s where the stylish young Greeks hang out!
Laura from OhSoMummy recommends Star Beach for those with young families. She told me that when she visited there was great entertainment and music there, and even a foam party! It looks a full on action-packed place! Lots of pools and waterslides : Jet ski-ing and banana boating : Para-sailing and bungee jumping!
What is clear is that Crete has so much to offer a family. Everything from relaxing and idyllic beaches, to natural caves and gorges, and to a rich history. And, of course, there’s endless opportunities to have lots of fun. So yes, we’re sold. We need to return to Crete as soon as possible!