A wonderful day full of sun, a great desire to travel the streets of the Island of Crete. I am glad that you accepted my invitation, that provides a route of 12 stages in the places where Zeus was born, along with our civilization. Brink of Summer, on my Vespa. Together, we travel along winding roads and full of history, but the tour that I propose we can also enrich – occasionally – with the progress that you suggests when we move.
From Chania to Kissamos, one short journey of only 38 km, we can also dive into the sea of Kolymvari, or make a detour to the area of Afrata, looking for some amazing monasteries. Once in Kissamos, we can rest a little at the beach, but also go to Polirrinia – the site of many flocks – but for our first evening I would to stay in the magical atmosphere of Phalasarna.
For our second day of travel, we expect 37 km and Moni Chrisoskalitissis. Certainly we will go up a flight of steps from the ancient history, maybe we’ll go a little further south, on a spit of sand that goes in the Mediterranean, to a remote monastery suspended on a rock. Our second evening, of course, includes the rapture of the sunset and a dinner in a tiny tavern, of course without the Saracen pirates.
33 km only lead us to the beach Pelekanos, a camping paradise, where we can decide whether to take a ferry to the island of Kastri – the deep south of Greece – or forward us to the west, towards a remote stretch of sand, listening to the silence of unspoiled nature, under one mountainous inaccessible. For evening, this small town offers us the choice of many inns, obviously all facing the sea.
From Pelekanos Sougia, we face a mountain path, but the 44 km will not bored you, because its the variety of landscapes – along with many curves – keep your alarm care, especially when we go down again towards the sea and towards a village, to Sougia, full of bars and taverns, but also of rooms for rent. If you you feel like it, we can go to the gorge of Agia Eirini, but only if you have good shoes and the pleasure of walking.
Our fifth stage, provides access to the Samaria Gorge. 44 km to arrive in the most spectacular scenery of Crete, but you will have to pay a small tribute to your legs, because that place can not be reached with our Vespa. 5 hours of walking and sturdy shoes, but your effort will be rewarded from the sources of fresh water and the observation of the wild goat, the kri kri, as they are called in Crete. Into the village of Samaria, we will find only the ruins. The must-see of these gorges? The Iron Gates, two high rock walls just 3 meters apart from each other.
110 km, one of the three longer routes of our trip to Crete, to get to Hora Sfakia, on the Libyan Sea. To the west of the city, mountains overlooking the sea, but we can get, by using a boat, to the nearby Loutro. Sure, it’s a small fee, but its whitewashed houses and blue shutters painted, I am sure it will remain drawn in a travel journal. If you feel like it, we can also go by boat to the island of Gavdos, to see if deserves the name that they gave, “Sweetwater beach.”
The seventh stage will take us to the beach of Plakias, a short course of only 42 km, but our reward is great: 2 km of beach gray. If we are not too tired, a nice scenic trail to the east, allows us to swim in the beautiful bays of Damnoni, or those of Souda.
Agia Galini is near, only 48 km away. Its famous beach and the many tavernas, all between the sea and the rocks, this is the prize for our day eighth, delight painted blue. We can make a boat trip to the beautiful beaches of the islands Paximadia, far from the crowds of Agia Galini, but for our eighth night, the choice between many places to eat, no doubt it will be a nice prize.
131 km, a stage of transfer to the east, where she awaits the sea the beautiful Ierapetra, the most southern town of Europe. Its ancient Venetian fortress, still bears witness to the stories of robbers and devastation, as well as a mosque and a house special, they remind us of the presence of settlers and travelers. The house? The one where Napoleon Bonaparte spent a night back in 1798, while he was traveling towards Egypt. Beach in amount, but if you want the beach in white, we have to take a small boat, and go in the small island of Chrysi.
Arriving at Zakros, after 77 km, we can devote our time to observe what the archaeologist Nikolaos Platon had found in 1961: a Minoan palace not yet plundered. What we can observe – remember – it has almost 4,000 years of age, but the visit to the archaeological site which preserves the fourth largest palace of Crete, we can do safely. Why? Because the terrible earthquake that destroyed the wonder, today seems to doze.
36 km to get to the beaches of Vai, the exotic place par excellence, filled with palm trees. Obviously, its inviting sandy cove also has other guests, because they – like us – are attracted by the exotic charm of this place, even if the prices for eating and sleeping, they are definitely high.
Heraklion lies ahead us, after 153 km of displacement, the longest of our tour in Crete. Candia, was its ancient name, one that retains the charm of Venetian architecture, but also an archaeological museum unique in the world, filled with the wonders of Minoan art. The rhyton (bull’s head), perhaps you’ll draw in your notebook travel, and maybe even the mysterious disc festo, but what will remain in your eyes is in the Hall of frescoes. Of course we will visit the ancient Venetian fortress, the naval dockyards and the Palace of Knossos, before going to the airport, before we say goodbye, after 700 km of road and a thousand curves.