Hey guys and gals and happy Friday! This week has been pretty chaos what with graduation and getting ready for the big move and so I haven’t had a lot of time to reflect on my time in Crete. I wanted to share with you what I got up to and some top tips I picked up whilst over there. Now I’m going to be a fully functioning adult with a job and everything, I hope that I’ll be travelling a lot more and so the beautiful island of Crete is the first of a new series: The Traveller Diaries. So, let’s get started shall we?
Name: Makry Gialos, a small town on the south-eat coast of the island of Crete.
Population: Just over 4000.
Time Difference: +2 hours BST
We stayed in a lovely villa called Athena Villa, a name we soon learnt was foreign to the locals! It was lovely and quiet, had a pool and 3 decent size bedrooms. The villa itself was very affordable, however, there was a slight catch in that it was a good hours walk away from any signs of life. Luckily taxis were pretty reliable (not to mention to drivers are super friendly – shoutout to my main man George) but they were certainly not cheap, starting at about €8 to get into the village.
If I was to go again I would still choose to stay a little further out – the picturesque views and the luxury of a private pool made it worth while. However, when sorting out your spending money, do keep in mine that you will have to pay for taxis if you decide to do this.
If you fancy something a little closer to the action then there is plenty to choose from! The harbour and village have loads of hotels and apartments that were relatively quiet during our time there. If you don’t mind sharing a pool, I would recommend checking out Villa Village. The staff are lovely and they host Greek party nights and quiz nights that are full of locals. It’s also right in the centre of both the village and the harbour so it is perfect if you’re wanting to explore the area and not have to be relying on taxis.
We’ve been having lovely weather in England this summer (shocking, I know!) so I was already stocked up on sun cream, which was lucky as Crete reached temperatures of 30+ degrees! The weather was lovely for the most part but I can’t ignore the horrendous wind and mild earthquake we had there.
For a large part of the holiday, it was windy during the day. When I say windy I mean struggling to walk without being blown over windy. We did also have an earthquake. To be fair I thought was just the result of my having one too many cocktails. However, those sober enough to actually experience it were a little shook up. The locals, of course, were totally fine but it was a bit different for us Brits.
Don’t let the wind out you off, it was lovely when it calmed down, but just be aware that during this time of year they do get some pretty bad winds.
Food and Drink
The food and drink was fantastic – some of the best food I have had abroad, on par with Lagos last year (and super affordable). We quickly learnt that eating out is a hell of a lot cheaper than eating in, as the supermarkets are very pricey. However for seafood and local meats, cheeses and fruit, it’s very cheap (sometimes even free). I would highly recommend starting with a Greek salad (the feta is incredible!) and giving Moussaka a go – it’s a Greek speciality of lamb mince, aubergine and cheese and it’s so delicious! The seafood is also fab – Hari’s Tavern was particularly good for this, as were many of the restaurants on the harbour.
In terms of drinks, you will probably be given a fair few free shots of Raki. I can confirm that it is vile! However, the cocktails are very good. The sunset cafe on the harbour has a huge selection and they’re all fab (I’m partial to a Pina Colada and a San Francisco) and Olympia, which is just a short walk away, have some amazing cocktails. I’d recommend the White Star (vodka, baileys and vanilla ice cream – delicious). If you don’t venture to the harbour but rather chill in the village, the Fisherman’s Bar does a great one called Mutilated Mackerel that tastes like a naughty chocolate milkshake.
It might seem like this little island is for chilling and not a lot else but I can assure you that it definitely is not. As mentioned above, Villa Village (attached to the Fisherman’s bar) hosted a Greek night with live music and traditional Greek food. It was such a fantastic evening packed full of locals and us tourists alike. I enjoyed a couple of cocktails, a lot of Greek salad and a lesson in Greek dancing. I’m not sure how regularly these are hosted but if you get the chance to go I would seriously recommend it – for €15 per person it’s an absolute steal!
If you like your water sports you’re also in luck as the island has loads you can get up to. We tried our hand at jet skiing courtesy of George’s Water Sports located in the centre of the beach, which was loads of fun (although a little expensive at €25 for 10 minutes!). We also went out kayaking with Cretan Trails , which was without a doubt my favourite part of the holiday. It’s a 5 hour trip where you visit 5 different beaches with the kindest tour guide called Tony. You get lunch (with olives from his grandmothers garden of course) and an endless supply of fresh fruit and water. It was such a fantastic experience that I would whole heartedly recommend. At €60 per person, for everything that was included, it’s a super affordable day trip. I absolutely loved it!
I really enjoyed my time in Crete. I’m usually more of a city holiday girl but I was pleasantly surprised with how much was going on there that kept me busy. I took €320 worth of spending money, which was definitely not enough for the 10 days we were there! In hindsight I probably could have done with €400+, which would make it a very expensive holiday. As mentioned, the villa was reasonable but the flights were steep so it worked out at £700 for 10 days with transfers both ways from the airport. Adding spending money on top of that, it came to £1000. This is definitely more than I would have liked to have spent but I think you could get it a lot cheaper with a bit more forward planning (we were very very last minute) and so clever date choices. I’d recommend Makry Gialos to people looking for a relaxing holiday with a chance to get to know the locals and explore the quaint town and beautiful beaches. I think it’s he perfect place for families and those looking for a quieter holiday whilst still being able to try new things and experience a new culture to the fullest.
So that’s that! I hope you enjoyed the first ever Traveller Diaries. Stayed tuned as in the next few months Dublin will be making an appearance and possibly another European city a little closer to the new year. Where have you guys been on your summer holidays? Let me know in the comments below. Until next time.