One of the most beautiful 1’st of May was spent on Crete Island in 2013. It was my first time in Greece and I didn’t feel the full effect until I put my feet over the incredible blue waters of the Mediterranean. The moment I am at seaside I feel at home.
Crete is the largest island in Greece and the fifth largest one in the Mediterranean Sea. Here, you can admire the remnants of brilliant civilizations, explore unique beaches, impressive mountain escapes, fertile valleys and steep gorges, and become part of the island’s rich gastronomic culture. No matter what beach you choose in Crete, you’ll be rewarded with warm sun and sparkling blue water.
Crete Island is, after all, a small universe teeming with beauties and treasures that you will probably need a lifetime to uncover!
We landed on Crete Island early in the morning and practically I shed my luggage and everything extra to run down to the beach. After so much work it was so refreshing to instantly switch to island life. I didn’t even mind ruining my sandals whilst being distracted with the enjoyment of the Mediterranean lapping at my feet.
Our hotel was located near Agios Nikolaos town, on the largest natural bay in Crete, Mirabello Bay, named for the beautiful view (mira bella) of the sea from the town. Agios Nikolaos was one of the first towns in Crete to feel the effects of tourist development and continues to still impress visitors. Despite still battling financial troubles it was amazing to see that over the last few years it does not seem to have broken their resilience, love for their country and seeing others enjoy it too. I hope more people can aim to visit and support Greece tourism much more. It’s not all about drinking on the Greek Islands but to experience the hospitality, incredible sunsets and of course… the food.
Crete Island is an exquisite location for its mixture of Venetian and Turkish influences, ancient architecture, long stretches of sandy shoreline and a wealth of natural beauty. The largest island in Greece has it all for every traveler: expansive history and archaeology, gorgeous beaches, stunning mountain vistas, quaint towns and bustling city centers.
We were lucky to have rented a car so after we arrived we wandered through Agios Nikolaos in the afternoon heat until the sun set, trying to soak in as much as possible. Different to all other towns in Crete, Agios Nikolaos manages to mix – upon the three hills which support its girth – an arty, leisurely, sleepy and yet also bustling place.
The town has three faces to the sea: The Lake and port, Kitroplatia beach and the Marina. Its unique Voulismeni lake is a a folklore inspiringly deep body of water which is connected to the sea by a narrow inlet. It is surrounded and overlooked by cafes and restaurants, being a busy gathering place for local residents and visitors alike.
The beach at Kitroplatia is one of the few in Crete that provide a beach location near the town center. If you stroll up down to the other side of the town you will get to the marina, where another sea front offers its wares. Many churches are scattered within the streets of Agios Nikolaos, including the small church which lends its name to the town.
Shopping is fun also in Agios Nikolaos. There are many shops with original items on offer, from woven fabrics, to cups, mugs and china wear and a miscellany of clothes, house decor and local food products and delicacies.
But what I loved here is the delicious food. You can choose eating in one of the many restaurants overlooking The Lake. Another good place to eat is Migomis, a restaurant perched above “the lake” with a grand view across it. The restaurant has an original menu and is a delight to dine at when something better beckons. On our last day we found another relaxing garden called Pelagos, which is shaded by extensive tree and shrub wood and leaves. A forested eatery specialized in fish & sea food and full of cats.
Agios Nikolaos is a small town feel, one that has lots to offer. You can walk and enjoy the several distinct waterfronts. If you come here, You will get to know it quickly and feel familiar with the place, like an old friend.
After a scorching day exploring through Agios Nikolaos it was idyllic to come back to our resort. Even though I never got the chance to dive in, the Mediterranean breeze and tasting the salt in the air is enough to refresh any mind.
As about the photos, I wanted to share with you my travel outfit as I thought it might be helpful. On my arrival to Crete I decided to wear a really simple and comfortable outfit. These are two important factors when it comes to choosing your travel outfit. A simple shirt, a pair of loose-fit printed trousers and an embellished diadema to spice things up worked perfectly for me. And of course a pair of sunnies.
What about you? What do you usually wear while traveling?