Crete, Greece (Large Towns - Rethymno, Chania, & Agios Nikolaos)

Restaurant Rethymno Crete Greece
Restaurant - Rethymno, Crete, Greece
Mixed Seafood Dinner Crete Greece
Mixed Seafood Dinner - Crete, Greece
Lake Voulismeni Agios Nikolaos Crete Greece
Lake Voulismeni 
- Agios Nikolaos, Crete, Greece
Shopping Street Rethymno Crete Greece
Shopping Street
- Rethymno, Crete, Greece
Courtyard Restaurant Chania Crete Greece
Courtyard Restaurant
- Chania, Crete, Greece
Harbor in Evening Agios Nikoloas Crete Greece
Harbor in Evening 
- Agios Nikoloas, Crete, Greece
Romantic Resteraurant Rethymno Crete Greece
Romantic Restaurant
- Rethymno, Crete, Greece
Wedding Chania Crete Greece
Wedding - Chania, Crete, Greece

Crete, Greece - Large Towns (Rethymno, Chania, & Agios Nikolaos)  (6/23-7/11/2010)

Crete is a wonderful island!  

We planned to be in Crete a week and stayed 2 ½ weeks. Home to hundreds of beaches, beautiful coastlines, great food, hospitable people, and one of the oldest civilizations in the world, Crete claims to host almost 25% of all of Greece’s tourism. 

Crete is the largest and most populous (pop: 650,000), and diverse of the Greek Islands. The people of Crete are proud and warm and maintain their culture and customs, particularly their strong musical tradition. 

After a 10-hour overnight ferry crossing from the Greek island of Rhodes, we landed in Crete at the city of Sitia early in the morning. Sitia looked just OK to us so we hopped on a bus to Agios Nikolaos, a touristic but attractive Greek village. 

Agios Nikolaos has a small beautiful picturesque lake (Voulismeni) that is encircled by tiny fishing boats and restaurants (see photo). The charm of Agios Nikolaos makes it a fun place to visit in Crete, especially because we stayed at the Du Lac Hotel with a balcony overlooking the lake. The lovely views day and night and the Cretan music and smells of food making their way up to our room from the lakeside restaurants were worth the stay. 

From Agios Nikoloas, we took a day trip to Elounda and found a little taverna on the water and Wayne had a seafood plate with fried sardines, calamari, and mackerel (see photo). Pat had a Greek salad and they served hot bead with melted bits of cheese with eggplant dip - yum! The beaches in this area of Crete are just OK so off we went to Rethymno. 

Rethymno Harbor Crete Greece
Rethymno Harbor, Crete, Greece
Rethymno is an absolutely beautiful town in Crete with beautiful beach a few minutes walk away! The delightful Venetian-Ottoman quarter of Rethymno is a maze of narrow streets with romantic tavernas (restaurants) and shops. Pat strolled trance-like through the streets viewing shop after shop of colorful shoes, dresses, and dining sets - a woman’s delight! 

Rethymno Old Venetian Harbor Crete Greece
Rethymno's Old Venetian Harbor
Having an early dinner at the Rethymno's Old Venetian Harbor was a bit magical. Even more magic materialized that night when we attended a wine festival in Rethymno’s central park. Drinking Cretan wine (some are pretty good) and sampling local made cheeses under a full moon… OK, life is good. Sad to leave Crete's Rethymno but glad to visit our next place… 

Chania Habor Crete Greece
Chania - Crete, Greece
Chania is another beautiful former Venetian town with narrow lanes curving around a large beautiful harbor used in filming the movie Zorba the Greek (see photos – can you tell?). Chania's beaches were a little further away but an easy 20-minute bus ride got us to one of our favorite beaches with a rock lined cove (see photo). Chania was a wonderful town in Crete to wander with romantic restaurants serving great Cretan and Greek food.

Map Minoan Civilization
Map of Minoan Civilization
Some history... An advanced people, now named Minoans, came to Crete in 3400 BC developing unprecedented artistic, engineering, and cultural achievements. Around 1450 BC, the Minoans were wiped out by earthquakes and possibly a giant tsunami caused by the massive volcanic eruption of Santorini.

Map of Crete Greece
Map of Crete
More modern history is showed today by the beautiful Venetian towns and fortifications around Crete. The Venetians ruled supreme from 1204 until 1669 when they were succeeded by the Turks who ruled Crete until very recently except for a brutal occupation by the Nazi Germans in WWII. In 1988, Crete became an independent country, followed by its union with Greece.

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Crete Greece  Smaller Villages Georgioupoli Matala

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  1. Crete is an island we've considered visiting in the past but not quite made it yet. With so many smaller towns dotted over the island It's great to learn of these that will definitely make it onto the list of those to visit. They sound fabulous! I'm off to read your other post on Crete!

  2. This area is so rich in history throughout the centuries. I'm particularly interested currently in the Venetian influence in this part of the world, as I know very little about it. Planning to correct this! :)

  3. You stayed in Crete 250% longer than planned. That pretty much tells me everything. Glad you enjoyed the trip.

  4. I went to Crete the first time years ago, specifically to see the Palace of Knossos, not knowing much about the island itself. But we loved it so much, we hitchhiked to Paleohora and were depressed when we had to leave it. Maybe it's time to go back, and 'help support the Greek economy'! As good an excuse as any, I think!

  5. I went to Crete the first time years ago, specifically to see the Palace of Knossos and I booked a table in theodosi restaurant. It was the best restaurant in crete.


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