Crete Island - an unusual Europe

Crete Island – an unusual Europe

Our September trip to Crete was scheduled back in April. The idea of ​​visiting the islands of the Mediterranean has been ripening for a long time, because the last few years we have been vacationing mainly in Asia. At the same time, an early booking voucher to Crete was cheaper than a similar one to Turkey or Egypt.

The three of us traveled and chose the hotel very carefully. It was planned to travel a lot, but not by car, but by bus. Therefore, one of the main requirements for the hotel was close proximity to transport, as well as to the sea.
But, after reading reviews that the first line can be very noisy, we opted for a small city-type hotel Memory Hotel 4 *, which is located in the city of Hersonissos, not far from the main attractions of the island.

Weather in September

Crete Island - an unusual Europe

September is considered the velvet season in Crete. At this time, the sun is not so scorching, but at the same time there is a strong, gusty wind. The temperature during the day rose to + 32 + 33 degrees, in the evenings it was up to + 20 + 23 degrees.
The water temperature was + 24 + 25 degrees. Nevertheless, Crete in September is not quite suitable for families with small children, the sea is often stormy, and since the coastline is not indented, large waves rise even on calm days.

Our Crete. Walks, excursions, sightseeing.

I will make a reservation right away, of course, as part of our short trip, we did not see everything. I only report what I saw with my own eyes.

Crete Island - an unusual Europe

The capital of Crete, the city of Heraklion, is located 25 km from Hersonissos. The modern city got its name in honor of the ancient Greek hero Hercules, who performed one of his exploits in Crete. It is a city with a rich cultural heritage and extraordinary beauty of nature.

Crete Island - an unusual Europe

Here you can visit the labyrinth of the Minotaur in the Palace of Knossos (5 km from Heraklion), known to everyone from myths and legends, excavations of Minoan cities, museums. At the same time, the city is very small in size and all the sights are, although not within walking distance, but within walking distance.

Cathedral of Saint Mina

One of the main cathedrals of the city of Heraklion is located in Venizelow Square. This is one of the largest cathedrals in Greece, which can accommodate up to 8 thousand people. The Cathedral of Saint Mina was built in 1885.

Crete Island - an unusual Europe
Cathedral of Saint Titus

Saint Titus was the founder of the first Christian community on the island, and the cathedral itself was erected in 961.

Crete Island - an unusual Europe
Archaeological Museum

It is one of the largest museums in Greece with the largest collection in the world dedicated to Minoan culture and art.

Working hours

• Mon 12.00-19.00; Tue-Sun 8.00-19.00 (April-September)
• daily 8.00-17.00 (October-March)
Crete Island - an unusual Europe
Crete Island - an unusual Europe
Historical Museum or Museum of the History and Folklore of Crete

Here are collected valuable archaeological, ethnographic and historical materials of Crete, belonging to different eras, from early Christianity to the present day.

Working hours

• Mon-Sat. from 09.00 to 17.00
• Sunday and holidays – day off

Byzantine fortress in the port

Crete Island - an unusual Europe

In my opinion, without seeing this fortress, you will not lose much. Despite the fact that the mention of the fortress appeared already in the XIV century and, undoubtedly, this is a historical monument, you do not feel the same delight as, say, at the sight of Byzantine temples, or the Palace of Knossos.

Knossos palace

First of all, I would like to give advice to those who are going to visit the Palace of Knossos on their own. It is best to do this not in the morning, when many excursions are brought there, but a little later. We went to the “Minotaur’s labyrinth” after lunch, thanks to which we were able to wander through the ruins almost alone.

Crete Island - an unusual Europe

The first palace of Knossos was built around 1900 BC. It was destroyed by an earthquake around 1700 BC. But soon a new palace was rebuilt, which has survived to our time.

Crete Island - an unusual Europe

At the moment, on the territory of the open-air museum, some parts of the famous Palace of Knossos have been recreated. And at the same time, excavations are still underway, some objects are covered with tents, but a curious tourist can always look inside, this is not prohibited.

Crete Island - an unusual Europe

Working hours

8.00-19.00 (June – October)
8.00-15.00 (November – May)

Aquarium

One of the grandest aquariums in Europe is located in the small town of Gournes, near Heraklion. Almost all the inhabitants of the seas washing Crete are gathered here.
For Russian-speaking tourists, an audio guide service is offered. For only 2 euros, you will be given a small device on which all the necessary information about the inhabitants of the aquarium is recorded.

Crete Island - an unusual Europe

Zeus Cave and Lassithi Plateau

We had only two organized excursions, one of them to the Zeus cave.
The Lassithi Plateau is a plateau located 800-850 meters above sea level. This land is considered the most fertile soil in Greece.

Crete Island - an unusual Europe

At the moment, the plateau attracts tourists exclusively with caves. Allegedly in one of the caves located in the mountains bordering the plateau, the goddess Rea gave birth to Zeus. And in another cave, Zeus was hiding the abducted Europe. Enterprising Greeks immediately arranged a tourist attraction from these places.

Crete Island - an unusual Europe
Advice

Warning for those who decide to go to the cave of Zeus. The ascent uphill is quite steep and there is no shade at all, so it will be difficult to overcome in the sun for physically unprepared people, as well as for small children.
Be sure to bring some warm clothes with you, it is quite cool in the cave. During our visit to the cave, it was +32 degrees outside, only +18 inside.

Santorini island

Crete Island - an unusual Europe

And I would especially like to tell you about the island of Santorini – the tourist pearl of Greece in the Aegean Sea. This island is located 100 km from Crete and is the southernmost island in Greece. And this is the second attraction we went to admire in an organized way. The biggest disadvantage of an organized trip is that you are limited in time. It is not enough to spend one day on this island, if you have the opportunity to definitely stay for the night, there are amazing sunsets, which tourists from all over the world come to see.

Crete Island - an unusual Europe

The tour was organized by our tour operator. By 6 in the morning, a large double-decker bus was served, on which we drove around other hotels in Khersonisess, collecting the rest of the rest on the way. At 7 am we were already sailing from the port of Heraklion, in anticipation of a miracle.

Crete Island - an unusual Europe
Advice

Be sure to stock up on some remedy for motion sickness, many of them very hard endured rolling at sea.

A little history of the island of Santorini

In recent years, scientists have come to the conclusion that the most likely location for the former Atlantis is Greece, and Santorini is this legendary mainland.
In fact, today’s Santorini is the fragments of an exploded volcano covered with solidified lava. The ongoing excavations do not find the remains of people and animals here, it is assumed that people knew about the imminent eruption of the volcano and simply left it before a natural disaster.

Crete Island - an unusual Europe

After a terrible volcanic eruption, the island remained uninhabited for a long time.
At the moment, UNESCO has recognized Santorini as the most beautiful island in the world. And I would add that this is also one of the most romantic places. Lovers and newlyweds come here for photo shoots. Here people, meeting the sunset, applaud the luminary.

Crete Island - an unusual Europe

Well, this is perhaps the only island in the world where you can find three completely different beaches – with black, red and white sand.
The location of the houses is also very interesting, they are like swallow’s nests molded to the rocks. The roof of one house is often the neighbor’s terrace upstairs.

Crete Island - an unusual Europe

I would also like to note that all the excursions that we visited do not include lunch. That is, having gone to the cave of Zeus or Santorini, you will have to worry about food yourself.
The overview of the island of Santorini ends at 17.50, and at 18.00 the ferry departs from this amazing island to Heraklion.

Population

Greeks are very welcoming people with a particularly warm attitude towards Russians. This is largely due to the same religion. How many times they helped us choose wine in the store, treated us to desserts, and readily explained how to get to a particular attraction. Thanks to such a warm attitude, you feel very comfortable in this country.

Shopping

Crete Island - an unusual Europe

Shopping in Greece is very pleasant and varied. Most of all, I was pleased with the unobtrusiveness of the sellers, who do not discourage the desire to buy something, as it happens in Turkey or Egypt.
The shops themselves are full of various souvenirs and souvenirs. And all of excellent quality. I was especially pleased with the textiles – a lot of napkins, handmade towels. You can also buy jugs, cups, mugs and other ceramics. And, of course, there are a huge number of fur shops, but we did not go there.

General information, prices

Bus ticket from Hersonissos to Heraklion – 3 euros (one way)
Bus ticket from Heraklion to Crete – 1.5 euros (one way)
Entrance to the territory of the Palace of Knossos – 5 euros
Entrance to the archaeological museum – 4 euros
Entrance to the Historical Museum – 5 euros
Entrance to the Aquarium – 12 euros for adults, 7 euros for children

Excursions:
Zeus cave – 40 euros
Santorini island – 150 euros

Food, food

Crete Island - an unusual Europe

Lunch in a cafe, a portion with meat – 10-12 euros (very large, enough for two)
Lunch in a cafe, a portion with fish, seafood – 12-15 euros (very large, enough for two)
Wine from 4 to 12 euros / liter
Vinsanto wine (from a winemaker from Santorini) – from 20 euros / liter
Bread – 0.8 euros
Water – 0.3-0.6 euros / 2 liters
Cookies – 1-2 euros / pack
Fresh juice- 1.60 euro / liter

Souvenirs

Magnet from 1 euro
Ceramic lamp from 9 euros
Jewelry from 1 euro
Textiles from 5 euros

Nice bonuses: air conditioners work everywhere, even in public transport; each cafe has free WiFI.

The budget for the trip was 65 thousand rubles for two weeks. Of these, 37 thousand were worth a ticket, 28 thousand – pocket expenses.

Crete Island - an unusual Europe

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