Kaliméra my dear readers,
in September I visited Crete for two weeks. My boyfriend and I booked a gorgeous apartment right next to the beach of Platanias via airbnb. We had the most perfect host one could imagine. Effi. She is the owner of the hotel and puts a lot of love into it.
Right before our holiday at her place we had very nice e-mail contact with Effi and during our time in Platanias we deepened the contact even more. Today, I don’t want to miss the friendship with her.
Effi ownes two houses with respectively fife apartments right next to the beach. Between the houses and the beach there is a wonderful garden in which we spent many nights. There are very comfortable sofas from where you can listen to the sea and end the day. During the daytime it is a wonderful shady place to relax in the shadow, as well. Effi rents daybeds on the beach, too. They are three euros per day.
But let’s start at the beginning. We flew from Frankfurt Hahn to Chania. In Crete there is a second airport in Heraklion, but it is three hours away from Platanias. That’s why you should fly to Chania, if you want to spend your holiday in the western part of Crete. You only need a half an hour bus drive from the airport to Platanias. Tickets can be bought inside the bus for two euros per route. The only stop on the way to Platanias occurs at the Chania main station where you need to change the bus. But don’t worry, everything is very easy to understand and find. In the second bus you need to buy a second ticket for two euros again. In Crete there are always two persons working in the bus. There is the driver and a second person which is selling and checking the tickets. They are very friendly and cooperative.
Platanias is a very touristic town. There are many restaurants, bars, small supermarkets and shops where you can buy typical things like sunglasses, sunscreem, hats and much more. The touristic flair was okay for us, because you could easily buy groceries at local supermarkets. We usually did that at a small supermarket called Marakis. Effi reccomended us to go there. At Marakis, they sell very nice olives and a cheese with the name Mizithra. You should try both if you are in Platanias. We took many olives with us back home.
Furthermore it was nice to go out in the nights in some of the bars. There are very packed at night time. After having some drinks there, we had the suspicion, that they are mixing water in the alcoholic beverages to make more profit. On our last night we went to a bar called Rock House. I definitely recommend this bar, even if you don’t like rock music. The barkeeper really knows his job and made very delicious shots for all of us. In addition he did some fascinating bar tricks.
We rent a car for ten days to explore the island. We decided to rent it after our arrival in Crete to check the local offers. In the end, we chose a small Chevrolet Matiz. I think if you rent a car before going on holiday you can get a better offer and you don’t waste your valuable vacation time. The next time we go to Crete, we will definitely choose a car with off-road capabilities, because the streets to the beaches can be very rough and rocky.
We went on so many nice tours with our car and followed a lot of Effis recommendations. In the following paragraphs, I listed the beaches which we visited and our two favourite restaurants. Because of the crystal clear water, the beaches on Crete are unbelievable pretty. If you are not in the mood to read the whole article you can just pick some paragraphs in which you are interested.
Kedrodasos is our favourite beach. We visited this beach during our stay in Crete twice. To Kedrodasos you need to drive 60 kilometers. Indeed you need 1,5 hours to get there by car, because you need to drive through the mountains.
Kedrodasos is very close to the famous beach Elafonisi. Elafonisi is famous because of his pink sand. That’s why there are usually hundreds people. Kedrodasos is just ten minutes from Elafonisi by car (you need to follow the inconspicuous yellow signs). There you have the same great water and there are only around 20 people most of the time.
Furthermore, there are many trees on the beach, which make it unneccessary to bring a sunshade. Besides that, you would not get to ram the sunshade in the ground. It’s just to hard. Kedrodasos is very popular with campers. You can see some tents there. The trees there are very suitable to hang up hammocks.
On the way from Platanias to Kedrodasos you are passing by a small village called Topolia in the mountains. There is a nice small bakery on the right side (coming from Platanias). The man in the bakery is very friendly and he gave us some pastries to try for free. We bought several pastrys with spinach, mushrooms, cheese or sausages. We also had a small pastry with cinnamon sugar. Everything tasted so yummy. All the products are very suitable to take with you to the beach.
Stefanou is a beach close to Chania and the airport. You have to drive 50 kilometers to get there. Luckily, you can drive most of the way to the beach on the highway. That’s why you reach the parking area of the beach after an hour. The beach is located in a small bay. It is very small (30 metres wide), so it can be very crowded.
The way down to the beach is a bit dangerous. I would not recommend parents with children to visit Stefanou, even though the beach is so pretty. You have to climb down a steep mountain (see picture). On the way down, you have to hold on tight with both hands sometimes. Because of that, the way down takes around 20 minutes.
I would recommend you to take some sneakers with you. Don’t take too much stuff with you on your way down to the beach. For sure it was the total opposite when we visited the beach. We were wearing flip-flops and took two bags and a sunshade with us. Speaking of sunshades: you can leave it in your car. It is hard to get it into the ground. But the cliffs are spending enough shadow in the afternoon.
Balos beach is 40 kilometers away from Platanias. The drive to it takes about an hour and ten minutes. Balos is a very famous beach in the north-west of the island, so you may meet many people there and the parking area may be very crowded. There is a fee of one euro per person to access the beach. I think this is very fair, because the money is used to keep the beach clean.
The walk down to the beach takes around 45 minutes, but while walking, one has a wonderful view over the lagoon. The path is not as steep as the one at Stefanou beach. A visit of Balos with children should be no problem, because there are a few viewing platforms on the way down where you can take a break.
Once you reached the beach, there is the possibility to rent a sunbed. You could also just lie on your own towel. The water is very flat. That’s why it is pleasantly warm. You can sit in the water and relax for hours. By the way: you can find very nice shells at Balos beach. That’s not the case everywhere in Crete. There is a kiosk as well where you can buy food. We took some sandwiches with us, so I can’t say anything about the offers there.
We started to head back up to the parking area as the sun went down. This was very enjoyable, because the way back up can be a bit exhausting and at this time of the day it is beneficial that there is no additional heat from the sun.
This beach is placed in the north-west of Platanias. The way to the beach is around 40 kilometers long. But you need one hour and twenty minutes for the route. This was the longest way we drove on a rough unfortified street during our holiday. It took us 40 minutes. But after the arrival at the parking area we were rewarded for our patience, because you can park your car very close to the beach. Additionally, there where rarely people at the beach. At the end of our visit, we were the only ones together with the goats who kept company. You can see many goats in Crete, even at beaches.
There are 40 kilometers between Platanias and Falassarna. The route took us 55 minutes. The beach is located in the western part of the island. You don’t need to drive on rough streets and there is a parking area right at the beach. Falassarna is a very famous beach. Right at it, there are a few bars where you can rent sunbeds and buy drinks and food. The water at Falassarna is crystal clear and often there are big waves. That’s why the beach is so popular with surfers. Moreover you can find pretty shells there.
We totally fell in love with two restaurants in Crete. One of them is Frosini’s Garden, which is just eight kilometers away from Platanias. It takes around 15 minutes to get there. In Frosini’s Garden you can choose Cretan dishes which are prepared exclusively with home-grown ecological vegetables and fruits. They have a huge garden and the guests can sit tight in the center of it. There is a terrace as well with a roof of straw. The restaurant is decorated in a traditional Greek style and the dishes are cooked over an open fireplace.
Frosini’s Garden is a family business. The whole family is very friendly. They carefully make sure, their guest spend a great evening at their place. The owner joins his guests for a few minutes at your table and tells you about the offer of dishes they have and about the whole principle of the restaurant. There are around ten dishes you can choose from and I’m sure you’ll definitely find something that suits your taste.
We went four times to Frosini’s Garden. Once, we went there with Effi and our friends, which we get to know at Effi’s place. Frosini’s Garden is a great place to visit as a small group, because you can just order all the dishes, so everybody can taste everything. The dishes were for example a Cretan salad, pork in orange sauce, Boureki (Cretan casserole with potatoes, zucchini and cheese), pastry with spinach, baked feta cheese, vine leafs with cheese, meat cake, moussaka (casserole with mince, vegetables and cheese) and goat with homemade fries/chips. The former three dishes are my favourites, which I always ordered. At the beginning of your meal, you get water, ouzo and bread. For dessert you get lovely homemade Greek orange cake.
I really recommend this restaurant to you. We liked it a lot and you get the chance to enjoy Greek food far away from tourists. Above all, it is very low priced and the family is very hospitable.
We also visited the city Chania. The bus ticket from Chania costs two euros. There are many small lanes, where you can find many touristic shops and on the other hand small and nice looking restaurants.
We went twice to a restaurant, Effi recommended us. The Thalassino Ageri. It is far away from the hectical harbour and directly at the sea. Would you advance a single meter with your chair, you would sit in the water.
We ordered fresh fish. As a starter, we ordered Tarama (roasalad; great on bread) and as a main course bream and shells. Aside the fish, you get a gorgeous garlic gravy, which you should absolutely dip with bread. I couldn’t get enough of it. I rarely ate fish as good as this one. As a dessert we got a small cake made from farina.
All in all, I can say, that we have seen amazing beaches in Crete, ate marvellous food and got to know lovely people. Everywhere in Crete we enjoyed a great hospitality. I am looking very forward to create a photo album with all the nice pictures we took. They are already laying on my desk and are waiting to get glued to the white pages.
A lot of thanks to everybody, who made this holiday as fantastic as it was. We are looking very forward to come back :).
I hope that the long article have not batter you to death and that I could intrigue you for this great Greek island.
Many greetings, Lilli 🙂