Welcome to the first MCLV Travel Diary entry for my 2015 trip to Greece. Since I’m having such a wonderful trip I wanted to take the time to share a bit of what I’ve learned and experienced.
Our first destination was Chania – Pronounced Ha-Nee-A – A picturesque port town located near one of the two airports on Crete. We rented an adorable two bedroom apartment a block and a half off the water which turned out to be the perfect location. Walking distance to the main square circled by cafés, grocery shopping, bakeries, and other little shops, close to a gorgeous old cathedral, and a few minutes from the restaurant-lined port.
We loved having the apartment as a jumping off point and spent a week happily making ourselves at home and taking day trips to all the nearby Must See locales. If you go online, fill out a form & pay a small fee you can register for an international drivers license and rent a car, the easiest and most efficient way to traverse the mountain covered island of Crete.
Below were some of our favorite destinations in and around Chania:
Chania Lighthouse – One of the Mediterranean’s oldest lighthouses, known as the jewel of the city. It’s a great little walk out to the sea wall and over to the tower, and it’s a landmark that you can see from all around the surrounding areas. I did a daily run from our apartment around the port with a little breather at the lighthouse each morning before we headed off on our next adventure.
Tamam – This little restaurant was one of the best meals we had while we stayed in Chania. Great atmosphere, lovely wine list, and seriously killer food. I didn’t think I’d find myself at a restaurant with too much food to consume but when I finally stopped to breathe I still had three half-full plates in front of me!
Elafonisi – This small island off the Southwest coast of Crete has beautiful white and pink sand beaches, a stunning view of the aqua sea, and even some rocky crags for climbing. Whether you’re in the mood for snorkeling, rock & shell collecting, sunbathing or swimming, this is a charming location.
Milia Mountain Retreat – Up in the mountains above Chania there’s a sustainable, organic community that has a rustic eco-tourist approved restaurant. We stopped for a tasty lunch after a day at Elafonisi – Lots of veggie friendly options in a gorgeous mountainside cabin and they love to tell you about their food.
Imbros Gorge – This rocky canyon is a great hike for the actively minded tourist. Open most of the year and fairly easy to traverse, the 11km gorge is a great place for bird watching, the occasional sheep sighting, and enjoying the natural beauty of Southern Crete. Even the drive had some breathtaking vistas and stunning views of the snow-capped mountain range running through the center of the island.
Tavern Strata – This little family owned restaurant was our first stop upon arrival and we were welcomed by extremely friendly staff who helped us with our Greek sayings, answered all our first-timer questions, and served us excellent food & the best wine we had on the island. Unfortunately they don’t sell bottles of it, so if you want to taste this amazing local blend you have to stop by & ask for the house red!
Chania Diving Center – After getting certified in the South East Asia and diving state-side in Hawaii, the sea life of Crete may not have been the most extraordinary I’ve witnessed, but the coral-covered caves and caverns were a Must See. We were lucky enough to get a private day of diving with the experienced & knowledgeable owner of CDC and loved everything from the dive sites to the shop front to the snacks!
Have YOU ever been to Greece?