I found the trip advisor tours for Crete very disappointing. Based on my experience in Ubud (Bali, Indonesia) and Malta, I thought I should just know what I want to see and then sort it out when I get there. I was not disappointed. Just bring cash.
Seitan limania beach
This beach is not for the casual sun bather. On a 30 minute bus trip, you will find yourself zig-zagging down the side of a mountain. If people like Lombard St in San Francisco they’d freak over this. This is only the beginning. Peering over the cliffside you can see the most beautiful beach inlet tucked between the cliffs. After a bit of rock climbing you end up on this rocky beach with goats. People climb up the sides and jump into the blue waters below.
This gorge in the middle of Crete was used in WWII because it was so narrow it allowed the troops to hid from fire. Today you can hike the path which takes 5 hours or you can take the “lazy way” which starts at the end. Lazy seems unfair to me as it is still a 2 hour hike. You backtrack through the valley towards the most narrow part dubbed the Gates.
I was not in the mood for a 5 hour hike so the lazy way was for me. Up to grab the bus at 6am, we departed for the national park. I sat and watched the drunk Greeks head to bed as the sun rose. From there I transferred to another bus – being the solo person who selected the lazy way. From that bus, I moved to a smaller bus, snaking through mountains and valleys. Finally I ended at a ferry to take me to the village, it wasn’t even 10am yet.
The ferry drops you in a village that is only accessible by ferry or through the gorge. Talk about remote.
I find the entrance after some desolate paths and pay the 5 euro entrance fee. I hike in my Birkenstocks, throughly impressed at their abilities, virtually alone. After 45 minutes I end up at what is unmistakably the gates. Two sides of the mountain lean towards each other to great a small opening where a creek runs through.
I sit for a bit and watch the rest of my bus trek through not regretting my lazy way choice in the slightest.
After the hike back I grab lunch and find a beach to lay in. I take a quick nap on a lounge chair before I am awakened to learn these chairs are 7 euros. Um yeah no. I’d rather lay on the hot black pebble sand. I lay on my dress and let the waves lap my legs.
Palace of Knosos
Or Pan’s labyrinth. Located right outside the airport of Heraklion, it is an easy last thing to see. I convinced the enterprise to watch my luggage while I caught a cab over. Another student discount – forever thankful my drunk ass didn’t loose this one day – and I’m in. It is truly a maze and it is hard to even find the best way to walk through. I battle the heat and read about the crazy amount of political and community activities took place in this space.
I headed back to Athens for the night before flying to Rome. Our cab driver from the beach excursion hooked me up with a gorgeous studio for 50 euros in Keramikos and even picked me up. He leaves me with a joint and a dinner rec. When you travel alone it’s important to make friends.