It’s not that often I talk about my family on here but we have just come home from two weeks in Crete and I wanted to share our trip with you all. As we have been so busy for the last few months doing the house up, we really needed a relaxing holiday, rather than a action packed one.
My mother in law has a little villa in out there in a small village near Alymrida in the Apokoronas region. We didn’t actually stay in her villa, we stayed in a bigger one a couple of doors up. She stayed in hers with her hubby and one of my brother in laws. We stayed in with the kids and then my other brother and sister in law. We had a week all together before the brother and sister in laws flew home. Leaving us for a week with the in laws.
Anyway, Crete is such a beautiful island, it’s about a four hour flight from East Midlands. We flew with Ryan Air, I would like to say the flights were cheap but they weren’t really. We flew into Chania airport, which has changed a lot in the two years since out last visit, there are now shops and a large duty free area.
Believe it or not we only took cabin bags with us, so we didn’t have the long wait for our luggage. Straight out of departures to meet with the car hire company. We used Auto Club, its who the in laws use each time they travel to Crete, so I just went along with it. Although I think you can find cheaper, just look around for deals.
From the Airport we headed straight to Almyrida to a Dimitris taverna that we have eaten at before. We choose it because the food there is good and they are happy to accommodate the children’s likes and dislikes. Before heading to the villa to start our holiday.
Crete has some truly amazing villa’s, they are dotted all over the island. We stayed about a 15 minute drive from Alymrida in a small village called Drapanos. Our villa was located on a small complex with parking and a pool. During our first week it was only our family there so we made the most of having the pool to ourselves. The children’s swimming ability has come on leaps and bounds during our stay, they are both driving to the bottom of the pool and loving being in the water.
The villa had two bedrooms and a sofa bed in the living room, a balcony, bathroom and downstairs toilet. It was basic but had everything we needed for our two week holiday. What I did love is, although it was on a little complex it didn’t feel like you were surrounded by lots of people and it felt private, which is what we look for when on holiday. My hubby is not a fan of large hotels with hundreds of people, although I’m trying to persuade him to go on a cruise, not sure if that will happen tho.
Eating out in Crete can be really cheap, we were self-catering with staying in a villa. We had said we would do a mix of eating in and eating out. During the week all of the in-laws were with us, we ate in twice but the rest of the time we ate out. Lunches and breakfasts were had at the villa, generally or we would pop to the bakery if on a beach day.
We visited the Synca to do a food shop and it really was pricey compared to the UK. We bought ham, cheese, crisps, breakfast cereals, biscuits, pasta and other bits for a meal for 7 people. Bottles of pop, water, beer and not €90 for it all. Which I thought was quite a lot for the little bits we bought.
The restaurants varied so much in price, we found a little place just around the corner from where we stayed that was so cheap. The food was good, the service was fabulous and the family run place was so friendly and they were great with the children. We decided that we couldn’t buy the food in the super markets for as cheap as what a meal cost there. It wasn’t la a cart food but for what we paid it was great and we ended up eating there 4/5 times during our two weeks.
In Almyrida there is a much bigger selection of places to eat from high end to the smaller café. We eat in various places, all with a good selection of food. We didn’t eat at the high end restaurant, although the food looked good and the views were fabulous, we decided it wasn’t the place for the children. The little café is the perfect place for break, lunch and even dinner. There was even a very Americanised placed that you could get burgers, ribs, pizza’s, we didn’t eat there because we can get that kind of thing at home. My hubby is always keen to try new foods, me not so much but I do enjoy most Greek food.
One evening we ate in Psaros where between 5 of us we ordered the meat and fish platters. Well they were amazing, so much food on then and at €28 each between 5 it was reasonably priced. It also meant that I got to try a collection of seafood items that I wouldn’t order just for me encase I didn’t like it. I tried cuttlefish, octopus, neither or which I had before. It was also great because the kids tied mussels, squid, octopus and various other bits on the platter. I have to say I wouldn’t have cuttlefish again but I am pleased I tried it.
The beach we visited a couple of times in Alymrida was lovely, not very wide but does stretch around the cove. We went down early each morning to get the sun loungers at the front so we could keep an eye on the children playing in the sand and also see the rest of the family swimming.
We loved that it is nice and shallow, I was able to go reach the bottom for meters and meters out, before hitting a drop then it shallows off again. It also meant that the kids were able to reach the bottom for a lot of the way out. We did have our swim shoes with us because about 10 meters out there is a rocky patch and it just protects your feet.
Along the beach front there is also a water sports hut, where you can higher kayaks, surf board, wind sailing, paddle boards, peddlelows and even catamarans. The brothers hired kayaks for an hour and all really enjoyed it.
It was easy to spend the day on the beach, enjoying the sand (although I hate sand). In and out of the sea, which was lovely and warm. The restaurants along the beach front have sun loungers that they rent out, we paid 3.5 each although I’m not sure what the other ones cost. However the restaurants came down and took food and drinks orders, which was nice and no more in cost than it would be going into the restaurant.
Out and About
As we have visited Crete before we knew there was a couple of places we wanted to revisit. Chania and Rethymno were top of my list, both towns with venetian harbours. I really wanted to eat on the Rethymno harbour, I had remembered it to be bigger and a lot more fresh fish. Even so it was nice to wonder around the city and eat lunch on the harbour, although it was premium prices there.
Although I stayed at the villa with the children, the rest of the family went to Octopus bay for snorkelling. Which wasn’t suitable for the kids as they had to walk over a lot of rocks to get down to the sea, although apparently it was great when they got into the water and swam out a bit. My Hubby went twice while we were away, next time we visit we hope the children will be able to enjoy it as well.
They family also visited a Nazi war bunker, which they said was amazing to see. We also visited a war museum based in Askifou that my Hubby and in laws loved. They were amazed to see so many items in his private collection that had been collected from around the island in their civil war.
My brother in laws are bother in the graphic design industry, they both teach in a college and one has his own business. Anyway we visited a typography museum that they loved. It was amazing to see the way things have come to life on paper over the years. The kids and them were able to produce an inked news paper using a printing press, which was a fabulous experience. It was only 4 each for adults with the children going in for free and we spent a good couple of hours there. It’s based in Souda and was well worth a visit.
Crete really is an amazing island, it has something to offer for everyone. If you haven’t been I would highly recommend going. We will visit again in a couple of years time, I have other plans for next year. I am hoping that we can go the Lapland again early next year.
Next on our bucket list is visiting European Cities, Eva at Captain Bobcat has written about the top Family Friendly European Cities. I cannot wait to book somewhere.