Discovering Southwest Crete

Crete is the last island I visited during my Greek island tour. It’s by far the largest but also one of the Greek islands that never really appealed to me, mainly because of it’s party reputation. I needed to prove myself wrong and discover the best that Crete has to offer.

Getting there:
I was planning to take the boat from Santorini which takes about 2,5 hours but my boyfriend thought it would be a better plan to fly over there with a small propeller plane. 
History was repeating itself because last year a swore i would never step into a propellor plane again…Yes, I cried. Again.
The good thing is that it only takes about 20 minutes to fly and it cost about the same, if not cheaper, than the boat would. The boat from Santorini only leaves in the evening which means you lose a whole day in Crete. I had no time to lose as I only had 4,5 days left.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
Pointing at my destination with Heraklion all the way in the top right.

Once arrived, we rented a car. This is a must in crete if you want to visit the best parts. From the airport (Heraklion) we drove past the coast towards Rethimno and continued our way towards the southwest. One of the main reasons that I wanted to see this part of Crete, is because of it’s amazing scenery, a lack of tourist and lot’s to tell you guys about! When you drive towards the southwest, you will be surprised about how green Crete can be!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
Crete is very green indeed!

I always get hungry when I travel so after about 2 hours, we stopped along the coast and found a taverna next to a very nice and quiet beach.
When I looked at the menu, I immediately notiched that the food on there was very authentic. Everything was home cooked like; Briam, Moussaka or fresh Calamaris. As a veggie lover, I chose the Briam and it only cost me 5,50! It was one of the best Greek meals i’ve had so far and the lady that served us was so friendly.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
The perfect stop when you’re roadtripping.

» Chora Sfakion
After this nice stop, we kept on driving until we decended all the way across crete towards the south coast.

Passing a lot of small villages and even a huge clove, we arrived in Chora SfakionThis town was perfect for what I was looking for. I had no accommodation booked, so we looked around and after only 10 minutes I made a deal for a suite (including a shared swimming pool) for 40 euro’s per night for 2 people. Wow, this was a huge difference compared to Mykonos, Santorini and even FolegandrosWith this thought, I walked down to the village where you will find 2 small beaches, a harbour and a street full of lovely restaurants. Greece has a thing for bakery’s and Chora Sfakion had the cutest I had seen so far. Definitely buy your bread here. A Must try in Chora Sfakion » Sfakion Cheese & Honey Pie. It’s a speciality that every restaurant in town serves. I had mine for breakfast and the nice thing is, that they use local honey that taste so goooood.

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset
Traditional Sfakion Cheese & Honey Pie at restaurant Lefka Ori. Yummie!

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset
My favourite restaurant in Hora Sfakion: Lefka Ori

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset
The cutest bakery with so many things to choose from! Markos & Niki

Around Chora Sfakion:

» Fragokastello
15 km east of Chora Sfakion lays a 14th-century Venetian fortress, but there’s also a wide, white-sand beach beneath the fortress that gradually into shallow warm water, making it ideal for kids. Development has been kept to a minimum with most accommodation set back from the shore, leaving the natural beauty largely untouched. In summer, occasional concerts and folk dance performances are held. I was lucky to get an invitation from a local (we keep encouraging this kind of contact!) and enjoyed a traditional Cretan dance performance inside the castle.

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset
A traditional Cretan dance at the castle of Fragokastello

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
The shallow waters with the fortress in the back

» Loutro
On the western side of Sfakion lays the cute bay village Loutro. The only way to get here, is by boat or by foot. You have a few options; taxi boat, a small ferry, rent a small boat or hike the 7km trail. I chose the small ferry which departs daily from Sfakion’s small harbour. A return ticket cost about 10 euro’s per person and takes 15 min. The absence of cars and bikes on Loutro makes it quiet and peaceful. You will find taverna’s and a few shops. You can rent boats, waterbikes or opt for a canoe like I did. This way you can explore nearby beaches like sweetwater beach and enjoy the turquoise sea.
Tip » Bring some sunscreen and a plastic bag to put your belongings in.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
Rent a canoe in Loutro and jump of the cliffs!

» Samaria Gorge
Europe’s longest clove (16km) is very near to Chora Sfakion and if you’re a enthusiastic hiker, you must have heard of it. More than 170,000 hikers, walk the Gorge each year and it’s one of the most populair things to do in Crete. At wander-lust we always try to discover the area’s that are a little less crowded so I hiked her little brother, the Imbros GorgeThis one is only 11km long and after about 5km you will reach it’s most narrow part at only 1.60 meters wide. Most people leave their car at the top and walk down, but I did it the other way round. Once you reach the top, you can walk down again or you can take a taxi or bus. It’s an easy walk but it’s always best to wear trainers and bring plenty of water. 

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset
Standing in between the narrowest part of the Imbros Gorge, Crete

 » Chania (old town)
Driving up north west, you will find Chania. Ok, it’s not next door to Sfakion (about 1 hour), but it’s a great place to visit when you make your way back up the mountain and that’s exactly what we did.

The old town lays next to the old harbour and looks amazing. Don’t be tricked by the seaside restaurants as they overcharge you but walk inside the walls and you will be able to find cute coffeehouses, restaurants and shops.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
Chania is a great place to spent a few hours!

Crete is so big, that it’s impossible to see everything. I wish I could have visited a lot more places such as a very special island called: Gavdos.
This island is about a 1,5 hours boat trip from Chora Sfakion and it has been said that it’s a true hippie experience. If you liked the book or the movie The Beach, you will love Gavdos. People walk around naked, have campfires, sing songs and stay there for weeks. But I guess I have to wait a little longer before I can cross that one of my bucketlist. Until then I hope you find these tips useful and experience the best of Crete. Just like I did.

My Island hopping tour has finished and in total, I visited 5 islands and I did it in 14 days and I spent 1200 euro’s.
To find out which islands I visited and what I did, read all the articles below.

Love,

Elke

Koh Adang Island » The Peaceful Getaway

Koh Adang is the bigger island located right across from the more popular Koh Lipe. We stayed there for 2 nights and here’s everything you need to know.

Koh Adang is located on the southern side of the Andaman sea, near Malaysia. The only way to get there is by longtail boat, which is an adventure to start with. Islands that are a little harder to reach, must be good right! It often means that tourism hasn’t taken over, and you can find some peace and quiet. This is the main reason why we decided to come to Koh Adang for a few days.

Koh Adang Island
Private beach on Koh Adang

The beach is so amazing with palmtrees and rocks that really makes you feel you are on a private tropical island

getting to Koh Adang Island
Getting to Koh Adang

Adang Island Resort
The only resort on the island is the Adang Island Resort and it’s so nice! It offers guest garden or beach villa’s with nice bathrooms made out of bricks and stone, which gives it a natural feel. All rooms have air-conditioning (trust me, you’ll need it) and patio where you can sit outside. There is one main pool that is overlooking the beach, which you only need to share with your guests. We arrived there on Christmas Eve and the resort was fully booked, but funny enough, it doesn’t feel busy or crowded at all. The beach is so amazing with palmtrees and rocks that really makes you feel you are on a private tropical island.

palmtrees on Koh Adang


Our Deluxe Garden Villa

At the resort you can have breakfast, lunch and dinner and varies from traditional Thai to western style dishes. (try the Spring Rolls, Pad Thai and Papaya Salad omg). Prices are very reasonable and what you would expect of Thailand. On Koh Lipe, prices tend to be more expensive. If you have a coconut addiction like I have, you’ll be pleased to hear that they serve fresh ones at the Adang Island Resort.

food at Adang Island Resort

Pool Adang Island Resort
Chilling by the pool

Things to do
Even though you are on a secluded island, there are a few things you can do besides hanging by the poolside. You can book some of the activities at the resort.

  • Kayaking
  • Scuba diving
  • Snorkling (free gear available at the Adang Resort)
  • Walk to the viewing point (1 hour walk)
  • Walk to the waterfall (30 min walk)
  • Day trip to other small islands or Koh Lipe

Waterfall Koh Adang Island

Kayaking Adang Island Resort
Free kayaking is available at the resort


CocoNuts!

Verdict: Koh Adang is well worth a visit if you are planning to visit Koh Lipe. 2 nights is perfect to get you started. For bookings at the Adang Island Resort, visit www.adangresorts.com. Once you’ve made your reservation, you will get a full explanation on how to get there. (there is a pick-up spot and free shuttle from Koh Lipe that runs until 8pm)

Curious about Koh Lipe? Check our Thailand section below!

 

 

Naxos » Discovering the Greek Cyclades

From Mykonos it takes about 2 hours to get to Naxos with stops in Paros and Amos. Naxos is the larges island of the Cyclades but much more authentic and laid back than party island Mykonos.


map

When you arrive by ferry you can see the “Portara” on the hill next to the harbour. They call it “the door of Naxos” and it’s one of the many archaeological landmarks you will find here. Naxos has everything I missed on Mykonos. The food is better and more affordable (a lot more!), the beach bars are more laid back and you’ll see a lot of couples and families here. I stayed at a simple hotel with a perfect location. My hotel was about a 10 min walk from the port and 1 min from the town beach Agios Georgios. Chora (centre) is vibrant at night with lot’s of restaurants, shops and bars. The streets smell of sweet waffels and crêpes that you find on almost every corner.

Elke in Naxos, Greece
Walking around in Chora

For dinner I can recommend almost everything. Just double check of they serve traditional Greek food and you’re good. A main course meal should cost you about 5 to 10 euro’s and is served with bread. (They charge you about 1 euro for the bread, this is normal)


So much food to choose from, but you can’t go wrong with a Greek Pita Giros!

Getting around
First things first: rent a scooter or a car. Make sure you rent a scooter with enough power as you might need to drive uphill depending where you’re travelling to. I saw pretty much everything. The whole west coast, where you can find some really nice beaches, is done in one day (including some swimming) and I took a whole day to explore the old towns (middle of Naxos) and the North back to the west coast and where I started.
Both routes are completely different in scenery.

The Westcoast route »
Start by having breakfast at Agios Georgios Beach where you will find a chill surfer beach restaurant all the way at the end called “beach cafe”. They serve tasty fruit smoothies during the day and colorful cocktails at night. Each week they have a BBQ including fresh fish. Continue towards the south and visit Mikri beach where you can find the wind and kite surfers. It’s not cheap to get a lesson but it’s free to watch and that’s a sight on it’s own! End at Kastraki beach where you will find some beaches where you can enjoy the waters in your birthday suit (if you know what I mean!)

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset
Feeling the “surfers”vibe at Mikri Beach

The old town route »
The guy at the scooter rental said it right: ‘you haven’t visited Naxos if you don’t visit the old towns.’ From Hora (Chora) you drive towards Halki (on the roadsigns it’s written like “Chalki”.) This historic village is very cute and you will find a few tavernas (restaurants) where the food is extremely authentic and fresh. I stopped for an iced Frappé coffee and drove up to Filoti where you can find the Cave of Zeus where you need to continue on foot and climb up for about 20 min with incredible views along the way! Tip » Bring enough water and some lighting for in the large dark cave. 

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
The old town of Halki is something special

After that I kept going towards Stavros, Koronos, mesi and Apollonas until you reach the most northern part. In between I drove down to Liona Bay where you will find a rocky beach with black sand and 1 or 2 restaurants. Great for cooling down before heading on.

Naxos Greece
The rocky beach of Liona Bay

Naxos
The scenery in Naxos kept changing..

The views on this route are rocky, but in some area’s extremely green and fertile. From the North you drive back along the coast where you will end where you started. It’s a long drive (2-3 hours) but so worth it! Naxos is a great destination to stay for about 3-4 days if you’re travelling through the Cyclades. It’s authentic, great for all sorts of travelers and won’t hurt your wallet.  Folegandros and Santorini are not far, so you can make Naxos part of your Greek island hopping tour.

 

Love,

Elke

Top 5 » Best beach bars in Mykonos

 

If you’re going to visit Greece this summer, you will probably also visit Mykonos, the Ibiza of Greece. Situated east of Athens in the Aegean Sea, a great glamour island with lot’s of high end beach parties.
Besides exploring Mykonos town – known for it’s white little houses with colorful flowers and blue windows – you should also explore the impressive beach bars on this island.

We’ve listed the TOP5  beach bars for you!

Read more

Terschelling » going Back to Basic

2 weeks ago I played the tourist in my own country. I took the boat and went to Terschelling.
Terschelling is an island just North of the Netherlands. From Amsterdam it takes about 3,5 hours to get there (1,5 hours by car and 2 hours by boat, depending on which ferry you take.)

Most visitors rent bicycles and leave their car on mainland. The island is about 30km long and contains of at least 80{8b669be72a7f340f9ef2d6d852585cd40ddf0e79ccf763f3ea93c1234c3d888b} of nature reserve so why bring your car right?
Terschelling is the largest and just one of 5 islands in the Netherlands where visitors love to go to spend some time at the beach and sand dunes.

I’d been to Terschelling once before, when I was about 12 years old, on a schooltrip. Last weekend was a new experience for me though. I went back to basic and stayed at a sheepfarm called “de Zeekraal“.
There was no electricity and… no wifi, which means that it was back to basic and I must say, I really liked it!

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset
Outside breakfast with super fresh eggs was one of the highlights! 

This sheepfarm is perfect for families and people that want to escape the busy city life (and that was exactly the reason why I went there.) At de Zeekraal you sleep in large tents (45 square meters) that accommodates about 5-6 people . There are 2 bunkbeds, one double bed and one traditional “beddenstee” which was my favourite!
PicMonkey Collage
Handmade bunkbeds and a traditional “beddenstee”

The toilet is somewhat special (a flat wooden seat) but flushes like a normal toilet, so that’s better then I expected! For a warm shower, you must walk about 2 min to the entrance of the farm where you can pick one of three showers. Just keep pressing the button in order for water to keep on running! Across the showers you can chop your own wood used for the heater which you can also use for cooking.
The nearest supermarket was only a 10-minute bike ride away and the ice elements the friendly owners give you, keep your groceries cold.

The tents heat up quickly and keeps it that way for a long while which makes it a perfectDon’t expect to have the longest lay in as the nature sounds will wake you up as all sorts of animals like sheep and birds start to make noise in the early hours.

tent-huisje
Source: De Zeekraal

How much does it cost?
The tent I stayed in was about 300 euro’s at sleeps 6 persons for the whole weekend.
Beware that prices may go up in July, August & Sept
Terschelling isn’t cheap but if you do your own grocery shopping you should be fine with about 15-20 euro’s per day.

For more info check:
De Zeekraal
Oosterend 17 Terschelling
tel: 0562-449278
http://www.dezeekraal.nl/

Love,

Elke