Palace of Knossos

Knossos is situated 8 Km south of Heraklion, the capitol and is the most famouos tourist site in Greece next to the Parthenon and Acropolis of Athens. This wonderful and unique example of classical Greek Architecture dates back to 2500 B.C. The Palace is not simply just foundations and ruins, but rather a complex of rooms, halls, passages, myths and legends. A popular tourist attraction that is a must for all coming to Crete for the first time. We suggest that you take advantage of the excellent, reasonably priced guided tours to understand the history of this unique treasure. We've been a few times now and there is always something new to learn or see, fascinating.

Walk through the Palace of Knossos, through the galleries and rooms where you can still feel the powerful vitality of an historic era which even today, is still so strikingly present. Visit the Royal Palace of King Minos, the depths of the labyrinth and see the vibrant colours of the frescoes, the Kings throne, the Queens rooms and the courtyards. Witness the abundance of evidence as to how people lived and worked during the great Minoan civilization. The concept of running water and flushing toilets can be clearly seen, the palace water supply was piped to the site from a mountain spring several kilometres away. This ancient but modern style plumbing can still be seen today. We have visited this fantastic attraction several times and can recommend it as a sight that has to be seen. The Palace of Knossos is not to be missed !!

Knossos North
queens room Throne    
The north entrance to Knossos
The Queens rooms
The throne room of King Minos

Patsos Gorge

The Patsos Gorge is fairly close to us and well worth a visit. It’s located about 8 Km southwest of the Monastery of Arkadi and is situated in beautiful province of Amari. There are many places to stop for a family picnic and there is a great restaurant at the entrance to the gorge and a freshwater spring close to the riverside. A really beautiful attraction of the gorge is of course the small chapel of Agios. Antonio. St. Antonio, the namesake of the gorge was reputed to have had healing powers and evidence of people coming to pay homage and offer their own prayers in the hope that they too may be healed is abundant. There are a plethora of small letters and notes in and around the entrance of the beautiful little chapel which is hewn into the rock face.

The water from this wonderful gorge flows into the newest of dams in Crete, the dam of Potami. Walking along and through the gorge is quiet easy and as it is well maintained. Some care has to be taken further into the gorge where you will need to make use of safety rope. There are several observation decks through the gorge where you can stop to just watch life go by with the local birds who seem to enjoy flying through and around the gorge. The sights are stunning and if you love walks with amazing scenery along with a splattering of geology, a visit here would be a must.

The Chapel Of Agios Antonio
Scenic Walkway Through Patsos Gorge
Prayers & Thanks to St. Antonio.
Samaria Gorge

This national park boasts one of the longest gorges in Europe about 16 kilometres in all. It's width varies from 150m to 3m at its narrowest point. Walking through the gorge can take between 6 and 8 hours so tough, conventional footwear, a certain degree of physical strength and stamina are essential. The entrance of the gorge begins at Xyloskalo (meaning ‘wooden stairs).The path then follows a riverbed along a beautiful forest with tall trees and a magnificent view. The Samaria Gorge has been proclaimed a national park to protect the flora and fauna. If you enjoy walking then a visit to the gorge is one well worth planning for. In the middle of the gorge, there is a deserted village called 'Samaria' where a Byzantine church of the 14th century, devoted to Sacred Mary of Egypt can be found.

She gave her name and the word 'Samaria'(translated from - Osia Maria or Sacred Mary) to this area. The church, with some interesting paintings, can be found at the south part of the village from a path that begins at the helipad. One of the most beautiful parts of the route is the area known as 'Sideroportes' (iron gates), where the two sides of the gorge close to a distance of only 3 meters and rise to a height of 600 meters. The gates however no longer exist. On exiting the gorge there is the village of Agia Roumeli where you can either spend the night, or take a boat to the villages of Loutro, Hora Sfakion, Sougia or Paleohora where buses to Chania are available.

Entrance to Samaria Gorge
Widest point of the Samaria Gorge
Samaria Gorge view of the White Mountains

Aqua Splash Park

Aquaplus as it is now called is quite famous as being the first water park in the Balkan region. At 80,000 acres it has a great range of attractions that will appeal to all of the family. It's located about 7km from the popular tourist resort of Hersonissos and Malia. The best route to it the road from Hersonissos to Kastelli, it’s well signposted from there. If you are unsure then you can also look for signs to the golf course because it is located right next to it.

Being positioned on a hill as it is, gives its visitors the added bonus of providing some great views as well. We definitely recommend this as a great affordable day out for the family where the children can play safely whilst you sip cold drinks from one of the four cafeterias or venture out onto some of the more spectacular rides. There are too many to mention but if you want a guided tour of the park you should follow the following link.... 

The body slide and cyclone
Power chute ride view from 1 of the cafeterias
The Kamikaze run

Arkadi Monastery

The monastery lies 22 Km southwest from the city of Rethymno and can be easily reached from the National highway being well signposted. Arkadi Monastery stands proudly as a Greek symbol of the struggle for independence. In times gone by it was a very difficult place to reach and as such became an important focal point for the local activists during the Turkish occupation. Of the surviving buildings, the church is the most impressive.

There was an earlier church of the second Byzantine period there and parts of that are preserved on the northwest side of the surrounding wall. The earlier church of Agios Konstantinos was replaced in the sixteenth century by a new one, Agia Konstantinos and Eleni (the north aisle) and Metamorphosis Sotiros (the south aisle). The facade of the new church is an unusual mixture of extravagant and ornate styles. It is amongst one the finest remaining Venetian structures on Crete. There is a small museum that has artefacts from the famous battle, church articles, and an absorbing picture gallery of the Cretans of that time. If you enjoy historical visits Arkadi is steeped in architecture and traditions. 

North View Of The Old Church
Inside The Church
View Of The Courtyard


Chania is the capital city of the prefecture of Chania and somewhat more tranquil than Heraklion. This beautiful city on the north shore of Crete is about 1 hour (59 Km) from Rethymno and 2.0 hours (137 Km) from Heraklion on the National Road. The modern city of Chania stands on the site of the ancient city of Kydonia which, according to legend, King Minos' grandson, Kydon, founded. Sadly no spectacular palaces, such as the Knossos remain. Excavations in the Kastelli area of the city have however uncovered Neolithic pottery, signs of Bronze Age settlements and Minoan tombs.

Kydonia is believed to have been an important city-state in the late Minoan and post Minoan period and dominated the western region of the island. The Venetians fortified the Kastelli and it was the centre of their city. The cathedral was here, as well as many palazzos - noblemen's houses. The Venetians rebuilt existing walls (using many Greco-Roman remains). This is a beautiful city with many tourist attractions, local traditions and culture. A day would be well spent seeing the sights it has to offer, enjoy the local and specialised cuisine along with the famous hospitality of the local people. Shops are in abundance and many bargains can be found within the renowned Chania market place and surrounding areas. 

The Janissaries Mosque
Chania Waterfront
Sintrivani Fountain In Chania

Melidoni Caves

The cave is only about 8km from the villa and well worth a visit if you enjoy a little history mixed in with a bit of natural science. The cave itself consists of three separate rooms, the largest being full of natural stalactites and stalagmites which provide visitors with some stunning sights. It can be quite slippery in there so if you visit, be careful when walking around.

Historically, the Melidoni cave has been inhabited almost continuously since the Stone Age as artefacts from excavations there have proved. During the Minoan times the Melidoni cave were used for religious ceremonies, where the great mother Goddess was worshipped. It is also known as a site of worship for the bronze giant Talos. He was reputedly the son of, or at least a creation of, the god of Blacksmiths, Hephaestus.

During the 19th century the Melidoni cave played an important role in the resistance against the Turkish rulers. The inhabitants of Melidoni took part in the resistance, which made the towns people targets of the Turkish rulers.

During 1823 the Turkish rulers carried out revenge attacks and 370 villagers fled to the Melidoni cave along with members of the resistance fighters. The Turks surrounded the cave entrance and their commander ordered that burning material be thrown into the cave as the resistance fighters refused to surrender. All of those inside the caves died as the oxygen quickly burnt away. A large white tomb was built in the main cavern and all the bones of the local heroes were placed within it.  

Stairway Into The Cavern
Formations of Stalegmites And Stalegtites
The Heroes Monument

The Beaches of Crete

These are rated as being amongst some of the most beautiful and scenic beaches in the Mediterranean, if not the world. The waters on the north coast of Crete are slightly cooler than those on the south coast and not quite as crystal clear and blue. The south coast (Libyan sea) is warmer given that the sirocco winds blow in from the north of Africa and the fact that the mountains drop steeply into the sea on this side of the island acting as a buffer. There are also a number of cold underground rivers on this side of the island. The south coast is favoured by people wishing to deep sea dive as visibility is exceptional. Crete has approximately 155km of sandy beaches along its coastline.

One of the longest stretches of sandy beach is at Georgioupolis in the north. It is an expanse of delightful sandy beaches and gently slopes into the water. It is also a refuge for many forms of wildlife. About 10Km from the villa is the very popular resort of Bali and it has to be the best beach in the area next to the local one of Panormos. Georgioupolis is the beginning of a 10 kilometre stretch of beach that runs beside the highway from Chania to Rethymno. The prefecture of Chania contains two outstanding beaches, Elafonissi to the southwest and Falassarna in the northwest. Elafonissi beach could be classed as one of the most beautiful beaches in Crete with its pinkish coloured sand and very shallow warm water. It is connected to the beach with a shallow reef that allows crossing when the sea is calm.

If you are lucky to be there at sunset, make sure you have your camera ready to capture the breathtaking setting. On the far eastern point of the island you will find a beautiful beach called Vai beach. Not only is it one of the nicest beaches in Greece, but Vai also boasts of being the only natural palm tree forest in Europe. As a unique tropical landscape, Vai receives a large number of visitors who come to see this rare beauty and enjoy its marvellous sea. The main entrance to the beach is open from sunrise to sunset. The water is as clear and beautiful and for the ladies, it's breathtaking romantic setting.

On the south coast you will find one of the most beautiful pebble beaches in Crete, this is Sougia beach. Although it is a pebble beach, it is one of the best beaches on Crete for several reasons: it is 120 m long and located by a small village, it's never crowded, there are no beach umbrellas (but the inhabitants of Sougia have thoughtfully provided a few showers), nudism is tolerated on a large part of the beach, the sea and the beach are very clean, the surrounding landscape is beautiful and the pebbles are small so not that uncomfortable to lie on. Also on the south coast you will find the pleasant beaches of Frangokastello, Makrigialos, Kato, Zakros, Preveli, Agia Pelagia and Istro. All of these beeches have their own unique qualities and all offer the atmosphere to soak up the sun and warmth, enjoy the scenery and clear waters of the Libyan Sea.

Early Morning At The Local Panormo Beach
The Beautiful Pink Sands Of Elafonisi Beach
The Popular Beach Resort of Bali.