My Crete bucket list

Image Credit: Nikos Patsiouris


I just love planning trips, because after all, planning a trip is the first stage to making it happen.  Crete is one of those places I’ve always wanted to visit.  I remember hearing stories from Greek mythology as a child, and to visit some of the places where this stuff actually happened, or was supposed to have happened, would be pretty cool. Crete is the biggest of the Greek islands, it’s got over a thousand kilometres of coastline. If I choose accommodation around the capital, Heraklion, there’ll be plenty of trips I can do without the need to hire a car – hopefully I’ll get to visit most of these on my list!


HERAKLION ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM

This is probably one of the most important museums in Europe.  It’s got over a hundred and fifty thousand exhibits and it’s the best collection of art from ancient Crete in the world.  I’ll be heading straight for the frescos, photographs of which look amazing! Crete is definitely somewhere that you need to understand the history of before going, if you’re really going to appreciate it.

Image Credit: William Neuheisel

PALACE OF KNOSSOS

This is just south of Heraklion, you can get there by bus but I’ll probably go for a tour and avoid all the stress and hassle of getting the wrong bus etc.  This is the palace of King Minos where the whole Theseus and the Minotaur story takes place. The ruins are like a kind of labyrinth and there’s images of bulls all over the place.

Image Credit: Krzysztof Belczyński

HIKE THE SAMARIA GORGE

This is an epic hike and I’m a bit worried I won’t be up to it, but what I’ve read sounds quite reassuring.  It is one of the longest gorges in Europe and the hike is sixteen kilometres and takes five or six hours.  The trail starts up in the mountains with two kilometres of downhill trekking. What’s amazing is that they have mules going up and down the path so that if you do get injured and can’t walk, they can carry you down.  How cool is that! The trek sounds absolutely amazing with ruins and great views and spectacular cliffs, so there’s no way I’m not going to give it a try.  I’ll go with a tour rather than local buses – that way they can take care of all travel arrangements as well as provide a guide.  

Image Credit: Richard Pluck

SPINALONGA

This a small island off Eastern Crete which was a leper colony until 1957.  It has amazing views and is very beautiful.  I’m going to read Victoria Hislop’s ‘The Island’ before I go because it tells you a lot about the fascinating history of the island.

Image Credit: Nektarios Sylligardakis

CAVE DIVING

Although I’ve never been scuba diving before, I’ve been seriously considering to learn in Crete. There’s loads of amazing dive sites off the coast of Crete but what I really want see is Elephant’s Cave. It’s really shallow, only about twelve meters deep, so it’d be suitable for beginners. I can just imagine myself swimming through cave systems of amazing coloured rock formations and even fossilized remains of prehistoric elephants!

 

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