Are you thinking of traveling to Greece? My experience in Greece was amazing. We spent our time on the island of Crete, the largest of the Greek Islands. While we did not see all of the cities, I appreciated the cities we did see and the time spent immersing in the culture.
The Crete travel industry is fabulous, the people are so nice. The Cretan Greek food is amazing. Oh, I could write a whole post about the food! I think I just might (coming soon). The crystal clear water of the sea is so beautiful the mountains are breathtaking and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.
What’s different in Greece?
Again, I’m just speaking about the island of Crete, as I have not traveled to the mainland. At this point in my travels, the only country outside of the USA I had experienced was England. Here are some things I noticed:
An excerpt of my travel diaries from day 3 in Crete
“We are headed to the city of Rethymnon, on a bus ride through rural Crete. I’m typing this on my phone. Everything here is so beautiful. All the landscapes are so fresh and new to me. The sea is to my left, and the mountains to my right I’ve never seen anything like it. I really wanted to go hiking today but I’m game for some shopping and exploring.
They are not as developed here. For example, the plumbing here is not as good as ours. You can not flush any paper down the toilet.
It is however, a simpler way of life. It’s not very busy or rushed by any means. Most of the roads are not very developed. Nature grows and roams wild. There are so many flowers. I am looking out the window at all the farms and the simplistic homes. There are some fancy and modern homes. But only a quarter of a mile down the road are neglected, abandoned houses.The homes that are lived in, for the most part, seem to be very well kept.
Also, it seems that much of the culture here is not so technologically advanced. “We are so lucky” is what many Americans would say in regards. But let me leave you with this thought. Are we lucky? Or are they lucky? To hold on to a simpler time. To not be burdened with that which technology brings.”
For the record…
Visiting the city of Rethymnon was an amazing experience. Spending the day there with my aunt and sister is one of my fondest memories from the trip. We even went hiking the next day.
Travel Tip: Traveling with other people is all about compromise, and when you give in, you might surprise yourself!
As a nature lover, I want to embrace nature when I travel, which is why I wanted to go hiking. But navigating a new city is fun and adventurous. And I didn’t mention the nature I saw IN the city, they had some fantastic landscaping. I said “there are so many flowers”… well later that day, in Rethymnon, I saw some of the most unique and breathtaking flowers I have ever seen in my life!
As for the technology rant, that’s just something I thought of and one of the most seemingly ‘different’ things to me. Many businesses in Rethymnon and other larger cities like Agios Nikolaos have more modern advancements. However, it is a select few. During some parts of my trip, I felt like I had gone back in time. Most restaurants had handwritten tickets. Most places accepted credit cards (though everybody prefers cash). Although, quite a few restaurants and stores were cash only.
Many people, including bus and taxi drivers, did not wear seat belts. Once, I saw a Honda Civic driving through the city center of Elounda with a toddler standing up and crawling around the front seat, and nobody was up in arms over this. So that was different.
Also, at the markets, they sell homemade local Raki in water bottles, glass olive oil bottles and pretty much whatever container they could find. (If you’re not familiar with Raki, its a very popular Greek Liquor that flows freely through Crete and is usually offered to you after a meal) The local Ouzo was in a big jug, not sure if it was self serve or what… Here’s a picture:
The Hospitality in Crete
Aside from a couple of day trips, we spent 5 Nights in Georgioupolis, Crete at Georgiopolis Beach Hotel which I would highly recommend, it was an amazing experience. Click here to find them on Trip Advisor.
The two hotels were a 6 hour journey apart by 3 different buses. But we made it and successfully. The journey was so breathtaking it was worth every minute. We also enjoyed the cities of Rethymnon, Plaka, and Chania (I actually was not included in the trip to Chania, instead I went fishing, my aunt and sister liked it but said it was very busy with people and quite rural)
What really made Crete a great travel destination for me was the people. The people in Crete are so hospitable and welcoming. It is clear to me that most of their income, like mine was, is based on tourism. They really appreciate our tourism and wear their gratitude on their sleeves. Coming from the service industry, I really appreciate good customer service and they just had it everywhere we went! We were treated like family by so many people we had never met. So for that reason alone, I would highly recommend choosing Crete, Greece as your next travel destination.
The fact that nearly everybody speaks English is a huge plus! Although I did learn my fair share of Greek words. The people make you feel so welcome! Not to mention how true it is that the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach because Crete definitely won my heart with their food.
Fun Fact: Not one time did we go out to eat without receiving a complimentary desert or fruit after our meal!
The Beauty of Crete
An excerpt from my travel diary on why travel destination, Crete, Greece is so beautiful:
“The island of Crete holds an immense amount of beauty. We seem to have found the perfect time to pay our visit. Our days are a refreshing mixture of sunshine and overcast. The Aegean sea has the clearest water I have ever seen (I’m literally from “Clearwater” Florida, oh the irony) one day I will come back when I learn how to scuba dive. I hear Crete has some of the best dive spots in the world. The sky is lined with mountains that touch the sea. Various kinds of flowers and palm trees. Different from what I am used to. All various, all unique. The mountains look so interesting from afar. The trees create green polka dots among the brown and orange rock.”
We would spend our days relaxing out by the pool or the beach, swimming, exploring the cities and nature, walking, eating, and adventuring. You can explore archeological ruins, climb mountains, swim in the Aegean sea. If I could go back tomorrow, I would definitely fit in more water activities. You can rent boats and paddleboats, go snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding and fishing. I’ve read Crete has some of the most beautiful dive sites in the world.
To read more about Crete, Greece and all of the wonderful activities available, visit visitcrete.com/. It is the official Crete travel website.
Conclusion and My Goodbye to Crete, Greece
In conclusion, if you’re considering travel to Crete, Greece, it’s a great place to go. You have my word on that. There are a medley of activities for all ages and interests. The island of Crete is a perfect travel destination for families, couples, friends or even solo travel.
“Well that was it for Greece for this time.
I will be back. I will definitely be back.
Everything here was new to me, the scenery, the architecture, the nature, the mountains, all new and all beautiful. SO Beautiful. We just saw a double rainbow, what a parting gift. Now there is rain and it is also beautiful. Just like when it is sunny and when it is overcast, maybe I find beauty in everything or maybe it’s just that magical. I am so thankful for the time I spent there. All the fun I had, all the people I met. It was an incredible journey. I am especially thankful to my auntie who planned the trip. She did all the research, found the best hotels She is teaching my sister and me how to travel on a budget and sharing with us a few beautiful slices of the earth that she has previously enjoyed and experienced. I visited several cities on this beautiful island of Crete, each had their own unique characteristics.
One day, I hope to return and see more. I am a wanderer and I must wander. So for now, to the beautiful Island of Crete I must say goodbye. I will do everything in my power to one day return to this wonderful island and to visit more islands and see more of this beautiful country that is Greece. I am not sad I am going, I am simply excited for my next adventure.”