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Places to Visit in Crete

Bird Watching in Crete

Located between three continents (Europe, Asia and Africa) Crete is well known for having a wide variety of beautiful birds. Crete hosts thousands of rare, migratory birds every year. It is one of the main flypast routes for species that winter in East Africa but breed in Eastern and Northern Europe.

Birdwatching in Crete will take you to some of its most beautiful and isolated areas, mountain gorges and lakes. Looking for eagles, vultures and falcons will take you to these unpopulated areas.

To find the most exciting birds, you will need to go to the mountains of Crete, Idi, Lefka, Ori, Dikti and Asterousia. For the chance to see one of the islands three remaining vultures, you might be lucky enough to see one soaring above the Lasithi or Omalos plateau.

With over 400 different bird species, bird watching is one of the most common activities. Don’t forget to pack your binoculars!

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Botanical Park, Chania

18km outside the town of Chania, on the feet of the White Mountains, is 20 hectares of beautiful gardens. Here, you’ll find fruit trees from all over the world, herbs, and medicinal and ornamental plants. It’s a paradise for hundreds of plants and animals!

It is the newest and one of the most interesting sites in Chania and is ideal for visitors of all ages.

Shortly after you pass Fournes village and before the historical Lakkoi-Skordalou, a sign will direct you towards the Botanical Park, to an unprecedented tour of the region’s most magical nature.

Ceramics in Paidochori, Chania

Paidochori is a small village on the foothills of the White Mountains in Chania. Away from the main tourist areas, lies the beautiful Manousos Chalkiadaki workshop.

Here, you will be introduced to the ancient Greek art of ceramics from award-winning ceramicists. If you aren’t ready to try ceramics for yourself, you can simply tour the laboratory and get in touch with Cretan nature and clay!

Learn about the history of ceramic art, admire the works of Manousos and watch him transform clay into beautiful vases, fruits and balloons. Arrive at 10am for coffee and breakfast.

Paidochori is located halfway between Chania and Rethymnon; it is half an hour away from each city.

Your ceramic creations will take a few days to dry but they will endeavour to send them to your hotel or your home if you are unable to collect the finished product.

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Cooking Workshop at Milia Mountain Resort

This is a fantastic, fascinating cooking workshop and a great introduction to seasonal cooking and Cretan cuisine.

Around the monastery table of Milia Mountain Retreat, as a group you will get to cook traditional Creatan dishes and create unique flavours!

The price per person is 95€, which includes the cooking workshop, lunch with wine and transport to Milia Mountain Retreat. Children aged from 6-15 are half price. All workshops are in English and group sizes range from 6 to 12.

Dourakis Winery

One of Crete’s finest wineries!

Surrounded by the fascinating nature of Crete is the stone building that made the Dourakis family immensely proud of their identity within the island.

Resembling something from a fairytale is the beautiful castle that will lure you to discover the Dourakis winery.

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Elafonisi Beach

In a remote corner of Crete is the breath-taking pink and red coral sand of Elafonisi beach. Elafonisi is a protected area (Natura 2000 site as well as a Micro-Reserve for the protection and study of Androcymbium rechingeri). The small island is home to 110 plant species and is a dream for anyone interested in botany. The clear waters make it perfect for snorkelling too!

The simplest way to get there is to take the direct road from the north coast that passes through Topolia and Elos. It takes about 90 minutes to drive there from Chania and an hour from Kissamos.

You can also go by boat from Paleochora. The boat leaves from Paleochora at 10am and returns from Elafonisi at 4pm. The relaxing boat journey takes about an hour with wonderful views of the coast.

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Heraklion Archaeological Museum (and Palace of Knossos)

The Herakleion Archaeological Museum is one of the largest and most important museums in Greece, and among the most important museums in Europe.

It houses artefacts from all periods of Cretan prehistory and history, covering a span of over 5,500 years from the Neolithic period to the Roman times.

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Manousakis Winery

Don’t miss out on a chance to enjoy a glass of wine at one of the best wineries in Crete!

Located in Vatolakkos, just 15 minutes away from Chania, it is the perfect setting to enjoy these award-winning wines.

The Manousakis Winery has been producing its 100% organic wines since 1997 under the name Nostos.

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Olive Tree Museum of Vouves

Visit the oldest olive tree in the world at the Olive Tree Museum of Vouves, located in the settlement of Pano Vouves , approximately 30km west of Chania.

The Monumental Olive Tree of Vouves has been declared as a ‘natural heritage monument’. There are ten more momenumental olive trees in Crete, all located in this area. This fact testifies to the long-standing relationship between the residents and the trees.

The museum is in a traditional building, which represents the authentic, intelligent and functional folk architecture of the area. The building was donated to the Municipality by the family of Panagiotis Karapatakis, who once lived there.

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Samaria Gorge White Mountains National Park

The White Mountains National Park is the only national park in Crete. It centres around the Samaria Gorge, at an altitude of 1,200m and continues down to Crete's southern coast on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. The Samaria Gorge is impressive in the fact that it is the longest in Europe, the total length being around 16 kilometres.

The best way to walk The Samaria Gorge is on an organised excursion; travel agents in all the resorts and towns will be able to arrange this for you.

Although the walk is downhill for most of the way you do need to be fairly fit to undertake the walk as it can be quite demanding. Sturdy footwear is highly recommended.

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Walks Around Chania Old Town

Why not try a private 2 hour walk-tour especially designed around the old town and Venetian port? You will visit the most important sites, such as the Venetian fortifications, the Arsenals, the Greek Orthadox Cathedral, the Roman Catholic Cathedral and the old Jewish and Turkish Quarters.

Discover hidden spots that reveal the mix of influences that give Chania its unique atmosphere. This well researched tour will allow you to gain an understanding of Chania’s complex history and how it has unfolded.

The tour is English speaking and runs from 1st May to 15th October on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. It costs 35€ per adult and 19€ for children under 14. 

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