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Cretan memories: Favorite photos of a summer vacation

Just unpacked my bags after a sunny 9 day-stay on the island of Crete.

It was my second trip to Crete in ten years. Last time I visited the Greek island, it was in 2000. I had been to the palm beach of Vai, to the port town of Sitia, stayed in Agios Nikolaos known as the Saint Tropez of Crete, discovered the archeological site of Knossos and drove to the Lassithi Plateau.

This time, I stayed 30 minutes away from Heraklion, outside of Chersonissos also called Hersonissos.

While I really felt the financial crisis which is facing Greece at the moment, the landscape has not changed much. This alone is enough to go discover Crete.

These pictures won’t be enough to describe the beautiful sceneries I saw.

Morning sunrises in Crete

Deeply moved by sunrises on the coast of Brittany in France when I was a child, I always seize the opportunity to experience more sunrises when I can.

As Crete is known for its beautiful sunrises I could not resist!

Almost each morning I left my hotel at about 6:15 a.m. to find the perfect spot for the sunrise.

The first two pictures were taken during my first sunrise in Crete. I enjoyed precious minutes looking at the sky turning from pink to yellow, while the waves were coming toward me.

sunrise on Nana Beach near Chersonissos

Sunrise on Nana Beach near Chersonissos

 

Storming waves during a sunrise in Crete

Storming waves during a sunrise in Crete

 

The morning in Nana beach was just perfect. The sky was clear. I used a zoom to get this deep color of the sunrise.

Perfect sunrise on Nana Beach in Crete near Chersonissos

Perfect sunrise on Nana Beach in Crete near Chersonissos

 

From my hotel patio, one morning I was able to capture a shot of the Cretan sky turning orange. I was actually packing my bags to check out of the hotel when this was happening outside. It was hard to close the door behind me.

Orange sky on Malia Bay in Crete

Orange sky on Malia Bay in Crete

 

What an amazing peaceful and indescribable moment! The sky was so red it was hard to believe.

Morning sunrise from patio, Crete

Morning sunrise from patio, Crete

 

Knossos

I drove one more time to Knossos outside of Heraklion. It was dug up by the archeologist Sir Arthur Evans at the beginning of the 1900’s. There you can find the leftovers of the Minoan palace of Knossos. It is well worth the detour. Try to visit the site early as the temperature rises quickly in the summer.

amphoras at the palace of Knossos

Amphoras at the Palace of Knossos

 

Driving to the Lassithi plateau

On the way to the Lassithi plateau, I stopped at the monastery of Kera also known as Kardiotissa and famous for the stolen icon of the Virgin of Perpetual Succour. The monastery built in 961 is currently being renovated.

old monastery of Kera or Kardiotissa

Old monastery of Kera or Kardiotissa

 

If you take the road to Malia from Krasi you will end up on a windy road in the Dikte mountains. Here and there you can see groups of goats grooming the bushes.

goats in Dikte Mountains

Goats in Dikte Mountains

 

The Dikte mountains are beautiful with flowers here and there.

Mountainous panorama in Dikte mountains in Crete

Mountainous panorama in Dikte mountains in Crete

 

Sometimes you see decorative windmills, left for the tourists.

Decorative windmill in Dikte Mountain, driving to the Lassithi Plateau

Decorative windmill in Dikte Mountain, driving to the Lassithi Plateau

 

Heraklion Venetian Harbour and Fortress

On the way back to Chersonissos from Knossos, I stopped at the 15th century fortress in Heraklion. It is definitely worth the visit. You have a great view of the Cretan sea from there. The port itself is quite interesting storing fishing, private and large cruise boats.

Venetian harbour and fortress of Koules

Venetian harbour and fortress of Koules

 

Crashing waves on the Heraklion harbour

Crashing waves on the Heraklion harbour

 

Chersonissos port and beach

On my last day, I walked a few miles to the end of Chersonissos all away to the port. From there you can walk around an ancient basilica, see beautiful cliffs and observe the mountains surrounding Chersonissos.

Chersonissos port

Chersonissos port

 

The beaches around Chersonissos are either rocky or sandy. Most places offer small areas where you can sit. The water is very clean and transparent.

Rocky beach around Chersonissos

Rocky beach around Chersonissos

 

Even cloudy days are beautiful on the coast of Crete. The colors of the sky and sea are bluer and greener than usual. For a moment one thinks the rain will finally come to cool down the atmosphere but the wind pushes the clouds and it turns out to be a beautiful day.

Cloudy day at the beach near Chersonissos

Cloudy day at the beach near Chersonissos

 

Nana Beach outside of Chersonissos

These last three photos were taken around 7:30 a.m. It started cloudy outside, with a wind. The clouds and storm were pushed toward the mountains and the view on the sea was incredible. I loved the different blue colors.

Relaxing morning on Nana beach

Relaxing morning on Nana beach

 

It was a peaceful morning walking along the promenade of Nana Beach.

Sunrise on Nana Beach

Sunrise on Nana Beach

 

Cactus on the beach, island of Crete

Cactus on the beach, island of Crete

 

Hope you enjoyed my photos and I make you want to visit the island.

Happy Travels to Crete if you are going there soon!

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