Crete travel guide

Crete travel guide - how to have a splendid time

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Collaboration / Anzeige

Dear Aviators,

are you already thinking about next vacation season in Europe? I am :) This year I was able to visit many beautiful places in Europe and I cannot wait to chase new destionations next year. My last private trip was to Chania on Crete. In this blog I will share this hot gem with you. Enjoy my Crete travel guide. 

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Crete - 88th biggest island in the world

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Picture perfect Chania

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Why Chania on Crete in Greece?

I finsihed my flight duty in Athens in Greece and I needed a time-out after some stressfull period. Like my Zakynthos trip, Crete is a only a 30 minutes flight away from Athens and the weather is still pleasant in autumn. In Berlin it was rainy and cold so I thought why do not spend my off days on the 88th largest island in the world and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.

Last time I was on Crete is over 10 years ago. A really good german friend I know since my childhood moved to Chania after we went to highschool togehter. It was always my biggest wish to visit her again.

 

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Chania Crete

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Narrow streets old town Chania

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Sunset by the port

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How to stay fit while traveling

I love to travel and to fly, but do not get me wrong I also hate it. Like everything in life is has its downsides. It is a lot harder to maintain a healthy lifestyle. In one of my latest videos on YouTube, I share with you my fitness routine. Please make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel as well.

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Outdoor workout area

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Domes Noruz - a unique hotel

When I first saw some photos of the Domes Noruz Chania I thought it must be a dream staying at this hotel. The award-winning hotel belongs to the Autograph collection hotels of the Marriot group. So my expectations before arrival were lets say extremely high.

The Domes Noruz Chania consits of only 83-rooms and suites giving it a boutique style character. For those seeking a relaxing and calm time-out this place in Chania is ideal, since it is adults only.

The entire hotel complex is well designed with a fresh and contemporary touch. It is unique and different which makes the stay so exciting and special. Just have a look at my suite then you know what I mean.

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Lobby Domes Noruz Chania

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Quiet zone area

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Salis Chania

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My suite 

I stayed in Sublime loft located on two levels. In my entrance area I had a small private plunge pool. Adjacent to it was my bedroom and bathroom. Upstairs was small living room and a sliding door which led to the my huge private terrace. Besides a sunbeds, a hammock, it featured a round bathtub with stunning views of the Aegean Sea.

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Warm welcome

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Sublime Suite Domes Noruz Chania

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Quiet zone pool area

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Private terrace Domes Noruz Chania

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The beautiful envirmonemt, the direct beach access and luxurious facitlies make it very hard to leave the hotel property, but you at least should plan one day to discover Chania. Especially the picture perfect old town is worth a visit. It offers a blend of Ottoman, Venetian and Greek architectures creating a stunning setting. Many Crete travel guide(s) rate Chania to be one of the most beautiful cities in the Mediterranean Sea.

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Private beach Domes Noruz

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Balos - the Instagram beach

Balos Beach and Lagoon is a must visit when you are on Crete. I have been to many beautiful beaches around the world, but the Balos lagoon is a personal highlight for me.

The famous lagoon of Balos is located approximately 56km northwest of Chania and it is defintely no hidden gem anymore. Its wild natural beauty and the beautiful exotic scenery are stunning. By car it is about an hour drive from Chania, but you can also take the ferry running from Kissamos port. In the summer time it can get really crowded. Even in Mid October it was still quite busy.

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Balos beach

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Gravel road to Balos Beach

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on the way to Balos

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worth the drive and walk

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My hot Crete travel guide tip

Arrive early in the morning. I recommend around 10 am or even earlier by car to avoid huge crowds. The 10 km dirt road drive to the parking lot is already quite an adventure. From there it is about a 3 km hike down to the beach. The views of the vivid blue and turquoise waters are breathtaking. Bring enough water, sun protection and proper shoes.

When you are done "beaching" you can stop for some food at the Orange Blue cafe. This place is located at a nice setting with stunning views. Simple but good food. The sunset from there must be magnificent from this place.

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Orange Blue Cafe

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Balos beach: Caribbean feeling on Crete

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Orange Blue cafe

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Where to eat the best food

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Food has a very high significance for the greek poeple. That is why you will not have hard time to find tasty food. I can definitely recommend leaving the hotel to discover the Cretan diet, which is uncomplicated and made from fresh, healthy ingredients. I noticed that many places use ingredients, which are grown in Crete's natural environment.

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Salis Chania

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Recommendations in Chania

Salis Chania: located at the water front of the old town of Chania. The menu offers a lot of specialites and many fresh fish dishes with a contemporary touch.

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Salis Chania

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Salis Chania

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Abandoned houses - Old Town, Chania

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Salavantes: Cretean cuisine with local ingredients and a modern interpretation of the dishes. Simple but extremely tasty. I went there two times in a row, because it was so good.

Carte Postale: As the name suggests: the view is like strraight from a post card. Besides a coffee you can also enjoy tasty food while enjoying a magnificent view of Chania.

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Carte Postale Chania

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Carte Postale Chania

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Carte Postale Chania

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I hope you enjoyed reading my Crete travel guide. Next holiday season I am looking forward to traveling to Greece again. On my bucket list I still have the more popular islands Mykonos and Santorini to tick off. Have you made your travel plans for next holiday season already? Where are you planning to go? Let me know in a comment below.

As always safe travels and happy landings!

Your PilotPatrick

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the greek Instagram island

The greek Instagram island - mini vacation on Zakynthos

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Anzeige / Advertisement

Dear Aviator,

great to welcome you back on my blog! Have you heard of Zakynthos before? I hadn't until I saw several bloggers posting like crazy from this greek Instagram Island - Zakynthos". I literally I was tempted by beautiful caves, crystal blue water and a breathtaking beach with a shipwreck. I thought I need to find out for us if this island is really that beautiful or if this is a "Instagram fake".

 

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Appraoching Zakynthos with Skyexpress

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It was super spontaneous

I finished my flight duty in Athens and decided spontaneously to stay in Greek during my off days. I checked for flight connections to the most famous islands Santorini and Mykonos, but there was no suitable return flight available. Then this island with the famous shipwreck beach came into my mind. I knew it was somewhere in Greece. I booked a flight connection with Sky Express from Athens, which lasts only 45 mins. The return flight was with Eurowings via Düsseldorf back to Berlin four days later. Watch also my the Instagram Story Highlight about the trip.

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Must see: Xigia Sulfur Beach

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Greek island facts - Zakynthos

The Greek island in the Ionian Sea is the third largest of the Ionian Islands. It covers an area of 405.55 km2  with only about 40,000 habitants and the coastline is roughly 123 km in length. The name, like all similar names ending in -nthos, is pre-Mycenaean or Pelasgian in origin. In Greek mythology the island was said to be named after Zakynthos, the son of the legendary Arcadian chief Dardanus. Zakynthos was hit by a 7.3-magnitude earthquake in 1953, which destroyed most of the buildings on the island. That's why you will not find any typical white buildings (like on Santorini) on the island.  Zakynthos econonmy is based on tourism, olive oil and wine.

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Suites at Olea All Suite

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Suite at the Olea All Suite

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Eagle view of the Olea All Suite

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Check out my YouTube channel PilotPatrick for more exciting videos about my trips around the world!

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Minimalism, elegance and a private pool

I have stayed at many hotels in my time as pilot and frequent traveler, but the two properties on Zakynthos were one of a kind. On vacation I prefer smaller more intimate hotels, than big hotel bunkers. Boutique hotels offer a much more personalized and exclusive service.

I stayed 2 nights in the Zante Maris Suites and 2 nights in the Olea All Suite hotel, which are sister hotels and are located on the same property. As the names suggest the star hotels properties comprises of suites only.

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Private pool suite Olea All Suite

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Pool area at the Olea All Suite

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Mountain views at Olea All Suite

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Olea All Suite

The unique hotel is set on a picturesque hill, surrounded by olive trees and green, walking distance to the beach and only 10 minutes from Zakynthos town and airport. I was lucky to stay in a suite with a private pool, which not only offered stunning views of the ocean, but also granted a lot of privacy.

Next to a Spa, gym and a vast pool area, the 3 restaurants offer exquisite culinary options, including greek and mediterranean dishes.

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Breakfast at Zante Maris Suites

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Dinner at Zante Maris Suites

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Dessert at Znate Maris Suites

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Zante Maris Suites

Smaller in its size. Only 45 suites in total, but all with outdoor living space. I have never seen such a special welcome drink. Smoking Ice tea served on a plate with fruits and nuts. Food was amazing as well. As a half board guest you can choose from a huge menu from seafood, cheese to meat and extortionary desserts.

Which one did I prefer?

Both hotels are similar in its minimalistic yet luxurious design. For even more privacy, relaxation and exclusive service I would go with the Zante Maris Suites, since this is an adult only hotel. In my opinion breakfast and dinner was even more exceptional at the Zante Marris Suites. However I did not try the a la carte restaurants at the Olea All Suite.

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Welcome drink at Zante Maris Suites

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Spa ath the Olea All Suite

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View from the massage place at the Zante Maris Suites

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Activites on the island

I stayed for 4 days, which is sufficient for a short getaway. However, 4 days was not enough to fully explore the island.  The stunning hotel property made it hard to leave the hotel, but I came to Zakynthos to see the island as well. So make sure you plan with enough time. One week should be about the perfect length.

What did I do:

Navagio Beach

The Instagran spot! Also known as the shipwreck beach. You can only get to the beach by boat because the beach is surrounded by 200m  high cliffs. A breathtaking setting with ultra blue water. Make sure to see the beach also from top of the cliff. The view is amazing but be careful as well!

 

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Navagio Beach - Shipwreck Beach

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Navagio Beach - Shipwreck Beach

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Navagio Beach - photo credit SPATHUMPA

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Blue caves 

One of the most popular attractions on Zahkynthos.  Nature is really the most beautiful thing on earth and so are the blue caves. To see the blue caves in real live and to find out why they are called blue caves was an amazing experience. The best way to visit them is in a small to medium boat. I charted a small boat with  Alykes VIP Boat  captain Georges knew all the amazing spots. With in 5  hours I was at the shipwreck beach, inside the blue caves, swam in crystal blue water and jumped of a cliff. Additionally he gave me lots of background information of the island. A true VIP and insider experience.

 

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Famous Blue caves

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Olive trees

Only few urban areas makes you feel that you are in nature the whole time. I did not expect such a green island. During my exploration tour I passed many wine-growing areas and olive trees. I also got to see the oldest olive tree of the island. It is supposed to be over 2000 years old.

Kampi

One of the best locations for sunsets on Zahkynthos. It is loacted on the west coast so you will be able to see the sun set into the ocean. The view is breathtaking. I could not stay for the sunset so please do it for me.

Transport

You do not necessarily need a car to get a round. One day I booked a driver to take me within 4 hours to many interesting sights on the island, since I did not have so much time. Alternatively you can book a quad or a two seater buggy to discover the island by yourself.

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oldest Olive tree on the island

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Go to Kampi for the sunset

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Zakynthos is not only an "instagramable" island with amazing photos spots, but also a place where you can relax and feed your soul to the fullest.

 

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Have you been on a greek island before? Let me know in the comment section below.

Safe travels and happy landings!

Your PilotPatrick

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