Crete tourist guide

The best Polish website dedicated to the Greek island Crete and to a small extent of continental Greece. You will find useful information related to visiting Crete that goes beyond the offer of optional tours. On the website you will also find descriptions of the most interesting places that we visited by visiting this largest Greek island. The content complements the current news, photographs and recipes of Greek cuisine.

Heraklion

Heraklion (Iraklion, Ηράκλειο) is the largest city of Crete . With almost 140,000 inhabitants, it is the fourth largest city in Greece. Together with the adjacent towns, it forms an agglomeration of about 200,000 people. The important role that Heraklion plays in Crete is emphasized by the fact that the city is also the administrative capital of the island .

Heraklion - the capital of Crete

The genesis of the city's name

Currently, the city is known by many names that have used over hundreds of years of its history. It is worth mentioning and knowing a few of the most important that are still used in Crete:

  • Heraklion, Herakleion, Iraklion, Iraklio is a transliteration of the ancient name Ἡράκλειον, as used by the Idaean Heracles. However, please do not associate this Heracles with the mythical twelve works, because the namesake of Heraklion is an ancient inhabitant of Greece known for initiating the tradition of crowning the heads of Olympic winners with wreaths of olive branches.
  • The second still used term for Heraklion is Candia. It is the Venetian name of this city derived from the word Chandax (Χάνδαξ or Χάνδακας). Under this complicated phrase, there is the Greek name for a moat. An interesting fact and at the same time proof of the multiculturalism of Heraklion is that the term Χάνδακας derives from the Arabic word al-ḫandaq rabḍ. In this way, the name Candia brings together the influences of the three most important cultures that have shaped the history of Crete.
  • The last name under which Heraklion functions is Κάστρο (Kastro), meaning a castle in Greek. The inhabitants of this castle are called Καστρινοί.

Port w Heraklionie
Panorama of the Venetian port

History of Heraklion

Some scientists speculate that although there is no direct evidence, the origins of this city may date back to 2000 BC. It is believed that in the Minoan times there was a town in the territory of today's Heraklion, which served as a seaport of Knossos. The official confirmed date of the founding of modern Heraklion is 824, when the Saracens came and settled in Crete. During this period, Heraklion acted as a nest of pirates looting Byzantine ships passing in the area. It was only the Byzantine expedition in 961 that put an end to this activity of the city of rabḍ al-ḫandaq ("Moat Castle"), as Heraklion was then called. It was this year that the troops under the command of the future Byzantine emperor - Nicefor Phocas, landed in Crete. After a long siege, Heraklion fell, the city was plundered and burned, and most of its inhabitants were slaughtered. Despite the tragic end of Saracen rule in this city, Heraklion is quickly rebuilt and under the name of Chandax begins its almost 250-year history under the leadership of the Byzantines.

The year 1204 is another breakthrough date in the history of the city. As a result of the 4th Crusade and the political games that flared up after its end, Heraklion comes under the rule of the Venetians. However, it is done in a quite unusual way, because the city changed the owner on the basis of purchase / sale (supposedly for a thousand pieces of silver).




The Venetians renamed the city from the Byzantine Chandax to the Italian Candia. Heraklion functions under this name for several consecutive centuries, and over time the term Candia is also used to refer to the whole of Crete. During this period, the city experiences a rapid development, the effects of which are still visible today. It is the huge walls surrounding the old part of the city (with a thickness of up to 40 meters), 7 bastions and the fortress in the port that are the work of the new owners. After 1212, the Venetians begin to settle in Candia. The mixing of two coexisting cultures leads to the flowering of literature and art, the influences of which radiate all over Crete. The period of this dynamic development is now known as the Cretan Renaissance.

The year 1669 ends the reign of the Venetians in Heraklion. After the (longest) siege of 24 years, the Ottoman army captured the city. However, this success was paid for by the Turks with high losses. In the last 22 months alone, more than 70,000 people have died in bloody fights. soldiers. The new rulers, like their predecessors, changed the name of the city, which from 1669 was to be called Kandiye. Among the Greek inhabitants, however, the name "Megalo Kastro" (Μεγάλο Κάστρο), meaning Great Castle, was more popular. Unfortunately, the Ottoman era is the time when Heraklion is in decline. As a result of neglect, the Venetian seaport is silted, and most of the ships sailing to Crete called Chania , which at that time took over the role of the most important city of Crete (and the capital of the island).

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Only in 1898, as part of its autonomy, Crete regains some of its former independence. Until 1908, Crete was under the occupation of the great powers, and Candia was the part controlled by the British. During this period, the city changes its name again and is renamed to the modern one, i.e. Heraklion. Only in 1913, Heraklion, along with the rest of Crete, was incorporated into the Kingdom of Greece.

Another date that has a strong influence on the present appearance of the city is 1941. As a result of the German bombing carried out as part of the invasion of Crete, a large part of Heraklion is destroyed. Despite the reconstruction, the city never regains its original appearance. In 1971, the administrative center is transferred to Heraklion, and thus the city takes over the title of the capital of Crete from Chania.

Heraklion airport
The international lair of "Nikos Kazantzakis" in Heraklion

How to get there

Heraklion is located in the central part of the north coast of Crete. The easiest and most convenient way to reach this city is by renting a car. Of course, nothing prevents you from taking advantage of quite good bus transport, which is operated by the KTEL company.

Due to its size and its administrative function, Heraklion is very well connected with the rest of Crete. Along the southern outskirts of Heraklion runs the New National Road, which is the best communication route connecting it with the other largest cities of this island, i.e. looking from the western end of the island with: Kissamos, Chania , Rethymnon , Malia , Agios Nikolaos and Sitia. In most cases, this route does not require more skills from the driver, as it is a road that does not deviate from the standard of Polish national and express roads. Difficulties can be encountered when driving from the city of Sitia, where a large section of the E75 route runs along the former National Road. Also, when driving through the town of Malia, you have to take into account the traffic jams caused by cars passing through this town.

The center of Heraklion, as with other major cities in Crete, is a maze of narrow streets where most of the time, traffic is one-way. I strongly advise against driving your car into this maze of streets. Even the best maps and GPS navigation will not be of sufficient help in finding yourself in this maze, and parking problems and dense traffic will only deepen your irritation. Walking tour is by far the best way to explore Heraklion. You can park your car in the port area (e.g. along Leoforos Nearchou Street, where it is relatively easy to find an empty spot), or in one of the several paid parking lots on the edge of the old town.





What is worth seeing?

Below you will find a list of the most important places that we think are worth seeing in Heraklion:

  • Eleftherias Square in the city center (the prefecture building, the Archaeological Museum and other interesting objects are nearby)
  • Archeological museum
  • Rocca al Mare - Koules
  • Daidalou Street - this is a street named after Daedalus, it is a typical commercial road with only pedestrian traffic
  • St. Marka, where the Municipal Art Gallery is now located
  • Old Venetian port with arsenals
  • St. Titus (Agios Titos)
  • Venetian Loggia - the most beautiful Venetian building in Heraklion

Recommended hotels

Hotel Marin Dream ***

If you are looking for a proven hotel in Heraklion, we can recommend Marin Dream . It is a comfortable and relatively cheap 3-star facility with a modern interior. What we like about this place, apart from the location, is very good and varied breakfasts prepared on the basis of local products. They are served on the sixth top floor of the hotel, so you can enjoy a beautiful view of the harbor and the fortress of Koules from the windows of the restaurant.

Good location is the biggest advantage of Marin Dream. It is close from here not only to the port and the Koules fortress. The tourist part of the city begins nearby, where you will find historical monuments, 25 Sierpnia Street, a popular promenade, impressive city walls and the Archaeological Museum. For people traveling alone, accommodation in this place is a convenient solution because the hotel is close to the KTEL station, from where buses go to other cities of Crete.

We are always happy to come back to this hotel when we have to spend the night in Heraklion, of course, as long as there are vacancies :)

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View from the Marin hotel

west
central
east

Interesting places on Crete

↤ click the appropriate part of the island to change the bottom map

Knossos
Knossos

Knossos

Knossos is one of the flagship monuments visited by tourists, it is also the most popular place where organized trips go.

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Heraklion
Heraklion

Heraklion

Heraklion (Iraklion) is the largest city of Crete. With almost 140,000 inhabitants, it is the fourth largest city in Greece.

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Margarites
Margarites

Margarites

Dozens of craft workshops located in this small mountain village make Margarites one of the four main centers where traditional Cretan ceramics are made.

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Heraklion - airport
Heraklion - airport

Heraklion - airport

International airport. Nikos Kazantzakis in Heraklion is currently the largest airport in Crete.

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Heraklion
Heraklion

Heraklion

Heraklion (Iraklion) is the largest city of Crete. With almost 140,000 inhabitants, it is the fourth largest Greek city.

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Moni Arkadiou
Moni Arkadiou

Moni Arkadiou

The date of the foundation of Moni Arkadiou (Arkadi) is not exactly known. According to tradition, the name of this church refers to the name of the Emperor Arkadiusz, who supposedly was to be its founder.

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Moni Arkadiou
Moni Arkadiou

Moni Arkadiou

The date of the foundation of Moni Arkadiou (Arkadi) is not exactly known. According to tradition, the name of this church refers to the name of the Emperor Arkadiusz, who supposedly was to be its founder.

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Rethymnon
Rethymnon

Rethymnon

Rethymnon with around 40,000 inhabitants are the third largest city of Crete. This place was populated already in the Minoan period. Historically, the city was an important commercial center.

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Thrapsano
Thrapsano

Thrapsano

Thrapsano is a small town inhabited by slightly over 2,500 people, the vast majority of which until recently maintained their activity as a potter.

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Skinaria
Skinaria

Skinaria

Skinaria is a small beach located along a small bay, whose outlet on both sides ends with a rocky coast. It is still a little-known place overlooked by mass tourism

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Skinaria
Skinaria

Skinaria

Skinaria is a small beach located along a small bay, whose outlet on both sides ends with a rocky coast. It is still a little-known place overlooked by mass tourism

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Jaskinia Idi
Jaskinia Idi

Jaskinia Idi

According to Greek mythology, Zeus hid (and perhaps even gave birth) in the Ida cave. This myth is the greatest asset of this cave, which is not as interesting and beautiful as the Dikte cave.

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Tripiti
Tripiti

Tripiti

Tripiti is a small beach covered with a mixture of gray sand, gravel and stones. Despite the fact that the beach is unorganized and has a semi-natural appearance, one small tavern works here.

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Tripiti
Tripiti

Tripiti

Tripiti is a small beach covered with a mixture of gray sand, gravel and stones. Despite the fact that the beach is unorganized and has a semi-natural appearance, one small tavern works here.

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Tripiti
Tripiti

Tripiti

Tripiti is a small beach covered with a mixture of gray sand, gravel and stones. Despite the fact that the beach is unorganized and has a semi-natural appearance, one small tavern works here.

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Plakias
Plakias

Plakias

Plakias is a perfect place for people who like to spend time hiking. In the area of the town and the surrounding area, there are several hiking trails that lead to interesting beaches.

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Preveli monastery
Preveli monastery

Preveli monastery

Currently, the lower monastery is still not open to the public and is not used by the monks. The buildings of the upper monastery have undergone partial renovation and are the main seat of the Preveli monastery.

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Preveli monastery
Preveli monastery

Preveli monastery

Currently, the lower monastery is still not open to the public and is not used by the monks. The buildings of the upper monastery have undergone partial renovation and are the main seat of the Preveli monastery.

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Preveli monastery
Preveli monastery

Preveli monastery

Currently, the lower monastery is still not open to the public and is not used by the monks. The buildings of the upper monastery have undergone partial renovation and are the main seat of the Preveli monastery.

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Gorge Kourtaliotiko
Gorge Kourtaliotiko

Gorge Kourtaliotiko

The Kourtaliotiko Gorge, also known as the Asomatos Gorge, is perhaps one of the most spectacular natural attractions available in the central part of Crete.

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Minoan Agia Triada
Minoan Agia Triada

Minoan Agia Triada

Agia Triada is a small Minoan archaeological site in the south of Crete, located near Timpaki, located on the western slope of the hill about 40 meters above sea level.

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Fajstos
Fajstos

Fajstos

Około 60 kilometrów na południowy zachód od stolicy Krety - Heraklionu znajdują się ruiny drugiego co do wielkości starożytnego pałacu - Fajstos.

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Melidoni Cave
Melidoni Cave

Melidoni Cave

Currently, Melidoni Cave (originally called Gerontospilios) is associated mainly with the tragic events that took place here in 1824.

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Koules Fortress
Koules Fortress

Koules Fortress

This fortress is a perfect example of Crete's multiculturalism. Located today in Greek hands, it was built by the Venetians, but is called a name taken from the Turkish language.

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Archeological museum
Archeological museum

Archeological museum

It is one of the most important and largest museums in Greece and one of the most important in Europe.

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Tylissos
Tylissos

Tylissos

Tylissos is one of the few places in Crete that has kept its name since ancient times.

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Damnoni
Damnoni

Damnoni

Plaża w Damnoni jest położona po sąsiedzku z Plakias - popularną turystyczną miejscowością

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Agios Pavlos
Agios Pavlos

Agios Pavlos

Agios Pavlos is a small town located on the southern coast of Crete near Saktouria.

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Triopetra
Triopetra

Triopetra

Triopetra is located at the foot of the Siderotas mountain about 52 km south of Rethymno.

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Agia Galini
Agia Galini

Agia Galini

gia Galini (Αγία Γαλήνη) jest jednym z najpopularniejszych nadmorskich kurortów na południowym wybrzeżu Krety.

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Skinakas Observatory
Skinakas Observatory

Skinakas Observatory

The observatory is located at the top of the Skinakas mountain at an altitude of 1750 m. The idea for its construction was born in 1984.

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Armeni
Armeni

Armeni

The Late-Romanesque cemetery in Armeni is located on the outskirts of this town, located less than 10 km south of the center of Rethymno.

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Military Museum
Military Museum

Military Museum

The museum presents the dramatic history of Crete written over the last several hundred years.

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Argyroupolis
Argyroupolis

Argyroupolis

The modern settlement known as Argyroupolis was built on the site of the ancient city of Lappa (also called Lambi)

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Lentas
Lentas

Lentas

Lentas is a good idea for those who want to get away from villages steeped in industrial tourism.

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Labyrinthaki and Labyrinthos
Labyrinthaki and Labyrinthos

Labyrinthaki and Labyrinthos

This ancient quarry, consisting of two parts by modern times, is called Λαβυρινθάκι and Λαβύρινθος.

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Archeological Museum in Eleftherna
Estiatorio Chrisopigi
Estiatorio Chrisopigi

Estiatorio Chrisopigi

If anyone of you is looking for a good restaurant near Matala and Kalamaki, then we would like to recommend estiório Chrisopigi.

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Gortyna
Gortyna

Gortyna

Gortyna is considered one of the most extensive excavations in Greece.

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Psiloritis - Timios Stavros
Psiloritis - Timios Stavros

Psiloritis - Timios Stavros

Psiloritis (Timios Stavros - Holy Cross) is the top of the highest mountain of Crete, rising to 2456 m above sea level.

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Rouvas Gorge
Rouvas Gorge

Rouvas Gorge

Rouvas Gorge is one of the most interesting places in this part of Crete. The interesting trail leads in a perfect way to the changing appearance of this gorge.

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Matala
Matala

Matala

Matala is one of the most popular towns not only of the southern coast but also of the whole of Crete. In the 1960s and 1970s, this small fishing village was a mecca for hippies.

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Monastery of Odigitrias
Monastery of Odigitrias

Monastery of Odigitrias

The Odigitrias Monastery is one of the most famous monasteries of southern Crete. Unfortunately, in terms of popularity, he is far from other Cretan monasteries.

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Kali Limenes
Kali Limenes

Kali Limenes

Kali Limenes (meaning Dobre Porty or Piękny Przystanie) is a coastal town located in the Asterousia Mountains on the southern coast of Crete.

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Vathipetro
Vathipetro

Vathipetro

In addition to the famous grand palaces on the island in the Minoan period, a number of smaller residences were created. One of the most important examples is the Vathipetro discovered about 5 km north of Archanes, on the southeastern slope of Mount Juchtas in the central part of Crete.

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Kommos
Kommos

Kommos

When traveling around Crete, it is not difficult to pay attention to the fact that most of the beaches there are relatively small and short. For this reason, people who are used to our national Baltic standards, where the sandy coast stretches for kilometers, may experience a special disappointment. However, fortunately, nothing is lost, because Crete in its rich arsenal of various beaches can boast of those that allow for long walks along the coast. One of them, our favorite is the Kommos beach located in the south of the central part of the island.

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Sfendoni Cave
Sfendoni Cave

Sfendoni Cave

Although there are countless caves in Crete, only a few can be visited. Sfendoni is the largest cave open to the public. content comes from: http://www.crete.pl www.CRETE.pl

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Venetian Harbor and the lighthouse
Venetian Harbor and the lighthouse

Venetian Harbor and the lighthouse

The old Venetian port and the lighthouse are one of the most recognizable elements of Rethymno.

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Wszystkie treści i zdjęcia występujące w serwisie są naszą własnością.
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Komentarze

Anna Gajowniczek
Anna Gajowniczek
2012-09-12 15:13:00

Fajne miejsce na sesję zdjęciową :)

Moja kuzynka miała tutaj część sesji ślubnej podczas slubu oczywiście z Grekiem !. Zdjęcia wyszły zachwycające na tle twierdzy weneckiej.

 gość}
gość Karol
2017-04-06 19:06:39

Ciekawe miejsca na Krecie

Hej! To co Wy robicie tutaj jest absolutnie fenomenalne. Bardzo chciałem podziękować bo tyle ile skorzystałem przed wyjazdem to a głowa mała. Kreta bez dwóch zdań jest niesamowita. Chyba jedna z moich ulubionych wysp Morza Śródziemnego. Góry, plaże, jedzenie, urocze wioseczki, zabytki no i w sumie nie jest zbyt drogo :) Nie chciałem być dłużny i także coś postanowiłem dać internetowi od siebie. Może te kilka słów ode mnie o ciekawych miejscach Krety komuś się przydadzą... :P Dzięki jeszcze raz - pozdrawiam! :) http://kolemsietoczy.pl/kreta-ciekawe-miejsca-atrakcje-zabytki-porady-plaze-transport-noclegi/

Piotrek | www.crete.pl
Piotrek | www.crete.pl
2017-04-06 22:04:32

:)

Dzięki za uznanie i bardzo cieszymy się, że nasza strona była przydatna w czasie Twojej wycieczki po Krecie. Mamy nadzieję, że będziesz polecał www.CRETE.pl również na swoim serwisie oraz, że będziesz ją rekomendował wszystkim tym którzy szukają bardziej szczegółowych oraz bieżących informacji o tej greckiej wyspie.
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Najnowsze komentarze:

gość PiotrWie: Zgubić się w wąwozie Kourtaliko to sztuka. Trzeba przekroczyć wybetonowane obrzeże ścieżki i pójść poza wyznaczona trasą  Ale ludzie mają różne dziwne pomysły - wczoraj widzieliśmy dwie osoby uparcie próbujące zejść ze stromego klifu ścieżką zamkniętą płotem i wyraźnie oznakowaną zakaz wstępu, niebezpieczeństwo wypadku.
Love seeing them in flight, supreem fliers!
Bliskie spotkania :)
Byłam w ostatni wtorek i zastanawiałam się, co to za piękne, drapieżne ptaki latają nad Lassithi! Możliwe, że właśnie wtedy zostały wypuszczone?
gość PiotrWie: Dziś byliśmy na plaży Sarakiniko. Tragedii nie było - tylko dwa autobusy i 23 samochody osobowe. Ponieważ teren jest dość rozległy to się rozeszli i nie przeszkadzało. Ale nie wyobrażam sobie co tu się dzieje w lipcu i sierpniu.
Och nie miałam wielką nadzieję że do tego nie dojdzie.
Super jak ja byłam to był szlak zamkniety
Super miejsce. Kto wybiera się na Kretę, to powinien mieć w planach ten wąwóz. Polecam
jeszcze tylko 2.5 miesiąca :)
Podobne plany w Komiža na Wyspie Vis w Chorwacji. Żal.
Koszmar. Plakias to takie piękne miejsce, a klif niesamowity.
W 2020 było cudownie, pusto, czysto i cicho. Zalety pandemi....
Poza fajną laską nic ciekawego
Byłem pierwszy raz na Balos w 2012 roku, w szczycie sezonu i pamiętam, że zrobiła na mnie ogromne wrażenie. Ludzi było wtedy mniej, dało się zaparkować na szczycie bez problemu. Kolejny raz w zeszłym roku. Również w sezonie. Miałem wrażenie, że droga zrobiła się jakaś węższa i bardziej niebezpieczna. Samochodów multum, było naprawdę ciężko się dostać na szczyt. (...)
Piękna i niezwykla
gość CreteYourLife: Prace już trwają. Usypali drogę i kopary rozjeżdżają klif. 
Smrodek, wiatr taki, że w oczy sypie piachem, mnóstwo ludzi, jako plaża skała posypana piachem. Za to Gramvousa Super
gość PiotrWie: Tu jest sporo szlaków pieszych, prowadzących z Chorio od odludnych plaż. Oczywiście nie jest to wyspa na 3  tygodnie, w czwartek przenosimy się na Milos Po powrocie napiszę więcej.  
Gosia | crete.pl : Kimolos wydaje się być wyspą na krótki wypad. Jest dość mała. Po urlopie napiszesz coś więcej na jej temat?
gość PiotrWie: My byśmy na Balos na początku czerwca 2009 i już wtedy stwierdziliśmy że jest za dużo ludzi. Nie potrafię sobie wyobrazić co się dzieje w lipcu i sierpniu - nigdy nie byliśmy w tym okresie pomimo 17 pobytów na Krecie. Obecnie jesteśmy na Kimolos, turystów można policzyć na palcach jednej ręki. Plaże mamy tylko dla siebie. (...)
Przepiękne miejsce. Miałam przyjemność być, gdy było mało osób.
Zmarnowany dzień wakacji
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