Secret Crete

When Easter arrives in Greece, one thing is for sure – summer’s on its way. In fact of all the Greek islands dotted around the Mediterranean and Aegean, Crete has some of the best average year-round temperatures but that’s not the only reason it’s a timeshare favourite. It really is an island with something for everyone, whatever your style of holiday.

If you’ve booked a timeshare holiday in Crete this spring or summer your break might coincide with one of the many festivals on the island. The big one is Easter, a very important celebration for the Greek Orthodox Church. By the end of March spring is in the air and by April, the hillsides ablaze with purple and yellow wildflowers, with temperatures comfortably into the double digits.

Crete has more than one airport and numerous main resorts, all with their own beaches; head inland to the island’s charming, lost-in-time villages and you’ll discover the simple life as it has been lived for centuries. Here, the stress therapy comes free; sit down to a rustic lunch of grilled lamb, a Greek “horiatiki” (which means “village”) salad with a cool beer and take a good hour or two to absorb the olive grove views down to the sea.

Depending on which resort on the island you’re staying at, here are some suggestions for a day out if you feel like discovering some of the lesser known spots in Crete which many visitors don’t get to see:

1. Rethymnon is a great base because it’s less touristy than Heraklion and has a pretty harbour, lots of shops and plenty of charming, narrow Old Town streets. But if you have time, and a rental car, drive up to Omalos via Perivolia and stop off for a late morning coffee and a pastry. Then head south west following the winding roads and make your way down to Paleochora for lunch and a swim before heading back to base.

2. If you’re staying near Heraklion, Agia Pelagia is a quiet village with its own beach…and a great cocktail bar. Eleni at Nefeli’s will mix you a fabulous cocktail from the list and fruit, popcorn and nuts are all free. Dinner choices are good, there are tavernas where you can tuck into grilled fish or a home made moussaka.

3. If you’re staying along the northern coast you might catch one of the local celebrations at Archanes or Neapoli. On August 14, the night before the famous Panagea Festival on August 15, the village of Mohos near Heronissos is a good place to celebrate in local style.

4. There are more secret beauty spots along the south west corner of Crete… seaside villages or remote inland settlements in the hills, where the breeze carries the scent of mountain herbs as it sweeps in from the sea. If you have a car, drive up to Pefki and stop off at The Peppertree for a quick drink – or a long one. It will be hard to leave your seat on the balcony and the gorgeous sea views.

5. On the west coast of Crete you’ll find a long, sweeping beach at Georgioupolis which is a good spot for a family beach day out. There’s a lake with little boats or hire a small canoe and explore the local estuary complete with pelicans.

For more information and to find out the exact time the first ever Olympic Flame was lit, visit http://www.visitgreece.gr

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