A sun-kissed Greek holiday

Stalis Travel Blog

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Beautiful beach at the pleasant resort town of Stalis
It is a mystery to some why my first ever visit to Greece came at such a late stage in the game, and was preceded by travel experiences to a whole host of other less conventional and more outlandish destinations, but then again, I'm not really one to schedule things in predictable ways, which makes it seem like I prioritize destinations over others. As it stands, in my book, there's barely a nation on earth which doesn't hold any appeal as an uninitiated tourist, but all the same, I did have to single out just one Greek island from a whole cluster of them, and figuring out that, with Crete being the largest Greek island, it would therefore have the biggest scope for discovery in the space of my week-long stay. Well, the resort of Stalis got my casting vote for being both a hive of activity, as well as a brilliant beach-fronted resort in which to be based for the duration of my trip.
Greek ruins at the Palace of Knossos, just outside Heraklion, the island's capital
Nearby Malia has fewer traces of Greek culture than just about any other Greek town, and is raucous and brash in terms of appeal, but the colourful facades of Malia's nightspots made for some interesting photo imagery. The other neighbouring resort of Hersonissos, is sufficiently developed to be considered a pleasant enough base for a holidaymaker, and the nearby pleasure pool complex at Star Beach, where most attractions were in fact free, was as fun-filled or relaxing as you'd want it to be, and made for a full day of enjoyment. A must-see place on the island of Crete are the archeological ruins at the Palace of Knossos, a complex which is reachable from the island's chief town of Heraklion by service bus, and this also constituted another full day out, with scope for exploration and photo opportunities.
Boats arriving at Spinalonga island, a former Greek leper colony
Since the bus services in general on Crete are reliable and inexpensive, I was able to reach the resort town of Agios Nikolaos cheaply and relatively quickly, and set sail from the Mediterranean town's charming quayside area on a half day boat trip to the former leper colony island of Spinalonga, which is easily Crete's most surreal setting. The true crescendo of the trip to Crete, however, came on the last full day spent there, in the company of a fellow traveller, in command of two rented quad bikes, which allowed for a full day of hedonistic fun and freedom, spent ripping up the terrain, along coastal routes, through peaceful villages (shame on us for shattering their peace!), and along winding roads up into the Cretan foothills. Turning in the bikes in the early evening summed up the entire Cretan experience for me - that it was very much a 'mission accomplished'-style trip, with ample scope to roam freely.
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Beautiful beach at the pleasant re…
Beautiful beach at the pleasant r…
Greek ruins at the Palace of Knoss…
Greek ruins at the Palace of Knos…
Boats arriving at Spinalonga islan…
Boats arriving at Spinalonga isla…
Funky-looking nightspot in Malia
Funky-looking nightspot in Malia
Al fresco dining, Mediterranean-st…
Al fresco dining, Mediterranean-s…
Stalis
photo by: Jollyjetsetter