Just before my 30th birthday there were whispers of parties and surprises… my worst nightmare! Before anything could be planned my lovely husband booked a few days away to Crete and asked my brother in law to pet/house sit. Panic over!
When we first arrived, I’ll admit, I was very worried. In the transfer from the airport to the hotel we drove through a few shady areas and there is lots of graffiti. Luckily as you enter Agia Marina it looks much better. I loved the lemon trees and cats… lots of cats.
We went all-inclusive at the Galini Sea View hotel. It was a couple of weeks out of the main season so a lot of the facilities were closed. The weather was a little cloudy but it didn’t stop both of us getting burned. The hotel itself was lovely although not quite 5 star (I think I may have been spoiled with the hotel in Dubrovnik as that was just so grand!). Our room overlooked the pool area and out to sea -A tip if you stay here.. request the Sea view room, as most of the rooms do not face the lovely view, despite the name being “Galini Sea View”.
The hotel has a lovely pool and it’s own beach area, each with it’s own bar. Dan enjoyed sampling one of every cocktail whilst I enjoyed the exploring of Agia Marina and the surrounding area. The food wasn’t great – but I’m a fussy eater so don’t trust what I say about that… We did eat at the hotel most of the time however tried a few of the lovely restaurants in the surrounding area and I enjoyed a pizza from a large clay oven on my birthday, with a free dessert and complementary Raki.
The beach was lovely, we walked for miles on the soft golden sand. Directly across from the beach is a small island which is said to be a petrified sea monster called Theodorou, it’s home to the protected Kri Kri Goats of Crete.
A little stray dog followed us for most of our walk, he was lovely and if I could have packed him in my suitcase I would have!
We did plan on lounging around the pool and on the beach however two days into our break, four bus loads of teenagers on school trips packed into the hotel. The peaceful pool area quickly filled up and we had noise all hours into the night. We didn’t let this ruin our time in Crete, instead we decided to walk into Chania (pronounced Hania and this is often spelt Xania too… the signs say all three variations of the spelling, just to confuse things!).
The walk was very long – 10km to be exact, but a lot of interesting places along the way. About 5 km in, we decided to hop onto one of the buses as the weather began getting very hot. The Chania town is very busy, much like a large city and there are lots of nice coffee shops. It’s an interesting mix of old and new. We spent most of the day exploring and found ourselves in the Venetian harbour. This area of Chania is beautiful, I loved the architecture and the colours. There are plenty of museums for archaeology and Martine which were really interesting and plenty of places to eat/drink overlooking the lighthouse and sea.
Overall I really enjoyed my time in Crete, the hotel staff and locals are friendly. The hotel certainly wasn’t 5 star but very comfortable and clean. I’d recommend hiring a car if you go as we noticed places we’d have liked to have visited on the drive back to the airport, which were not within walking distance – such as the botanical gardens.