Exploring Crete

A couple of weeks ago I told you all about the hotel we stayed at in Crete, Elounda Blu (you can read my full post here). This week I’m going to be showing you some of the things we got up to whilst there.

A big bonus of our hotel was the private beach two minutes walk from our room. While it wasn’t a sandy beach, this didn’t particularly bother me as I actually hate getting sand everywhere. It was brilliant to not have to wake up early to secure a bed, we could roll up after breakfast at around 10:30 and knew we’d still be able to get seats. With a beach bar available too, it was so easy to while away the whole day in the sun, enjoying a good book or even just watching the gently lapping waves.

One morning, at Matt’s request, we decided to rent a boat for a couple of hours which would give us plenty of time to explore the island and even a bit of snorkelling. I am so glad we did this as it was so much fun to be able to drive our very own boat around and drop anchor whenever we wanted, jumping into the crystal clear water in what felt like our private oasis. Operating the boat was incredibly simple so even I had fun whizzing around.

We had noticed boat trips excursions to Spinalonga island which was close to Elounda but figured this was something we could take in by ourselves on our boat trip. The ruins are certainly impressive and there’s an interesting history of the island that’s worth exploring.

I’d never really been one for visiting a Spa while on holiday as it simply didn’t make sense to me. Why would I want to be cooped up in a room when the weather outside was glorious and I could admire the sea? I couldn’t help but be impressed by Elounda Blu’s Aegeo Spa which relaxed you as soon as you stepped in with the soothing music and smiling staff inviting you in. There was a huge amount to choose from but we eventually decided on the couple’s massage, an experience we could enjoy together.

We were given forms to fill in which determined how we were feeling, what we wanted to achieve from our treatment and the pressure in which we wanted to be massaged. This was in order to create a personalised experience to suit our individual needs. We were then led by our two therapists to a low-lit room which instantly made you feel sleepy. We hopped onto our individual beds and were soon transported to an almost otherworldly place while fragrant aromatic and essential oils were expertly massaged into our skin. It was most definitely one of if not the best massages I had ever received and Matt strongly agreed. The therapists were clearly highly trained and we walked out of the door, peaceful and smiling.

After we had spontaneously hired a car for the night last year in Iceland, we were both determined to do the same in Crete. A car gives you a great chance to explore a bit further afield and take in places that otherwise might not be available to you. One of the lovely concierges at Elounda Blu, Marcella, very kindly noted on a map a few areas of interest and as she was local to the area, we happily took her advice.

We drove through several small Greek villages such as Plaka and Fourni which despite the scarily small streets gave us a real insight into the less-touristy side of Greece. I think it is always really important to remember that you may be on holiday but you are still in people’s home country and it is vital to both respect and appreciate that. I always admire that Matt will go out of his way to learn phrases of the language of the country we are visiting. I could certainly do with learning from him!

The main destination for our journey was the coastal town of Agios Nikolaos. The streets are a colourful blend of shops, taverns and coffeehouses, all of which we enjoyed leisurely wandering around. Marcella had recommended a particularly fantastic dessert place which we sought out while visiting Agios Nikolaos, the menu full of the most mouthwatering combinations we simply couldn’t resist. I went for the decadent ‘Brownie Passion’ – gooey brownie pieces with both chocolate and vanilla caramel brownie ice cream and layered with warm chocolate sauce while Matt opted for ‘Crunchy Love’, two balls of praline ice cream with nuts, wafer and chocolate syrup. Considering Matt declared the ice cream to be better than Italian gelato we had eaten previously in Rome, you can imagine how good it was!

After leaving Agios Nikolaos and driving around for a bit longer, we came across Almiros beach, a long and sandy beach which beckoned us with its cool, clear waters. We picked a couple of sunbeds and settled down for a few hours of relaxing and swimming in the gorgeous water before making our way back to the hotel.

And so concludes my posts on our visit to Crete! We intended the holiday to be a relaxing one and it most certainly was. I was really pleased with the balance of activities and rest that we achieved while away and came away more peaceful than I had on any other holiday. We’ve both agreed we’d love to see more of Greece generally so I’d love to hear if you have any reccomendations for us. Let me know in the comments!

Emily x