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About the Apokoronas area of Crete & other holiday ideas

The Apokoronas area of Crete is found to the East and South East of the city of Chania. It is an area of great scenery, history, wildlife, beaches and heritage. There are Blue Flag beaches at Kalyves, Almyrida and Georgioupoli so that you can combine your beach holiday with at least one day's shoot. There are direct flights to Chania airport from all over Europe during the summer.

(right: the Akrotiri peninsula from Kalyves beach)

The Akrotiri peninsula as seen from the Blue Flag beach at Kalyves, with its fishing harbour and sandy beach
The awe inspiring internal structures of the Roman cisterns at the historical site of Aptera.

There are many historical sites in the region. The most famous would be Aptera. Here, the Roman cisterns have to be seen. From the site, there are spectacular views of the area: Souda Bay, Akrotiri peninsula and the White Mountains. The bus service during summer is regular and a comfortable means of getting about. Local companies provide day trips to destinations such as Samaria, Knossos, Balos, Imbros...

(photos left and right: the Roman cisterns at Aptera)

The external view of the Roman cisterns at Aptera

Eating out is a pleasure with many quality restaurants and tavernas, many with great views of the mountains, the sea or the bay. If Greek or Cretan food is not your preference (and that would be a great shame) then you can find pizza parlours or restaurants selling English breakfasts, lunches, dinners and roasts.

The best breakfasts include Greek yoghurt with local honey.

The locals are extremely proud of their locally produced olive oil, wine, fruit, honey and raki.

 

The Apokoronos area is renowned for its flora. Here are Crown chrysanthemum

The wildlife in the area is exceptional and during the spring many species of orchid can be found and there is an abundance of plants in flower. Migrating birds stop for a period in spring and autumn. Butterflies are on the wing during every month of the year. Some of the views and landscape scenery are outstanding.

Ian can put you in contact with a local ecologist / naturalist (a friend of his) who can take you on guided walks for a small fee, either individually or in a small group.

(photo left: the wild Crown chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum coronarium)

Other Holiday Ideas

There is a sailing school at Almyrida. Here you can hire various types of water craft and have lessons. At Georgioupoli there is a horse riding centre. Some hotels have a programme of special activity weeks and you can include silk painting for example with your visit. If painting is a passion, a local professional and friend of Ian leads small groups for a small daily or weekly fee - individual requirements are catered for. Any of these activities can be incorporated with your shooting.

 

The Blue Flag flying near the lifeguard's hut at Almyrida

You can discover many old Cretan villages in the area where the 21st Century seems a long way away. Do be aware that in mountain villages most locals speak only Greek (a chance to try a few phrases?). Backgammon is a regular feature in the Cafenions and a match may attract quite a crowd.

In more developed areas you may find live music and Greek dancing as well as music from western Europe.

 

(picture left is of the European Blue Flag flying proudly on the beach at Almyrida)

The sandy beach at Almirida in mid-October

The Apokoronas region can be enjoyed at any time of year. Even in the middle of December daylight exceeds ten and a half hours and the temperatures can reach 20 degrees Celsius. Orchids start appearing during late December to early January and you can see butterflies all year round. Late winter or early spring is the time of the carnival and other festivities associated with Lent. Easter (not usually at the same time as the UK) is a period of great excitement.

(photo left is of part of Almyrida beach in mid-October)

Summer, of course, is usually very warm and dry. Rain is not normally seen during June, July or August. By September the day length is reducing and temperatures are cooler than during the main part of summer. Many visitors, especially from more northern areas, consider this is the best month for a beach holiday. The first rains of winter have usually fallen by mid-October creating bursts of colour from the extensive flora. However, most days on Crete the sun shines and at low levels frosts are a rarity. However, storms in autumn through to spring can be noisy and spectacular and the northerly winds in winter can be very strong.