With grey, laden skies at this time of the year; sunny, Greece is no longer (not everyday anyway!). Even though we are currently at the heart of the cold, bleak winter, fact is that spring is just a couple of months away. And a sure proof way of overcoming the seasonal blues, I’ve discovered, is thinking about my favorite holiday spots and Crete in particular: A little slice of heaven on earth, really; imbued with a striking natural beauty, fascinating historical sites, abundant cultural life, authentic people and postcard perfect towns. Like Chania; famously the most picturesque of them all. Yet despite of its manifold charms, Chania tends to get packed and noisy at times. So another thing I’ve realized is that whilst holidaying in the area, it’s actually best to stay nearby, rather than inside this undoubtedly charming town. Just 9 km away Agia Marina-Platanias is a beautiful, seaside settlement; quaint and lively at the same time.
Christmas is in the air and at Oscar Suites & Village Hotel in Platanias Chania, we can not help but feel like kids again! This is the time to rejoice and to be merry; and though, a few kilometers away from our Hotel in Platanias, Chania– our lovely seaside town– is not your typical Northern European winter wonderland (yet we do get our fair share of snow, in the surrounding-aptly called-White Mountains), in fact in Christmas, it is particularly dashing-not to mention exceedingly fun!
Here the age old custom of decorating model sailing boats for Christmas, is very much alive. After all the people of Chania have always been accomplished seamen and the Christmas boat has been their special way of saying welcome back to the men folk of the family-husbands, sons, brothers and fathers-who toiled away at sea for months on end, while women waited for their safe return at home.
With the summer of ‘17 come and gone for good by now, at Oscar Suites & Village hotel near Agia Marina beach in Chania, we just bid adieu to our last guests for the season. Yet while it is time for us to put our feet up, relax and unwind for a bit (the latter of course being the operational word, as at Oscar Suites & Village hotel near Agia Marina beach in Chania we are constantly busy conjuring new and exciting stuff for the upcoming year), for the majority of our compatriots, it is business as usual. Though tourism-and the industry revolving around it- is a key aspect of the Cretan economy, this does not mean that life stops in the winter. Actually the island’s towns and villages are still very much alive and kicking during the so called “off season” months as locals go about their daily business. In fact there is so much to do. Crete, which produces more olive oil than all of the Greek islands and mainland combined boasts over 30 million olive trees. Come November and it is time for the annual olive harvest: This is an age old tradition going back to ancient Greece, which has remained largely unchanged for thousands of years; and in which nearly every Cretan (as well as a several of the more adventurous, lucky visitors) participate.
“The people of Crete unfortunately make more history than they can consume locally”, British writer Hector Hugh Munro (aka Saki), once wrote. From the mythological origins of Zeus and the mysterious Minoans with their labyrinthine palaces, through Venetian and Ottoman control, to the daring deeds during the German occupation, what makes Crete truly stand out is the depth and breadth of its history. While all this drama and turmoil might have been trying (at best) for its people, it has also made Crete one of the most fascinating destinations on the planet. Read on for the not-to-be-missed historic places to visit in Crete: