08/07/2018

Holidaying in Crete!

Many moons ago a girlfriend and I visited Corfu and had such an amazing time. We met another group of older women who became lifelong friends and they even attended my Wedding. We keep in touch via social media and meet occasionally too, even though one now lives in New Zealand!

I remember the holiday being one that was hot, interesting and full of laughter! We stayed in a small hotel, away from the hustle and bustle of some of the more populated holiday resorts and explored the Island. Even taking a bus ride to the Capital Kastropolis.

Since that visit I've always wanted to go to Athens in Greece and also to some of the other Greek Islands. It's not too far from the UK and full of history and Charm! Definitely on the bucket list for future family holidays and also as a getaway once the monkeys are older. Crete is one of the front runners. Although I'd be keen to visit Mykonos and Kos also.

I've been doing some research and think we'll most probably stay in one of the Crete Villas as I think flexibility is key with a younger family. Whilst hotels are great, (especially when booking an all inclusive package) I think the option of having your own pool, eating when it suits you and hiring a car to explore, all add to the experience of holidaying abroad and being able to venture out and about to explore. Of course, you needn't be tied to the villa and don't even have to cook if you don't want to. Eating out at local deli's and restaurants means you get to taste the local cuisine and get to experience local life. Just like I did when my friend and I went to Corfu! I remember having this most amazing Paella.
Photo Credit: Karen from https://blog.monkey-feet.com/
The flexibility of a villa verses hotel holiday also means no sharing of sunbeds (and even fighting to get that prime spot by the pool). No sitting in a dining hall next to people you don't want to mix with and no sharing pools or putting the kids into kids clubs. Our two wouldn't want to attend those anyway and why go away on holiday as a family, if most of the time the kids are palmed off? Of course each to their own, but we prefer staying together as a family and exploring our surroundings, finding little gems, that others may not!
That way the whole family build many treasured memories!

Villas come in all different shapes and sizes and prices too! More affordable ones can be hired (either directly or via an agent), alone, or as part of a package. I think if we go as a family, I would be probably be inclined to book a package villa holiday (as transfers and holiday protection are often included) but should hubby and I ever be able to afford a short luxury break, I'd look to book direct and even just for the weekend. Until the monkeys are older, I'm not sure I could leave them behind for much longer! Although at times I'd quite like to!

Villas generally come with private pools and sun terraces and, they do differ in number of bedrooms and bathrooms, but depending on family size there is always a budget and villa to suit everyone. Hiring a car would be essential to us, as mentioned previously, we would want to explore wherever we stay. They can be booked ahead or when you get to your chosen destination, so again there's flexibility, which is ideal when travelling with families.

What to do when you get there? Well, there are many beaches in Crete, being the largest Island in Greece. The climate favours the Mediterranean with mild winters, so beach holidays can be taken pretty much throughout the year. Falassarna is one sandy resort which comes to mind. There are shops to visit, marinas and many places of interest like ruins and museums. Or simply chilling out at your villa is always a pleasing option!
Photo Credit: Karen from https://blog.monkey-feet.com/
Hubby isn't keen on the weather being too hot, so for us, the best time to go would be around Easter or in September. I think he would hate the heat in mid summer! The cooler months would probably be better for the monkeys too, to be honest. They've not yet flown, so going to Crete would be a good distance for them to fly for the first time. With a flight time of just over four hours, it would be both suitable for them and for just the two of us for a quick weekend getaway. We're lucky to live close to two fairly popular airports and about an hour from another, so the choice of flights would be great.

I'm getting excited now, about planning ahead. First though, we have a family trip to Disneyland Paris (our first there) and an amazing surprise for the monkeys this Christmas! We're off to Lapland and they have absolutely no idea! They will be shocked, excited and thrilled. I just hope we can deal with the cold. Because if not, I shall be dreaming of a holiday in the sunshine in Crete! 

Do you have any great recommendations for the Greek Island or in particular, Crete? Places to eat? The perfect villa? Best beach? Please do comment below and let me know. Any tips would be hugely appreciated. What time of the year would you go?

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