Stunning Crete Sept 2017 - Printable Version

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Stunning Crete Sept 2017 - BGray - 15/09/2017

Prior to booking this new tour to Crete, I had never considered it for a holiday.  I thought it was purely a beach-type holiday destination which wouldn't appeal to me.  How wrong I was and how glad I am that I went on this wonderful tour!  Quite simply, Crete is indeed a stunning island - from dramatic coastline views to the rugged yet very green mountains that dominate the landscape, it was fantastic.  The hotel, the Porto Veneziano, is marvellous and we all enjoyed staying there.  The rooms are compact but pristine and I strongly urge anyone going to upgrade to the seaview room (only £65), which has lovely views of the harbour.  The hotel is located right on the harbour promenade, surrounded by great restaurants so you don't need to wander too far.  The old town, with its quaint streets and shops galore, is just a five minute walk away.  The breakfast buffet is great, with a wide selection, and you can eat outside if you wish.  The food in Crete is wonderful - we didn't have a single disappointing meal.  I strongly recommend three restaurants that a gang of us frequented - Salis, which is at the end of the next block to the hotel (our favourite - just ask Julie about the lamb!!), Karnagio, a little further on with the bourgonvillea in full bloom outside, and Chrisostomos (turn right from the hotel, around the back).  The included dinners were all excellent and we especially enjoyed the meal after the cookery lesson (don't worry, only a couple of people participated in the preparation and it was voluntary!).  I have never tasted moussaka so good....

So what of the itinerary itself?  Well prior to our departure, the flights had been changed from Chania to Heraklion which meant after we ate on arrival, we had a two hour transfer to our hotel in Chania.  We weren't thrilled about this - but don't worry, next year's departures are to Chania which will mean a transfer of around 30 minutes.  What we lost on the way there, we more than made up for on the way back - on the last day, we left the hotel after lunch and went up the old mountain road to the tiny village of Drossia.  Quite simply, the mountain scenery and coastal views were some of the most stunning I have ever seen.  So a big "well done" to JY for making the best out of a frustrating flight situation and giving us a marvellous last day. The included excursions were very enjoyable, especially the trip to the monastery on the Akrotiri peninsula, which was fascinating and we enjoyed more lovely views on the coach.  I missed the optional excursion to Knossos and Heraklion as I wasn't well that day, but the others found it interesting.  Our local guide Effie was very good.  Even if you decide to have a quiet day, it is so relaxing to sit at one of the tables outside the hotel and people watch, as you enjoy the view of the harbour and lighthouse.  The hotel bar was very good.  One thing that I didn't expect is that it is perfectly safe to drink the water there, as it comes down from the mountains and is very pure.  

I am sure that my fellow travellers will have various comments to add, but if you have any questions please do ask.  If you are looking for a holiday that combines interesting excursions with just the right amount of free time, with a great hotel, lovely scenery and terrific food, then this tour to Crete is for you!  Thoroughly recommended...

All the best,

Bob


RE: Stunning Crete Sept 2017 - Rose1999 - 15/09/2017

Hi Bob

Thank you for your review, I like to be active on my holidays and have always disregarded Crete as being a 'beach holiday' and not for me, so it's really helpful to know it's not just that. It's somewhere I will now consider in future, particularly bearing in your 'terrific food' comment!!

Sorry to hear you were unwell but thankfully it sounds as if it didn't affect your enjoyment of the holiday too much. Hope you are well now.

Credit to JY for making the best of the flights situation.

Best wishes
Rose


RE: Stunning Crete Sept 2017 - nixon - 15/09/2017

Bob,

Well, that for sure sounds like a great holiday, views and food my kind of tour. Glad all went well for you all, Inhave seen Elaine's photos on Facebook and as you say stunning scenery, the sunset pictures are amazing.
So where to next for you?

Cindy


RE: Stunning Crete Sept 2017 - jonah - 15/09/2017

Hi Bob

Glad you had such a great time and thanks for the usual excellent review.  I will certainly add this to my list.

Best wishes

Chris


RE: Stunning Crete Sept 2017 - Kezzer46 - 15/09/2017

Hi Bob,
I agree with you totally.  This was a fabulous holiday, and whilst I wasn't sure if there would be too much free time (for me) I really had a great time.  So much so, that a lot of the group felt that the holiday would be even more perfect, if JY were to add two additional days to the holiday with no excursions.

To add a little more to what Bob said,  the Porto Veneziano hotel, is one of the nicest and cleanest hotels I have ever stayed in.  The rooms all had air-conditioning, hairdryers, tea/coffee making facilities and a fully stocked fridge.  The staff at the hotel were friendly and fun, and nothing was too much trouble for them.  

All the excursions were worth doing, however my favorite day was our visit to the White (Julie) Mountains and the Botanical Park and Gardens of Crete.  The garden really was amazing and I would have loved, if there had been more time, to do the whole garden walk.  Equally, the Greek night, was also held here and it was so much fun.

Lastly, if you are lucky enough to go on this trip and you eat in the Salis Restaurant, I would highly recommend the Namelaka dessert, it is a caramelized white chocolate dessert on a pistachio crumble with a Mango coulis and it is to die for.

Kezzer


RE: Stunning Crete Sept 2017 - AnnF - 15/09/2017

Many thanks for this review, Bob. I'd looked at this holiday before but gone for others instead but you have cheered me up no end (my elderly cat is ill with an uncertain future) and I've just been on the website to book a place on the 2 May departure (which by the way is shown as being with BA, Norwegian is doing the April departure, but who knows what will happen nearer the time).

Ann


RE: Stunning Crete Sept 2017 - katy1717 - 15/09/2017

Hi Bob, as noted above Crete is not somewhere I'd have thought of. And the food sounds great. Somewhere else to put on the list of short break options.
Thanks for writing the terrific review.
Katy


RE: Stunning Crete Sept 2017 - Peter G - 15/09/2017

Hi Bob
You can take the blame for causing me to add Crete to my bucket list.Like you I thought it was more of a beach holiday and I did not want to chance food poisoning after my attempt at cooking!. Thanks for a good review. I did not realize the scenery was dramatic.

Peter


RE: Stunning Crete Sept 2017 - AbbaDave - 15/09/2017

Great review Bob glad all went to plan no need for the ear plugs in Chile then with tales of woes and disappointments ho ho, so even I would find something to feast on, it sounds like Crete is really beautiful, i've only even been there once and that was when we went on a cruise so from the airport to the cruise ship was it lol, perhaps when the money runs low I shall consider such beautiful short hauls

all the best see you at LHR for Chile

Dave


RE: Stunning Crete Sept 2017 - Bosuncat - 17/09/2017

I agree totally with Bob.  Crete is a stunning location, and it was a great holiday.

I loved the hotel, excellent, wide ranging, breakfast food, friendly and helpful staff, and really good rooms with the best shower I have had anywhere.  The small garden at the back of the bar is a lovely place to chill out.

Chania itself is lovely.  Lively with a wide range of places to eat, and many, many choices of shops.  There is a town beach which I didn't get down to, but I did spend a few hours at Golden Beach which was a short taxi or local bus ride away.  Beautiful soft sand, and the water was like being in a bath.  So warm and clear with small fish very close to the shoreline. 

I enjoyed the excursions I did manage to go on, although humidity on one day floored me for going to the White Mountains which I had pre booked.  Fortunately we returned there at night for the Cretan evening which was so much fun.  It was (because of the wind), like sitting in a fan oven at times though, with giant moths circling around!

The cookery lesson was great fun, with wonderful food.  My favourite excursion was to the monastery (lots of cats Smile ) with an excellent wine tasting.  I was personally very pleased as we stopped off en route to the Allied War Memorial at Souda Bay, which is in a beautiful location and so poignant.  I hope that JY continue to include this as part of the trip on that day. 

On the last full evening Lorenza our TM took a few of us into Chania for Cretan fast food.  It was GREAT!!  Thank you Lorenza.  Smile

We were lucky enough to have awesome weather all week, although the humidity on one day was a bit much.  Great fun when it got very windy towards the end of the holiday though.

Would I go back?  Like a shot!  The bug bear was the late flight in, and certainly on the return.  We had a slight delay both way, and Gatwick at midnight is no fun.  BA continues to be NOT my favourite airline, and if JY can continue to offer a Heathrow departure as an alternative I would certainly consider it.  I love the Cretan people, and the hotel is superb.