When I arrived in Crete's capital, I felt an immense amount of pressure. I only had 12 hours in this beautiful city and knew I needed to make the most of it. Heraklion was the last stop on my trip to Greece and I had an early morning flight to catch the next day. I checked into my hotel at 4PM and the concierge asked if I would like them to prepare a breakfast package when I checked out at 5AM. I thought to myself, "Come on! I just got here- As if I want to think about leaving already!". Obviously, I just replied, "yes please" to the breakfast package (And it was a very, very good decision).
After the concierge reminded me of how little time I had in the beautiful city, I threw my bags in my hotel room, checked out this cute little patio door (A human couldn't actually fit on the patio, but I tried, failed and then just poked my head out to look around), and told myself to quit fooling around and get down to business. I laced up my running shoes and prepared to run around Heraklion; here is what I got up to:
1. The Venetian Harbour of Heraklion
The first thing I did was run down to Heraklion Harbour located on the 25th of August Street. It was a hot day, but the breeze from the sea makes for a great run or walk around the harbour. The harbour is filled with beautiful sights and jam packed with history.
2. The Venetian Shipyards
Aside from beautiful sights the harbour offered, I was also able to see the Venetian shipyards (These are pictured below in the background).
3. The Fortress of Koules
The Fortress of Koules was my favourite stop during my harbour front jog. I'm not even sure why this fortress was built, but it is definitely the best (And only) fortress I've ever seen. Superman should have just come here.
4. Shopping on Daedalou Street and 1866 Street
From the harbour, I ran up to Daedalou Street to check out some fashion and jewellery. On 1866 Street, I basically bought all of the Cretan honey I would be able to clear in customs.
5. Patio Time
Just east of Theotokopoulos Park, I stumbled across some outdoor patios. While they were all calling my name, I chose the one directly beside me as it was in the closest proximity.
6. Lion Square and Morosini Fountain
Lots of history, a great meeting point and four lions holding a basin. What's not to love?
This restaurant is located in the centre of Heraklion and features authentic Cretan cuisine. The staff, food, atmosphere and presentation of food was amazing. There were also a lot of cats hanging around and, in my experience, this always seems to be a good sign in Greece.
It was a wedding that brought me to the small, costal beach town, Agia Pelagia, located 20 KM west of Heraklion. It was in Agia Pelagia where I experienced the hospitality Crete is known for. It was here that I met raki (More on that later).
On my first evening here, I was invited to the groom's family home for a rehearsal dinner. Immediately upon my arrival, I was offered food, good conversation, homemade wine and raki. In case you are not familiar with raki, it is "a sweetened, often anise-flavoured, alcoholic drink" popular in Greece with an alcohol volume of 40-50%. It was a good party.
It seemed as though everyone in the groom's village attended the dinner and were helping the family host. As I looked around, all of the neighbours were either serving, clearing and cleaning dishes; pouring raki; or playing an instrument. I was blown away by their sense of community.
After dinner, the bride and groom rented out Almyra, a restaurant for a party back on the beach. Almyra was an excellent venue for a large event with delicious food, drinks, good music and the sand and sea as a backdrop. As the night carried on, one guest learned she had left her cell phone in the cab down to Almyra (Raki was blamed). Hospitality was shown once again when the cab driver was called: He located the phone and then returned 2 hours later to personally deliver it to its owner.
In between the wedding ceremony, reception and events, guest enjoyed a few days on the beach and in the shops, restaurants and cafes of beautiful Agia Pelagia.
The view from Iridia Hotel Apartments
Agia Pelagia Beach
My name is Sara and I love finding new things to do in a new city. This website is an attempt to share the things that excite me in a new place through stories, photos, lists, travel tips and tricks.