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Western Crete: Arrive, stay, get to know

In Kolymbari in the very west of the bay of Chania nearly in front of Gonia Monastery we found a good place at the pier. A marina is to be built here, but hardly anything is noticeable of it yet. A well protected place, but no electricity and water at the pier. For us a good place to explore the west of Crete a bit. Nobody asks how long we want to stay here with our boat. The locals we get into conversation with think it's good that we live on our boat. "You guys are doing it just right. Enjoy!" This warm friendliness is so nice!

Pictures of Gonia Monastery:

After all, there is so much to see here: the mountains, the green hills with the many olive trees and the avocado plantations, gorges, spectacular coastline, impressive monasteries and Chania with the beautiful Venetian harbour and the touristy alleys of the old town. We could have moored here as well. But at the harbour in Chania it is noisy, during the day masses of tourists, at night the soldiers of the Greek Navy and the southernmost NATO base in Europe and the students of the University of Chania celebrate here. We visit Chania quite relaxed by bus and notice that even in April there are quite a few tourists, mainly package tourists from the hotels on the north coast. 

Pictures of Chania:

And in the evening we are back on our boat. Everything is quiet, we look into the stars and over to the monastery of Gonia. 

We hike up the mountainous peninsula of Rodopou in fierce gusts of wind. With a rented car we explore the west coast of Crete: the bay of Kissamos, Falassarna with a view of Gramvousa, the monastery of Chrisoskalitissa and the Caribbean beach of Elafonisos. Gisela was here 46 years ago - by bus and on foot. At that time there was nothing here. It is interesting to see what kind of tourist infrastructure has been built in the meantime, fortunately no multi-story hotel buildings so far. But at the moment it is still the pre-season. And nevertheless, although it is not yet bathing weather, there are already quite a few tourists here. In the high season, there are supposed to be 4-5 thousand tourists a day. Unimaginable for us. The infrastructure is far from sufficient. On the washed up flatland in front of the steep rugged coast, vegetables are grown on a large scale, including bananas.

Pictures of Chrissoskalitissa:

Pictures of Elafonisos:

A second trip by car takes us first to Souda, the ferry port of Chania. Here we find in the marine supplies store Drakos what we currently need for our boat. Then we go to the peninsula Agrotiri - densely populated at the beginning. Here is also the airport and the NATO base. But then it becomes wild and rugged. We visit the beautiful monastery Agia Triada and drive on a narrow bumpy road to the monastery Gouverneto. From here there is a path to a cave where a hermit is said to have lived. A farmer shot him because he mistook him for a bear. Steeply the path then goes down through a gorge to the abandoned monastery of Agia Katholiko. We do not walk all the way down, since we are already a little late. A problem with the cooling of our rental car had delayed us a bit. But: spectacular the wild gorge and the view to the sea. And impressive the monument to the Greek partisans killed against the German occupation of Crete in 1941. A large stone made of quartz. What the German Wehrmacht did here and in many other places on Crete: Here we can only bow our heads, linger in silence and rejoice that the people here are always so friendly and helpful to us.

Pictures of Akrotiri:

In the harbour of Kolymbari we observe the preparations for the beginning of the season. The excursion boats are being made fit. The cats, some of which starved to death during the winter, are eagerly waiting for the guests in the tavernas to drop something from their plates under the table. And talking to the man from the diving center, we hear once again that the weather conditions are changing, becoming more unpredictable. He has already thought about selling his boat.

Arrive, stay and get to know - good that we have time!

More pictures of Western Crete:

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