In one of our recent blogs, we wrote about our impromptu trip to the Greek island of Santorini. Getting directly to it at a short notice was a bit on the pricey side, so we searched for a more cost-effective alternative. And we found one with Ryanair. Instead of flying directly to Santorini, we flew to the town of Chania on the island of Crete. We got there a few days before we were to meet our fellow travellers at our final destination. We had never been to Greece before, so getting a few days to explore Crete was quite fine with us. And this way, Crete became our side trip to our main trip to Santorini.
We only had two days to explore this island and here is what we did while there:
1. We explored the city of Chania.
It is the second largest city on Crete filled with ancient history dating back to the Bronze Age. As is befitting of an island situated on the crossroads of civilizations (European, North African and Middle Eastern), Crete changed rulers throughout history. The remnants of those changes are now reflected in its architecture. What is great about Chania, is that you can very easily explore a lot of it on foot. Don’t miss the Old Venetian Harbour, the Etz Hayyim Synagogue and the Küçük Hasan Mosque. If you like museums, go see the Archaeological Museum of Chania, the Folklore Museum of Chania and the Nautical Museum of Crete.
2. We explored the city of Heraklion.
This is the largest city on Crete and its capital. We stayed here in a rented holiday apartment right in the historical centre of town. There are numerous things to see here. If you are short on time, make visiting Knossos your priority. Knossos is an archaeological site of a city dating back to the Neolithic period. It is truly impressive and even kids can appreciate the remnants of this awe-inspiring civilization.
Our son was very curious and asked a lot of questions about what we were seeing. He was quite mesmerized by the fact that thousands of years ago, other people had roamed this area, other children had played here. Read our blog about why it’s great to travel with kids. There are, other wonderful things to see in Heraklion, like the Koules Fortress, the fortifications of Heraklion and numerous museums, for example the Natural History Museum of Crete, which has children’s activities.
And this is how we spent our side trip on Crete. It was short and sweet (as side trips are meant to be) but it ignited in us a desire to visit again and explore it more in depth. Once it was time for us to join our fellow travellers in Santorini, we took an inter-island flight from Heraklion to Thira. Read our Santorini blog here.
Have you been to Crete? What did you see and do there? What would you recommend for a family with kids?