Recap: Rethymno + Lake Kournas

Hi all,

I’m back with yet another recap post. This time, it’s our one day in Rethymno. If you read the post from July 20th (if you haven’t, you should go do that now and come back!), you know that we were in Chania for 3 days before going to Rethymno.

**You must rent a car on the island, the drives are so beautiful. The drive from Chania to Rethymno was the most scenic and impressive. There were massive mountains all around us, at certain points we felt like we were in the Swiss Alps, it was incredible!**

We didn’t really have concrete plans for what to do in Rethymno, but we knew that we wanted to stop somewhere on the way. We chose to go to Lake Kournas and we are SO glad we did it. I was a little bit hesitant at first to go here, because the pictures online didn’t seem that great but it quickly turned into one of my favourite places we visited on the trip.

Lake Kournas is a freshwater lake nestled in the mountains. It’s quite large; about 1km in diameter and the water is a deep blue that I’ve never seen before. The edges of the lake are turquoise, due to the shallow sand. We rented a pedal boat for 2 hours and went around the lake. We stopped a couple of times to swim. It was such an amazing experience. The water was a little chilly, but we quickly got used to it. There was something so magical about swimming in this lake, with the mountains surrounding us. We kept looking over at each other and telling each other just how beautiful it was.

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After our time there, we drove to the city of Rethymno. We circled around for parking, and after finally finding some, we lugged our suitcases to our hotel, which was about a 10 minute walk.

We stayed at Casa Vitae and we are so glad that we did. After staying 3 nights in a very small room, with barely any hot water, it was so nice to come into this big, comfortable and luxurious room. The staff was so nice and the grounds were beautiful, we felt like we were staying in a whimsical garden. We had breakfast at the hotel the next day (it was included in the price of the room) and it was delicious, there was so much food!

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This was the view from right outside our room.
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The courtyard.

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Breakfast area.
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Back gate.

After checking into the hotel, we walked around to go to the fortress. It was so impressive, there were so many structures. I found it quite fascinating to learn what each of them were used for. Plus, the view from up there was amazing, we got to see the reflection of the setting sun on the water.

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View from the top of the fortress.

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As per our hotel’s recommendation, we had dinner at Othonas and it was the best meal we had on this trip. I had the Pastitsio, and Michael had the Lamb stamna, which he still raves about.

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My pastitsio and Michael’s lamb stamna.

After dinner, we got a Nutella crepe and explored the town. I initially thought it looked very similar to Chania because of the lighthouse and harbour, but the vibe was very different. There was a street lined with palm trees and I felt like I was somewhere very tropical. It was really beautiful.

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Harbour.
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Lighthouse.
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Harbour.

I hope you enjoyed reading this!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Marilyn

Recap: Chania, Crete

Hi all,

I’m so excited to share the first “recap” post of our trip to Greece. In these recaps, I’ll be sharing what we did, where we stayed, where we ate, along with loads of pictures! They won’t be travel guides per se, as I don’t think we know enough of each city to really be able to give a “professional” opinion.

Let’s start with the few days we spent in Chania, on the island of Crete. We stayed in the old town and it was seriously beautiful. It’s filled with narrow, cobblestone streets and colourful houses. It actually reminded us of Italy.

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I’ll start with a general overview of our stay and will then go more into day by day details.

Where we stayed:

Room Honeymoon. We had the room on the ground floor (there are only 2 rooms in this hotel) and it was very small. We couldn’t comfortably move around the room if our suitcases were open on the ground. However, for $50 per night, we couldn’t really argue. It was in a prime location and was so affordable.IMG_5424

What we did: 

  • Visiting the old town, stroll through the harbour
  • Venetian lighthouse
  • Ancient Aptera + Fortress
  • Elafonisi beach

Where we ate:

  • Breakfast: Kormoranos Cafe and Bakery. This cafe was a 30 second walk down the street from our hotel so it was super convenient to have breakfast here. We ate here twice.

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    This is “the view” from the cafe.
  • Dinner:  –Lithos Restaurant: Facing the harbour. It was tasty but seriously overpriced. Palazzo Almare: Facing the harbour. We had the seafood platter and while some fish was good, we didn’t enjoy all of it, and it  was very expensive. Semiranos: This one was tucked into tiny streets but it was very good. We had the Cretan pies as a starter and it was probably the best appetizer we had on our entire trip. It was stuffed with spinach and feta, but it had a different shape than the normal spanakopita.
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    The Cretan pies.

     

We also ate gelato every night

Now I’ll go a bit more into detail and our thoughts on this city.

Day 1:

We landed in Chania in the late afternoon and picked up the car at the airport. We rented a car for our 5 days on Crete and I would highly recommend this, especially if you want to see multiple cities (and you most likely want to, since it’s a really big island!).

We drove into Chania and found public parking right down the street from our hotel. We used the car every day and never had an issue finding parking when we came back in the afternoon.

It was raining that day so we just spent the evening walking around the harbour, going to the light house, and just visiting. Dinner: Lithos Restaurant.

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The Old Venetian Harbour.

Day 2:

Breakfast: Kormoranos Cafe and Bakery.

We didn’t really have a set plan for the entire island of Crete, so on our first full day in Chania, we decided on a whim to go to the Ancient Aptera. It’s basically Roman ruins, but not nearly as well preserved as in Rome. Some of the structures were very impressive, but the sight itself was kind of an eyesore. There is a theatre, which is nicely preserved though. We also visited a fortress that’s about a one minute drive away from the Aptera.

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The theatre.
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The fortress.
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View from the cliff next to the fortress.

After our time here, we drove back towards Chania and had to stop at a small shopping mall in the beach town of Platanias for some new shoes for Michael, his had gotten completely ruined somehow.

We spent the rest of the day walking around the old town of Chania and doing a little bit of shopping. We tried going to a couple of the museums in town but they were very small and we didn’t really feel like paying for something that would take us 20 minutes to visit.

Dinner: Semiranos (this was our favourite dinner in Chania!)

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Day 3:

Breakfast: Starbucks… We really wanted Crepes but the crepe restaurant only opened at 5pm (?!) and we wanted something quick, so this was our only choice…

Lunch: We went to the supermarket the day before and made salami sandwiches.

We went to Elafonisi beach, but I will be doing a whole post just for that beach, as the whole day was a really interesting experience! Once we got back from the beach, we had dinner at Palazzo Almare and just walked around. IMG_5428IMG_5429

Day 4:

Breakfast: Kormoranos Cafe and Bakery.

We started our drive toward Rethymnon and decided to stop at Lake Kournas, which was probably the best idea we had on the entire trip! Once again though, I will be going into more details about Lake Kournas in my next Greece recap post: Rethymnon.


I hope you enjoyed reading this! Let me know what you thought by leaving a comment down below 🙂

Have a great weekend,

Marilyn