Santorini had come to an end and it was time to say goodbye to the precipitous cliffs and azure waters and to board a ferry southwards to Heraklion and onwards to Agia Pelagia.
It’s only a two hour crossing on the fast ferry down to Crete and these Hellenic Seaways fast ferries are very comfortable, with airline type seating, a café bar, TV, good clean loos and much more.
Before we knew it we were alongside in Heraklion Port and making our way the short hop over to the airport to pick up our hire car. We booked through Rentalcars.com and were very impressed with the efficient and very friendly service we got from Green Motion Hire at Heraklion airport. Before we knew it we were on the road, heading for the Pela Mare hotel over at Agia Pelagia.
It’s in a lovely spot, high up on the hill overlooking the beach and the main resort and the rooms are spotlessly clean, with comfy beds, en-suite bathrooms and balconies overlooking the bay. The focal point of the hotel / resort is the pool and bar, which doubles as the breakfast restaurant. This all sounds very nice, but as we found out to our own discomfort, not having an indoor bar or restaurant on the resort becomes a big issue when the temperature struggles to reach 15 degrees and you have three days of incessant heavy rain. It all got a bit miserable at one point.
Then, the sun came out and it all became much more pleasant. We sat out on the lawned area near the pool, sipped some cool, refreshing drinks and braved the somewhat chilly water in the pool. It’s all lovely when the sun shines here. The resort of Agia Pelagia is basically a horseshoe of cafés, bars and restaurants set around the pristine bay. It has a really nice relaxed feel to it and we tried out several of the eateries and drinkeries during our time there.
Heraklion is a nice place to visit too: it’s quite a busy, bustling city with good shopping, plenty of pavement culture and no shortage of interesting things to see and do. Parking proved to be a bit of an issue though, but if you do as we did, and head straight for one of the city-centre valet car parks, they’ll park your car for you and bring it back out for you when you get back, saving you time and hassle, for only a couple of euros more.
Just outside Heraklion is the world-famous Palaces of Knossos. This is a must-see when in Crete. We spent hours marvelling at just how advanced and civilised those ancient Minoans and Greeks were. Parts of the palaces have been extremely well preserved and it’s easy to get a feel for how life must have been all those thousands of years ago. It’s an enjoyable experience for all ages and is a nice break from the ‘sitting by the pool’ routine.
Before we knew it, our week was almost up and it was again time to pack those cases and set off for our next adventure, Italy. We headed back from Agia Pelagia to the airport, dropped off our car and took a late evening EasyJet flight up to Milan.