A trickle of tourists are arriving on Crete these last couple of weeks, but nothing like in past years. The pandemic has been a double-edged sword with cutting economic negatives on one side, and a paradise empty except for local people on the other. Visiting various spots on the island via the exploits of our friends, the locals, offers a glimpse at what Eden must have been like before the fall. Here are a few happenings from this past weekend.
Giorgos Kissanakis, who’s the owner, pilot, and trainer at Paragliding Crete Power FLY, spent his weekend where else? Flying high above Crete, of course. On the Instagram above George is gliding over the beaches at Georgioupolis on the north coast of the island. George tells me most of his clients come from France, Germany, and Norway, but he expects some UK fliers later on since people from Britain seem to love this part of Crete too.
Maria Papadaki is an economist and accountant from Heraklion who, like most Cretans, takes time off to revel in paradise when she can. In the photo above, Maria is out on a daily walk with her family on top of the ancient Venetian Walls which surround Heraklion. This part of the city is amazing for getting a mind reset and an interesting view of everything in the city. I walk here frequently to get “above” it all. Heraklion, though most people do not realize, was an impregnable fortress during Venetian times.
For those people who fancy themselves sailing around Crete like the Argonauts or Odysseus, the owner of Ariadne Sailing Trips in Rethymno, Manolis Deligiannakis manages the family’s private charter business. Manolis turned his father Michalis Deligiannakis’ passion for sailing and the sea into a business. A sociologist by trade, he tells me he’s already run several charters this season, which is great news given the pandemic mess.
Captain Michalis sails to some of Crete’s most amazing hidden places. I always tell our friends who come to Crete to enjoy the island from the point of view from seaward, to get a whole new perspective. And from Rethymno marina, adventurers can get to see hidden coves and beaches relatively few people are aware of. The Beneteau Oceanis 381 is a dream to sail, and you can even book multiple-day voyages to places like Balos and beyond. Manolis turned his father’s passion for sailing and the sea into a business. A sociologist by trade, he tells me he’s already run several charters this season, which is great news given the pandemic mess. I urge anyone with an inkling to seek a real adventure in Crete to investigate Ariadne Sailing Trips.
For powerboat enthusiasts, Ioannis Somarakis, who is the owner of Blue Water Club boat trips and rentals in Agia Pelagia, spent this weekend like most others during the season. The famous seaside village on the bay of the same name is a picture-postcard little paradise for anyone who loves the water. The coves, caves, and undiscovered beaches nearby have been the haunts of pirates, and the tiny town is on the site of long lost Apollonia. Ioannis has one of the most fun, and demanding businesses on Crete, since seeing the island from seaward is a treat. Ioannis is originally from Skalani, a few minutes south of Heraklion, famous since before Venetian times for the rich vineyards and olive products there.
Crete’s and Greece’s tours superhero Rebecca Skevaki was on the south coast this weekend refining one of the most interesting adventures on the island. Crete Urban Adventures’ Antiquity and Adventurers Tour takes travelers to explore remote Sougia and an excursion on a Greek fishing boat to a secrete swim spot, and the ancient city of Lissos. Rebecca also runs Grecian Lux and a half dozen of Greece’s most successful touring operations and shares her passion and vast knowledge of her home island with everyone she meets. This tour is an 11.5-hour immersion into the best Crete has to offer. Guests even partake of the legendary healing waters of the ancient city, and a magic breakfast to get the day rolling.