Chania has been voted the most beautiful city on Crete. It has a beautiful old venetian harbour with its quayside bars and restaurants, the old quarter has many narrow streets, interesting buildings and shops. It is the closest City to Almirida approx 25 kms west. Chania also has several museums, modern shops, parks and markets. More about Chania
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Rethimno has new and old parts like Chania. The old town with its maze of narrow streets sits beneath the venetian fortress, there is an old venetian harbour lined with tavernas and a modern harbour from where the boat trips to Santorini and other places leave. Rethimno is about 30kms to the east of Almirida along the main highway.
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Santorini (Island to North of Crete -day trips from Rethymno) With the second largest volcanic eruption in the world at Santorini came the end of the Minoan civilisation. A theory exists that Santorini was part of the lost mythical continent of Atlantis and the eruption has been linked to biblical events in Egypt recorded in the Old Testament. This violent past has left Santorini one of the worlds most dramatic and spectacular geological sites a photographers paradise.
The ruins at Knossos were first discovered in 1878, but it was not until 1900 that English archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans purchased the entire site and conducted massive excavations calling the culture he discovered Minoan. It is a popular tourist destination today, and has been substantially, if imaginatively, rebuilt. This makes the site accessible to the casual visitor in a way that a field of unmarked ruins is not. It has been suggested that Knossos is the source of the myth of the Labyrinth, an elaborate mazelike structure constructed for King Minos of Crete and designed by the legendary artificer Daedalus to hold the Minotaur, a creature that was half man and half bull and was eventually killed by the Athenian hero Theseus
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This is the longest gorge in Europe, its length being 18 km and is descending from the Plateau at 1200m high, all the way down to sea-level at Agia Roumeli village with spectacular scenery all the way. Walking the whole distance will take 4 to 7 hrs at a reasonable pace. The walk is long and can be arduous but it is not a difficult walk. Still, every day people get into trouble or end up having an experience which is far from pleasant.
The most common factors are:
People who never do any exercise and suddenly want their body to walk 16 uneven km without protesting.
Bad shoes creating blisters and / or foot-ache.
Problems with the heat (in summer).
Knee problems that develop during the steep descent at the beginning of the walk and have no time to get better once that original strain is over.
However if you don' t feel fit enough then there is an easier approach: the lazy way. You start from Agia Roumeli and walk up to The Sideroportes (Iron Gates) which is the most narrow part of the gorge; you almost touch both sides of the rock walls at the same time while these walls rise 1000 ft up. Please check boat times for Agia Roumeli before you set off if you are not part of an organised tour. The full walk is best done by organised coach trip as it is a one way trip( the only way to leave Agia Roumeli is by boat there are no roads from here).
The best time of year to do Samaria would probably be April,May or September,October when the weather is cooler and the walk is less crowded.
More about Samaria Gorge Crete
Try Samaria the lazy way as a less strenuous alternative, drive to Chora Sfakion catch the ferry to Roumelli, walk up the gorge to the iron gates and back ( mostly flat), catch the ferry back to Chora Sfakion.
Choro Sfakion Ferry timetable
Ferry Timetable Chora Sfakion Ferry Timetable
In 1579, the Venetians' built a fortress on Spinalonga over the ruins of an acropolis. They kept control of the island until the Ottoman Empire took possession of it in 1715.
The island is notable for being one of the last active leper colonies in Europe, being used in this manner from 1903 until 1957. The last inhabitant, a priest, left in 1962.
more about Spinalonga