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auroracoor1

Active member
As I have been researching Greek food, culture, and recipes I came across information about the cuisine of the island of Crete, which looks to be a bit different than the rest of Greece. Is my impression true? Here are some of my observations:

** The food is ultra fresh and most people eat seasonally. I know, this is typical of all of Greece, but the climate on Crete makes the food supply pretty diverse so it stands out with this island

** The cuisine seems to have had influences from various places through the centuries, both because of various groups occupying Greece, such as Venetian and Ottoman, and also because of trade and its location - the island is pretty far south

** There are some interesting and unique food specialties, like dakos, koukouvagio (some type of salad), and other food items...

So, when traveling to Crete it looks like the cuisine is a big part of those travels. What do you guys think? Any other advice you can give? I think I might go to Crete in the near future to explore these ideas.
 
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Laura48

Member
I was there for a relaxing week in September so didn’t have the opportunity to eat much outside of the resort apart from a day trip to Heraklion. While there, husband had an olive and tomato pastry and I had apple bougatsa at a gorgeous vegan cafe. Dakos was easy to find and in the past I’ve been given little goats cheese or cherry pies as snacks when having drinks, all delicious 😋
 
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Deborah

Active member
Every region in Greece will have its own unique cuisine, depending on what’s available, historic and/or geographic influences, and local custom. However you are absolutely correct, Crete does have a particularly long growing season, a strong multicultural influence in its cuisine, and a great interest in farm-to-table food. If that is a special interest of yours, then by all means….visit Crete! Our favorite prefecture is Chania, where I highly recommend Dounias, a farm-to-table taverna just past the Therisso Gorge. You’ll find great seafood along the harbors and wonderful meats & home cooking up in the mountain villages like Afrata and Anopolis. There are also weekly open-air markets, organized food tours, olive & cheese factory tours, vineyards, a Xarma brewery, and the wonderful Botanical Gardens which offers a beautiful walk through an amazing variety of trees, plants, and herbs…..all food served there is strictly farm-to-table. Mizithra is a very special Cretan cheese. If you order a Greek salad, it’ll come with feta. If you order a Cretan salad, it’ll come with mizithra. (Speaking of salads, “koukouvagia” means “owl” in Greek. Could that have been the name of a restaurant and not a particular salad?)

My advice would be to avoid the high tourist area places found everywhere in Greece that promote picture menus and use undue pressure to get you to come inside. Be sure to get out and explore on your own as an independent traveler. Also as you do your research…this is the most important….learn the Greek names for food and dishes. That way you can request a non-tourist, Greek menu and can be assured that you’re getting all of the very best that the restaurant has to offer. Your effort to do this will definitely not go unnoticed! Authenticity is what you’re after; not just an Americano coffee, club sandwich, or huge English breakfast! You could spend months exploring Crete and armed with the research that you’re doing now and a great “theme” to your travels, I think that you would have a fantastic time and would get to interact with local people who love to show off their culinary skills and produce. The Cretan people wrote the book on φιλότιμο (quickly defined as hospitality) and when you meet them over a shared interest, you’ll see exactly what I mean….friends and memories for life. Sorry - I’ve written a book! Suffice it to say that Crete is a good choice!!!
 
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auroracoor1

Active member
Thank you everyone for your thoughtful responses! Deborah, I don't mind that it was a book - I loved it. So helpful! It's funny that you mentioned Theriso - someone JUST mentioned that place to me a few hours ago. I definitely need to visit, I feel like it's meant to be now. It seems like one can explore Crete for days or weeks and never really experience everything.
 

Deborah

Active member
Try years 😳….23+ years for me and I STILL want to return, so be sure to give yourself enough time there! Glad my comments helped!
 

k_tsoukalas

Administrator
I love Cretan cuisine. Everything I ate in Crete was a home run. Many of the dishes are the same as they are throughout the rest of Greece, and some of it is different. I love Dakos, for example, and I don't see that in the rest of Greece. I guess it just depends. There were other influences on Crete than there might have been elsewhere in Greece.
 

Tips for visiting Elafonissi Beach?

I'm planning a trip to the beautiful island of Crete and have been intrigued by pictures of Elafonissi Beach's pink sands and beautiful crystal blue waters. As I'm putting together my itinerary, I wanted to reach out to this knowledgeable community for some insider tips. Specifically, I'm looking for advice on the following:

  • Best Time to Visit: When is the ideal time of day or year to visit Elafonissi Beach to avoid the crowds but still enjoy good weather?
  • Transportation: What are the best transportation options to reach the beach? Are there any recommended car rental agencies or public transport options?
  • Facilities: Does the beach have facilities like sunbeds, umbrellas, or cafes?
  • Local Eateries: Are there any must-try local eateries in the area that offer authentic Cretan cuisine?
  • Accommodation: Can you recommend any nearby accommodations ranging from budget to luxury?
  • Activities: Besides swimming and sunbathing, what other activities can one enjoy at or near Elafonissi Beach?
Also, are there any specific dos and don'ts or local customs I should be aware of while visiting Elafonissi Beach? Thanks in advance!

This is one of the photos I saw - it looks gorgeous there!

elafonissi-beach-crete.jpg

How long to spend on Crete?

I am going to Crete in the summer. How long should I spend? I have maybe two months in Greece. We don't get to Crete often - we also don't have anyone to visit. Here are some of my thoughts:

Finding a home base - Crete has so many wonderful towns and cities that can serve as your base for exploring the island. How do I do that? Any advice? I am thinking of either the Chania area or Heraklion - but maybe I should spend half the time in one place and half in another?

Historical sites - History is a passion so Crete seems the perfect place. With so many historical sites to see on the island, including museums and ancient ruins, it has made me feel like I need at least a few weeks on the island. I want to visit Knossos Palace at the very least, which means that Heraklion will be necessary.

Beaches - I also love beaches so this is a must. Some of the beaches near Chania look to be some of my best bets, but I am sure I can find beaches anywhere.

Samaria Gorge - I want to hike down through the Gorge. From what I understand, it is easier to access this from Chania?

I appreciate your thoughts!

Crete Minoan Tour

I have been diving into Greek history and mythology from some of the ancient civilizations. One that I have been studying is Minoan, and all of that culture and history seems to be concentrated on the island of Crete.

Does anyone know of a good tour I can take that includes both the history and mythology? I would like to see the Knossos palace as well as some of the other Minoan palaces on the island. I know there is more than one, with Knossos being the largest...

Samaria Gorge - Do I need to hike the whole thing?

I am not sure I am up for an 11 mile hike (I think that is how long it is!). Do I need to hike the whole thing to take some great photos of the gorge? I am trying to picture what it is like there.

In another thread, someone said to take the ferry to Sfakia. I Heard that you can see some of it and only hike in a short way. Is that where most of the pretty photo opps are? I also heard great things about the beach in that village!

What do you guys think?

Tourists Enter A Bus Dressed As... Ancient Greeks!

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