We stumbled across this lovely restaurant when wandering the back streets in the old Venetian quarter of Chania and ended up eating there almost every night of our stay.
It's located in what was the plunge pool of an old Turkish bath. Ignore the main courses on the (Greek) menu and go for a selection of the mezedes. There's a huge variety with generous portions at only a few euros each. Our favourites were the horta (steamed wild greens served with olive oil and lemon juice), the favakeftedes (split pea croquettes), and the lovely local sausages.
Two people could happily eat their fill and wash it down with a carafe of local wine for under thirty euros.
49, Zambeliou, Old Town, Chania
Tel : +30 282 109 6080
Away from the hubub and mass tourist market, the small town of Plakias lends itself to hiking the mountain paths and wonderful cliff walks during the day and relaxing in the pleasant seaside atmosphere in the evening.
Budget travellers can stay at the Plakias Youth Hostel run by amiable manager Chris, while the more well heeled can rent a small apartment for a few more Euros.
Situated at the mouth of a spectacular gorge and set in a tranquil olive grove. This spotless hostel lends itself to long spring sojourns for the intrepid walker or beach lover alike.
Eight person spacious dorms all with a patio, table and chairs surround a grass covered communal area with ample shade.
The manager is on hand to take care of simple needs like internet access, bottles of local wine and ice cold Mythos beers. Breakfast is a simple and cheap affair but the community spirit is what makes the hostel buzz.
Guests come from all over the world and some stay months or even the whole season to enjoy the local beaches and simple life that Plakias affords.
A world away from the resorts of the north the Plakias youth hostel gives much in return for the thoughtful and social traveller.
Plakias can be reached by bus from most major towns in the north of Crete.
Mirthios 74060, Rethymno, Crete, Greece
Tel. +30 28320 32118
book on reservations.bookhostels.com/psacreative.com/hostel.php?HostelNumber=10176
Crete is the most mountainous island in Europe. The link below gives access to reasonably-priced accommodation near Zaros, a quiet village on the southern slopes of Mt. Ida, far removed from the throbbing nightclubs (unfortunately) associated with Greek tourism.
Mountain biking, walking, bird watching, visits to nearby monasteries etc. Delicious food. Don't be put off by the website name - "agrotourism" is the Greek rough equivalent to rural eco-tourism, and has nothing to do with "aggro" lager louts!
When I was in Rethymno, Crete in 2001 I was told about a hostel in a village called Plakias that I should go visit. I went down to Plakias and ended up staying for weeks, and returned several times over the next few years. There is great snorkeling and hiking within walking distance of the hostel. This is one of the best hostels I've been to in many years of travelling.
YH Plakias in the south of Crete is the number one party hostel in Europe. If you are single, eccentric, aged between 21 and 55 and like a chat, a shag and a drink, then this is the place for you.
The cult of YH Plakias has developed over decades as there are many "regulars" who come back year after year. Six marriages and five babies have resulted from relationships formed at the hostel. Chris the manager will make you very welcome. And all this at eight euros a night.
I am expecting a man shortage this year as I am coming back with five of my girlfriends so any eligible guys out there, hope to see you in May!
Mirthios 74060, Rethymno District, Crete, Greece. Tel. +30 28320 32118. The website is at yhplakias.com
nearest airport is Heraklion or Chania
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