Category Archives: Nature

Crete – 10 reasons to visit the biggest island of Greece

It’s April and it’s just the right time to visit the biggest island of Greece and 5th biggest island in the Mediterranean sea – Crete. Actually, I’d say April is the best time to visit most of Europe – spring comes in full speed, flowers are blooming, the tourist crowds are less and costs are flight/hotel costs are at their low-season levels.

Why go to Crete though? Here’s ten top reasons:

Gran Canaria – the island of sun

Among all 4 Canary islands I have been to (out of 7), Gran Canaria appealed to me most. When researching it before the visit, it sounded like a crowded touristy place where elderly people occupy the lengthy beaches. After being there, I admit it is fairly touristy in some parts of the island, but in general it’s a truly exotic and diverse island. And it’s sunny – it’s claimed that this island gets the most sun from all 7. If I could visit one island among the Canaries, I’d choose Gran Canaria.

What’s cool about this island? It’s considered a miniature continent due to the combination of different climates and landscapes. The north tends to be slightly cooler, while the south is sunnier and warmer (and hence the more visitors to the southern part). The seaside is dry, the inland (higher altitude) more humid and with lush vegetation.

You may reach CG either by plane to Las Palmas or by going first to Tenerife and then via ferry (2-4 hours) to Gran Canaria. Then, you could move around the island using the bus transport (pretty reliable, but suitable for more popular destinations along the coastline) or via rent a car (cheap rentals available directly on-site).

Lanzarote – the island of volcanoes

If you read my 10 reasons for visiting the Canary islands, you should already have a growing desire to visit this amazing archipelago. But – which islands to start with?

Being a fan of frequent, but shorter vacations for me the best option seems to visit the Canary islands two by two, for a total of 8-10 days. You spend 3-4 days on each island (+you need 2 days for transfers) which is pretty insufficient but still a good time frame to get a taste of the island.

So, my first couple was Lanzarote and Fuerteventura Canary islands. They are close to each other (30 mins by ferry), well-connected to Europe (especially Madrid and Milano) and there’s pretty much to be done there.

Croatia gems: Krka National Park

If you are travelling to the southern part of the Croatian Riviera, you shouldn’t miss Krka national park (http://www.npkrka.hr) – an impressive sequence of gorges, lakes and waterfalls laid out on Krka river as it makes its progress to the sea. Krka is located close (23 km) to the town of Šibenik, which is almost in the mid of Zadar-Split road. From Plitvice lakes Krka park is a ~2 hour drive.

Krka park encompasses an area of 142 km2 and extends along a 2 km part of the river Krka, between the towns of Knin and Skradin. It’s a slightly less popular attraction than Plitvice (read my review of Plitvice lakes) – gets 750 thousands visitors/year compared to 1 million for Plitvice – but is an awesome place to go, especially in the heat. Reason: in one of the park waterfalls you can actually swim!

Croatia gems: Plitvice lakes

If you are an avid traveler, there’s no way you haven’t heard of Plitvice lakes in Croatia. It’s a very famous attraction in Croatia (gets more than 1 million visitors every year) and the biggest national park in Southeast Europe. You can reach it by travelling from Zagreb to Zadar, it’s almost in the halfway.

And no wonder it’s so well-known – the park is amazing and is a must-seе. And despite being a popular attraction, it’s actually not that crowded and you may stroll around quite undisturbed. It’s also a perfect place to visit with kids.

The name Plitvice comes from plitvak (meaning shallow in Croatian) – referring to the shallow basins filled with water, which later became lakes.

The Aeolian islands (Sicily)

The lizard and the volcanoes – the symbols of the Aeolian

Have you heard about the Aeolian islands? A year ago, neither had I 🙂 I was having a 6 am breakfast in a lovely Cefalu (Sicily) bed and breakfast, with an amazing view north of Sicily..when I spotted those islands. “These are pretty close to Sicily and to one another, there are several of them… sounds like a good sailing destination, isn’t it?’ was an instant thought. Few months later – there we go with a sailing crew!

In a series of blog post I will cover what we saw when visiting 5 of these 7 islands. Why series? Because there was so much to see. And I’m sure we didn’t cover even half of the best views and sights. Hope you’ll enjoy the posts, but go see these yourself!

The Aeolian islands are named by the Greeks after Aeolus – God of the Winds, because of the constant high winds in the area. There’s even an Aeolian triangle here where bizarre things happen to sailors (similar to the Bermuda triangle). Alas, not to us, though I had dug all possible literature for this phenomenon and was ‘prepared’ 😉