At the end of summer 2011, I joined the hiking group of Heraklion for a walk along the south coast of Crete from Preveli Beach to Agios Pavlos. I was blown away. It was more or less an endless strip of beautiful beaches, one after the other. All almost empty. All with amazing clean blue seas. We climbed massive sand dunes, saw spectacular rock formations... I couldn’t wait to come back and spend some time in this area.
Beach at Agia Fotini
|Beach at Katsouni|
|Sand dunes at Agios Pavlos|
Last July I took the first chance I could, and came for a long weekend camping on a beach in the area of Agia Fotini. This is a magical place. There is nothing there, just a couple of houses set back a bit from the coast, and perhaps the best tavern in Crete. This is the Taverna (and rent rooms) Agia Fotini, Kerames, Rethymno, a completely hidden treasure. It is a very simple place, with 4 rooms to rent, a basic menu, access to a small beach. But there is something about the atmosphere, the total relaxation, complete escape from everyday life. There is nothing to do except walk, swim, eat, relax………
Have a look at their website: http://www.agiafotini.net
|Taverna Agia Fotini|
|At the Taverna with Sage|
Vicki Perakis, the owner, tells me they have no problem with allowing animals in the rooms. She very sensibly set out the ‘rules’ – not to let pets up on the beds, and to take care when coming and going due to their own dog, Zara. I must admit, I remember Zara – she got a bit territorial when we turned up with Sage, and they had a bit of a set to. This is probably a particular issue as they are both female and used to being the boss.
We camped on a nearby beach, due to our budget. We still laugh when we look at the photos, and remember that although we had a wonderful, romantic get away together, it was like sleeping through a tornado – the winds can really get up on the south coast. I woke up screaming with the tent pressed down on my face, at least 4 or 5 times through the night, as I dreamt I was being suffocated in my sleep. I was, more or less. In the end I slept outside with Sage.
|Our tent, in the shade of the rocks|
|Sage keeping guard while I was sleeping|
The beach where we camped was nothing special, but it was deserted. There was one house built up overlooking the cove, but we just chose to believe there was nobody there. A huge rock divides this cove from the next patch of coast, and this provides shade for a large part of the day. There were also a few trees at the other end, that we cowered under for an hour or so.
Because of the fairly frequent strong winds, I would recommend the rent rooms. Also because they are lovely.
As I was warned, dog owners should take care when coming and going through Zara's territory. However, the owners are dog lovers, and are very welcoming to animals.
This place is really in the middle of nowhere. You will need a car, and buy any provisions that you might need on the way down.
A lovely website showing Cretan beaches in all their glory is called just that: Cretan Beaches ( http://www.cretanbeaches.com) It's really worth a look, even if just to daydream on a dull day.
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