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platanias local train
platanias local train

It was back in 1995 that I made my first acquaintance with Crete. This huge island is a significant part of Greece yet sometimes it seems that it's a country of its own inside a country, that's how big it is. Cretan people are very proud of their island and of their history. Sometimes you hear people say that they have travelled in Greece, in Spain, in Italy, and of course in Crete. Well, Crete is well worth mentioning separately in every aspect of travelling and tourism.
 
It was late July that I visited Platanias, a tiny little village some 12 km from Chania. Nowadays it's more like a suburb of Chania but back then it was a sleepy little village way apart from Chania. Now there are similar little villages right next to each other on the coast so that it's difficult to say when one village changes to become another. They are like a string of pearls, all those "made for tourists" holiday villages.

Platanias
Platanias

However they couldn't be better situated. Sandy beaches stretch from Chania to Kissamos and way beyond. The beaches are mostly sand and have all the facilities and activities you can imagine. The sea here along this section of the north coast is generally calm and the beaches shelve gently to the sea. The resorts sit sheltered by the mountains making the climate usually nice but sometimes the winds can blow hard from the sea and then shelter is very minimal.
 
Platanias was nice for a tranquil holiday. Chania was easy to access with a local bus as was Elafonissi, one of the best beaches in Crete. We spent quite a lot of time in Chania walking around the town, especially the narrow streets of the enchanting old town and harbour. The old Market Hall or Food Market was a 'sight for sore eyes'! I don't think I have ever seen anything quite like it. It was huge and not just any market place. There were so many vendors selling all kinds of mostly local food products. For me who loves cooking it was a heaven on earth. Busy Chania is also a shopper's paradise. There are numerous boutiques and little shops where you can buy everything possible. Local products are good quality but pricey.
 
On a daily basis we also visited Elafonissi. If you catch a bus in Platanias or beyond it, prepare yourself because most likely you will have to stand all the way to the beach. Busses are many but they are all crowded. Elafonissi is very popular because it's close and it's something different from an ordinary beach. Elafonissi is also accessed by boat from Paleohora. There were only a few facilities back in 95 and 97, but being such a popular place, the number of restaurants and cafés must by now have increased. Next summer as I visit Chania again, I'm more than interested in seeing how it has changed during these years.