Heraklion: Jodie Kitching, E-mail Marketing
Date Posted: 30/09/2019
On the 25th June we jetted off to Heraklion in Greece where the weather was amazing, with temperatures of at least 30 degrees most days. We stayed in quite a basic hotel called the Galaxy Villas that had a small pool but no evening entertainment, yet I still fell in love with our accommodation. The staff couldn’t do enough for you, they were really friendly, and the food at the hotel was really nice - I recommend the pizza! And only around €7 or 8 for full size.
Also, the blueberry iced tea was soooo refreshing!
Top tip – Get the air con! You have to pay but it is definitely worth it.
On our first night we spotted a seafood platter menu at a place called Galini, which was only a couple of minutes’ walk from our hotel. The seafood platter was €14.95 per person and it was absolutely huge! It had mussels, squid, shrimp, prawns, and octopus, as well as mushrooms filled with crab and prawns in an avocado. I had only tried prawns and crab before, but I was feeling adventurous and I do not regret my decision! This was by far my most favourite meal of the holiday, every little dish on the platter had so much flavour and was so rich, and it was nothing like I’ve ever had before. It was so obvious that the people who worked there loved their job, as they were absolutely amazing, always smiling, and having a laugh with you.
Every morning we would go to a cute little bakery opposite our hotel. It did the most amazing fresh pastries; chocolate croissants, normal croissants, pizza slices, chocolate twists, Nutella pastries, apple turnovers, cheese and ham slices, and their specialty pastries, to name a few! Again, the people here were so friendly. It became our little routine to go across the road, get a carton of fresh orange juice from the shop and collect our pastries, before going back to our hotel balcony and watching the sun come out.
I’ve never been self-catering and had cooking facilities in your room but I really liked it. I enjoyed being able to sit out on the balcony with a fresh orange juice or a coffee from the shop. We also really enjoyed sitting drinking a fruity cider from the shop before going out. The shop across the road sold different flavours in little bottles, I tried the watermelon and pear and apple, which I would definitely recommend if you fancy a few drinks on the balcony before heading out.
On a couple of our days we decided we wanted to explore.
First off, we decided to discover Heraklion, which was about a €45 taxi ride each way from our hotel. We ventured down to the port and went for a walk along the beach, but we didn’t actually end up doing much as it was so much hotter than we expected and we didn’t realise it was so steep heading back up from the beach. If I was to go again, I think I would go earlier in the day before the sun is at its highest or later in the day when it starts to cool down. I’d also definitely take a lot more money so we could have tried out some of the restaurants and enjoyed a refreshing cocktail.
We then decided to hire a quad bike, which is something I had never done before and was an experience to say the least! It was around €45 for a full day’s use which also covered insurance so if you did any damage to a car or anyone stole the quad you were covered. I found the whole thing a little scary as we first went out at midday when the roads were really busy. However, the next morning we decided to drive around whilst we waited for the shop to open and it was such a different experience – it was amazing. This time we went out around 9am and the roads were really quiet, it was so nice to drive around and just take in the surroundings of this beautiful place. It’s something else that I would definitely recommend, but I would say try going out more in the morning or find somewhere a little quieter which will be a lot more fun (and less scary) if you’ve never done it before.
Unfortunately, the boat trip we had booked for our penultimate day was cancelled. As we were ready to go, we decided to head to the beach anyway rather than lazing around the pool. The beach was a 15 minute walk downhill but was well worth the walk. From our hotel there were a few different routes you could take. If you turn right when you come out of our hotel you end up heading into the main street full of shops and restaurants. If you turn left it leads you down to Star Beach, which is a huge beach village and water park area. We chose to head down to Star Beach, where there is a big pool and lazy river and beds which you can pay for. You can hire normal sunbeds for around €10 for two people near the water park area, however, we decided to go for the slightly more expensive €15 joint beds as they were a lot nicer and comfier and right next to the pool!
We spent the day here chilling around the pool, swimming in the lazy river and relaxing. Despite our original plans not working out this was one of my favourite parts of the holiday. We could have been annoyed but instead we made the best of a bad situation, choosing to do something different, and it was really good. The atmosphere was really chilled and there was good music on, they had a shop and restaurant attached to it as well, which served delicious food.
If you read my Krakow blog then you will know I’m a self-confessed foodie so it only seems right that I now dedicate the rest of my travel journal to restaurants (some bars) and my favourite dishes – don’t judge me!
My favourite drink of the holiday was definitely white sangria. I tried this at a huge beach bar called ‘King Scorpio Beach Bar’ which I highly recommend. If I didn’t have to walk back up a huge hill after I would have been there every day! A lot of the bars by the beach offer a swimming pool or sun loungers on the beach free to use if you order food or drink there which is a really good perk.
Don’t order dessert or Raki in any bars! You will be given a dessert after your meal, whether this be ice-cream, a cake, or their speciality, so there really isn’t much point in ordering one! It will save you at least €4 per person each meal if you don’t. Also, the majority of places give you either a shot or a mini bottle of Raki, which is is their signature alcoholic drink which is served everywhere. Be warned – it’s very, very strong!
There are a lot of restaurants I could mention but these were my favourite places, not in any particular order.
1. Restaurant : Galini
Dishes: Seafood platter
This was 100% my favourite dish of the whole holiday. It had, mussels, squid, shrimp, prawns, and octopus, as well as mushrooms filled with crab and prawns in an avocado.
2. Restaurant : Alchemist
Dishes: Pasta and starters
We visited here on our second night, and the restaurant had such a good atmosphere. The roof was pulled back, and was the perfect alfresco dining experience; it was lovely to feel like you were sitting outside. Like everywhere we went the waiters were really friendly and chatty. My boyfriend Matty ended up knocking his wine over the edge of the table and luckily caught it. The waiters saw it happen and they all cheered and came over with another glass of wine and extra free Raki. The waiters and a lovely couple next to us also got involved with a shot or two with us. It was a really nice evening.
3. Restaurant : Lokasti
Dishes: Poached Eggs
This was a lovely little brunch place next door to our hotel that opened slightly later in the day. It offers a late breakfast menu and the poached eggs were the perfect brunch snack.
4. Restaurant : Oniro
This was around a 10 minute walk from our hotel, and was further into the little streets. This really friendly woman was asking us if we fancied anything and she recommended the lamb dish to me. This didn’t disappoint at all; the meat was so tender and fell off the bone. There was a sweet potato mixed with sauce that was paired with it and the flavour of this dish was out of this world. Amazing!
All in all, I absolutely loved this place. There is not one thing that I could fault except maybe the heat. We found it a little too hot to go walking midday, or even sunbathing, without having to take a cooling dip in the pool. If you love hot weather, then it’s definitely the place for you. Our hotel was in such a good location; it wasn’t too quiet but it also wasn’t so busy that you couldn’t get sat down anywhere. Some of the views in the restaurants were breathtaking, as was the food! If you love food as much as I do and enjoy trying new things, this is definitely the place to go. There was not one dish that I was disappointed in and there are so many restaurants to choose from. Every person on this amazing island made it such an enjoyable holiday, from the waiters to the people in the bakery across the street. I’ve definitely fallen in love with Greece and I can’t wait to go back.