When people hear we traveled all the way to Hawaii to come to Greece to sit on a beach, they think we’re a little crazy.
I mean, let’s face it, Hawaii’s got some stellar beaches. We tend to claim some of the Top 10 beaches in the world on lists by travel writers and bloggers. We have some of the best surf and sandy stretches on the planet.
Why pay $1,700 for a plane ticket and travel for 24 hours halfway around the world to sit on a beach that’s probably not as awesome as the one right down the street?
Because we can.
And because that’s what we do. We find beaches.
So it’s no surprise our group — all from Hawaii — went in search of a beach while in Greece. Crete, particularly, is known for its beaches. It’s got hundreds of miles of coastline with a variety of beaches, from powdery sandy ones to rocky shorelines littered with windsurfers.
We decided to head to the famous Balos Lagoon, located northwest of Chania between Cape Gramvousa and the smaller Cape Tigani.
It’s easily one of the most popular beaches in Crete — and one of the most photographed — because of its turquoise waters and shallow sandbar perfect for families. In the high season — June through August — there can be thousands of people scattered here. Seriously. Lucky for us, we were going in May. While the sun was out, the northwest winds were kicking, and it was ridiculously cold, too cold for these Hawaii girls to get in the water.
Here’s what our adventure to the beach looked like:
Here’s what the ferry looked like on board. There were seats along the sides and in the middle, with a food concession serving roast chicken and stuffed bell peppers. The ride cost 16 Euros per person.
Our first stop, though, wasn’t Balos. We went to a beach on Gramvousa, an uninhabited island off Crete. We had an hour here to explore this very small island, which houses the remains of a Venetian fort and buildings left behind by Cretan insurgents.
We got off the ferry — and onto another, smaller boat that took us to the beach — and hit the beach immediately. You can’t tell from this photo, but the winds were howling. It was too cold to even take off our sweaters!
One side of the lagoon is azure blue; the other is green. This is where the sandbar is, with shallow, warmer waters. A lot of this area is protected as it’s home to some rare species of flora and fauna, including Eleonora falcons, cormorants and monk seals.
I love the pink sand here — and on popular Elafonissi Beach — that you can’t find in many other places. The sand is really crushed seashells. So beautiful, this photo doesn’t do it justice. We stayed here for about three hours before boarding the ferry to head back to Kissamos.
There is really no words to describe how stunningly beautiful this beach was. Too bad it was so windy. We managed to strip down to bikinis — for about an hour — but none of us ventured into the blue waters.
Which was OK. The good thing about this group, it really didn’t matter. Being together — talking and laughing on the beach with our eyes closed during the frequent sand storms — was enough.
Follow my #CatTravels adventures in Greece and Crete on Instagram @catherinetoth and on Twitter @thedailydish.