Crete, in the eastern Mediterranean, is Greece's largest island and as such has a wealth of historical and geographical places of interest to satisfy the most curious of travellers. But for a family with children, the resort of Elounda on the north eastern coast is also the perfect holiday destination.
We have recently completed our fourth trip in six years to this area of Crete, so needless to say the resort holds a massive appeal for us and our two boys. A selection of high quality hotels and self-catering options is on offer, but importantly, the charm and beauty of this coastal region has been very well preserved thanks to the vision and sensitivity of the architects who came here in the 1950s with a bold plan to utilise the natural beauty of the landscape in the discrete development of luxury holiday accommodation.
Spyros Kokotos was one such pioneer and the fruits of his labour are still very much in evidence today in the form of a trio of fabulous hotels, the Elounda SA Hotels & Resorts, looking out over Mirabello Bay and to the mountains beyond. In fact, Spyros himself is still very much in evidence as he takes his daily stroll through the hotel grounds, accompanied by his faithful dog.
Crete has an enviable climate and, even in the hot summer months, the cooling breezes from the north provide welcome relief. The sea is warm and crystal clear, perfect for a bit of snorkelling with our two boys, whilst the region's food has to be up there with the best. And if you enjoy a glass of wine with your meal, we would recommend 'Vilana', a lovely, light, dry white wine or, if you prefer red wine, then try 'Kotsifali Syrah'. Otherwise, just go with whatever the waiters recommend, they're usually right!
Talking of which, Cretan hospitality is exceptional, whether you stick to your resort or venture into the nearest village. The people of Elounda, for example, have fully embraced tourism and they go out of their way to provide top quality food and service. Elounda has a great selection of welcoming, waterside restaurants to tempt you away from your hotel; our personal favourites are 'The Ferryman' and 'Ergospasio', both offering deliciously authentic dishes in amazing surroundings. Tourism hasn't destroyed the essence of the region, rather it works in harmony with the landscape and its people, promoting its natural attributes to a wider yet discerning audience.
If you're thinking of travelling to Crete in the near future, then we can wholly recommend the coastal area of Elounda. We can't wait to return ourselves!