Villa holidays have been more in demand than ever this year because once there you quickly forget any worries you may have about being in contact with too many other people and really chill out and relax in peace and quiet away from all the troubles in the world.
After weeks and weeks of helping my customers navigate their way through the complexities of travel at the moment, as soon as travel to Greece was permitted with no quarantine in either direction, we took advantage of the great prices at the time and got ourselves a villa holiday booked as soon as we could for a break in the sunshine that we all needed more than ever before.
It was the second time I’ve flown from Manchester Airport since March & the experience was as relaxed as before. The airport was really quiet & security stress free. Masks need to be worn throughout the airport apart from when eating & drinking when seated in the Lion & Antelope (T3). The bar is taking part in the Eat Out To Help Out scheme which significantly reduced our pre-flight food bill. Greek Passenger Locator Forms and QR codes (for Greek track & trace) were thoroughly checked at the gate before boarding the aircraft.
Once out of the airport in Chania we only wore our masks to go to the supermarket. Every shop we went in followed the rules, as did the Greek people, which was reassuring. Every restaurant we ate in we ate outside so no masks needed, although all the waiting staff had them on.
Our villa was my dream villa - typically Greek, rustic, breath-taking unobstructed views of the sea, its own little orchard, vines, floral garden, large pool for the kids, and away from the crowds. Unusual for villa it was a short walk to a little beach with a bar, 5 mins from the village and beach of Kalyves, and 15 mins drive to the pretty harbour town of Chania.
Tearing ourselves away from our haven of tranquillity, we did a couple of day trips whilst we were there – one to the paradise like Elafonissi Beach, and a day boat trip to enjoy some snorkelling.
Elafonissi Beach often in lists of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and rightly so. Yes it’s so photogenic that it’s extremely popular, like many ‘instagram-able’ locations are these days. But yes, you can very easily find spots on the nature reserve where you can find peace & tranquillity with a tiny little extra walk. The beach is white powdery sand with patches of pink, and the sea is like a lagoon, warm, still, shallow (perfect for little ones), turquoise & crystal clear. The beach was an hour and a half drive from our villa, but after setting off early, we easily found a thatch roofed umbrella for shade on the main beach. It was well worth the trip with a lovely late lunch stop off on the way back at one of the many pretty mountain tavernas with a gentle breeze & a view, serving lots of local Cretan delicacies & of course Mythos & post lunch Raki shot for the non-driver (me!)
Our boat trip was with Captain Iannis & Kalyves Cruises, departing from the pretty beach & little port of Kalyves to stunning swimming & snorkelling spots – including refreshments, lunch, juicy fruits, and raki cocktails (actually nice tasting!). The perfect holiday boat trip.
On our last day our flight home was in the evening so after checking out of our villa we visited the port town of Chania which is Venetian in style with coloured buildings and restaurants, bars and little shops around the harbour and in the shaded traditional back streets. The girls were able to spend their holiday money on a few souvenirs and we had a leisurely lunch by the harbour before heading to the airport. Chania harbour and old town are definitely worth a visit if you are staying near there or have some time to spare before heading to the airport, which is 20 mins drive away.
We had a wonderful week away filled with beautiful sunsets, fabulous villa BBQs, lazing round and in our private pool, meanders to our nearby beach, meals out in tavernas, and a couple of great day trips - an all-round great family holiday!