We have been living a nomadic life for over three years and many people say that they would love to trade places with us. While we still enjoy living in various cities, hopping from one temporary home or hotel to another, there will always be a part of us that is in search of the perfect place to settle down, build a home and have a family. During our travels, we would talk about building a home in one of the amazing beaches in the Philippines. There were times that we imagined ourselves living in the mountain side in South America. Quite frankly, it’s hard to decide where to settle down when there are so many beautiful places in the world!
I (Jonathan) have spent the past three years developing a very clear picture in my head of what our dream home would be like. Imagine a beautiful sandy beach in a sheltered cove, in full view of the sun all day, with a steep, rugged hillside behind it, rising up to a spectacular view point over the ocean. Up there on that hillside, where the land flattens out into a brief plateau before continuing it’s journey upwards, is where I will build our home. Natural natural materials like stone, timber and earth will form the building blocks and there will be enough space for a large terrace, a garden to grow food and even to build some guest accommodation. Our sailboat is moored safely in the natural harbour formed by the cove below us, waiting for its next adventure. This is my image of our home, now we just have to find it!
I was recently invited on a press trip with Discover Greece to explore the Chania area of the Greek island of Crete. What I found there took me completely by surprise!
Speaking of islands, we were visiting Crete, the largest and most populous island in Greece. It is a must-see when you are in the country with its paradise beaches, captivating views of the mountains, perfect climate, rich history and culture, healthy yet tasteful cuisine and warm locals.
Two Monkeys Travel – Why we Could Live in Crete – Robert Linsdell
And then we explored Chania, the second largest city of Crete. The main purpose of our travel was to unleash the secrets of the Cretan soul by having a journey that will trigger all our senses. We went to see and experience a number of unique places and activities within Crete and its nearby areas. We ate the freshest fruits and vegetables at the Botanical Garden, tried our hand pottery in Verekinthos Arts & Crafts Village, and enjoyed the raw beauty of the famous Balos beach. We also went around the old town and ate more seafood than you could possibly imagine!
After several days exploring the best that this magical region had to offer, I was already quite convinced that this was somewhere I could call our home!
Of course, all of these reasons why Crete could be our perfect home, also make it the perfect place to visit on holiday. Just be careful, because like me, you might not want to leave!
Here are 5 Reasons Why We Could Live Happily Ever After in Crete!
1. The Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is the world’s largest inland sea surrounded by Europe, Africa and Asia. It’s hard not to be amazed by the beauty of this sea with its crystal clear blue water coupled with the most beautiful islands everywhere! Just by looking at it, you instantly feel relaxed and calm.
2. The Mediterranean Climate of Crete
The year – round climate of Crete is just perfect! You can live comfortably all year long as the weather is always more than bearable. One of the most interesting characteristics of the Cretan climate is the variety of microclimates in very small areas. The Botanical Park and Gardens of Crete alone had its own tropical, sub-tropical, Mediterranean and even Alpine climates, using each one to successfully cultivate plants and trees from all over the world!
June – September
This is considered the summer season in Crete where the average temperature is around 26 ºC, which is perfect – not too hot, not too cold. Expect to see more than 12 hours of sunshine every day.
October – Mid November
This is the Autumn season where the temperature remains fairly high and perfectly comfortable. The air temperature is usually around 20ºC and gets down to 13ºC by the end of the season. This is also when most tourists prefer to visit.
December – March
The short winter season is still perfectly bearable and in fact offers a brief reminder of how lucky you are the rest of the year, with a temperature between 16ºC to 10ºC.
April – May
Rainfall is expected during the spring, which revitalizes the land and all living on it, ready for the hot summer to come. The average temperate is around 20ºC and it remains cool when the sun goes down. Expect to see the sunshine for 6 – 8 hours.
3. The Mediterranean Diet of Crete
If you want to live longer (a lot longer!) and stay active, then the Mediterranean diet the one you want. It is known as one of the healthiest diets around the globe and in fact, many Cretans reach overs100 years old with ease! It is filled with fruits, vegetables and whole grains. People who are following the Mediterranean diet also prefer fish over red meat and they consume red wine regularly but in moderation. You would also find a bit of cheese and yoghurt in their meals. But let’s not forget olive oil. Greeks are said to be the number 1 consumers of olive oil. Most Greeks consume 18 to 30 litres per year each, while Cretans are said to consume up to 50 litres a year per person!
The Cretan diet, while similar with the ‘general’ Mediterranean diet in being rich in fruits and vegetables, has a different kick to it. They practically eat everything from the flowers, leaves and even the roots! We were able to experience and taste it first-hand at the Botanical Park & Gardens of Crete. In this garden, you will find different herbs, some of which are medicinal.
4. The Beaches and the Sailing
One of the highlights of our trip was our visit to Balos Beach. For me, it was like discovering paradise. getting there isn’t easy thanks to the 8km dirt road that you have to pass first, then it’s about a 30 minute hike to get down to the beach. Nevertheless, the view was worth it. I wouldn’t mind going back all over again. This is one of many hidden beaches located in the island of Crete, just waiting to be discovered by boat. Be aware though, that in the high season this beach is flooded and the dirt road becomes one big traffic jam of park and waiting cars, so visit in the off season!
If you have been following us for quite some time, you’d know that I recently discovered my passion for sailing. And yes, I completed my RYA skipper license in the Mediterranean in Turkey. The Greek Mediterranean is definitely one of the most beautiful destinations in the world for sailing and would be the perfect place to build a home, or even simply to live on a boat!
Two Monkeys Travel – Why we Could Live in Crete – Rui Ornelas
5. I finally found the picture in my head of our perfect home!
As we travelled around this part of Crete, both in and out of Chania, I kept catching glimpses of hillsides overlooking the ocean, with fertile land, a sea breeze and nothing around for miles but farms and olive trees. As I discovered Crete, I was able to see how great our lives will be if we settle here. Not just for Kach and I, but also for our future kids. The good ambience, perfect weather, healthy food, amazing people and of course – all the sailing I could do, I think it would be hard to kick this out from the top of my list.
And of course, Crete isn’t just for people who are looking for a place to settle down. It’s one of the best destinations if you want to have a quick retreat from home. It’s about time that you find a paradise where you can simply embrace the natural wonders of the world. And who knows, you might find that you get inspired by the Mediterranean life yourself!
Note: We were invited by Discover Greece as press in the ‘Blogtrotters Trip Chania: Five Senses, One Soul’ adventure, however all opinions are my own.