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Crete, with over 1,000 kilometres of coastline, is the largest and most southerly of the Greek islands. Lying in the Mediterranean Sea, the island is a popular destination for tourists from mainland Greece and other parts of Europe. The climate and slow pace of life is what attracts people here. There is no need to rush – the Cretans certainly don't. They have enjoyed a leisurely pace of life for centuries and in any case it is normally too hot to race around. Holidays are all about relaxing and there is no better place to do just that than this pretty island.
Kokini Hani provides a weekend retreat for residents of nearby Heraklion as well as tourists and it is easy to see why. The area has lovely sandy and shingle beaches as well as clear blue waters ideal for swimming. Kokini Hani is a wonderful base from which to explore the local area as it is fairly close to most of the central Cretan towns.
Kokini Hani is a small village, ideal for a holiday. The pace of life here is laid back and quiet compared to the larger towns of Malia and Hersonnisos. The beach at Kokini Hani is not likely to be crowded and so is ideal for relaxation and peace and quiet. There is a waterpark at nearby Hersonissos where windsurfing, canoeing and surfing can also be enjoyed.
Neighbouring resorts such as Amnisos and Gouves also have sandy beaches and are favourites with swimmers and sunbathers. Hersonissos has bustling shops and nightlife if you find your holiday in Kokini Hani just a little too tame. A bus runs to Heraklion about every half an hour. Children are well catered for too. Watercity Waterpark in nearby Anopolis provides good entertainment for all the family.
Flights leave from the UK to Heraklion or Chania Airports and there are regular sailings to Crete from the Greek mainland. Should you decide to fly, there are taxis waiting at the airport and bus services are good. A bus journey from Heraklion to Kokini Hani takes around 30 minutes.
From Kokini Hani, holidaymakers can enjoy excursions to the nearby Minoan palace of Knossos or to Heraklion Archaeological Museum. The Minoans were ancient Bronze Age people with thriving communities and culture. The palace at Knossos is well preserved with colourful wall paintings as well as the remains of an ancient heating system.There is a Minoan villa in the nearby town of Niros which is also extremely interesting for those who enjoy history and ancient culture.
A trip to the island of Spinalonga (meaning long thorn because of its shape) is fascinating. The island was formerly a leper colony until, in the 20th century, a cure was found for the disease. The island was then virtually abandoned although it is inhabited once more today. Try to imagine the lives of the people there. Food had to be delivered from Crete but the residents of Spinalonga had to live their lives confined to their own small island with only one another for company day after day.
There are few large hotels in Kokini Hani but there are plenty of studios and holiday apartments to suit all budgets and tastes. Many have a view of the sea and what could be nicer than waking up to the sight of the sparkling blue waters of Crete. There are over thirty restaurants in Kokini Hani and about fifteen bars so there is no shortage of places to eat and drink. There are a couple of good supermarkets and plenty of other local shops to suit all needs.
Cars can be rented and driving can be a good way to explore the island, particularly the inland towns. Cars are up to date and equipped with everything necessary for a safe journey. Some of the inland roads can be narrow but few people rush on Crete so there is no need for speed. You will inevitably want to stop to admire the wonderful views and to smell the sweet air of the island. Wild flowers grow everywhere and olives are grown all over the island, many being made into olive oil.
Crete is easily reached by air or by sea. As mentioned, flights leave many UK airports to go to Crete's two major airports of Chania or Heraklion. Alternatively you can change planes at Athens, perhaps stopping off for a spot of site seeing in Greece's capital city. Sailing to Crete is an exhilarating experience. Ships leave the port of Athens in the evening and sail through the night to arrive on Crete at around 6am. Approaching the island in this way is a wonderful start to a holiday which is sure to be unforgettable as Crete really does have a lot of special places and experiences to offer.