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Georgioupoulis in Crete

Situated in West Crete at the tip of the Almiros Bay on the Sea of Crete, the village of Georgioupoulis boasts a beautiful long sandy beach with a stunning backdrop of craggy mountains, the streets lined with ancient Eucalyptus trees.

Without a doubt the biggest draw is the gorgeous 9km long beach. With summer temperatures averaging between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius, it's the perfect place for stretching out and relaxing in the warming rays of the sun. Despite the large number of visitors the sheer size of this beach means you can still find a peaceful spot away from the crowds to enjoy some peace and tranquility. The sea is crystal clear here and the gentle sloping shelf means it's very safe for swimming, especially for children. There's a great range of watersports to indulge in if you do feel energetic.

The village itself is quite attractive with an idyllic fishing harbour and gently rippling Almiros River. The area around this is a wildlife reserve and is a great spot for seeing some of the local birds and reptiles, such as geckos, lizards and terrapins. There are delicate butterflies such as the Swallowtail butterfly that flit around giving a colourful interlude. Crete is also home to the endangered loggerhead turtles and they choose to lay their eggs on some of these beaches. If you happen to visit at the right time, you may be lucky and see one of these very special creatures! It's a popular tourist resort well catered for with loads of accommodation choices. There are many purpose-built hotels that serve the package holiday industry and lots of self catering properties. With spas, pool and playgrounds the larger hotels provide a good range of entertaining facilities, e.g. yoga, aqua aerobics and Pilates.

Georgioupoulis is a great base to visit the wealth of archeological and cultural features in the surrounding areas. The harbor of Amphimalla (now the modern day town of Argyroupolis) has had extensive excavations reveal a rich history from the Minoan and Roman periods. The Monastery of St George at Dramia, founded in Byzantine times, was key in developing viniculture and bee-keeping, activities still practiced locally to this day. Near the pretty harbour is located the small rocky island with the pristine white chapel of St. Nicolas. It is said that St. Nicolas looks after fishermen and gives them strength to do their difficult work.

Slightly inland up the river is a riding school, where you can enjoy exploring the local area by pony or horse. Rides are only available early morning or late afternoon due to the midday heat. A trip to Lappa is a must whilst you are staying in Georgioupoulis. A Greco-Roman village it dates back over 2000 years, with some fine examples of architecture. A water reservoir built in 27BC by Emperor Octavius is still in use today – and covered in a plethora of dainty wildflowers. Friendly local people welcome you to taste olives and sell homemade honey raki liqueur.

Five kilometres from Georgioupoulis lays the restful fresh water lake of Kournas (the only one on the island). As the lake is a magnet for wildlife it's a fascinating place to visit and its proximity to the resort makes for a lovely walk. There is a road train to the lake should you wish to travel in style! Stepping away from the beachfront to explore the countryside of Crete gives you a flavour of the real country with olive groves, vineyards and traditional little villages nestled in front of the White Mountains.

There are great road connections as Georgioupoulis is right by the main national road that runs between Chania and Rethimnon. Public transport is cheap, frequent and easy to use. It's approximately 35 km from the attractive towns of Chania and 25 km from Rethimnon, both bursting with history. The international airport at Heraklion is over 100km away meaning a transfer time of approximately 1 ½ hours either by car, bus or taxi (of which there is a plentiful supply whichever method of transport you choose). Chania is closer with a transfer time of about 25 mins. However, there are fewer buses here and taxis or car rental are the best option to get to Georgiopoulis from Chania Airport. Flight times from the UK are about four hours.

Nightlife is quieter than in larger resorts, with only the occasional disco. The atmosphere is relaxed and there ares plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from to enjoy a good variety of international cuisine as well as some local specialities. Fortunately since Georgioupolis faces to the west there is nothing nicer than to relax in a beach-front bar and watch the spectacular orange sunsets over the sparkling blue sea.