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Panormos in Crete

Surrounded by orchards, olive groves and luscious vegetation in the middle of the North Coast of Crete lies Panormos – a breathtakingly, unspoilt village that offers the perfect holiday for both families and couples, who are looking for that traditional and ultimate Greek experience. Nestled in a pretty agricultural valley and rocky mountains, Panormos – which has been described as a "hidden gem" of Crete - overlooks a harbour and three sandy-beached coves that all offer excellent shelter from the wind and are well known for the calm and shallow waters which make it a safe and peaceful place to swim.

Panormos is perfect for visitors wanting a quiet and relaxing holiday without the usual hustle and bustle and boisterous nightlife normally associated with other towns in the area. In fact, the only nightlife in this commercially untouched village is in the form of the bars and tavernas that can be found along the narrow cobbled and winding streets, which offer the ultimate gastronomic experience, including some of the freshest seafood dishes the area has become famous for.

But if you do want to sample some nightlife, why not have a day trip to Chania, a cosmopolitan town that offers some of the best nightlife in Crete, which could be the perfect end to a perfect day viewing some of the local Venetian architecture and sampling the local cuisine in one of a number of chic restaurants.

Or even nearby Rethymon – one of the most picturesque towns in Crete with a large beach, Venetian Fortress and a beautiful harbour, where the nightlife is more energetic than in Panormos.

And in the day you can sample the local culture and visit the vast selection of cafes, ancient remains and fantastic architecture, as well as the romantic tavernas, fountains and archways that adorn many of the streets. And if you decide to visit during July, you can experience the annual Renaissance and Wine Festivals. Just a short bus ride away from Panormos, which runs every 20 minutes, Rethymon is well worth a day – and night – visit.

There is plenty to see and do around Panormos itself - the long, hot Cretan days can be spent exploring the village, by taking the small train that runs on a regular timetable, to the farthest parts of the Panormos beach and around the ancient sites and medieval castle ruins above the village. And there are many water sports offered on the beautiful waters surrounding the village, including windsurging, canoeing, sailing and snorkelling.

Or, if you are a more seasoned swimmer, then you may want to try diving, which is now offered from Panormos' very own dive school, that provides lessons and equipment hire.

If you happen to visit Panormos in mid-August, then you will be encouraged to take part in the diving festival, including activities such as underwater target shooting, cliff and wreck diving.

But if you want to stick to dry land then you may want to try soaking up the Cretan atmosphere on foot, by taking part in one of the many hiking tours from Kaylmnos, which includes the stunning Italian Road walk.

For those of you who like it a bit more extreme, then you can take part in rock climbing up one of the many limestone walls that back the resort. Then maybe finish off the day with a romantic stroll along the stunning sands to witness the beautiful Cretan sunset.

Situated to the right of the Gulf of Palermo and Northwest to the Island of Sicily, it takes just four hours to fly from the UK to the relaxed small village resort of Panormos, which itself is only 36 miles from Nikos Kazantzakia International Airport in Heraklion.

Once you have arrived, there are a number of options you can take when travelling from the airport to your preferred accommodation.

You can either travel on a pre-organised tour bus, which will have been arranged by your travel company, or you may prefer to take a local Cretan coach - at a cost of around 10 euros.

Taking a local taxi is also an option, although they are considered expensive by local standards. But a deal can be done if you wish to travel back to the airport via taxi, as most of the firms offer a deal for airport transfers.

Visitors must be aware though, that when arriving at Nikos Kazantzakia International Airport, they are forbidden to take photographs in or around the airport, as it is used as a NATO base.

The majority of accommodation in the village is either rental rooms offered in some of the tavernas, or self-catering properties and small hotels.

All-in-all, if you are looking for the perfect Greek getaway, then Panormos is a must!