Around the world / Travel

The perfect little getaway

I’d love to share with you a hot tip about an absolutely wonderful quiet coastal village in south west Crete, which has been an easily accessible European hideaway for my wife Sue and I over the last 25 years, when we want to escape briefly from the fun and fast if sometimes dangerous world of motorsport and recharge our batteries. It’s called Plakias and faces south across the Libyan Sea.

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Greece consists of a large mainland area including its capital Athens, plus thousands of both inhabited and uninhabited islands in the Ionian and Aegean Seas. It’s a country with a fascinating history and its most southerly main island is Crete, where the locals feel Cretan first and Greek second.
The two main airports on Crete are Heraklion, roughly in the middle of the northern coast, and Chania, to the western end of the same coast, and both are easily accessible from many UK airports, including our own local Leeds Bradford, via a variety of airlines. The distance from Heraklion and Chania to Plakias is roughly the same, about an hour and a half’s drive by hire car or taxi, but you are very much rewarded when you arrive.

Imagine the Spanish coastal town of Benidorm, with its high rise hotels, packed beaches and fish and chip shops, and then think of the opposite and you will be close to Plakias. Yes, there is a good selection of tavernas offering a wide choice of traditional Greek and international food, but it is still very much a Cretan coastal village without any high rise properties. Crime is so rare here that the village does not even have any policemen and the nearest police presence is in an inland town called Spili, 13 miles away.

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There’s a long sweeping beach in Plakias bay adjacent to the village and harbour, with a wonderful backdrop of a rising Cretan mountain landscape. There’s only a handful of low rise hotels but an excellent choice of B&B and self-catering rooms, amongst which we have to say Stella Studios run by the lovely Markos and Evi Brokalakis has long very much been our favourite. Such welcoming Cretan hosts and everything so clean. Not 5* accommodation, but everything you need, with a lovely breakfast and sea views from the upper floor front rooms at an attractive price.

My wife and I travel widely with my motorsport reporting and other assignments, but Studios in Plakias is the only place in the world we always try to return to at least once a year sometimes twice.

image4With the easy drive from Chania or Heraklion airports to Plakias, I’d recommend shopping around online for a decent car hire deal, but we can thoroughly recommend the all-inclusive competitively priced cars offered by Autoway, a company we know well from many years of personal experience.

In conclusion, the world has so many interesting destinations to offer, but if you are looking for a very relaxing break in southern Europe just four hours flying time from the UK, we most definitely recommend Plakias on Crete and doubt you will be disappointed. The north coast offers a plethora of large hotels, but villages on the south coast like Plakias offer so much more.

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By Graham Read

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