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Statue of Icarus and Daedalus
Statue of Icarus and Daedalus in Agia Galini, Crete, Greece

Agia Galini – Crete – Greece

Agia Galini is a beautiful and low key holiday destination on the south coast of Crete, Greece. It is easily reached by travelling down from Reythemon or Iraklion (Heraklion) on a well surfaced main artery road. You can also get here using the bus network and it is serviced regularly even off season. The town is a harbour/marina town but has a lovely beach and has clear access to a number of other fine beaches around the coast.
The town is largely perched on a hillside with uninterrupted views across the bay to Kalimera and Matala.

Arrival in Agia Galini

Agia_Galini_Crete_163We arrived in Agia Galini from Matala using the road which passed by the ancient ruins at Pheatos and the journey was comfortably less than ¾ hour. When you arrive at the edge of Agia galini it is difficult to know where to start looking for accommodation or indeed to park for an explore. We can now recommend that you head straight down into the town and aim for the harbour where there is a parking area. From here you can simply walk into the heart of the town for food and shopping or push through and upwards to find accommodation. Personally I would leave the car and wander…take the road which brought you down into the town to check out much of the accommodation which is up on this part.

Accommodation

The fact that the hotels and guest houses are mainly on the top end of the town give many of them a perfect elevated view over the bay and the Sky Beach Hotel almost fits snugly into a corner and rises over a number of floors from almost beach level to the road entering the town. We elected to stay here but sadly they were fully booked so this is indeed a popular hotel. As it transpires this was a bonus for us because the hotel we stayed in was second to none. Many of the other hotels and guest houses are located along this entrance road.

This hotel is at the entrance to the main beach area and is really nicely provisioned.
This hotel is at the entrance to the main beach area and is really nicely provisioned.
Hotel Details directly from their brochure
Hotel Details directly from their brochure

From the harbour you may walk around the promenade towards the beach and here you will find a separate hive of beach related activity and indeed a number of other hotels and restaurants. These can all be accessed by car later should you choose to stay at any of them. We did visit a number of hotels before deciding on the lovely family run Minos Hotel up on the main road in and so perfectly placed (provided you are able to cope with the amble up and down the hill to the beach or main town) You are alos able to camp at Agia Galini and the campside areas can be found down at beach level and to the eastern side of the town/beach. If you are down on the beach you will have to walk tot he end of the restaurant/bar area and you will find a bridge over the small river estuary into the sea….from here you will find yourself in the camping zone.

Minos Hotel owners and Me...fab couple
Minos Hotel owners and Me…fab couple

Things to do

There are a few monuments etc to take in during your stay in Agia Galini one of which is the small promontory which hosts the statues of the legendary figure Icarus and Deadalus. This is just to the side of the small harbour and in the night-time these are lit up and can be seen from many of the restaurants overlooking the sea. There is a small but not particularly dynamic, museum cut into the rock in the same place
The beach is the obvious draw for many people and particularly the fact that there are a number of really decent restaurants on the beach front.

Top Tip

Take a cruise to the beautiful Preveli Beach
Take a cruise?

Stop for breakfast lunch or a snack at one of the restaurants before going in search of a sunbed because some but not all of the restaurants will furnish you with the sunbeds for free if you have eaten with them. This is only to get you in and sat down and does not come with an additional hidden surcharge.

Take a cruise to the beautiful Preveli Beach[/caption]The beach offers the usual banana boat and paragliding activities and because it is sheltered with a number of breakwaters it is really fairly safe for all ages. This is probably not the best place for snorkelling but you can find better sites further round the coast.

Shopping?

From the small town harbour there are pleasure trips daily to some of the most renowned beaches in the area. Preveli beach is highly recommended but if you are a bit of a shopper then there are some interesting and quirky shops in this quaint town.
We found a cobbler working in the evening in his shop and one of our party was smitten with the baby chick she found in the shop.

This really is a place to come and relax.

Eating/drinking

Traditional Clay oven in use in Agia Galini, Crete
Traditional Clay oven in use in Agia Galini, Crete

There are simply masses of good quality restaurants of all kinds to make any length of stay a challenge each time you try to decide where to eat. Often it pays to ask your hotel staff for their opinions and certainly Anne Marie from our hotel (Minos) was a gem when it come to giving us good tips. Down on the beach one of the restaurants uses the traditional clay wood fired oven and the food from this is very special but you do need to understand that the oven is sealed up with all the food inside and will cook for hours so you really are best ordering food for the following day.

Agia_Galini_Crete_221
You can eat overlooking the harbour either at eye level or elevated but the choice just depends upon your particular preference. We tried a number of different places for a number of different cuisines and didn’t really find anywhere which did not provide a lovely meal and equally nice ambiance.

Beach time

The main beaches of Agia Galini are around the promenade from the fishing harbour and are best walked to however you can access them from a small road leading to the beach area but this is a steep road and the parking at the bottom near the Sky Hotel is certainly limited…take time and amble in the beautiful Cretan sun.

If you are more adventurous you will decide to drive out of the town and follow the coast road west to come across a number of more remote but really lovely beaches. The road itself has recently been refurbished and so there is less dirt track than there was but there still may be a little bit to contend with.

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Phone cards

If you wish to have a Greek phone number then this is relatively easy. You will need to take identification (passport or driving licence) to almost any of the small convenience stores and the staff will give you the choice of providers. By law your identification document has to be photocopied as proof of ownership. We opted for a “What’s Up” sim from Cosmote which cost €5 and you top up with multiples of €5. Simple.

Summary

Maybe fishing in Greece appeals
Maybe fishing in Greece appeals

We spent a few days on two separate occasions here and would highly recommend Agia Galini as a place to visit and stay for a sort rather than long period of your holiday in Crete.

Any questions or feedback can be directed to the comments section below and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.  :-D

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About Gary

I represent the 50+ age group of travellers and travel writers on this site. After 30yrs in the Air Force and further years in big business I have twice jacked in highly paid jobs to travel extensively...read how I done so here. In this past year alone I will have travelled to and lived for substantial periods of time in Greece, Greek Islands, Italy, India, Nepal and Thailand and will be posting articles about these places on this site. I am very open to any questions relating to travel, wwoofing, housesitting, house renting, art and spiritual matters so feel free to contact me directly

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2 comments

  1. I am very glad you shared this, as Greece is a place I have never been to before. After reading this and seeing the statues of Daedalus and Icarus, it looks like a place that has a lot of history to it, especially around Greek mythology which I find quite interesting. I also looked up the town of Preveli and found this interesting fact about the place.

    On the Greek Island of Crete there is a monastery named Preveli which provided shelter and assistance to many Australian soldiers who were trying to escape capture from the Germans during WWII. This involved not only the Cretans of the monastery but many young men of the 2/11 battalion – the “City of Perth Regiment” amongst which was Corporal Geoff Edwards who built a Cretan church on the hill above his seaside community and named his home in Western Australia Prevelly Park in tribute to the Cretans of the monastery.

  2. Wow…I almost feel guilty about not picking up on this whilst there!! It is an interesting snippet though. If you get the chance to get to Greece then Crete has some fabulous parts which I hope to cover in articles shortly. Ta..Gary