Driving on Crete can be an extremely dangerous pastime. The high death toll and number of serious injuries has resulted in the authorities rapidly increasing the traffic-police presence on the island in an effort to increase road safety. It is highly unlikely that these ladies and gentlemen, who have the daily job of sorting out road carnage and attempting to keep everyone safe, will respond in anything other than a purely professional way because you are a tourist on holiday if you break the law. During the holiday season Cretan roads fill with visitors who may be driving vehicles with which they are not totally familiar in areas they have never been to before. In towns and cities the traffic flow can be confusing and weather conditions may include temperatures which may reach the late 40s to early 50C. You might even be on the wrong side of the road! And yet, if you like driving, you may well like driving on Crete very, very much. Read on.
|A day out in Milia Village.
Melia is a traditional Cretan mountain village situated high up in the mountains of NW Crete. It is not difficult to find, sitting high above the quite large road between Kaloudiana and Elos. The easiest route is to drive to Kolimbari, about 20Km west of Chania, then take the old road towards Kastelli. At Kaloudiana turn left for Elafonisi and follow this road to the village of Milia (not Melia). On the main road here you will find the sign for Vlatos and Milia - a right turn and the start of your adventure. A high climb on an unpaved road right up into the mountains. The views are stunning. It is not recommended for sufferers of vertigo and I personally would avoid doing it in a small vehicle with a low slung body. A Fiat Panda would be fine.
|Melia is a Restored traditional village. You can stay here. There is no through road and when I last visited in 2000 cars stopped at a parking place a few minutes walk from the village. Superb. No electricity, though water is heated by solar panel and boilers. Each house is different; each has traditional furnishings. There is a central taverna with, like the rest of the village, superb stone structure and massive wood-beamed roof. Traditional food and local recipes. This is a magic drive but you might want to stay rather than just make a day of it. Try the day and have a look. Have a look at their website too.|
|Over the next couple of months the drives below will be expanded; illustrated and complemented by several more of my regular local driving days out. Several can also be accomplished by using local buses and offers by tour operators. The beauty of using a car is the freedom to stop wherever you wish and to deviate at will. Deviating from any route suggested is entirely your idea. If you find something good let me know.|
|North West Loop...
This a a long drive which will take you from the old road to Kastelli at Kolimbari all the way round the westernmost edge of the island, taking in Falasarna (where you might want a swim); southwards down the high level coast road with superb views over the sea between Falasarna and down to Moni Chrisoskalitsas where you can seek the golden step. Around to Elafonisi and maybe a swim or a meal. From Elafonisi return to the loop at Elos and proceed to Topolia; Voulgaro and Potamida, rejoining the main road between Chania and Kastelli just after Cherethiana. This as quite a demanding day, especially if it is hot with a wide variety of driving conditions from large easy roads to narrow mountain roads with considerable climbs and winding descents thrown in. I ALWAYS take our guests at least once during their stay. It helps them sleep well.
Chania - Theriso - Zourva - Meskla Loop...
|Aimilias Taverna, Zourva
Midway on the journey between Meskla and Theriso, the high standing Aimilias Taverna must be a well-known and welcome sight whether traveling on foot or by car - beyond the white car is the unpaved and rutted track to Theriso. In the direction of the pick-up is the hair-pinning and steeply dropping road to Meskla. Take a break here, it's quite a way in either direction.
|Driving is one of our favourite pursuits, enabling us to see far more of Crete in at our own pace than would otherwise be the case. We will be adding more drives and photographs to this page shortly. If anyone wants a copy of our route to the UK, including stop-overs, feel free to contact us.|