Eastern Crete

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Amanda
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2014 8:07 pm
Location: Rural Spain

Eastern Crete

Postby Amanda » Fri Dec 28, 2018 1:13 pm

Hi,
As per my previous post we are considering relocating to Crete from rural Spain, keeping our options open on area just wondered whether anyone can give me info on Sissi area. We have viewed a property in Milatos village which is sleepy but beautiful and Sissi is the nearest for Taverna's etc, just wondered what the expat population is around these area's as I know that it is the Western side ( Apokoronas Region) that most gravitate to. Love to hear from anyone in that region. Thanks :P :P

Guy M
Posts: 519
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:20 pm
Location: Kalamitsi Alexandrou

Re: Eastern Crete

Postby Guy M » Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:41 am

Hi

Our house is, predictably, in Apokoronos, but in the last 18 years we have been all over the island and finally, this summer, made it to the Far East - Kato Zakros, Xirokambos etc. You’ll get a good view on living around Sitia and beyond from others, but here’s a brief impression from the West. I thought it was great in the East - much, much less crowded than Apokoronos (this summer it was unpleasantly full of traffic in the more touristy villages and towns - Kalyves, Almyrida, etc - and Chania was not that enjoyable to visit). Downsides - the obvious: fewer tavernas, shops etc. Not sure what flights are like from Sitia and Heraklion airport is not a great experience at any time of year - Chania airport is much nicer. Upsides - the beaches, the space, the ‘old Crete’ feel that seems to be going/have gone from the West. I think the weather is slightly better in the East but I am not sure. Whether or not the lack of expats is a good or bad thing depends on the person, I guess; if I wanted to socialise with English people, read English newspapers, drink English beer, eat English food, i’d do that in England. What I would miss is the chance to go to Chania for a meal and a view of the harbour when it is not too crowded - that is something really special.

Maud
Posts: 778
Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:46 pm
Location: S.W. England/ S.W. Crete.

Re: Eastern Crete

Postby Maud » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:05 pm

I have not been to sissy for some years, and then we only stopped for a few hours. Friends stayed there for three day’s last Summer and enjoyed it, but felt it was too close to Iraklio to live. (It is all about choices).

Guy is correct, the far West of the island is beautiful. We like Sitia as it has an old ‘working town’ feel about it still.....and some good tavernas if you know where to find them. Kato Zakros, and Xerokambos are stunning, but not to live full time. - There is nothing there in the winter. As Guy mentioned, the far East of Crete has a totally different feel to the West of the island. My advice would be to spend some time in both places before choosing where to settle.

Nowhere can compare with Hania for a beautiful old town and harbour. The problem is that such beauty has brought the tourists with it. This is good for locals in retail and the holiday buisiness, but not so good for everyone else!

You have obviously lived abroad in Spain Amanda, so have a good idea what you want from a place to settle on Crete. Maybe if you tell us your requirements we could all suggest a few places for you to consider? I knew a Dutch lady that had a house in Milatos, but sold it a few years ago, as she wasn’t managing to use it very much. (It was just a second home). She had been happy with the village.

Kilkis
Posts: 12184
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:58 pm
Location: Near Chania

Re: Eastern Crete

Postby Kilkis » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:54 pm

I also like the east but in the end I chose to live in the west. Apokoronas is in the west but it is not the west.

I live in a village to the south west of Chania that changes very little from winter to summer, which is why I chose to live there. Altogether there are around 20 ex-pat couples living in the whole area, not the 5,000 or so ex-pats living in Apokoronas. There is nothing touristy in the village at all, no hotels, no tourist venues. The local taverna opens a few more days per week in the summer than it does in the winter and you get a few tourists stopping for meals as they pass through. The supermarket opens 1 hour more each day in summer than it does in the winter. The road train drives through a few times per day in the summer. Otherwise nothing changes from winter to summer. Platanias, which is on the coast nearby, is mayhem in summer and a ghost town in winter.

My original plan was to live in the east and I would have done so if I could have found a property in Neapoli. I judged, perhaps wrongly, that Neapoli would be rather like, although bigger than, the village where I live now with little changing from winter to summer. Everything I was shown was in extremely small villages near Neapoli but nothing in Neapoli itself. I decided they were all too small with too few facilities, often none.

I considered Siteia and I liked the town but the drive from Heraklion to get there was just so tedious I rejected that area. There were virtually no flights to Siteia airport back then.

While Sissi does have lots of Tavernas I think you will find many (most? all?) of them are closed in the winter. The main source of business for the tavernas is the hotels so when the hotels close the tavernas also close. I could be wrong. I stayed there briefly but I don't live near it. I would guess that in winter you will probably find more open in Neapoli, which is a little further but not a ridiculous distance.

One difference I found between the east and the west was that the east tends to be more barren. I live surrounded by citrous groves that are green all year round. I find that a pleasanter environment than the rocks and scrub that characterises much of the east.

Warwick

Maud
Posts: 778
Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:46 pm
Location: S.W. England/ S.W. Crete.

Re: Eastern Crete

Postby Maud » Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:48 pm

It was the mid 1970’s before Chania Airport, (Daskalogiannis), opens to international flights Amanda, - and there were very few of them! In fact it only opened to commercial flights of any sort a few years prior to that. When we first flew to Crete in 1979 Iraklio Airport was the only one with flights from the U.K. Although our first visit to the island was to Rethymno, we spent four years after that staying in Elounda in the East of the island. It was easier to get there from Iraklio with two very small children than to Chania. The coast from Iraklio out past Hersonissos and Malia became very developed when Iraklion was the main airport......and Sissi also became popular with tour operators. (Not in the way if the other two though! It was more of a ‘family’ destination).

When Chania opened a new terminal in the mid 1990’s it brought many more visitors to the Western end of Crete. From then onwards, many visitors to the island, who eventually decided to settle out there, discovered the beautiful town of Chania and the surrounding area.

As Kilkis has mentioned, there are still many villages in the area that have managed to avoid mass tourism. You mention that you live in rural Spain at the moment. You can still find a similar lifestyle in the West of Crete if you want it. You might prefer to look beyond Chania if that is the case.

East is dryer, West is greener, the South is the most unspoilt by tourism......although the South East (and West near Paleochora and up the coast towards the north in places), can have a lot of large commercial plastic greenhouses, which can spoil a beautiful view at times.

It is a huge island and if you have time I would tour it as much as possible before coming to a final decision.

Mixos
Posts: 507
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:26 am
Location: North East Crete or S.W.England

Re: Eastern Crete

Postby Mixos » Mon Dec 31, 2018 4:07 pm

I would endorse everything that Guy, Maud and Warwick have written above, Amanda. The best advice, I think, would be to have a good look at the whole island before deciding where to settle. Our first visit was 43 years ago when we stayed in Malia, (then a pleasant fishing village, not the tourist hell it has become) followed by family holidays around Chania when there were still relatively few British ex-pats. We've not been back to that end of the island for about 15 years so I don't feel qualified to comment on what it would be like for you.

When we decided to buy a property we drove the length of the north coast before settling on the Sitia area. We never really considered the bit around Hersonnisos and Malia, which would be the two largest towns to Sisi (assuming it's that Sisi you are talking about?) Coming east from there, Neapoli is a pleasant enough town, as Warwick says, but there's not much to recommend that area until you reach Agios Nikolaos, the capital of Lassithi province, and a nice place, though touristy in summer. Further east, Pachia Ammos, at the narrowest point on the island, is only a 12 minute drive on a good road to Ierapetra, the largest town on the south coast.

Continuing east from there is, as Warwick says, it is quite a tedious hour-long switchback drive through the Lassithi mountains, through half a dozen villages, to reach Sitia. As Maud says, it's a proper working town that 'alive' all year, and then beyond that to the far east you have Paleokastro, Zakros and plenty of very nice, quite villages. As others have said, the east is drier and more barren than the west and there are far fewer ex-pats. I was told recently that there are about 400 British ex-pats in the whole of Lassithi Province, so they/we are much more scattered than in the west! This might be an attraction for you, as it was for us, but in the end I would suggest you travel around a bit and get a feel for the island before putting down roots.

bobscott
Posts: 2792
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 5:36 pm
Location: Kokkino Horio

Re: Eastern Crete

Postby bobscott » Mon Dec 31, 2018 4:50 pm

Would agree with all of that and endorse it, especially the last sentence of Mixos' post. One final word - whatever you do, rent for a while before buying/building. What looks good for a week or two is not the same as it might be after 6 months or a year. Bob.
Yesterday today was tomorrow. Don't dilly dally!

Old Codger
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2018 12:45 pm

Re: Eastern Crete

Postby Old Codger » Tue Jan 01, 2019 1:33 am

Milatos and the local area is very quiet especially this time of the year! If thats what you like go ahead.Obviously this changes in the spring and summer .Malia is busy in the summer.Agios Nikolas all year round.No shops in Milatos except the bakers shop which opens from 11 Am to 12.30 PM.There is a small shop in Milatos beach about 1 km prices verge on extortion.The nearest decent supermarket with reasonable prices is in Neoapoli about 12 Km or Malia about 14 km,Small supermarket in Sissi 7km prices not to brilliant but not bad.The nearest Lidl is 23 km in Agios Nikolas.More shops and Tavernas open in the summer of course.The the Lasithi plateau is nearish (40 km?)for a day trip.Agios Nikolas is a very nice town.Lots of nice places to eat.Better shops.There is a British products shop near the Lidl.If you are an animal lover Cretans do not treat their dogs very well most are kept chained or caged 24 hours a day!
Last edited by Old Codger on Tue Jan 01, 2019 6:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Hudson
Posts: 193
Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 12:35 pm
Location: East Crete

Re: Eastern Crete

Postby Hudson » Tue Jan 01, 2019 11:31 am

"If you are an animal lover Cretans don`t treat there dogs very well most are kept chained or caged 24 hours a day!"
Certainly not the case in the Sitia area. As you use the word MOST have you conducted a survey of all dog owners on Crete? If that is not the case please give the source of this information.

peebee
Posts: 914
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2011 5:07 am
Location: Kalyves

Re: Eastern Crete

Postby peebee » Tue Jan 01, 2019 12:37 pm

Old Codger wrote:If you are an animal lover Cretans don`t treat there dogs very well most are kept chained or caged 24 hours a day!

Well that's certainly not the case down the western end. We have a pro-active Mayor who is funding animal welfare clinics and free neutering programmes, as well as a police force who are arresting and fining anyone who mistreats their animals.

moved 2 crete
Posts: 801
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 1:37 pm
Location: Kolimbari, Chania

Re: Eastern Crete

Postby moved 2 crete » Tue Jan 01, 2019 12:47 pm

We holidayed in the Hersonnisos area for 20 years at Pisko Piano a small village above the town, then after a coach tour called the best of the west we saw a greener part of Crete, when we retired 13 years ago we move to the Kolimvari area to live permanently near to a small fishing village about 25 kilometres from Chania town being aware we may need a Hospital at some time in the future, we then got a large plot of land 2000 sqr mtrs complete with olive trees and a small bungalow, the area provides all the amenities anyone could ask for, and in the past 13 years we have used the excellent Chania Hospital a number of times, having toured the island in the years gone by we are very happy with our choice at this end of Crete in the small village of Darmarohori close to Kolimvari on a plot with good sea and mountain views with only 2 other dwellings on our plot. our builder was a small local firm called Minoan Homes specialising in small one two or three off building, not large village complexes that the larger firms do, the other two properties on our site are holidayhomes, in the 13 years we have seen a slight improvement in Animal welfare in the Chania region we personally acquired 2 dogs and 13 cats over the years, all strays . :D
Dave H

Kilkis
Posts: 12184
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:58 pm
Location: Near Chania

Re: Eastern Crete

Postby Kilkis » Tue Jan 01, 2019 1:21 pm

peebee wrote:...Well that's certainly not the case down the western end. We have a pro-active Mayor who is funding animal welfare clinics and free neutering programmes, as well as a police force who are arresting and fining anyone who mistreats their animals.


I have no idea if it is "most" but there are still large numbers of dogs that are kept chained up all day including down the "western end". The "western end", i.e. the Nomos of Chania, is a lot bigger than Apokoronas. Even in Apokoronas there have been examples of animals being poisoned, in some cases in large numbers. I occasionally get emails from Cat's Pyjamas, who I think are based in Apokoronas, and who rescue stray cats. While many need help because of normal illnesses, like cat flue, and many have suffered accidental injuries, they do get examples of deliberate maltreatment. Around Chryssi Akti people have posted warning notices about not letting dogs run free because somebody is putting poison down and offering a reward for information on who is doing it. I know of people, who go walking in remote areas, who often find dogs permanently tied up in fields well away from any habitation, often with no water, food or shade. If it appears to be a regular occurrence the rope sometimes accidentally gets badly frayed or one of the links in the chain mysteriously snaps and the dog escapes.

In all nationalities there is a wide range of attitudes but there is still a significant sub-culture in Greek society that neutering an animal is against nature but tying the offspring in a sack and throwing it in the waste bin is completely normal.

Warwick

altohb
Posts: 934
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2007 2:51 pm
Location: Sitia

Re: Eastern Crete

Postby altohb » Tue Jan 01, 2019 1:30 pm

peebee wrote:
Old Codger wrote:If you are an animal lover Cretans don`t treat there dogs very well most are kept chained or caged 24 hours a day!

Well that's certainly not the case down the western end. We have a pro-active Mayor who is funding animal welfare clinics and free neutering programmes, as well as a police force who are arresting and fining anyone who mistreats their animals.


The same happens in Sitia, peebee; moreover, the charity which cares for the strays is run by Greek people, with help from a few "foreigners" like us. In the 12 years we have lived here we have seen attitudes towards animals change a lot. No - it is still not perfect, far from it, but constantly criticising local people because their treatment of animals is not what "we" westerners think is correct is not helpful, and gives a totally false impression of life "on the ground".

Those who suggest that Aamanda should rent first are sensible, of course, and I'd add that it is a good idea to come in the winter, as it is very different from summer time, especially in the less touristy areas. We chose Sitia precisely because it is a proper, all year round, town.

Old Codger
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2018 12:45 pm

Re: Eastern Crete

Postby Old Codger » Tue Jan 01, 2019 6:25 pm

Hudson wrote:"If you are an animal lover Cretans don`t treat there dogs very well most are kept chained or caged 24 hours a day!"
Certainly not the case in the Sitia area. As you use the word MOST have you conducted a survey of all dog owners on Crete? If that is not the case please give the source of this information.

My eyes!I have lived all over the Island the last two and a bit years- 3 months in Heraklion.A brief visit of a week or two to Irepetra and Sitia.One year in Chania(when here working picking Olives and pruning Trees for four months near Vouves).5 months total in Sougia (on two different occasions).3 months in Matala.Now 2 months in Milatos.Visited the Lassithis plateau twice.Visited the Omalos plateau four or five times .Walked the Samaria Gorge once ,The Rokka Gorge twice ,The Deliana Gorge five or six times .Always with a eye out to see the way owners treat their dogs.I can say MOST Cretans do not treat their dogs very well!
Last edited by Old Codger on Tue Jan 01, 2019 7:46 pm, edited 6 times in total.

Old Codger
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2018 12:45 pm

Re: Eastern Crete

Postby Old Codger » Tue Jan 01, 2019 6:35 pm

peebee wrote:
Old Codger wrote:If you are an animal lover Cretans don`t treat there dogs very well most are kept chained or caged 24 hours a day!

Well that's certainly not the case down the western end. We have a pro-active Mayor who is funding animal welfare clinics and free neutering programmes, as well as a police force who are arresting and fining anyone who mistreats their animals.

That is no help for the dogs next door.They are chain 24 hours with out water and beaten with a stick.The owner does not care who sees him.The Lady next door to me is a dog welfare activist and he does it deliberately when she is watching and when she is not.This happens in quite a flew places around Milatos.You should go to Chania and Heraklion and see all the dogs in small cages 24hours.The Milatos owners have been reported but nothing is done.
Last edited by Old Codger on Tue Jan 01, 2019 6:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.


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