Going on a yacht charter in Crete is sure to offer a different kind of experience. Crete was home to one of world’s most important civilizations, the Minoans who ruled the eastern Mediterranean from 2800 – 1150 BC. The art that has survived shows a refined and peace loving culture. There is a good collection at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum.
Let’s dive right in.
How to Navigate a Yacht Charter in Crete
Through commerce, shipping and trade with other peoples, the Egyptians, Phoenicians and Syrians they built a powerful civilization. The Achaians and the Dorians followed. The Romans occupied Crete from 69 – 330 AD making Gortyn their major town.
Crete fell into Arabic hands in 824 AD and was not liberated until 961 AD. Then in 1204, the island passed to the Venetians. They fortified the island with several new castles and broke the ground for the new cities of Hania and Rethimno.
Inside the Walls
Inside the walls the cities developed with narrow alleys and houses, interspersed with decorative churches, fountains, piazzas and palaces the remains of which can still be seen today.
In 1645 the Turks set foot on the island for the first time and in 1669 the whole of Crete fell to them. Not until 1913 was the island reunited with the rest of Greece.
In the summer the prevailing wind is the infamous Meltemi from the NW – WNW. July and August see the winds at their strongest, force 5 – 6 on the northern coast but more often a more gentle force 3 – 4. A spring and autumn yacht charter in Crete will face winds from the south, force 2 – 4.
Notorious for Strong Squalls
The southern coast is notorious for strong squalls that blow down from the mountains. There is little in the way of warning and they can be violent close to shore. So keep this in mind during a yacht charter in Crete.
It gets very hot on the island during the summer months with the average daily temperature reaching 35 degrees C in July and August and temperatures as high as 40 degrees C are not uncommon.
Kissamoss lies in the NW corner of Crete. Yachts can berth alongside or anchor in the harbor. There is good shelter from the West and NW but it is open to the East and SE.
Getting Away Can Be Difficult
In a strong northerly wind getting away can be difficult, as the yacht will have to travel for 14 miles to escape the bay. Water is available for your yacht charter in Crete and there is a taverna close by. The nearest provisions are at Kastelli, which is a one mile bus journey away.
Chania is to the East. The entrance can be difficult in a strong northerly wind as the sea heaves up around the entrance to the bay. The marina is in the East basin. You will be directed to a berth where a laid mooring awaits. There is good shelter all in all but northerly gales are possible during a yacht charter in Crete.
Water and Electricity for a Yacht Charter in Crete
There is water and electricity on the pontoons. A mini tanker can deliver fuel. All provisions for a yacht charter in Crete can be obtained and there are good tavernas in the town. This Venetian city was for centuries the capital of Crete and much of the charming architecture remains.
Souda is further to the East. It is the Greek navy’s southern base and yacht charters in Crete have been refused entry at times. If allowed in go bow or stern to on the South quay.
Shelter is extremely good for a yacht charter in Crete. There is water on the ferry mole and fuel can be delivered. All provisions can be obtained and there is a good choice of tavernas. The military presence tends to put a bit of a damper on things so this is not a must visit location.
A Small Harbor for a Yacht Charter in Crete
Yioryiopolis is a small harbor at the mouth of the Almiros river. Go alongside the quay or anchor in the bay to the north. There is good shelter except from winds from the North – NE.
There is water in the village and most provisions for a yacht charter in Crete can be obtained and there are several tavernas. The village attractive and the locals are friendly making a visit well worthwhile.
Rethymno is an old Venetian harbor. Go alongside inside the North jetty or bow or stern to the East jetty. There is good shelter here even from the Meltemi tucked under the East jetty. There is water on the quay and fuel can be delivered for a yacht charter in Crete.
Provisions for a Yacht Charter in Crete
All provisions can be obtained and there are some good tavernas including several fish restaurants in the Venetian harbor. This should be one of the highlights of your yacht charter in Crete.
The Venetian harbor and town are attractive and the buildings with wooden balconies are a reminder of Turkish occupation.
Heraklion is the capital of Crete. Proceed to the Venetian harbor at the West end of the main harbor. Go bow or stern to at the “marina” in the South or on the North quay. There is water on the quay and fuel can be delivered for your yacht charter in Crete.
Excellent Shopping and Fresh Fish
There is excellent shopping and fresh fish is sold in the harbor. There are good tavernas many of which serve fresh fish. Try those around the market in town during your yacht charter in Crete.
The city itself has little to recommend it but visits to Knossus, an archaeological site, go early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the tourists. And the museum containing a collection from the Minoan times is worthwhile.
Hersonissos has a small harbor. Go bow to the mole or anchor off. Care is needed because depths vary throughout the harbor and the holding is poor on sand and rock.
Good Shelter from the North
There is good shelter from the North as the harbor is open only to the SE. Water, fuel and provisions can all be found in the town. The town is a modern tourist development, full of bad architecture and obnoxious holidaymakers.
Spinalonga Lagoon is situated in the North of the larger bay Kolpos Merembellou. Yachts can anchor anywhere in the lagoon. Most provisions for a yacht charter in Crete can be obtained at Elounda.
Take a look at Nisis Spinalongas during your yacht charter in Crete. The setting of the Venetian fort and the deserted settlement are very attractive.
Further to the South
Further to the south is Agios Nikolaos. There is a marina on the South side of the headland. When entering during your yacht charter in Crete you should bow or stern to where directed and use a laid mooring. There is water and electricity on the pontoons. Fuel can be delivered to the yacht.
There are numerous tavernas and most provisions can be obtained. This fishing village is now a large tourist development although the marina is situated some distance away from the noisy areas.
Pachia Ammos is situated at the South end of Kolpos Merembellou. There are depths of up to 3m at the extremity of the mole. The harbor is exposed to the Meltemi. Limited provisions can be obtained in the village for a yacht charter in Crete but there are several tavernas.
Further West in Your Yacht Charter in Crete
Further West lies Sitia. Go bow or stern to the inner North mole. The bottom is sand and weed with some rocks. There is good shelter from the Meltemi.
There are both fuel and water in the harbour for your yacht charter in Crete. All provisions can be obtained in the town and there are several good fish restaurants.
The inner harbour with its tree lined esplanade is pleasant and watching dusk fall over the harbour while tucking in to a nice sea bass is the perfect end to a day’s yacht charter in Crete.
Ak Sidhero is the NE tip of Crete and to the South there are several anchorages in small inlets. There are no facilities but the scenery is imposing with a desolate feel.
The Cuisine in Crete
Crete’s cuisine is similar to that found throughout the Aegean. Fish plays a large part in the form of tuna, swordfish, sea bass, urchins, octopus, squid and cuttlefish.
During your yacht charter in Crete you will find beef, pork, lamb and goat as well. A rabbit stew is a specialty. As is cheese pie and fried cheese (staka). For those with a sweet tooth try yogurt and honey tarts (kaltzounia). Cretan wine is fairly good too.
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