Crete, the biggest island of Greece, is a mine of gold in terms of wilderness. The variety of landscapes is such that you can swim in the amazingly suggestive Balos beach, exploring the lagoon and the small island facing the beach, while the next day you can be hiking on the snow of Mount Psiloritis at more than 2000m above the level of the sea.
Exploring Crete before the good season started, allowed me to take a very interesting side of it. Between March and April you can hardly see tourists around, the only few ones are Germans and are mainly outdoors lovers. The northern coast, the most urbanised one, has three main lively cities, but right outside their centres it’s all desert, and it looks like a sleeping fun park.. Sadly you can notice that the touristic sector here has started to develop in the wrong way, not very careful to blend with nature and the cultural heritage.
Across the minoic island stretches part of the E4, the European long-distance trail, which starts in Portugal and ends up in Cyprus. Hiking it is a way to actually enjoy the natural diversity of Crete, as well as the cultural one, because it goes from coasts to mountains passing by villages. And orthodox sanctuaries are everywhere!
Human wise, I found a genuine warmth coming from people I met on the way, always ready to help out and share something about themselves, no matter if in a common language like English or in their own.