Greece is a part of Europe that doesn’t look like Europe at all. But I am in love with Greece, even though I’ve only visited Greece twice. My first time in Greece was in May 2018, click here to read more about this visit.
Well in May 2019 I decided to visit Greece again, but this time to the biggest island ‘Crete’. I booked this trip through a Dutch travel agency. This travel agency consists of volunteers and people with a disability. We were with a group of 18 people in total.
“Life is short and the world is wide, the sooner you start exploring it, the better.” – Simon Raven
Where to stay?
Located in Maleme seaside village, Eria Resort Accessible Holidays for Disabled Travelers is exclusively designed for guests with accessibility needs. It features a wellness center, a heated pool and a poolside bar-restaurant with Cretan cuisine. Sports facilities include boccia, volleyball and basketball court.
Spacious and easily accessible, the air-conditioned units feature free Wi-Fi and a balcony overlooking the sea and the olive groves. They are equipped with electrically adjusted beds, trapeze bars and intercom systems. The specially adapted bathrooms include bathrobes and cosmetics. – Booking.com
What to do?
On Monday morning, 20th of May, we arrived around noon at Schiphol in Amsterdam. We had some time to get to know each other before checking in. I noticed that this group was very energetic and excited, just like I was. After security, we could go to the gate. We were able to board the plane first because we were with quite a lot of wheelchairs. We flew with Transavia and the flight lasted about 3 hours and fifteen minutes. At the airport, in Chania, the staff were very friendly and helpful. And the taxis that would bring us to the resort were ready, so we could go straight to the resort. The owners of the resort made us dinner, so we could eat something when we arrived. After check-in, we could go to our rooms to get some rest.
The next morning we woke up around 9 a.m. and had some breakfast. While eating breakfast we could enjoy the beautiful mountain views. On the first day, we didn’t plan to do something, because we were all still tired. We sat at the pool all day and unpacked our stuff. Some of us went swimming, but I didn’t. The resort had pretty good food and the people who worked there were nice too. The resort is fully accessible for wheelchair users. Every room has one electric profiling bed (adjustable bed) and we rented a passive hoist. The bathroom was okay, could’ve been a bit bigger. More information and prices are available at their website, click here. Eria resort has its accessible taxis with drivers, so they had brought us everywhere this week. Including from and to the airports.
On Wednesday, we went to the Beer Brewery and Olive Oil factory. I don’t drink alcohol, so the Brewery was not my thing. But talking about accessibility, it was good. They had slopes next to the stairs and there was a small toilet for the disabled. From the Eria Resort to the Brewery, we drove like 45 minutes through the mountains. After visiting the brewery, we went to the oldest olive tree in Greece. The experts think it’s between the 3000 – 5000 years old, so that is indeed very old.
After visiting and photographing this tree, we went further up into the mountains. After a while, we arrived at the olive oil factory ‘Vittorakis’. At this factory, we saw the whole process of making olive oil, very interesting though. We also got the chance to taste some toasted bread with their olive oil. They also offered you 5 glasses of wine to taste, but I don’t drink, so I don’t know if it was good. There was a small shop where you could buy their olive oil. When we were done with tasting and learning, we went back to the resort. At the resort, there was BBQ night. We ate dinner and had a relaxed afternoon.
Thursday, in the morning we had a relaxed beginning of the day. We played some games and just enjoyed. Around 4 p.m. we took the taxis to Chania. Chania is the second largest city of Crete. First, we went to the old market. We bought some souvenirs and stuff like that. After some walking (actually, rolling) around, we went to the harbor of Chania. To be honest, I don’t have the good words to describe how beautiful this spot is. Just check it out for yourself, so beautiful. After visiting the harbor, we had some dinner at a gyros tent. Gyros is something typical Greek, but I don’t eat meat, so I can’t tell you if it was good or not.
It was almost time for the sunset, so we went back to the harbor. We took some very cool pictures and enjoyed (really enjoyed) the beautiful sunset and the changing skies. I don’t think the pictures can show how beautiful it was in real life, because it was fantastic. We stopped at the Starbucks, because yes they have a Starbucks in Chania. It was not wheelchair accessible, but we sat outside anyway. After some walking and shopping around, we went back to the resort. We played some games and had fun.
The next day, Friday, was beach day. We went to the little village Maleme to eat some lunch on the beach. It was a cool tent called Mythos and the owner was such a kind person. She was very happy to make some space, and she even took some time to talk with us. The weather was great, the sun with a breeze from the sea. We enjoyed our lunch, everything was just perfect. After lunch, the owner brought us some desserts on the house, which was very kind (and delicious). When we finished our lunch and dessert, we visited some small shops for souvenirs. Btw – this village was on a walking distance from the Eria Resort. So after that, we went back to the resort. There was some time over before dinner, so we went swimming (S/O to Christel). It was a heated pool, so it was very lovely. You could enter the pool with a (shower) chair through the slope.
After dinner, we had a Greek night. What does that mean? Hmm, I’m not sure either but it was fun. 4 Greek dancers did typical Greek dances with typical Greek clothes. I was amazed by their energy because they danced for like 3 hours. But I liked it!
On Saturday we went with the taxis to the ‘wheelchair accessible’ beach. It is quite funny that they call this the wheelchair-accessible beach, as this was certainly not wheelchair accessible. It was a normal sandy beach, so it was almost impossible to come up with the wheelchairs. But with the help of others, we succeeded, and we were able to sit on the beach all afternoon. It was a hot day with lots of sun. In the afternoon we were picked up again by the taxis. After we arrived at the hotel I went swimming, which was very nice again. After swimming, I took a quick shower and prepared for dinner. The resort has its cook for lunch and dinner. Most days we had fish or meat on the menu, but always including something vegetarian. The food was good, some days it was better than other days.
Sunday was our last full day in Crete, unfortunately. We didn’t plan things on this day, so we could do what we wanted. After lunch, I went swimming and then I went into the Jacuzzi. Yes, the Jacuzzi. The resort has a Jacuzzi with a very nice hoist. Unfortunately, the bubbles didn’t work, but the water was hot! After this, I took a shower and it was already time for dinner. After dinner, we went to the village Maleme to have some drinks at the Mythos cafe. The owner remembered us and was very happy to see us again. We sat there for like 2 hours at the beach and around 11 p.m. it became colder, and we went back to the resort.
Yep, Monday arrived and it was our last day. In the morning we had breakfast and packed our suitcases. After lunch, I went swimming for the last time, it was short but good. I showered and packed my last things. We had to leave around 5 p.m. to the airport. One of the last things we did was eaten an ice cream (S/O to Samantha). Everything was packed, and we were able to go to the airport. At the airport everything went smoothly and again we could enter the plane first. After some delay, we arrived at Schiphol around 1 a.m. instead of 11:30 p.m. so we had a little longer vacation. It was a good trip with great people. Thank you, Greece for being great again!
General things to know
Besides where to stay and what to do, there are some general things you should know.
The main official language spoken is Greek, but most people speak English too
The capital city of Crete is Iraklion
Just like the rest of the countries in Europe you can pay with euros
The climate is a mild Mediterranean climate with stormy winters and hot, bright, dry summers