Wonders of Nature
Crete is filled with unique landscapes in every corner of it, with several places that are justifiably described as ‘wonders’ of nature. They attract the continuous interest of both scientists and of course the thousands of tourists that are eager to explore them every season. It is not an overstatement to claim that even the most ardent of the city-lovers have been unable to not immerse themselves in such natural sceneries.
One of the most charming contrasts the island has to offer is the one between the mountainous and the coastal element. Especially when making the transition from the northern part of the island to the southern, you can witness a landscape alternating between crystal blue beaches to wild and green mountains and steep gorges to golden sandy beaches again, all of it in just a few miles of traveling.
On the outskirts of the White Mountains, in the western part of the island the proud Samaria Gorge stands up. Designated as a Greek National Park and righteously preserved as a national treasure, it is considered one of the most famous trailing paths on the planet, being a bucket-list experience for all hikers that respect themselves. At an altitude of 1,200m and a total length of 16km it is also the longest gorge in Europe and, impressively, its narrowest walkable point is just 3 meters wide, always surrounded by enormous rock walls. Adding to its impressive record list, Samaria Gorge is also the home of the Kri-Kri, a rare and officially protected breed of goat that can only be found within these mountains. In a location closer to your accommodation, right in the heart of the Lassithi plateau and at an altitude of 1,025 km, lies the admired Diktaion Andron, also known as the Cave of Zeus. According to one of the most celebrated legends of the vast Greek Mythology, it was here that Rhea, Zeus' mother, took refuge to give birth to the patriarch of all gods. Beyond the breathtaking view of the Lassithi plain en route to the cave, the visitors can marvel at some of the most striking stalactite formations, including the coveted ‘mantle of Zeus’, a spectacular folding lengthy stalactite that, according to the legend was the shield of protection for the god as a toddler.
At the western tip of the island, being at a fair distance from our maisonette, but definitely worthy of a daily trip, the world-famous Elafonisi beach awaits you. With transparent turquoise, shallow waters that end up in a unique kind of pink sand, opposite an island with white sand dunes on which lilies grow, compose a landscape taken from the studio of an impressionist painter. It is noteworthy that the geological formation of the pink sand is so rare that visitors are not allowed to sample it and take it home, in order to not deplete this source of scientific study. To complete the picturesque scene of the area, you can just jump to the nearby Kedrodasos beach, where age-old cedars [the word Kedrodasos is Greek for ‘cedar forest’] are almost reaching the waves of the sea. At the opposite end of the island, a bit closer to Cyan Residence, another unique landscape is hidden, just a few meters from the shore. Chrysi island [Greek for ‘The golden island’] lends a Caribbean flavour to the Mediterranean. Instead of pebbles, the beaches and the ground beneath the water's surface are made up of millions of colored shells. They create myriad of light reflections that give the water the turquoise color that only in artificial pools can one encounter.