Crete 2010: Kamisiana and the Katsikoulakis Apartments

Outside the Katsikoulakis

I have returned from my annual holiday to Greece. As I mentioned before leaving, this year we went to Crete (Κρήτη), the largest and Southernmost island of Greece.

We stayed in the Katsikoulakis (Κατσικουλάκης) Apartments in the village of Kamisiana (Καμισιανά), in the Municipality of Kolymvari (Δήμος Κολυμβαρίου). The apartments themselves are in quite a remote area, because tourism hasn’t taken over the area yet. Sometimes in the mornings, you can even see the local farmers cutting and bailing the hay, or moving the goats around!

The apartments are well equipped – they even have a (small) oven so you can cook, which is unusual for Greece as usually you get 2 rings and not much else. We usually eat in a couple of times each holiday and this year we decided to pay for air conditioning. Dad found it easier cooking with a good oven and air conditioning. We worked out that for 2 weeks air conditioning, to eat in 3 times would pay for the air conditioning.

The main road is a short walk away, where there are a few tavernas, a petrol station, a shop selling basic food items (milk, eggs, bread, butter etc) and a newsagent selling Greek newspapers and magazines.

The beach is just next to the Katsikoulakis; its not a sandy beach, but it is very quiet and its certainly safe to swim. Once you get in it is sandy underfoot. When its windy – which happens quite a lot on this part of the coast – the waves can be a bit big or rough so perhaps not ideal for those with young children; but for most it should be fairly safe.

The main part of the village is up a side road opposite the petrol station but the nearest banks, ATMs, supermarkets and bakeries can be found a 15 minute walk away in the village of Tavronitis (Ταυρωνίτης).

Alternatively, get the bus or drive (it’ll take 10-15 minutes) in the other direction to get to Kolymbari (Κολυμπάρι) – which is also known as Kolymvari (Κολυμβάρι) where there is an INKA Supermarket (West Cretan chain) and a Dia Supermarket (international chain of Spanish origin). Note that there is no taxi rank in the village.

My labelled Google Map of the area should help you visualise where I’m talking about.

If you’d like to get out and about, car hire is available either through a tour operator such as Olympic Holidays or through the local providers – best to shop around and see who provides the best deal.

We rented through Olympic but only because there was a petrol strike on when we arrived and we wanted the security and protection you get from a tour operator; they said that if the strike wasn’t over by the time we’d booked for they’d cancel the car because there’s no point in paying for a car when you can’t go anywhere in it.

Crete is a big island so even though we were there for 2 weeks we’ve seen hardly any of it – the furthest we went was to a lake and town on the other side of Chania, but even then you haven’t left the Chania Prefecture which takes up the Westernmost quarter of the island.

Now… tomorrow, I’ll be writing about some of the tavernas in the area and later in the week I’ll be writing about some of the other areas of the island we visited.

For now though, its time for me to catch up on the news I’ve missed while being in Greece. I’m off to BBC1.

See some photos of Kamisiana/Katsikoulakis.

Fred Hart

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