Things to do in Lagos Portugal Algarve – Lagos is a lovely city for many reasons. First of all, Lagos has a very nice city center where you can walk and find many shops and restaurants.
Lagos is a perfect place for your shopping, whether you want to buy gifts for your friends or something for yourself to take home as a souvenir.
In the shops of Lagos, you can find various items and cork products that are typical of this area. You can find cork products elsewhere in the Algarve, but here in Lagos, there is more choice of both in kind of shops and in the variety of products.
Once you have visited and strolled through the historic center of Lagos you can head towards the coast where you will find another very busy and popular area of Lagos: the riverside area.
Lagos is also divided by a river, and along this river, there is a beautiful walk where you can relax and enjoy the city.
This pedestrian street connects the Marina de Lagos to the beach. Along this avenue, you can also find gazebos with various tour proposals in the area.
We also have ancient points of interest in this area, such as the Ponta da Bandeira Fort or the Sao Goncalo Door.
What about the beach? We are along the Algarve coast, so there is also an amazing beach!
Don’t miss the Ponta da Piedade panoramic point when you are in Lagos: it’s unique. It’s easily reachable by car.
Thanks to the city center and all the points of interest, Lagos is also a good idea for your travel destination in winter.
Lagos old town
What are some of the main streets to visit in Lagos old town? Here are some of them:
R. Infante de Sagres, 8600-728 Lagos, Portugal
Praça Luís de Camões, 8600-302 Lagos, Portugal
Platz Gil Eanes, Praça Gil Eanes, 8600-657 Lagos, Portugal
Av. dos Descobrimentos 5, 8600-645 Lagos, Portugal
In the shops of Lagos, you can find various items and products made from cork which are typical of this area. You can find cork items elsewhere in the Algarve, but here in Lagos, there is more choice of both shops and a variety of items.
Praça Luís de Camões
The Praça Luís de Camões is one of the points of greatest interest in the historic center of Lagos.
It is in this square that the characteristic green house is located.
R. Infante de Sagres Lagos, Portugal
Ponta da Bandeira Fort
You will find a fascinating historic building between the river and the beach: Ponta da Bandiera Fort, also known as the Fort of Nossa Senhora da Penha de Franca.
The Ponta da Bandiera Fort is a building of public interest with military architecture from the 17th century. It is located at the entrance to the port of the Ribeira de Bensafrim. The Fort of Nossa Senhora da Penha de Franca was built between 1680 and 1690.
It was used to defend access to the quay and the south-eastern and eastern sections of the town walls by cross-firing with the Porta da Vila Bulwark and the Governors’ Castle Bulwark.
In its time, the fort was one of the most advanced fortresses in the Algarve. It stands out for its quadrangular plan and for being particularly low with thick walls on the seafront, a good example of military architecture used for artillery warfare.
The moat can be crossed using a rebuilt drawbridge leading to the only door. The cylindrical sentry boxes were added during 20th-century restoration works. The small Chapel of Santa Barbara is covered in 17th-century tiles.
Sao Goncalo Door
National Monument. Military architecture from the 14th century. As part of the Cerca Velha, the main entrance is flanked by two barbican towers, in keeping with Islamic fortresses.
This was the main access to the quay of the late medieval town in the 15th and 16th centuries. The main East-West axis of the town (nowadays Rua Miguel Bombarda) ended, which connected the port to the upper district where the Parish Church of Santa Maria da Grata was located.
Castle of Lagos
Lagos Castle is a medieval fortress surrounded by strong walls. Its walls surrounded the entire city of Lagos, providing the town with its main means of defense.
Free and very convenient parking for visiting the center of Lagos up to the marina or the beach is the following: Aparcamiento Público R. Infante de Sagres 104, 8600-686 Lagos, Portugal.
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The amazing small world of Mononaftis beach Agia Pelagia Crete Greece – Let’s discover Mononaftis beach! This is an amazing small beach in Agia Pelagia where you do very nice snorkeling and other activities. Furthermore, Mononaftis beach is not far from Heraklion. Mononaftis is a good choice if you want to find clear sea water and you also want to visit Heraklion.
Video Mononaftis beach Agia Pelagia Crete Greece
In the following video, we can admire the beauty and peculiarity of Mononaftis beach. But there are some questions that we also want to answer: Where is it exactly? How is the beach? What activities can you do here?
You can find the answer to all these questions by watching the video! There are subtitles in the video, and you can select the language you prefer.
Text of the video
Mononaftis beach Crete
Hi everybody, in front of us the Mononaftis beach in Crete, Greece.
Where is it exactly? How is the beach? What activities can you do here?
Where is Mononaftis beach?
Mononaftis beach is a pearl among the beaches of Agia Pelagia. Agia Pelagia is often chosen for its location not too far from Heraklion, its comforts, and the transparent sea waters.
How is Mononaftis beach Agia Pelagia?
Mononaftis beach, in particular, is a small world where activities and people repeat themselves daily in a pleasant routine: after some time, you get familiar with it and feel almost at home.
The only negative thing about this beach is that the descent into the water is a little bit difficult due to the pebble beach and the dangerously slippery rocks in the water.
However, this problem is easily overcome by using water shoes and a bit of experience. In fact, there are some points where it is easier to enter the sea: once these “special corridors” have been discovered, everything is easier.
If you haven’t brought your shoes to use in the water from home, it’s not a problem: on the beach, you will find some shops where you can buy what you need.
Mononaftis beach hotel
Mononaftis beach is a “small world”, but easily accessible as you can arrive by car directly near the beach. In addition, the beach of Mononaftis is surrounded by different types of resorts.
The two main resorts that are directly on the sea on the Mononaftis beach are the Sea Side Resort and the Peninsula Resort & Spa. These are two beautiful resorts: the Sea Side Resort is more for couples or adults, the Peninsula Resort & Spa is also for families.
Mononaftis umbrella beach and deckchairs rental cost
Here at Mononaftis beach, there are several paid services that you can use. First of all, we mention the rental of deck chairs and umbrellas. The rental cost in 2022 was 10 euros for the two comfortable gray sunbeds and one umbrella, but the older sets such as the 2 older blue sunbeds and one umbrella in the first line were paid 7 euros.
As is the custom here in Crete, you just need to place yourself on the chosen deckchairs, and around 11 am, the attendant comes to request the payment. It is possible to pay with cash, credit card, or smartphone.
Things to do in Agia Pelagia at the Mononaftis beach
You can also rent a boat, a paddle boat, or a jet ski.
Mononaftis beach jet ski rental
About the jet ski, we have to say that you can’t do a tour and go wherever you want, but simply try it in a circuit. So it’s good for those who want a little bit of fun but not for those who prefer adventure or to explore the area. The use you can do of the jet ski is limited.
Mononaftis beach diving
Another activity you can try here is to go underwater as a sub. An instructor will teach you the basic things, and you’ll try to stay all together underwater in an area not too far from the beach and not too deep. It can be a good experience for your family or those who haven’t ever tried it.
Mononaftis beach snorkeling
Anyway, you can also have fun in the water without being a sub with snorkeling. Let’s go to find and admire some fish and discover about the life under the water’s surface.
Besides the clear water, one of the best features of Mononaftis beach is what lies beneath the sea’s surface: here, it is very nice and fun to snorkel. In fact, here in the waters of Mononaftis, you will find different varieties of fish.
Mononaftis beach shower
If you want, you can also shower when you exit from the water and return to the beach.
After all these experiences, it’s time to greet you. Bye, and see you in the next video!
Guide to the contents
00:00 Mononaftis beach Crete
00:17 Where is Mononaftis beach?
00:39 How is Mononaftis beach Agia Pelagia?
01:52 Mononaftis beach hotel
02:32 Mononaftis umbrella beach and deckchairs rental cost
03:21 Things to do in Agia Pelagia
03:45 Mononaftis beach Jet Ski rental
04:40 Mononaftis beach diving
05:02 Mononaftis beach snorkeling
08:22 Mononaftis beach shower 08:31 Bye!
08:39 Suggested Videos
08:45 Mononaftis beach Short
Mononaftis beach Photo Gallery
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Crete Knossos palace history and visiting – Knossos is generally one of the most famous archaeological sites and certainly the most famous in Crete. The visit to Knossos is certainly interesting, but it is better if done with a guide for a better understanding of what you see and the history of this city.
Once you have visited with the guide here at the palace of Knossos, visiting the Heraklion museum will also make much more sense, as you will already know what you are looking at and what is best to focus on.
How to reach Knossos?
Knossos is one of the most important attractions in Heraklion and is therefore easy to reach. In fact, Knossos can be reached both by bus and by car without any particular problems.
The parking for the archaeological area of Knossos is very large and free.
What are the inhabitants of Knossos called?
The Minoan civilization lived in Knossos. We can therefore call the inhabitants of Knossos Minoites.
Is what we see in Knossos original or fake?
Is what we see in Knossos original or fake? To answer this question, let’s first understand what we see during our visit to Knossos.
The palace we see today is the palace from 1700 BC. This palace was built on the ruins of the old palace. The only remaining parts of the old palace are the western courtyard, the warehouses and the theater. These parts were refurbished and reused until the end of the Minoan era. The rest of the old palace with its ruins was instead covered with earth after the earthquake of 1700 BC and the new palace was built exactly above.
It must be said that even the palace we see today, the palace of 1700 BC, has been damaged many times by earthquakes, the eruption of the volcano of Santorini in 1500 BC and the invasion in 1450. However, immediately after each destruction, the palace was renovated and re-inhabited.
This is true until 1360 BC, when the last great destruction was due to an earthquake, followed by a fire in the warehouses. In fact, the warehouses contained amphorae that contained oil and wine. The contents of these amphorae were overturned and due to the earthquake, they caught fire by the lamps that illuminated the warehouse. First, the warehouse caught fire and then the whole building. The fire burned all the wooden parts and since the columns were also made of wood, the whole building collapsed.
For this reason, there is nothing original in Knossos above the first horizontal beam. After the earthquake of 1360 BC, the palace was no longer restored, but the city of Knossos remained inhabited until 67 BC, when it was destroyed by the Romans. In fact, the Romans no longer needed a large city in the north and changed the sea routes. Their ships passed along the southern coast. They moved the capital of the island to the south, about 70 km from Knossos, where the ruins of the ancient city still stand today, which are located near Phaistos in southern Crete.
But until Roman times, Knossos was the capital of Crete.
Why do we see well-preserved parts of the palace of Knossos today?
If it is true that the Palace of Knossos collapsed, why do we see well-preserved parts of the palace today? To answer this question, let’s first try to figure out who started excavating the ruins of the palace of Knossos.
The first to excavate at Knossos was Arthur Evans, who carried out restoration, not of a conservative type but rather tried to reconstruct some parts of the palace according to his idea of how it could be. In addition, he uses materials that are not faithful to the originals and unrelated to the original construction of the palace of Knossos.
His method is clearly criticized by modern archaeologists, although tourists are very attracted to these reconstructed parts, and are among the most photographed.
So some parts of the palace that seem well preserved, especially those with red columns, are actually a reconstruction by Evans. Other parts of the building, such as the warehouses, are original.
Why had they chosen this place to build the city of Knossos?
Why had they chosen this place to build the city of Knossos? The city of Knossos was located not on the sea but at a certain distance. This allowed it to be protected in case of direct attacks from the sea.
It was also located a little high so that you could control and observe the land around it. There was a natural fortification formed by all the hills around, plus it is a fertile area and there was water nearby. For all these reasons, this place was chosen for the construction of Knossos.
Are there any frescoes in Knossos?
While visiting the ruins of Knossos, you will see some frescoes. These frescoes are copies and are not originals, as the originals are kept at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum.
In any case, the frescoes of Knossos are beautiful to see as different colors were used and from these frescoes, we can learn about different aspects of the life of the inhabitants of this city.
The colors were extracted from plants, shells, minerals, the walls from which they took the dust, and the bones of burnt black animals and imported the blue from Egypt. They painted the men red and the women white. The women were white, perhaps to make it clear that they didn’t go out often, didn’t work in the fields, and were therefore not tanned.
Gold and wooden items were painted yellow, while silver items were painted blue. Silver items such as vases, bracelets, and anklets.
From the information we have, we can say that the people represented here in the painting are men in fact, they are painted in this reddish color, they hold various objects, some of which are silver as they are blue.
These were priests dressed in their typical priestly robes. The priests depicted in the paintings are always dressed like this: with a short embroidered skirt, with all colorful designs on it. It was probably made of very fine fabric or was very wide because a net with small silver weights at the bottom hung in the final part of the skirt. This was to prevent the skirt from being raised even on windy days.
The rest of the man’s body was naked. In the frescoes, all these men are represented with narrow waists and broad shoulders but in reality, we can say that they were not like that. In fact, observing the skeletons found, they were not even very tall, around one meter and 60 cm. The women were instead others around the meter and 50 cm. There were also taller men but generally, they were shorter and not as slender as we see them on the frescoes.
In the processions, there was a line of men coming from one direction and another procession of men coming from the opposite direction and in the center between the two lines, there was a white woman waiting to receive the offerings contained in the vases.
The rooms we see have been reconstructed and even the columns are not original, but we still see the ancient alabaster base under the columns.
How do we know how tall the rooms were?
If we don’t have columns and how do we know how tall the rooms were?
The rooms were a maximum of 3 meters high as this is the height of the stairs leading to the upper floors.
The bull as a symbol of power
The bull was, for the inhabitants of Knossos, a sacred animal, a symbol of power. According to Evans, the double horns symbolized the king’s double power: religious power and legislative power. The horns were placed on the roofs of the rooms (Evans’s theory) or on his drawings. The horns were a symbol indicating the sacred character of a part of the palace.
The western courtyard and the processions
On your visit to Knossos, one of the first areas you come across is the western courtyard. It must be said that seeing it without an explanation, we cannot understand its function or importance.
The courtyard is crossed by three corridors raised above the rest of the pavement and they intersect each other. The idea is that processions would parade over them during the ceremonies.
You can clearly see these corridors from the model of Knossos that you find at the Heraklion museum.
To know how the processions took place, we must rely on the images depicting these scenes, as we have not yet been able to understand the Minoan script.
For this reason, a sarcophagus kept at the Heraklion museum is very important because it shows us a procession like those that probably took place right here in the western courtyard.
The warehouses kept large amphorae in which products such as wine, olive oil, and honey could be placed.
The size of the Knossos warehouses makes us understand that they could satisfy more than just the needs of the inhabitants of Knossos. In fact, all the products collected in the neighboring lands were probably brought into the palace and from there distributed to the inhabitants or exported to other countries.
This makes us understand that the palace of Knossos was also a commercial center.
The warehouses were rectangular rooms generally covered and closed. Two sets of amphorae were placed near each room’s long walls. In the warehouses where the products were liquid such as wine and oil, there were holes in the ground or small square or rectangular tanks, a maximum of 1 meter and 20 cm deep, with an internal alabaster lining.
These small cisterns had the task of collecting the contents of the amphorae when they broke for any reason: for an accident or an earthquake, for example. In this way, even if all the vessels were destroyed at the same time, at least some of the products were collected in these tanks and not lost. The product could then be filtered and reused.
The religion of the Minoan civilization
The inhabitants of Knossos were monotheists until at least 1500 BC. In fact, the museum contains clay tablets written with the writing used in Crete after 1500 BC that mention 3 gods of Olympus: Dionysus, Poseidon and Zeus.
It is therefore evident that these 3 gods were introduced from Greece around 1500 BC with the arrival of the Mycenaeans from the Peloponnese, who brought with them the worship of their gods. The worship of these gods accompanied the worship of the Minoan goddess who was previously worshiped.
The worship of the mother earth of the Minoites continued until 1100 BC, but this adoration was accompanied by the adoration of the other 3 gods after 1500 BC.
The Minoites organized ceremonies, processions and sacrificed animals for their divinity. Everyone could go to the sanctuary of the palace: inhabitants of the palace, Cretans but also foreigners. In fact, alabaster vases built in Egypt have been found with hieroglyphic inscriptions that also bear the names of the pharaohs.
People brought their offerings to propitiate the goddess’ favor or as thanks. Animal models in ceramic and bronze were found brought, perhaps by shepherds who wanted to ask for something for their animals.
Then some ex-votos were found to be very similar to those that are still carried in churches today. Today, in fact, gold or silver tablets are brought to represent parts of the body for which healing is requested. The Minoites did not have tablets of gold or silver but small ceramic objects in the shape of the part of the body for which healing was sought.
The double ax
The double ax was the most important symbol of the Minoan civilization. More than 2000 double axes of different materials, weights and sizes have been found here in Knossos. The double axes were used for different purposes depending on the size and material.
The medium-sized ones were used for animal sacrifices, and the larger ones supported by stone and wooden bases served as ornament inside the palace or stood in front of the sanctuaries. Smaller gold ones were hung around the neck, perhaps as a sacred symbol of the Minoan religion as crosses are used today. In fact, some still retain a ring on one side from which they passed a chain or a cord to form a pendant to wear around the neck.
The double ax symbol was also engraved on the walls of the rooms.
What is the Knossos labyrinth actually?
We have just seen how widespread and important the double ax symbol was in Knossos. This symbol is also connected to the very term labyrinth. How?
We know that the ancient name of the double ax was lábrys. It is said that the Greek word labyrinthos or labyrinth in Italian derives from this ancient word. Labyrinth is a word made up of two others: lábrys, which is the name of the double ax and inthos which means place or locality. Labyrinthos then meant the place of the lábrys, the house of the double ax.
Probably this was the name given to the palace of Knossos by the Mycenaeans or by the Greeks, who saw this palace full of double axes and called it labyrinth.
Perhaps later, this term was used by others who wanted to describe buildings similar to the palace of Knossos. In fact, the palace was large and complicated, all complicated constructions were called that. Gradually the word lost its ancient meaning and took on another meaning, first in Greek and then in other languages.
For archaeologists, the labyrinth was the great building of the palace of Knossos.
The labyrinth of Knossos according to mythology
According to mythology, the labyrinth was instead a construction made by an architect from Athens: Daedalus. Minos had ordered Daedalus to build a prison for the minotaur: the queen’s son and a white bull that Poseidon had sent as a gift to Minos.
After the scandal that broke out in Knossos for the birth of the monster, Minos ordered Daedalus to build the labyrinth. Inside the labyrinth, the monster was imprisoned: the minotaur.
Daedalus and his son Icarus were not allowed to leave the island of Crete not to reveal the labyrinth’s secret. They then escaped with wax wings built by Daedalus but while they were flying over the islands of the Aegean sea, Daedalus Icarus’s son got too close to the sun. His wings melted, he fell into the sea and died.
Since then, a part of the Aegean sea bears his name: Icarion sea, with the island of Icaria formed exactly in the place where Icarus lost his life.
This is the story of the labyrinth. According to mythology, the labyrinth is the place where the minotaur ate 7 boys and 7 girls from Athens every year. The place where Theseus, the prince of Athens, entered using Ariadne’s thread, killed the minotaur, and then found his way out using the thread.
All these myths were invented many years after the end of the Minoan era, probably by people who wanted to describe something they had heard and passed down from their ancestors to explain what happened in antiquity.
What is the origin of the myth of the arrival of Theseus?
What is the origin of the myth of the arrival of Theseus? Archaeologists say that the myth of the arrival of Theseus, a Greek and the killing of the monster may be an indication of an invasion by the Greeks. There is the theory that in 1450 BC the Mycenaeans, or the Greeks, destroyed the palace.
Where does the myth of the Minotaur originate from?
Where does the myth of the Minotaur originate from? The myth of the monster, of the minotaur who lived in Crete and ate 7 boys and 7 girls from Athens every year, was probably invented to describe bullfighting.
Bullfighting was a Minoan game in which a wild and untrained bull participated. They hunted the bull in the plains where they lived and took them to the place where these games were played. The games were also attended by athletes who could be both men and women, as we can also see in the fresco: some figures are white while one is red.
We recall as already mentioned above that in the frescoes the women were colored white, the men instead of this reddish color.
The athletes depicted in the games are all dressed alike, with a uniform consisting of short shorts.
At the start of the games, the athlete had to take the bull by the horns as the bull ran toward him, then he had to jump over his back, and eventually, he had to jump back and stay standing. As you can see, they were very difficult games.
The games aimed not to kill the bull but to do stunts over its back. The bull was a sacred animal, and they sacrificed it on other occasions but not during games.
Bull athletes died much more often. This is especially true for athletes who came from afar, as they were very young, did not have the opportunity to train and did not have a lot of experience in this type of game. For this reason, they were very often injured and killed by the bull’s horns.
Probably the invention of the myth of the Minotaur, or a myth that spoke of a monster who lived in Knossos and who ate 7 boys and 7 girls from Athens every year, was just a way that the Athenians had found to describe these Cretan games that they seemed cruel to them.
The minoites and sport
The Cretans were lovers of games and sports as we can see from the frescoes depicting muscular men. In addition to the acrobatics on the bulls on the frescoes, there are running competitions where not only red Minoite men participate but also black and, therefore African men who probably came up here to participate in the races. There were also wrestling and boxing competitions.
The fresco of the Prince of Lilies also probably represents an athlete. Evans thought he was a prince but he probably wasn’t. In fact, he is dressed like an athlete, he has a very muscular body, and his right hand is in a fist. Perhaps he was an athlete in a fight scene, not a prince as Evans called him.
The fresco of The Prince of the Lilies
The man represented in this fresco is an exception to the rule as he is a man but does not have a red color like on the other frescoes. In fact, the color used is pink, an orange-pink.
At the turn of the century, Evans said that the younger members of the royal family were painted pink and for this, he called him prince. In particular, the name Prince of the Lilies was given to him for his crown, decorated with lilies and peacock feathers, and the necklace with red lilies.
The original fresco is kept in the museum. Looking closely at the fresco, we can see that some parts are not original and have been added and reconstructed by archaeologists.
An important detail to note is that we only have a small part of the left arm so the movement has been completely reconstructed. Evans thought it was a prince pulling an animal, so the arm was placed in a position that depicted this scene, so in the reconstruction, the arm is outstretched.
However, nothing indicates that the arm was in a different position.
In fact, modern archaeologists think that he is not a prince but an athlete: he is dressed like an athlete, has a very muscular body and his right hand is in a fist.
So maybe he was an athlete in a fight scene and the other arm was also in a wrestling position. Therefore an athlete and not a prince as Evans called him.
However, this relief painting is still known today as the Prince of the Lilies and is the most famous painting among those found. To be able to do this type of painting, the artist first had to apply stucco on the wall giving the desired shape and then, while the stucco was still wet, he had to apply it very quickly, perhaps with a sponge, all the colors that were absorbed by the stucco.
This technique allowed the colors to last over time and are still preserved.
The throne room
The throne room is one of the most visited areas of the palace of Knossos. In the throne room, there is the stone turret adjacent to a wall and benches all around where people could sit to talk to the king. On the wall, a painting was found showing palm leaves and griffons, mythical animals imagined by Minoites with the head of an eagle, the body of a lion and a snake as a tail. This composition of the griffon perhaps indicated the 3 powers worshiped in Crete: the powers of the air or of the sky with the eagle, of the earth with the lion and the underground powers with the snake.
According to Evans, the throne room was probably used when the king acted as a priest because this room is connected to the sanctuaries. Probably inside the throne room, the king received other priests and together they purified themselves, before leaving for the ceremonies in the sanctuaries or in the central courtyard.
The benches and floor are original in the throne room, but almost the whole room has been reconstructed. The throne room can be visited, but in periods of particular crowding the queue can be very long, almost exhausting if we want to add the heat in summer. Therefore, it is better to consider visiting it when it is not too hot and the crowd is less.
In fact, the Throne Room is particularly popular with visitors because here they can see an entire room of the palace of Knossos and in addition with a very important function. Too bad, however, that the original find did not look at all as we can see today because almost everything has been rebuilt. We can see below a photo of the excavations before the reconstruction.
The eastern wing
The Minoites had built a part of the building four floors high. To need less support, however, they had dug into the hill and formed terraces. There are therefore 2 floors underground. The palace of Knossos is the first building in Europe that had more than one floor.
It is precisely here that there were the largest and best-decorated rooms, perhaps the royal apartments and the king’s room, or another throne room that was used however when the king had his role as administrator, he exercised political power.
A very important thing found here in these rooms is the fresco of the taurocatapsia, or leap of the bull, preserved in the Heraklion museum.
Also in this wing, there is another somewhat smaller room with a feminine decoration that Evans called the Queen’s Room, where the fresco of the dolphins was found. This makes us understand that they traveled a lot and loved the sea.
Bathtubs and Sarcophagi
Next to this queen’s room, a bathroom was found where still today, there is the ceramic tub that was connected to the canalization system. In fact, the tub has a hole at the bottom from which the dirty water from the bathroom could come out.
It is a small bathtub for our standards. Tubs of the same type were used as sarcophagi. We know that they were sarcophagi and not tubs because they were found in cemeteries and contained skeletons.
The two tubs that were found at Knossos are definitely tubs because all two are connected to the drain system and were found in the royal apartments. The same shape was then used for a sarcophagus and a tub. Both had a hole at the bottom to let out the bath water or the liquids of the dead person.
Here it is in the model theater of Knossos. The steps facing us were steps large enough to sit on. The others that we see as more numerous are very low and it was impossible to sit down. Therefore it is thought that the less important people could attend but remain standing here.
The Ports of Knossos
2 ports of Knossos have been found. One is located 6 km from Knossos, where the new port of Heraklion is now towards the airport, in the eastern part. The second port was in Amnissos 11 km from Knossos, immediately after the airport where there is the beach of Amnissos.
Here Evans discovered the port facilities, the port commander’s house or the villa del liglio as he called it for the frescoes that decorated it. Minoan ships loaded with products from other countries and perhaps even foreign ships arrived at the port.
The northern entrance
According to Evans, the northern entrance was closely linked to the presence of ports north of Knossos and to the arrival of people and goods.
The people who came and went through the northern entrance were sometimes also foreign people who brought imported products. For this reason, he called the rectangular space at the northern entrance “the customs”, the same space that today we call the room of the 8 pillars, for the 8 square pillars that supported its roof.
According to Evans, there was a need for control of all these products that came in from the northern entrance and that came from the sea. From here then began a long corridor where you climbed four steps and at the end, you arrived in front of the throne room.
On either side of this corridor, there were two verandas. Evans rebuilt one of these two verandas, where he found the bases of 3 columns which he rebuilt and painted red in the ruins.
He also found the ancient parts of the large painting “the hunt for the bull” depicting a red bull with yellow horns facing north, towards the sea. In front of him is an olive tree and there is a red net with blue dots that is falling over his back to catch him.
This too is a relief painting like that of the prince of lilies. This fresco is very beautiful as it is rich in details, especially regarding the bull’s head which is very expressive.
In front of this veranda, there was another one of which today we have only the base. These two verandas were like two balconies from which you could have a beautiful view of the sea. They were 2 views from which the guards could control the entrance.
However, this theory is not accepted by archaeologists of the British school for whom the Minoites were peaceful, the palace was open and there was no control. This theory is based on the fact that no weapons or bastions have ever been found at Knossos. According to them, these were just balconies to have a nice view and enjoy the panorama.
Heraklion Archaeological Museum
During the visit to Knossos, the guide will refer several times to the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion as the original frescoes and other important artifacts found in Knossos are kept here in the museum.
For this reason it is useful to visit the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion after the visit to Knossos: in this way your visit will be more complete and you can further deepen your knowledge of the Minoan civilization.
At the Knossos ticket office, they sell the combined ticket for the excavations of Knossos and the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion.
Lagoon Crete Balos Beach how to get there & ultimate guide. This beach is one of Crete’s most characteristic and well-known beaches, but there are some things you should know before going there. For example: how to get there? Is it better to go by boat or by car? How is the dirt road that leads to Balos Lagoon? Are there sunbeds and umbrellas on Balos beach? Are there bathrooms? Is there a bar?
This post will answer these and other questions related to the Balos lagoon and beach.
Video Crete Balos Beach
Watch the following video before continuing reading.
02:15 Are there sunbeds and umbrellas on Balos beach that can be rented?
02:58 Is there a bar at Balos Beach?
03:38 Are there toilets at Balos Beach?
04:05 How to get to Balos Beach, by boat or by car?
04:21 Balos beach by boat
05:57 Do the boat tours go directly to Balos beach?
06:34 Gramvousa beach & Things to do at Gramvousa Island
07:19 Balos cliffs
08:01 Disadvantages of the Balos boat tour
08:57 Balos beach by car
09:14 Balos beach dirt road
15:37 Balos beach hiking and walking from the parking
16:54 Balos beach trail viewpoint
18:16 Balos beach Crete hike
20:20 How to get to Balos beach other than by boat and car?
21:16 Suggested videos
Text of the video
In front of us, the Balos Beach and the Balos Lagoon.
This beach is one of Crete’s most characteristic and well-known beaches and is worth at least one visit.
A strip of sand is placed between crystal clear sea water and a lagoon, the Balos lagoon.
This beach is suitable for those who like to walk in the water as the sea is very shallow and you can walk for a long time before swimming.
As you can see, however, this beach is not located near the town as it remains in an isolated area.
So there are some questions that we want to find an answer to in this video.
Are there sunbeds and umbrellas on Balos beach that can be rented?
Is there a bar?
Are there toilets?
How to get to Balos beach? By boat? By car?
Let’s start by answering to the simplest questions:
Are there sunbeds and umbrellas on Balos beach that can be rented?
Yes there are sunbeds and umbrellas but they are not reservable.
How does it work then?
As usual in Crete, if you find available sunbeds, you have to occupy them, and then the attendant comes to you for the payment.
Is there a bar?
Yes, there is a small bar on Balos beach.
However, I recommend you bring your lunch if possible.
The supermarkets in Kissamos sell the same pre-packaged sandwiches you can find on the beach or in the self-services on the boats to Balos.
Are there toilets?
Yes, there are toilets in Balos, but they are against a fee.
They are located towards the mountain on the right if you have the sea in front of you and the lagoon behind you. The cost of using the toilet in August 2022 was 1 euro
Now let’s answer a question everyone has to ask before coming to Balos.
How to get to Balos Beach?
By boat or by car?
Let’s see together some aspects of the 2 options.
Balos by boat
A good option to reach Balos beach is by boat, thanks to the boat tours from the port of Kissamos.
You can get to the port of Kissamos by bus, taxi, or car.
Since Balos is a famous beach, several organized tours leave in the morning from the main towns of Crete and take you by bus to the port of Kissamos.
You can also use a taxi but the best option to get to the port of Kissamos is by car.
Puoi anche usare un taxi, ma l’opzione migliore per raggiungere il porto di Kissamos è l’auto.
The car parking is big, free and close to the ticket office and the boats.
You can buy the boat tickets directly at the port or online in advance.
Do the boat tours go directly to Balos?
The tours to Balos include more than just Balos beach.
Depending on the departure time of your boat, you may go first to Gramvousa island and then to Balos or vice versa.
An advantage of choosing the boat to go to Balos is that in this way, you also go to Gramvousa Island.
On Gramvousa island, you can relax on the Gramvousa beach and swim.
Or you can visit the Gramvousa Fortress.
Another advantage of choosing the boat to go to Balos is that in this way, you can admire the cliff of the cape and peninsula where Balos beach is located.
A disadvantage of the boat tours that include Balos is the limited time spent at Balos beach.
In this limited time, you also have to include the time to disembark and embark on the boat and also the time to find a place on a beach that could already be crowded, especially during the high season.
And if instead of the boat we want to choose the car?
If you go by car, you can spend as much time as you want at Balos beach, but going to Balos beach by car is a real adventure.
Be sure to have a car suitable for the dirt road to Balos Beach and with full insurance.
In Kissamos, you can also rent a Jeep for only one day.
How is the road for Balos?
The road to Balos is asphalted only in the first part because most of the road is dirt.
To go on the dirt road to Balos, you must pay a ticket for each person.
The road to Balos takes about half an hour or 45 minutes by car.
We’ve now arrived at the parking: we pay and park the car.
When the car park is complete, the cars are also parked along the street.
Once you’ve parked your car, your hiking begins.
First, you have to walk a path
And then a long staircase awaits you.
The staircase steps are irregular, and It’s better to wear suitable shoes such as sneakers.
The staircase is long but descending it is quite pleasant, mainly thanks to the beautiful panorama in front of you.
This beautiful view is one of the advantages of coming to Balos beach by car.
Another advantage is that you can enjoy Balos beach at times when it is not too crowded yet and is not overrun by the people who come by boat.
If the descent is pleasant, we cannot say the same about the ascent.
The ascent is long and tiring, especially in the day’s hottest hours.
However, it is not a mission impossible.
If you have small children, you have to think you’ll likely have to help them ascend or carry them.
You can also come to Balos Beach by renting a boat or taking an organized boat tour in a speedboat or jet ski from Falasarna beach.
We’ve now arrived at Balos Beach. A beautiful day at this fantastic beach awaits us. So I greet you. See you in the next video!
This beach is one of the most characteristic and well-known beaches of Crete. You can get to this beach by boat or car, along a long unpaved, bumpy road that allows you to get to a parking lot that is still about twenty minutes from the beach.
The beauty and uniqueness of Balos beach are worth a visit at least. A tip though: if you can go in periods that are not too hot and crowded, you will surely enjoy a much better experience. This is true for all beaches but even more so for Balos beach, given the way you have to reach it.
Rental of sun loungers and umbrellas
In Balos, it is possible to rent deck chairs and umbrellas. Even though Balos is a very popular beach, it is not possible to reserve sun beds and umbrellas. How does it work, then? As is customary in Crete, if you find a free place, you simply have to occupy it and the attendant then comes to ask you for payment.
For example, in periods of particular crowding, such as around mid-August, there is a paying agent for each area of umbrellas. On other less frequented beaches, the attendant arrives in the late morning but here, when there is a particular influx of tourists, they are practically always present.
Will I have trouble finding a free umbrella?
Clearly, the answer depends on the period in which you go to Balos. But thinking about the peak seasons, I can tell you that if you arrive early in the morning or around 9 am by car you shouldn’t have any problems finding a free umbrella. If, on the other hand, you arrive by boat from the port of Kissamos, you may have more problems, as the beach may already be quite crowded and the mass arrival of hundreds of people does not facilitate the arduous task of finding a free umbrella.
Fortunately, on the beach of Balos, many people are arriving but also many people go, depending on the departure time of your boat. So with a bit of patience, it is always possible to find a place.
If you come from Kissamos by boat, the alternative is to rent an umbrella on the boat that takes you or to use your staff. Anyway, my opinion is that it is not an optimal solution on days when there is wind.
Rental prices for sunbeds and umbrellas
The prices for renting sun loungers and umbrellas are not indicated on Balos beach. However, in August 2022, the prices were as follows:
20 euros for 1 umbrella and 2 sunbeds in the first row
15 euros for 1 umbrella and 2 sunbeds from the second row onwards.
Are there any bars in Balos?
Yes, there is a small beach bar on Balos. Here is the picture.
However, I recommend that you bring your lunch if possible. In Kissamos supermarkets, they sell the same packaged sandwiches you find on the boat to go to Balos or here at the beach bar.
Balos Beach toilets: Are there toilets at Balos beach?
Balos Beach toilets: are there toilets at Balos beach? Yes, there are toilets in Balos. They are located towards the mountain on the right if you have the sea in front of you and the lagoon behind you. The cost of using the toilet in August 2022 was 1 euro.
How is the seawater in Balos?
On days with little wind, you can really appreciate the beauty of Balos beach with its crystal clear water and its clear seabed that in some places has pink sand.
In Balos, you can keep walking in the water, but the water is always shallow. You have to go quite far from the beach if you want to swim.
Balos how to get there?
How to get to Balos? You can get to Balos either by car or by boat. The two most used ways to get to Balos are:
by boat service departing from the port of Kissamos
by car or jeep along the dirt road and continuing on foot along the path that leads to the beach
However, there are other ways to get to Balos:
By renting a boat
Through organized tours
By car or jeep and dirt road
You can get to Balos by car in fact, just outside Kissamos, there is the entrance to the dirt road that takes you to the Balos car park. If you are thinking of choosing this option to go to Balos, I would first like to explain how to get there, how the route is, and I would like to give you some useful tips.
Can I take the dirt road to Balos by car?
Every day there are a lot of cars driving the dirt road to Balos. The dirt road to Balos is not very dangerous if you pay particular attention to the points where there is the overhang, as it is wide enough to pass with two cars without problems.
My advice, however, is to prefer the jeep to the car. This is because it is true that cars can drive on it and as already mentioned there are many cars of all kinds that pass along this road (I also saw a Porsche but I don’t know how it went ..) but the road is bumpy and they have to travel at a very low speed.
Especially if you have a small car unsuitable for certain routes, you can rent the jeep in Kissamos even just for the day you go to Balos. This way, you will not have problems with insurance and you’re safer.
In fact, you can find rental cars in Kissamos that rent jeeps for Balos; it is normal for them that you go to Balos, and they give you full insurance. Other car rentals may discourage you and tell you to prefer the boat to the car to go to Balos.
Is the dirt road to Balos free?
You have to pay 1 euro per person. Towards the beginning of your journey on the dirt road that leads you to Balos you will find the sign where it is written in English and Greek what I report below:
“Welcome to the Gamvousa-Balos peninsula, a protected natural area. We inform you that by the decision of the Municipality of Kissomos, which has been approved by the Region of Crete, a toll of 1 euro per person is required for the purpose of safeguarding and maintaining the place as well as for the disposal of waste from the area. “
How long does it take to travel the dirt road to Balos?
Getting from the port of Kissamos to the car park for Balos takes about 30 minutes by jeep but if you have a car, you have to go slower and it can also take about 40 or 45 minutes.
On the way, you may slow down or have to stop to let goats pass, the real masters of the place!
Parking at Balos Beach
Once you have arrived at the end of the dirt road, you’ll see the car park gate for Balos beach. The parking is large and if you don’t arrive too late, let’s say in the first half of the morning, you should find the place without difficulty.
Parking is not free but the cost is not high as it is around 2 euros for the whole day.
What happens if you can’t find a place in the car park? If the parking is complete, the alternative is to leave the car along the road. In fact, on our return from the beach, when were leaving, there was a long line of parked cars. If you park the car very far away, it is certainly inconvenient, as you have to add the road to the car to the long distance you already have to go on foot.
Balos hiking path to the beach
Did I get to Balos beach once I parked the car? It would be nice but it isn’t! Unfortunately, once you parked your car, you are not yet arrived at Balos beach. The car park is located in a higher position than the beach of Balos, and to reach the beach, you must first walk a path in the middle of almost nowhere in the company of practically only goats and then go down a long flight of steps.
The descent along the steps is wonderful because, first of all, the effort is reduced to a minimum downhill, and then because this path allows you to see the most beautiful view of Balos beach. The unique beauty of Balos beach is, in fact, given by its characteristic of being placed between the lagoon and the sea and of joining the promontory you see in front of you to the mainland.
To fully enjoy and appreciate Balos beach, you must therefore admire this panorama. If you walk the path early in the morning, you will be able to see the almost deserted beach and admire it in all its splendor. Along the way, you will also have the opportunity to take some great photos. Not too many though, otherwise now that you get to the beach, you will find all the best sunbeds and umbrellas occupied!
Given the road ahead, I highly recommend you wear sneakers. The descent in this way is simpler and safer, without thinking about the ascent.
It takes about 30 minutes to get from the car park to the beach where there are umbrellas.
As we have seen so far, everything is fine when you go down but the problem is to go back up! It will take you between 30 and 45 minutes to get back up if you don’t stop and rest for too long. In fact, this path requires excellent resistance if done all in one breath.
It is almost impossible to do it all in succession in the summer during the hottest hours of the day. In fact, precisely for this reason, you will find small covered corners and therefore with a little shade made on purpose to rest during the ascent. I recommend you bring some water with you to quench your thirst along the way.
Also at the end of the path, where there is the car park, there is a canopy with benches where you can sit and rest for a while. At the end of the day, almost all of them sit under this canopy, a little tired but satisfied to have arrived.
If you have young children, you must take into consideration that you will probably have to carry them in your arms or on your shoulder for most of an already tiring journey.
Precisely a cause of this problem of the somewhat tiring ascent, many people choose to return to the Balos beach late in the evening. In the summer from Kissamos, you can see the cars returning from Balos even when it’s already dark. Returning late from Balos beach, you can avoid going up the path in the heat, which already gives you a great advantage.
Of course, the choice of time to return from Balos also depends a lot on the period in which you go, if warmer or milder, on your travel program, and on your resistance in the ascent. However, if you take into account the above, you can spend a beautiful day at Balos beach and this will certainly be a day to remember for various reasons.
Balos boat trip from Kissamos
A popular option to reach Balos beach is to embark from Kissamos port on one of the boats that go to Balos.
How to reach the port of Kissamos?
You can reach the port of Kissamos in various ways:
Balos is a very famous beach, so there are several organized tours that depart in the morning from the main towns of Crete and take you to the port of Kissamos and then you can go to Balos. Furthermore, a taxi service is also available at the port of Kissamos.
However, the best option to get to Kissamos port is the car.
In fact, you can arrive by car at the port of Kissamos right near the ticket office and boarding areas. The parking is very large and free.
Boat tickets can be purchased directly at the port or online in advance. You can buy tickets online, for example, on the Cretan Daily Cruises website, or from booking apps such as “Get Your Guide”.
How are the boats for Balos?
The boats to Balos are of different sizes; someone is very big, almost ships. On the boats, among other things, there is usually an umbrella rental service and a real self-service.
If the boat you get on in the morning does not have self-service, they usually make you change boats between one stop and the other around lunchtime so that you can take advantage of the self-service. Lunch is clearly not included in the cost of the ticket.
How long before departure do I have to arrive?
If you already have a ticket, you can arrive 30 minutes before departure but it is advisable to arrive 45 minutes earlier. This way, you can find a good shade seat on the boat.
If you do not have a ticket, it is better if you arrive 45 or 50 minutes before departure so that you can take your tickets calmly and get on the boat.
Is there only one boat departure time?
No, there is more than one boat departure time.
Do the boats go directly to Balos?
The tour with the boats departing from Kissamos does not only include Balos. Depending on the departure time of your boat, you could go first to Gramvousa island and then to Balos or vice versa.
For example, our boat left at 10.15 am from Kissamos port, and we didn’t go directly to Balos but first went to Gramvousa island. Around 1 pm, the boat with the self-service on board came to pick us up and we were able to have lunch on the way between the island of Gramvousa and the beach of Balos.
The boat that left Kissamos at 11 am went first to Balos and then to the island of Gramvousa at around 2 pm.
On Balos beach between 1.30 pm and 2.30 pm, there is therefore a bit of overcrowding due to those who arrive with one boat and those who have yet to leave with the other. However, this coming and going of passengers allows those arriving with the second boat to find, with a little patience, some free umbrellas left by those who have to leave.
How long is the stay on Balos beach?
The stay on Balos beach is about a couple of hours. It is true that on the program, the scheduled time on Balos beach is more but you must keep in mind any delays, the time of disembarkation, and the fact that you must leave your position on the beach a little earlier than the departure time. departure so that you have no problems.
By renting a boat
To get to Balos, you can also rent a boat and head directly to the beach. However, the boat must remain beyond the safety line in this case. In any case, the bottom of the beach is very shallow and you can reach the beach on foot.
The JetSky Safari proposed by “Falassarna Activities” ( https://falassarnaactivities.gr/#safari ) is very interesting. This Safari departing from Falassarna beach allows you to reach Balos beach as a group on board a jet ski.
The stay at Balos beach is very limited, but I think this tour is interesting for those who want to go on a jet ski ride and see Balos beach at the same time.
Various private services take you to Balos beach. For example, always at Falassarna beach, you can find a private transport service that takes you to Balos beach and allows you to stay on the beach for a few hours (https://falassarnaactivities.gr/#safari).
To get to the beach, you still have to get into the water and walk in the water to the shore.
Best Things to do in Chania town Crete Greece – Chania is charming and beautiful to visit. Walking through the central streets, you don’t have the idea of being in a metropolis but rather in a characteristic place. Chania is the right combination of a historical and modern city for the tourist. But what are the best things to do in Chania and to visit?
Video Best things to do in Chania Crete & Walking Tour
Before to continue reading the post, watch the following video “Best things to do in Chania Crete & Walking Tour”. You can see the best things to do and see in Chania by day and by night.
00:00 Chania: nice town to visit
00:30 01. The Old Venetian Port
00:56 02. The Ottomans & Hassan Mosque
01:34 03. Hotels, shops, and restaurants
02:06 04. Chania by night
03:06 05. The Maritime Museum of Crete
03:35 06. The Firkas fortress
06:15 07. The Lighthouse
07:48 08. The Great Arsenal
08:25 09. The Historic center
10:58 10. Sunset in front of Lazaretta Island
12:22 Suggested videos
Text of the video
Chania is a nice town to visit. Walking through the central streets, you don’t have the idea of being in a metropolis but rather in a characteristic place. Chania is the right combination of a historical and modern city for the tourist. But what are the best things to do in Chania and to visit?
The place where you can start your visit is the Old Venetian Port. The Old Venetian Port of Chania is a must for anyone in this area of Crete. This port has a long history as the Venetians built it between 1320 and 1356 and then expanded in the 16th century.
Chania did not always remain under Venetian domination, as in 1645, it was conquered by the Ottomans. This Ottoman influence is also clearly visible in the Old Venetian Port due to the presence of the Hassan Mosque, today a clear symbol of this domination. The Mosque is no longer used for its original purpose. The former mosque is now an exhibition hall.
The port has a semicircular shape and here you can find hotels, shops, and restaurants.
The restaurants at the Old Venetian Port are suitable both for a light and delicious lunch, maybe eating a Cretan salad while you enjoy the view, and for dinner in a Cretan atmosphere.
In the evening, the lights of the buildings along the port reflect on the sea; this is a beautiful sight to see.
In the area of the Old Venetian Port there is also the Maritime Museum of Crete. The Maritime Museum of Crete was established in 1973 to house and showcase Greek and Cretan maritime traditions. The Maritime Museum of Crete is located at the entrance of the Firkas Fortress, which the Venetians built to house their prison. The Venetians used this fortress for the period from 1204 to 1645. Subsequently, the Ottomans used it for the same purpose from 1645 to 1898. The Ottomans established their Division Command here.
The Firkas fortress includes the oldest Genoese tower. The fortress includes buildings used as barracks and weapons depots while also serving as the base of the city’s military commander.
Following the Ottoman occupation, the fortress, which still retains its Turkish name “Firkas” (= barracks), was used as a military command base, barracks, and later as a prison (during the German occupation). The 1 December 1913, the flag of the Union of Crete with Greece was symbolically hung over the small watchtower.
In front of us, we have the lighthouse of the Old Venetian Port.
You can reach the lighthouse on foot with a long walk on the pier. The walk is pleasant, but especially in summer, it is better to plan to do it in the early morning or the evening, when the heat is not too intense. In fact, it is almost entirely in the sun during the day.
A place of particular interest at the Old Venetian Port is the Great Arsenal. Today this place hosts exhibitions and events.
Being the exhibitions inside, the Great Arsenal is a good idea, especially on the hot summer days when you need a break.
It’s interesting to visit both from an architectural point of view and for the exhibitions it hosts.
Once you have visited and walked along the Old Venetian Port of Chania, you can better explore the historic center of this town. You’ll discover different historical or highly characteristic places to photograph.
Among the other things you can do in Chania, there are different boat tours. One of these is the sunset boat tour to see the sunset in front of Lazaretta Island.
Coming back from the tour, you can also see the beautiful Chania by night from the boat.
In the meantime, I greet you; see you in the next video! Bye
Top 10 things to do in Chania
But what are the best things to do in Chania and to visit? Here you can find our list.
Ancient Venetian port
Firkas Fortress (free)
Streets in the center of Chania
Walk to the Venetian Lighthouse
Sunset on a sailing boat
Minoan’s World the 9D Experience
Maritime Museum of Crete
Lunch or Dinner at the Old Venetian Port
The Great Arsenal
Horse-drawn carriage ride
Old Venetian Harbor
The Old Venetian Port of Chania is a must for anyone in this area of Crete. This port has a long history as the Venetians built it between 1320 and 1356 and then expanded in the 16th century.
Chania did not always remain under Venetian domination, as in 1645, it was conquered by the Ottomans. This Ottoman influence is also clearly visible in the Old Venetian Port due to the presence of the Küçük Hassan Mosque, today a clear symbol of this domination. The Küçük Hassan Mosque is no longer used for its original purpose. The former mosque is now an exhibition hall.
The port has a semicircular shape, and on one side you can find hotels, shops, and restaurants.
Its form means that in the evening, the lights of the buildings along the port reflect on the sea; this is a beautiful sight to see.
What to do in the Venetian Port of Chania?
The Venetian port, as well as being beautiful to see, is a place for walks and meeting places. Also, there are good bars and restaurants.
Most restaurants around the Antico Porto Veneziano have both a dining room inside and tables outside. Very pleasant to sit outside and enjoy the view.
There is a square that is a balcony on the Old Venetian Port.
This is a great vantage point of the harbor but I cannot recommend it as it is a place left to decay and does not seem completely safe.
Probably from the port, you will see someone in this raised square and you will wonder how to reach it. I leave you his position just for the sake of completeness.
The Firkas Fortress is located near the Venetian Port and overlooks the sea.
To access the fortress, head towards the Maritime Museum, and right next to the entrance of this museum, you will find the gate that allows you to enter the fortress’s courtyard. Access to the fortress is free.
Here are the opening times of the fortress.
The Venetian fortifications
The improvement of artillery technology and the expansion of the Ottoman Empire led Venice, in the mid-sixteenth century, to construct fortifications for the safety of the new parts and the port near the city of Chania. The final decision was taken in February 1538, when the Veronese engineer Michele Sanmichieli was ordered to go to Crete with clear instructions for constructing the new fortifications.
Their oldest known project dates back to 1572 and probably represents the original proposal of Sanmichieli, to whom both the design and construction are due. The alternation of bastions and system of rectilinear parts (bastion front) followed, and according to the plans, the fortifications had an almost rectangular shape, with four basic, solid, heart-shaped bastions at the corners, while the knights (knights) and also low places (low squares) were built for their further reinforcement.
Description and history of the Firkas Fortress
The Firkas fortress (Rivellino del Porto or San Salvatore). Firka Fortress, as it is known today, was built under the aforementioned program.
It has a trapezoidal shape and continues the rectilinear part (curtain) of the San Salvatore bastion with a southerly and inward direction of the western basin of the port, while its northwestern part includes the oldest Genoese tower.
Its construction began around 1580 and was completed in the early 17th century. It is founded on rocks and protected by a thick inclined wall; loopholes were built in its circular path.
The fortress includes buildings used as barracks and weapons depots while also serving as the base of the city’s military commander. The construction of the barracks in the western wing was carried out at a later stage. It is a building with two floors and vaulted rooms and is annexed to the monastery of San Salvatore. On the jamb of the first floor, decorated with the Lion of Venice (emblem of the Serenissima Republic of Venice), there is an inscription that mentions the Governor General of Kydonia Alvise Bragadin and the date 1620.
The internal space of the fortress is formed on three levels. A vaulted cistern was built on the first level of the entrance. The second, lower level was connected to the great vaults on the north side, where the low protected loopholes were located. The third, higher level was formed by the terrace of the vaults and the highest slits were placed on it.
Following the Ottoman occupation, the fortress, which still retains its Turkish name “Firkas” (= barracks), was used as a military command base, barracks, and later as a prison. The 1 December 1913, the flag of the Union of Crete with Greece was symbolically hung over the small watchtower.
It was used as a prison during the German occupation and the civil war. From the decade of the 1950s onwards, the fortress ceased to have military use. It served as an area for cultural activities and housed the warehouses and conservation laboratories of the Ministry of Culture. In the early 1970s, the building at the entrance became the seat of the Maritime Museum of Crete.
Streets of the old town of Chania
Center of Chania: historical and characteristic corners
Once you have visited and walked along the Old Venetian Port of Chania, you can better explore the historic center of this town. You’ll discover different historical or highly characteristic places to photograph.
The Venetian Fountain is placed in the center of the square or Platia El. Venizelou. The Venetian fountain of Chania is smaller than the Venetian fountain of Heraklion. The fountain itself is nice but the problem is that in the summer, it sometimes becomes the personal pool of the pigeons, who come here to cool off due to the great heat.
Streets of the historic center
In the historic center of Chania, there are wide pedestrian streets where you can walk, shop or rest comfortably seated in one of the bars in the center.
Restaurants and bars
Walking through the streets of the center of Chania, you will also find several bars and restaurants. I advise you to walk not only along the main streets but also on the narrower neighboring streets. You will find very nice and characteristic corners.
In Chania we also find several ice cream shops
There are also many ice cream shops in Chania: with the summer heat, ice cream is refreshing.
Chania: a city of contrast
The city of Chania is a city full of contrasts between the old and the new. Examples include the Starbucks coffee shop on one side and the dilapidated building on the opposite corner of the street.
Walk to the Venetian Lighthouse
We have the lighthouse in front of this semicircular part of the Old Venetian Port.
You can reach the lighthouse on foot with a long walk on the pier. The walk is pleasant, but especially in summer, it is better to plan to do it in the early morning or the evening, when the heat is not too intense. In fact, it is almost entirely in the sun during the day.
See the sunset from the boat
A great way to spend the first part of the evening in Chania is to go by boat to see the sunset in front of the small Lazaretta Island. Several tours depart in the evening from the Old Venetian Port of Chania to take you to see the sunset.
We chose to go sailing: it was a great experience because, in addition to being able to see the sunset well, it is always pleasant to take a nice boat ride and be able to observe the coast from the sea.
Upon returning from the boat tour, we were already at the Ancient Venetian Port of Chania and we just needed to choose one of the excellent restaurants, or taverns as they are commonly called, to enjoy an excellent dinner and end the evening well.
Minoan’s World the 9D Experience
Minoan’s World the 9D Experience is a 9D cinema with the main theme of Crete and Knossos. This attraction is definitely not one of those things to see absolutely in Crete but it is a very pleasant, fun, and relaxing experience.
The cinema itself is not very large and as soon as you enter you will find the cash desk on the right where you can buy tickets.
Do I need to buy tickets in advance for Minoan’s World the 9D Experience?
From our experience, there is no need to buy tickets in advance. Probably the location not really in the old town of Chania prevents it from being too crowded. However, it gave me the impression that it is quite popular.
The hall with the statues and paintings of Crete
Waiting for your show is very pleasant as the room where the ticket office is located is frescoed all around (and also on the ceiling) with images depicting the life, mythology and traditions of Knossos in the past.
Next to the frescoes, there are also statues, or rather mannequins, always depicting characters from Knossos in ancient times.
Also reproduced is the throne of the throne room, which you can visit at the ruins of Knossos.
Everything acquires meaning and greater value thanks to the descriptions that explain what is depicted and give you some historical notes of Knossos.
And last but not least, there is the writing “I Love Creta”. Excellent for taking a picture of yourself that will remain as a souvenir of your trip.
Minoan’s World the 9D Experience screenings
Once the movie time arrives, they make you sit in the cinema room. Three main mini-movies are shown one after the other:
A mini-documentary about Crete and its most beautiful places
The main part where the mythological history of Knossos is shown
A rail trip (or similar) with a multidimensional experience. As there are also in some amusement parks.
During the movies, you will wear 3D glasses, your chair will move, there will be air effects, water splashes, soap bubbles, and other similar effects.
Language Minoan’s World the 9D Experience
The screening of Minoan’s World the 9D Experience is available in various languages. However, there is not only one projection in the Greek language, one only in English, one only in French, and so on, but the language is selected directly on your chair thanks to the use of earphones. So all those present in the room wear earphones and can hear the audio in their language or, in any case, if not available in the chosen language.
How much is the ticket price?
You can see the prices in the following image. Prices August 2022.
How long does the visit to Minoan’s World the 9D Experience last?
The visit in total does not take long. It takes between 30 and 45 minutes approximately.
Maritime Museum of Crete
The Maritime Museum of Crete is located, with the sea in front of you, at the left end of the ancient Venetian Port of Chania.
In particular, the Maritime Museum of Crete is located at the entrance to the Firkas Fortress, which was built by the Venetians to house their prison. The Venetians used this fortress for the period from 1204 to 1645.
Subsequently, the Ottomans used it for the same purpose from 1645 to 1898. The Ottomans established their Division Command here.
The Maritime Museum of Crete was established in 1973 to house and showcase Greek and Cretan maritime traditions.
The museum exhibits show models of warships and merchant ships, weapons, shell collections, and relics from the Battle of Crete.
In the following images, you can see the opening hours of the Maritime Museum of Crete and the cost of the ticket.
A place of particular interest at the Old Venetian Port is the Great Arsenal. Today this place hosts exhibitions and events. It’s interesting visiting it both from an architectural point of view, and for the exhibitions it hosts.
Being a covered place to visit inside, a visit to the Great Arsenal is a great idea, especially on particularly hot days. In fact, this is a great place to take a break in the shade while expanding your culture at the same time.
Horse-drawn carriage ride
At the Old Venetian Harbor of Chania, you will also find horse carriages waiting for you to take you around the city. The carriage ride always has its charm!
Things not to do in Chania
Among the various attractions and tours offered at the Ancient Venetian Port of Chania, there is also the tour in the partially submerged submarine. This tour attracts many tourists to the idea of observing the fish in their natural habitat comfortably seated without diving.
The partially submerged submarine is a nice thing in itself, and in other contexts, I have already had the opportunity to do similar tours. The problem with this particular tour is that the tour is very limited to the port’s surroundings, and therefore, not many species of fish are seen.
Then it is not recommended for those more sensitive to seasickness because it is easy to feel discomfort in the submarine.
Chania where to stay?
There are many offers of hotels and rooms to sleep in Chania, but what to choose and above all in which area is better to stay? As for the type of hotel or room, it depends on you and your preferences.
However, I would like to advise you on the area of Chania in which to choose for the hotel. If you had only to look and consider the place’s beauty, I would recommend that you sleep in one of the hotels at the Old Venetian Port of Chania. The problem is, you can’t drive this far. Same problem for many streets of the historic center. If you have a lot of luggage, choosing a hotel in the historical center is not advisable.
Just to give you an idea, I can tell you that every day I saw many tourists who dragged their suitcases along the port, on the steps, and around the center. It is fine as long as it is hand luggage; it is less good when the luggage is heavier and bulky.
If you don’t want to lug your suitcases all over Chania, it is better to choose the hotel, not in the historic center but nearby and with parking inside or at least adjacent. In this way, you can reach the historic center of Chania and the Old Venetian Port on foot but without the hassle of parking and suitcases.
Here some Frequent Asked Questions about the subject “Things to do in Chania town Crete Greece”
Is Chania worth visiting?
Yes, it is! Chania, despite being the second largest city of Crete, is charming. When you stroll through the central streets, you don’t have the idea of being in a metropolis but rather in a characteristic place. Chania is the right combination between a historic city and a modern city.
What is Chania Greece known for?
The best part of Chania is the Old Venetian Port, and in fact Chania is Known especially port this part of the city. This port has a long history as the Venetians built it between 1320 and 1356 and then expanded it in the 16th century. The port is semicircular, and here you can find hotels, shops, and restaurants. Its form means that in the evening, the lights of the buildings along the port reflect on the sea; this is a beautiful sight to see.
How many days do you need in Chania?
In Chania, you need two days to visit the city and also do some boat tours. If you want to visit also the nearby attractions, you can stay in Chania for 3 of 4 days.
Video 8K Lake Como Don’t Miss this town: Colorful Varenna Lake Como Italy. Lake Como is known internationally, and every year many tourists include Lake Como in their tours.
Lake Como is quite vast, and it is good to choose the right places to visit. Bellagio is one of the most famous locations on Lake Como, but another town is not to be missed.
Video Colorful Varenna Lake Como Italy
Watch the following video:
Parts Of the Video
00:13 Departure from the “Imbarcadero”
01:19 From Varenna to Bellagio
02:33 Varenna seen from the lake
03:33 Walk of Lovers
04:14 Villa Monastero
05:20 Varenna at the sunset
05:46 Vezio Castle
06:39 Can you hear the bells of the bell tower?
06:53 Ancient port of Varenna
07:10 Walk of Lovers Varenna
07:54 Suggested Videos
Text of the Video
Hi, We’re in the colorful Varenna in Lake Como Italy We’re on board of the boat called in Italian “battello” in front of the “Imbarcadero” which is the typical Italian boat terminal you can find in lake towns. In this way, we can admire Varenna from the lake.
The destination of the boat we are on board right now is Bellagio, another beautiful town on Lake Como. In fact, from Varenna, you can reach Bellagio by boat in only about 15 minutes.
Now let’s go back to Varenna to pick up where we left off. In front of us is the “Imbarcadero” area; on the right of the imbarcadero, we see the central part of Varenna with its colorful houses, ancient port, and bell tower.
The “imbarcadero” and ancient port are connected by a pedestrian path over the lake, also known as the “Walk of Lovers”: a beautiful panoramic pedestrian path overlooking the lake.
If you look further to the right you can see a villa surrounded by greenery. That is a villa you can visit; it’s Villa Monastero: a villa museum with a long and interesting history.
The visit to Villa Monastero includes visiting its long and beautiful botanical garden, which overlooks the lake. A nice walk along the lake in a beautiful garden.
Returning from Bellagio, we see Varenna even better, as it is right in front of us. The light and colors are slightly changed because we are now close to sunset. You can see that Varenna is between the lake and a promontory.
If you look attentively, you can see right on top of this promontory part of the castle of Varenna: Vezio Castle. Vezio Castle is a castle of middle age origin. You can admire Lake Como’s marvelous panorama from the castle tower. Vezio Castle is another thing you can visit in Varenna, but before visiting it check the opening times and periods. (see https://www.castellodivezio.it/EN/home-en.html)
It’s arrived for me the time to greet you. See you in the next video!
Lake Iseo things to do in Riva di Solto Italy. Riva di Solto is a very characteristic Lake Iseo village and retains its authenticity.
Riva di Solto is a medieval town on the western shore of the Iseo Lake: Riva di Solto has preserved, more than the other surrounding towns, its medieval urban plan, especially in the center, where it hasn’t changed much over the years.
The town is closely linked to Solto Collina, a small town on the hill not far away from Riva di Solto. Riva di Solto links the Cavallina Valley with the lake, and it used to be a fortified harbor for the town on the hill, where in 1056, the Solto family settled.
In 1221 the Castle of Solto was owned by three different branches of the Solto family: Codeferri, Colombini, and Oldrati. Since there are no specific historical documents on this topic, the archaeological data helped reconstruct the village’s history: the well-preserved architectural buildings of Riva di Solto show that the town was erected in the XIIth century, when the first houses were built.
In 1222 the town got under the jurisdiction of the municipality of Bergamo: during this period, many buildings were built by skilled craftsmen. During the XIVth century, the Foresti family took control of the town: the Foresti was a very powerful family that used to control all the area around the Iseo Lake.
In 1331 the emperor Louis IV the Bavarian founded the County of Solto, appointing Matteo Foresti as Count Palatine.
In 1427 the Carmagnola conquered the area of Sebino, which became a property of the Republic of Venice, ousting the Foresti family; at this time, Venice codified a “constitution” that would rule the Sebino area: the government was led by a captain, a Podesta and a deputy appointed by the Republic of Venice, while local people chose the mayor and the council.
In 1449 Riva di Solto and Solto rejoined Castro under Bergamo’s municipality; later on, these towns would form the Community of Solto, which included several nearby villages.
In 1742, the community broke up, and the autonomous municipality of Riva di Solto was established: it increased in demography when also the towns of Zorzino and Gargarino got under the municipality of Riva di Solto, now they became hamlets, territorial subdivisions of Riva di Solto.
Count Martinoni ordered the construction of a villa overlooking the lake and also the road that joins Riva di Solto with Tavernola: in the spring of 1909, the Bogn tunnel was built (a massive lime-stone cliff that creates a bay between Riva and Castro), and a few years later the road was opened to the public.
The town became increasingly important because of the extraction of black marble in the nearby town of Zù, a marble used to construct the Church of San Marco in Venice.
Today the marl for cement is extracted too. Starting from the last century, the town became an important touristic destination, thanks to the beauties of the Iseo Lake and its well-preserved ancient architecture.
But what are the things to do in Riva di Solto Italy?
Things to do in Riva di Solto Italy
See the town seen from the pier.
The pedestrian and panoramic lakefront
Porto Street n 4 and the private alley
Village of Zorzino
Via Porto 4 and the private alley
Church of San Rocco
Church of SS. Hippolytus and Cassian (Gagarino)
Porto Street n 4 and the private alley
In the area between Torre Street and Cavalli Alley, some of the oldest medieval houses were built by the lake between the XIlth and Xlllth centuries. Torre Street used to be crossed by a stream flowing from the Terlera Valley, the eastern natural border protecting the country. Here the houses were built on the banks of the stream.
In Porto Street n°4, there are several medieval buildings: on the right of the arch, on the corner between two streets, used to stand a building (yellow) made of limestone coming from Riva di Solto: the stones were laid parallel using a lot of mortar; the surface has stilature (traced in the mortar) which are dated back to the XIIIth century.
At the same time, another building was built on the left side of the arch (yellow).
In Porto Street n 6H you can see the oldest pillar in the middle of the surface (yellow) made with stones laid with mortar with stilature of the XIIth century.
In the past, the pillar was part of a construction made of stones and wood: fishermen used to live here in this house. A medieval house of the XIIIth century stands on the left of the pillar: the entrance has an archivolt (brown).
On the right side of the pillar is a house (yellow and orange) similar to the house described above. Besides these buildings, there aren’t other medieval houses on the hill, with only crop fields.
In the XIIIth century, a building boom occurred in town: several houses were built, first by the lake, then on the hill. Since there was no more space to build on, constructors would link the facing sides of some houses through walls and arches: that’s why the alley is covered in part near the lake.
The barrel-vaulted roof is visible in the Cavalli, Rossetti, Crescini and Fonteno Alley; the ground floor of the houses would support the upper floors.
On the first floor, visible on the lakefront (orange), the stones of the building are linked together with a mortar and the stilature looks more regular.
On the second floor, the masonry has an archway window made of monolith stones. Also, in the western Galli Alley, there are other medieval buildings: only some parts of the masonry are well-preserved, and the others have been covered with modern plasters, so the limits of the ancient buildings are no longer visible.
Some parts of the entrance are left intact on the east side, and on the opposite side, an archivolt and a little window of the XIIIth century are still visible.
The Tower and the fortified fence
During the Middle Ages, Riva di Solto was defended by several medieval towers drawn on the coat of arms together with the image of Lake Iseo.
According to tradition, Riva di Solto used to be called The town of the seven towers, but today only four towers are left, and the only one still in good condition: is the tower on Torre Street.
Two towers were located outside of the town to defend and control the settlement: the tower of Torre Street, on the eastern shore of the lake, and, on the opposite side, the tower of Montagnola Street, which were built halfway on the hill.
Within the settlement, two towers are very close to each other: one in Rossetti Alley and the other in Cavalli Alley, both situated by the lake. The tower of Torre Street used to stand outside the town, where a stream used to flow from the Terlera Valley.
This stream was a natural limit that would protect the village; this street slopes down. The tower was strategically built by the lake to control those who would arrive in town sailing and to protect the eastern horizon against enemy attacks coming from the towns of Castro and Lovere.
Riva di Solto used to be an offensive town. The tower has been preserved in perfect condition: it is a masonry construction, which has never been restored. Its stones are made of clay from Riva di Solto: the central part of the stones and the strips were chiseled out.
The strips are used to frame the blocks irregularly: this technique is called “rustication”; the stones were laid parallel using mortar. Skilled craftsmen built the tower. At the top of the tower are some well-preserved parts of pillars, though not covered by any roof; there is no access to the building, but it is widely supposed that it had three floors connected through some trap doors and some wooden ladders.
On the eastern side, you could enter the building; the entrance was 2.50 m away from the street level, and you would enter by hanging a removable wooden ladder to the two holes below the door.
On the upper south side, there is an archivolt window that provided its users with a better view of the lake, while on the others side, the loopholes would help defend against assaulters. The building used to be surrounded by a perimeter wall bordering with an irregular fence enclosing the residences of the lords of Riva di Solto, who ordered the construction of the tower.
A part of the wall, 20 m long, is still visible on the eastern side of Torre Street: the original part (the one closest to the road) was made in the rustication style, and the stones were laid regularly. Above this part, two lines of stones have been recently restored as the originals. Large square-shaped stones are still visible at the bottom of the enclosure wall on the northern side.
Riva di Solto’s lords’ request was to build a small fortress on the eastern end of the town where to shelter in case of danger. The tower and the fence were built in half of the XIII century when the town’s power was at its highest. They were built in an undefended area that used to be protected only by the river.
Even in the XIX century, as shown in a Napoleonic cadastral map that dates back to 1810, that area was isolated from the rest of the town. The fortified buildings of Riva di Solto are similar to other fortified structures of the Cavallina Valley (Bianzano, Colognola, Trescore, Gorlago) and the towers of Cividate, Camuno, and Pisogne, towns located on the opposite shore of the Iseo Lake.
The Bogn is a suggestive inlet where vertical rocks plunge sheer into the lake, a natural bay with a pebble beach for bathing.
Restaurants in Riva di Solto
Here’s where to eat in Riva di Solto.
Bellavista Pizzeria Restaurant
At the Ristorante Pizzeria Bellavista, you can enjoy good food with a beautiful view of Lake Iseo.
Posts related to the subject: “things to do in Riva di Solto Italy”
Italy Lake Como Bellagio things to do – What to do and visit in Bellagio? Here our list:
I Giardini di Villa Melzi
Villa Serbelloni park and Bellagio castle ruins
Defensive medieval Tower
San Giacomo church
Salita Antonio Mella
Let’s see some of these places together.
Video Bellagio Lake Como in winter
The lakefront of Bellagio is gorgeous as it is wide, tidy and offers beautiful views of the Bellagio profile. Walking along the lakefront towards the center of Bellagio, you can admire some beautiful views.
The colorful buildings that overlook the lake in the center of Bellagio, the swans that move elegantly on the lake, and the comings and goings of the boats are the predominant elements of these scenarios.
Walking along the lakefront of Bellagio, we must take the time to enjoy these views to enjoy them to the fullest.
The Salita Serbelloni is maybe the most famous Bellagio street because you always see it in the social. It’s a very instagrammable place. This street is always cute as a wide staircase forms it, it is full of colorful little shops and characteristic corners, but I think autumn is the best period to see it.