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Discover exotic flowers you’ve never seen before in serene Crete, Greece

Source by Theophilos Papadopoulos on Flickr  – Under Creative Commons license

Quiet weaves reaching the shore under a cerulean sky, a hot temperature that attracts people to the waters, the island just as small as a village on a mountain, giving the sunset a yellow pale look. Flowers blossom in a big range of beautiful colors, opening up to the world and dressing the ground with a natural gown dress. All living together and welcoming the new ones for centuries, letting you know that nature’s beauty is ethereal and is here to stay.

Source by Mikel Larreategi  on Flickr – Under Creative Commons  license

There’s a botanical world just as beautiful as many other gorgeous places on the Earth. Crete, a small island located in Greece, is famous for its variety of wildflowers that only exist there in spring. Situated in a narrow bay on the south-west coast, Paleochora is the best place to start discovering all the different paths that connect the island.

Source Theophilos Papadopoulos on Flikcr – Under Creative Commons license

Once you start walking through the nature trails, you will spot flowers like lilies or the famously rare orchids, noticing the different palettes of colors made unintentionally. The path ends on the ruins of the once existent Greek civilizations, accompanied by the unoccupied beaches, up to the eccentric small mountains with small spots of green, and through Europe’s largest canyon. It’s definitely a once in a lifetime experience whatever your preferences are.

How to get there

Source by Silvia Foglia on Flickr – Under Creative Commons license

Crete is the largest south island of Greece’s archipelago, separated during the formation of the Mediterranean Sea. This isolation gifted the island with all the now existent wildflower species, being 170 in total. New ones are discovered yearly, making this diverse family grow bigger.

It’s a free option to walk alone around Crete’s trails but, if you don’t want to miss on any native flowers that you can only see exclusively on this island, like the violet skullcap, the best option is to go with a local botanist, such as Jeff Collman. Some species are quickly dismissed when you walk by yourself, don’t let this happen! To avoid it, Freelance Holidays offer this exclusive tour.

Source by Loic Pinseel on Flickr – Under Creative Commons license

A great road that will take you to Paleochora, is at the charming village of Anidri, just 5 km to north-east. The Byzantine church of Agios Georgios is worth a shot for an interesting journey through history until you feel like you’re in the 13th century when it was first inhabited by the flowers that sprinkled a touch of color into the rocky walls, such as frescoes and softened purple Cretan wall lettuce.

Up Anidri, through a group of olive trees, a small church in a hill provides the best panoramic view to the Mediterranean Sea at the very front, along a track that follows down to the small entry of the grove, with a parade of bright pink oleanders that is gonna have all your attention, almost making you want to rip them off and take them home. The next stop is at Gialiskari beach for a refreshing swim.

Other roads to take

Source by Franco Vannini on Flickr – Under Creative Commons license

If your desire is to take a longer but more famous path for an extended exploration, Paleochora includes the 17 km east route from Sougia, this being its finish goal. A brief ferry ride will take you to this special, lovely fishing village. This trail begins with a deep and quiet gorge where you’re gonna find Turkish piles everywhere, pastel purple spiny chicory with capers and their white innocent flowers, untouchable and up on the cliffs.

Halfway through the lifeless tableland, you will discover the unknown and underrated city of Lissos, which is rarely visited but, once upon a time, it was a lively place until it all concluded in ruins. However, part of its artistry remains untouched, such as the mosaics in a temple to Asklepios, a small amphitheater, the churches of Panagia and Agios Kyriakos and the frightening tombs of a Roman necropolis that lived there centuries ago. The road to Paleochora leads back to the tableland as you see the lengthy coast side, the beach calling your name, tempting to the eye.

Source by orientalizing on Flickr – Under Creative Commons license

Crete has two unquestionably famous trails up the mountain or down the grove, your start is above Omalos’ village in the White Mountain (Lefka Ori), then Gingilos is a 2080-meter high mountain placed above Samaria Gorge, the longest gorge in Europe and is the most visited place in the island.

On your way up to Gingilos’ top, the dark grey rocky passage and the beautiful rock arch you go through are one of a kind structures when your eyes spot it. Walk your way through fun zigzags to prevent yourself from failing until you get to Linoseli col.

From here, a hike to the mountain is just one hour away. This experience will also give you the chance to see Crete’s classics, such as anchoas and Cretan tulips, which only grow at a certain altitude. If you want to keep more memorable views, contemplating a clear day from the summit is enough to leave you speechless.

On your way up to Gingilos’ top, the dark grey rocky passage and the beautiful rock arch you go through are one of a kind structures when your eyes spot it. Walk your way through fun zigzags to prevent yourself from failing until you get to Linoseli col.

From here, a hike to the mountain is just one hour away. This experience will also give you the chance to see Crete’s classics, such as anchoas and Cretan tulips, which only grow at a certain altitude. If you want to keep more memorable views, contemplating a clear day from the summit is enough to leave you speechless.

When to visit

The best time to visit the Samaria Gorge and the Samaria National Park is in spring, as wildflowers bloom in abundance and fill the ground with green leafs and marvelous petals, beginning from a height of 1300 meters, going down 1000 meters to a forest at the core of the gorge, jumping rocks and passing through a small river, admiring the ruins and churches on the sidewalks, meadows of peonies and snow as white asphodels glare at the forest.

By the end of the line after the tiring day of just walking and exploring, the beach at Agia Roumeli is marked with footprints and laughter from tourists. You never thought about discovering flowers and connecting with nature would be such a delightful experience.

Source by Rachel Zurer on Flickr – Under Creative Commons license

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