Fantasy Islands: Crete, Greece | Adventure Kayak Magazine | Rapid Media
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Fantasy Islands: Crete, Greece Photo: Kiliii Fish

Tips for visiting the varied and ethereal landscape of Greece's largest island

Ready for adventure? We’ve roamed the world’s oceans and lakes to compile this look at eight of our favorite island escapes, from lounging in the palm trees of the South Pacific to paddling with whales in the Bay of Fundy and gazing at grizzlies in Alaska. We’ve also included one escapade that’s so daring, it may never be repeated.  

On postcards beckoning visitors to Greece, the neon-blue waters of the eastern Mediterranean appear suspiciously enhanced. Not until sitting inside a kayak inches from the warm, alkaline water does it become apparent: that electric hue is not a trick of Photoshop. Greece’s largest island, Crete, is renowned for its varied and ethereal landscape, from the snow-capped White Mountains to surf-washed cobble beaches and scrublands peppered with pastures and orange groves. Crete’s role in Greek mythology is equally diverse—the island is celebrated as the birthplace of Zeus and dwelling place of the monstrous Minotaur.

Palaiochora, at the island’s western end, is a favorite launch point for overnight trips east to Hóra Sfakíon and beyond. The sun-bleached cliffs of Crete’s southern coastline dwarf paddlers, while herds of goats traverse the impossibly vertical faces. Rock gardens and sea caves abound between the pretty coastal villages of Sougia, Agia Roumeli and Loutro. Agia Roumeli is perched...

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