As the largest of the Greek islands, Crete is a much-loved destination for travellers who come from all over the world to enjoy what really is a destination of two halves. On the one hand, there are its myriad stunning beaches (an obvious attribute for an island!), which are popular with sun-worshipers, but on the other hand, its deeply-embedded culture and history are also highly visible in the streets, houses, harbours and old towns of its villages and towns.
For anyone in search of a place that depicts those two halves of a fascinating whole to perfection, you’ll find it in Platanias, a resort not too far from Chania and adjacent to the well-known Agia Marina. The largest tourist resort on the west coast of Crete, while Platanias is lively, with plenty of restaurants and bars, it also has a beautiful sandy beach and quite a laid back ambience.
The beach itself doesn’t need much of an introduction, and you certainly won’t be able to miss it! The lovely long stretch of sand offers watersports, good facilities, plenty of sun bathing opportunities, but also the chance to find some peace and privacy in its hidden enclaves, if you make the effort to walk a little further along.
The history and culture of the surrounding region may not be as obvious as the beach, so here’s a headstart on exploring the many attractions within easy reach.
Uncover History and Culture in Platanias
While today, at first look the resort might seem dedicated to the pleasures of beach activities, you don’t have to go too far to get an entirely different view…
The Old Village
The original village, or Ano Platanias, is located behind the main resort on top of a hill. According to archaeological finds from around the region, settlement here dates back to the late Minoan times. Up until a hundred years ago, the main population lived here, but with the advent of tourism, many people migrated down to the new resort on the beach. Today, though, the old village makes for a charming place to wander around and soak up the authentic Cretan ambience.
It’s lovely to just walk the narrow streets, stop off in a cafe, or just appreciate the cool breezes and stunning views. Among other things, you’ll come across:
- Agios Dimitrios Church: A lovely old church with a long history and spectacular views.
- The War Shelter: A shelter constructed by German troops in 1942, used to store supplies and ammunition. Now it serves as a very interesting museum.
The Folklore Museum
Just up the road in Agia Marina, the Museum of Cultural Heritage is a fascinating place to explore to discover the wonderful culture and traditions of Crete. The exhibits and photographs depict the architecture, agriculture, wine-making, and customs of the locals over the centuries. The way the museum is run is very unusual, relying entirely on volunteers and inviting visitors to join evening events to discuss history and culture. It’s a very unique way to really immerse in the culture and get to know the local people in an authentic way.
St Spyridon Church
This small Greek Orthodox church is dedicated to the patron saint of Crete and is located in the central square. You won’t find it too hard to locate, as there’s usually a crowd of locals and tourists milling around outside. It has a bell tower topped off by a clock, and inside the colourfully decorated ceiling and walls, painted with depictions of saints, make for a striking sight.
The Island of St Fedor
The island of St Fedor, which you can visit on a boat excursion (coming independently is strictly prohibited), is now an uninhabited designated nature reserve, but back in the sixteenth century it was a very different story. The Venetians constructed several fortifications on the island to try to hold back the onslaught of the Ottoman Empire’s naval forces, but they were unsuccessful. You can still see the ruins of the church and some of the other structures, and the waters around the island are very popular with scuba divers, who come in the hope of discovering artefacts.
Where to Stay:
Porto Platanias Beach Resort & Spa: Right on the ocean and encompassing 30,000sqm of land, this 5-star resort offers a truly luxurious stay for those who enjoy the finer things in life. Superbly located and with elegantly appointed rooms and expansive onsite facilities this is Crete’s renowned hospitality at its best.
Melina Beach: Well located to enjoy all the attractions of the local area, and just 100m from the beach, this lovely aparthotel offers relaxed, friendly accommodation with everything you need. Rooms include fully-equipped kitchenettes, a bathroom with hot tub, and a terrace to dine al fresco or take in the sun. There’s also an excellent onsite restaurant and breakfast is available.
Sonio Beach: You couldn’t get closer to the stunning beach than this fabulous accommodation! As well as a fantastic Cretan restaurant overlooking the sea, facilities include a lush garden, swimming pool, and apartments or studios with a private balcony or patio. Well-appointed and spacious, they include a fridge and cooking hob to self-cater when you wish.
How to Get There:
Getting to Crete to begin your sun-kissed getaway in Platanias won’t cause any holiday travel stress. You’ll fly into Chania Airport (CHQ), which takes around 4 hours from the UK and is serviced by a number of reputable airlines offering a wide selection of flights. To get the rest of the way to the village, the best option is to pre-book a transfer from Chania Airport to Platanias with Shuttle Direct. It means no waiting around for public transport and a friendly, experienced driver will ensure you get to your final destination without delay so you can begin your holiday.
UK to CHQ Flight Time: 4 hours
CHQ to Platanias Distance: 33.1 kms
Shuttle Direct Transfer Time: around 35-40 minutes
Types of Transfer
Shuttle Direct understands that everyone has different priorities when it comes to travel. That’s why we offer a range of options for an airport transfer from Chania to Platanias, to suit every person and every budget.
If money isn’t a major concern and you prefer to travel in luxury, one of our private Chania Airport transfers will get you to the door of your accommodation without delay and without having to share with anyone else.
Another highly convenient way of getting from the airport at Chania to Platanias is by pre-booking a private taxi service. This reliable Chania airport transfer means that you won’t have to line up with everyone else for a regular local taxi or wait around for public transport.
A shared shuttle bus is not only extremely budget-friendly, it’s also a fun way to travel and meet new people going to the same destination. So if you’re looking to share the cost of getting from Chania Airport to Platanias, but still ensure reliability, this option is perfect.
A minibus transfer is the ideal budget-friendly way to get from Chania Airport to Platanias if you’re travelling with a larger group of friends or family. You’ll enjoy the advantage of all being able to travel in the same vehicle, and there’s plenty of room for all the accompanying luggage, as well.
Choosing the Right Transfer
Usually, the two main factors that affect your choice of airport transfer are convenience and cost. Which of those two are a priority will be the ultimate decider.
Convenience: If, for you, luxury, style and convenience are the most important things for you, and you’re prepared to pay a little more for the privilege, then a door-to-door private transfer from Chania to Platanias is your solution.
Cost: If you’ve got an eye on the costs, booking a shared shuttle or minibus transfer from Chania Airport to Platanias will leave you more of the holiday budget for the fun things on your holiday.
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct is a leading provider of airport transfers in a vast range of destinations around the world. Our friendly, professional local drivers will ensure that you get from the airport to your accommodation in the fastest, safest and most convenient way. From cost-effective shared shuttles, to top-of-the-range private luxury services, we’ll get you wherever you need to go.