Travel to Greece with Kandy Shepherd

We swam the beautiful waters of The Minoan Trail in Crete

In early October 2016 we travelled to Crete, the largest island in Greece, for a swimming holiday.

For six days my husband and I swam in the open water in the south of the island, based in the seaside village of Sfakia, on a guided swim tour. Swimming in supervised groups, we explored crystal clear waters, swam into limestone caves, admired the dramatic, ancient coastline and lunched daily on traditional Greek food at tavernas accessible only from the water. Fabulous in every way!

This was the second swim we did in Greece with the swim tour group The Big Blue Swim—we loved it so much last year we went back. Last year’s swim was based in the northern Greek island of Lefkada. That was our first-ever trip to Greece and we loved everything about it. We couldn’t wait to go back for a second visit. Now we’re hoping for a third before too long!

The ancient port of Chania

Crete is the largest island in Greece and home to the earliest recorded ancient civilization in Europe, the Minoans, dating back to around 2700BC. It’s a fascinating place to visit.

 

We started our Crete adventure with four nights in the city of Chania. What a beautiful place! On foot, we explored the ancient Venetian port along the waterfront and in the small winding streets jammed with cafes, tavernas and enticing shops. But we chose to eat at waterfront tavernas—the sea is so beautiful we always wanted to keep it in sight. We stayed at two small, friendly hotels for two nights, one in the old embassy district and another right on the beach.

The fascinating old streets of Chania

 

The only problem with our visit to Chania? It wasn’t long enough!

 

From Chania, we went south, right down to the bottom of Crete (by private car, although there is a bus) across the rugged White Mountains (scattering herds of mountain goats) to the small, waterfront village of Sfakia (a.k.a Chora Sfakion) where we met our tour group in our family-run waterfront hotel.

 

We were divided into three small groups, according to swimming ability. I was in the slowest group but that suited me fine! The Big Blue Swim are all about enjoying yourself and not competing to be fastest. The guides and other swimmers were incredibly supportive.

Villages only accessible by sea

We then spent each day going out to sea in a beautiful old wooden converted fishing boat, jumping in when we got to our start point, and then swimming along the coastline. The Minoan Trail swim was 5km a day, divided into two swims before and after lunch. The sea is unbelievably beautiful—ranging from pale turquoise to deep navy blue. The water was a delightful 25 degrees Celsius, salty and buoyant and heaven to swim in. (And no sharks or other scary creatures!)

 

Our fellow swimmers were wonderful people to swim with—and socialize with too. We had a ball in such exceptionally good company. Each evening we sampled delicious Cretan food in the tavernas that line the waterfront of Sfakia. I could never tire of that Mediterranean diet!

We ate at local tavernas

 

I finished a novel while I was away!

Other experiences? As a romance writer, being surrounded by gorgeous Greek men was a huge plus! I can quite see the enduring appeal of the Greek hero and got lots of inspiration. On the tour I was in the company of the most charming Greek gentlemen—and they were incredibly helpful with details of the novel I was finishing while away. Yes, I had a deadline to meet and had to write every day. Not really a great idea but I’m very pleased at the way the story turned out with all that local input! (Conveniently Wed to the Greek will be a May 2017 release from Harlequin Romance.)

 

During this trip I fell more in love with Greece and its glorious waters. There is so much more to see!

 

Some tips and tricks:

 

  1. As with any trip to a different country be prepared but be open to all the new experiences that face you!
  2. For a swim holiday, look up the Big Blue Swim site to see what they suggest in the way of swimming skills required. I am a competent swimmer and love being in the water but am far from competition level. With this particular tour group I felt totally safe, looked after and encouraged. They do suggest a training regime before an open water swim but if you love swimming I don’t think that’s a hardship.
  3. Learn some phrases in the language. I wish I had more than a few scattered words of Greek. It seems so impolite to expect people to speak our language (though we found English was very widely spoken.) We’re going to do a “Greek for Travellers” course before we visit Greece again.

 

 

Kandy Shepherd

Kandy Shepherd is a multi-published, award-winning author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction. She lives on a small farm in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia, with her family and a menagerie of four-legged friends. She likes to travel whenever she can!

 

Visit Kandy at her Website.

Connect with Kandy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest

 

 

 

Millionaire Under the Mistletoe: A sensual, emotional holiday novella

All they want for Christmas is a second chance…

Millionaire Under the Mistletoe

London-based chef Carly de Luca and millionaire Dylan Burke broke each other’s hearts four years ago—but old feelings reignite in a steamy encounter when she makes a surprise visit home for Christmas.

Can the mistletoe weave its magic to help Carly and Dylan let go of past hurts and take a second chance on love—this time forever?

 

Buy on Amazon Kindle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heart of Bay

The Summer They Never Forgot

It started with a summer kiss…

Sandy Adams is on her way to an interview, but when she sees a signpost for Dolphin Bay she decides to take a detour down memory lane….

Ben Morgan has had his share of heartache. But when a ghost from his youth catches his eye, memories of their last summer together come flooding back.

Everything has changed in the past twelve years, and still they’re right back where they started, facing a second chance they deserve…together.

The Tycoon And The Wedding Planner

When one wedding leads to another…

Kate Parker distracts herself from her memories by keeping busy — and how better than organising weddings for Dolphin Bay’s sweethearts? But tall, dark and handsome tycoon Sam Lancaster’s arrival suddenly has Kate forgetting where she left the confetti….

And mysterious Sam will be around awhile longer than the cutting of the cake — because he’s got to oversee Kate’s building project! There’s no time for distractions…but is it time to stop running from happiness now that it’s led them to each other?

A Diamond in Her Stocking

Everyone loves a Christmas wedding!

Chef and single mom Lizzie Dumont is moving on. Returning to Dolphin Bay to make her new restaurant a success, she has no time at all for jaw-droppingly handsome Jesse Morgan — even if she can’t forget that incredible kiss they once shared!

Jesse can’t forget their kiss, either. But the betrayal in Lizzie’s past has made her wary of him, and he hates the fact that she can’t see past his reputation as a heartbreaker. Now he’s on a mission to change her mind — and luckily it’s the most romantic season of the year: Christmas!

 

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49 thoughts on “Travel to Greece with Kandy Shepherd

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    Hi Kandy

    You Greece is one place I really want to visit I don’t think I would do the swimming although it sounds fabulous but the food the sights and yes the men to dream one day maybe. Thank you for the beautiful post

    Have Fun
    Helen

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      Thanks for reading and commenting Helen! I agree with you…maybe one day!

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      Hi Helen, I think you would love Greece without having to swim! Last year our trip included a short stay in Athens and that was awesome. Climbing the Acropolis to see the Parthenon was unforgettable! Such history.

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    I didn’t know there were swimming tours. Very cool. Not sure I could have kept up with you. 🙂 I hope to visit Greece in 2018. I love your tips about traveling there. Thank you!

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      Thanks for dropping by Angelina! I’ve followed Kandy’s trip on Facebook and really wanted to ask her about it all! Thankfully she shared with photos!

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      Hi Angelina, I don’t know about swimming trips either until a friend told me about them. We went on our first trip with her and her husband. Apparently they are quite a thing in Europe. Greece really is wonderful. I don’t know why I left it so long to visit!

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    Hi Kandy! Hi Nas! Kandy, that looks absolutely brilliant! How lucky you were to do it. Love the pictures.

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      Hi Anna! How awesome of you to come by! I agree, Kandy’s trip look so beautiful!

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      Hi Anna, it really was a memorable trip. We loved every minute of it. And the swimming was heavenly in those glorious waters. Wish I was there right now!

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    Hi Kandy, glad to meet you through blogging world .
    Greece is beautiful and the oldest civilization in the world I think. I enjoyed looking through your lenses. China is our neighbor as we live in Pakistan.

    Congrats on your books.

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      Wow! You live all the way in Pakistan? Awesome. Thanks for coming by!

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      Hi Shabana, I’m glad you enjoyed my story. While I was In Greece I was so aware of how far back this ancient civilisation stretched. This was particularly so in Crete. I would love to visit your part of the world some day.

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    I would love to visit Greece but probably not to swim. I like my swimming to be in the shallow end of a pool – coward that I am! Thanks for such an interesting post.

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      Hehe…Barbara! But to look at these crystal clear waters…it’s tempting! Thanks for coming by!

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      Hi Barbara, those beautiful waters are just as hospitable to people paddling. But there is so much to do in Greece that doesn’t involve aquatic adventures! I hope you get to visit.

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    Kandy, thanks for this lovely description of your trip! It sounds delightful. I must go someday. 🙂

    Nas, thank you for hosting. Blessings for the holiday season!

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      We all must do this trip one day, Karen. It sounds so wonderful. Thanks for coming by and the blessings. Wishing you happy holidays as well!

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      Karen, for years I’d heard people saying how wonderful Greece was – and it exceeded all expectations! So glad you enjoyed my story.

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    Great pictures! I agree about learning some of the language too. When I went to Aruba this past summer, the natives taught us several words in Papiamentu. It was fun learning the language and using short phrases to greet people or say thank you.

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      It’s fun and always interesting to learn new languages. Thanks for coming by Kelly!

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      Thank you Kelly. Aruba looks amazing, it must have been a wonderful place to visit. And learning some of the language must have made it fun.

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      Yes, Cheri, Greece looks simply stunning! Thanks for dropping by!

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      Cherie, I had never heard of a swimming tour until a few years ago. I immediately knew it would be something I would enjoy!

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    Whoa what a cool trip!! I haven’t ever heard of something like this, but really want to sign up for one now. And such a beautiful location!

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    Hi Kandy, your books look like awesome stories.

    Nasreen, thanks for visiting The Marmelade Gypsy and taking the time to comment. Right now it is -2 (F) or maybe more, now that it is later in the day. These blue waters and warm skies have my heart beating a bit faster and wishing I was there!

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      Thank you, Jeanie for your kind words! Sounds like where you live is cold right now!

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      Oh Jeanie. I love cold and snow because I’ve never experienced it but I wouldn’t want to live for long in a place where the winter is sooo cold. I prefer warm and sunny places.

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    Kandy, what a wonderful experience. I love Crete and the last time I was there we went by local bus to Paleochora on the SW coast. Very similar scenery to what you’ve included here. I take my hat off to you, doing those long swims. You’re an inspiration! So looking forward to reading your latest book too! It will be my treat when I get everything done before Christmas (assuming I do!).

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      Hi Annie, lovely to see you here! Crete really is awesome, isn’t it? There’s so much there for us still to see. But the swim was the very best bit for me! I hope your festive plans aren’t too stressful and you have a wonderful time with family and friends.

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      Oh, my Annie! You have to share your experiences with us too. Thanks for dropping by.

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    What a beautiful place. I’d have to take swimming lessons before I went, because I’m a terrible swimmer. I sink very nicely, though. Thanks for taking us along on your visit.

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      Beverly, I’m so glad you enjoyed my post. It really was a special trip. You made me smile at your comment that you sink very nicely!

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    Nas, thank you so much for inviting me onto your travel blog. I’m going to enjoy reading future posts!

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      Aww…thank YOU Kandy for sharing your experiences with us here. It has been wonderful reading about your swimming tour and about your wonderful books. Congratulations on the releases of these new books!

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