All about nature in Chania

…well about 12 miles outside actually. Yes Chania is home to the Botanical Park of Crete, which is the perfect place to visit if you’re interested in Crete’s wildlife.

The history
The park was set up quite recently and the plants are still maturing. Prior to becoming the focus for Crete’s indigenous genus of flora and fauna, it was a huge olive grove.

Prior to 2004 this area was home to 60,000 olive trees some of which were almost older than Methusala! Yes some were an amazing 400 years old. Unfortunately in 2004 the whole olive grove was destroyed by fire.

The four brothers who owned the land decided to bring it back to life as a national park. Which is great for us as it shows off Crete’s amazing natural inhabitants.

What’s to see?
Well don’t miss the remains of one very old burnt out olive tree, which stands as a monument and reminder to the park’s history.

Apart from that the Park is divided into six main areas where you can see butterflies, wild birds, tropical trees, fruit trees – covered in blossom in spring and loaded with fruit in the autumn – citrus groves, herbs and vineyards. At the end of the trail you’ll find a lake which serves as home to ducks, geese and other water birds. Look out for peacocks and buzzards too! Great place to stop for a while and watch what’s going on.

There’ also a small amphitheatre on site too.

Follow the scenic trail
There’s a trail you can follow which takes you around the park. It takes a good leisurely two hours or so to wander round. You could do it in less but the whole point is to take it slowly and observe!

You need to be reasonably fit for its rough hilly paths and steps. Avoid midday in summer when Crete’s sun is hot. Instead try to go early in the morning or late afternoon when it’s cooler. The Park is open from 8.30 am– 8.30pm all through the summer from May to October. Entrance is just €5 and under 6’s get in for free.

Take some refreshments
The free bottle of water you receive on entrance to the park will keep you going whilst you wander, but you’ll need to top up before you leave.

Rest your aching legs from the trail in the restaurant. Not only will your legs and feet feel better for it, but your eyes will have their own feast too. The restaurant has panoramic views of the gardens and surrounding scenery.

Sustenance for your stomach comes in the form of traditional Cretan food and freshly picked and squeezed oranges, unless you want something stronger. Local wine anyone? All the food is organic and grown locally. You’d expect nothing less.

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Stunning orange groves

Of course you can take your refreshment indoors or al fresco.
This interesting day out is worth leaving the comforts of your friendly resorts

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