The place to soothe your soul…CRETE, GREECE

Have you ever visited a place where you just feel at ease? The harmony of the beach, the ocean and the mountains surrounding you and blessing you with serenity? If you haven’t, you should absolutely find that happy place for yourself.

I found this in Crete, Greece which is a large island located in Southern part of the Aegean Sea.

I have noticed a pattern in my favorite traveling destinations. Where the locals are extremely welcoming and there are few tourists, I tend to fall in love. Greek people are seriously some of the most welcoming people in the world, and some of the happiest. As you drive around this island, you see how little they have, but how happy they are, and it really warms your heart.

If you love beaches and mountains, this will be the perfect place for you. If you do happen to visit Crete, here are some of the locations you cannot miss!

Plakia Beach

Doesn’t this just look relaxing? The beach has very grainy but soft sand with tons of different pebbles. The day that I visited, it was quite windy (all of the tourists ran away, yay!), but the air smelled so good and the sun felt so glorious on my skin. When the weather allows it, you can play volleyball or enjoy water sports. There is a small strip full of cafes and bars right along the beach and a grocery store is also located near by, so if you want to grab some snacks and just enjoy the beach, you have an opportunity to do that too. Also, there is a cemented sidewalk right by the beach which is ideal for taking a walk or riding bikes.

SamariĆ” Gorge National Park

This is actually a park that Peter and I discovered unexpectedly. We were looking for a cool beach to hang out at, and we saw an entrance to here. So happy that we ran into this gem! This happens to be one of the worlds Biosphere reserves. You can check out what that means here. As the name implies, it is a gorge. It measures about 16km long, so it is quite the hike. Instead of doing an actual hike, we ended up exploring some of the huge caves and walking down to the beach. I can’t even describe how superb this beach was.  The sand wasn’t really sand, it was full of beautiful pebbles of all different shapes and sizes. It was extremely relaxing to just sit on the pebbles and stare out to the water. Also, if you are into camping, you are allowed to set up tents and fires here, which is perfect!

Seitan Limania Beach

This was for sure my favorite destination of the whole trip. I mean, look at the beauty of this place!!! Ah, I miss it so much! The water was so crystal blue and the beach was so soft and white! The cliffs surrounding this were safe enough to jump off of. I mean, what else can you ask for? Even the drive to this place was to die for, literally. Thank goodness we were driving a small compact car, because those mountain roads are no joke. If you make one wrong turn, bye…you’re off of the mountain. This is also quite a far hike down to the beach and back up, therefore if you are traveling with little children, I would probably not recommend this. I personally tripped and did some damage to my legs. If you are not traveling with children, this is a must see and do. Really have not seen anything quite like this and I travel a lot. Bring some beer, some snacks and spend the whole day in the majestic environment.

Besides the beaches, be sure to eat everything in sight! Greeks have some of the best cuisine I have ever tried. GYROS GYROS GYROS, meat and fish! This is an island therefore I do suggest taking advantage of the fresh fish while it is available. Also, throw away your phones and just drive around. Getting lost on this island is what made this vacation one of my favorites. Peter and I met some of the coolest and nicest people and ran into the most exquisite places while frantically trying to get back to a familiar place. Some trips just don’t need to be planned out, and this is one of them, which is a great way to spice things up in your life.

I can honestly say that this was the most refreshing vacation I have ever been on. Where was your most relaxing  vacation?



The Up and Coming Travel Destination: CROATIA | Rutele

Ready for a cheap and outdoorsy vacation? Croatia might be the destination for you!

Croatia is one of the top up and coming traveling destinations! I visited this beautiful country a couple of years ago and it has left a huge imprint in my heart. The food is delicious and the nature is indescribable. The best part? It is not overflowing with tourists! It is alluring and peaceful…what else could you ask for? Oh and the transportation system in the cities is flawless. It is so easy to get from point A to point B which tends to be the most difficult part about traveling. They have a very impressive railway system in the cities, plenty of buses and 68 airports to fly into.

While in Croatia I visited Plitvicka Lakes (ahhhhh I can’t even find the words for this amazing park), Zagreb and Split. Check out the pictures in the gallery if you haven’t already!

I will keep it short on Zagreb and Split. They are both unique cities. Take advantage of the nature and go on as many hikes as possible. You will run into some astonishing views of the cities and the landscape, which you wouldn’t normally stumble upon. Split is right on the water so do visit the beaches. I never visited the islands nearby but I would recommend it since I have heard that they are superb! Zagreb is the capital so of course it is full of awesome restaurants and churches. Make sure to eat some octopus and fish (mom and pop restaurants are the best) while you’re here and visit the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It’s quite a marvel.

And now to the destination that stole my heart…Plitvicka Lakes. Wow, just wow. I really don’t think I have been anywhere quite as breathtaking as this. The park is surrounded by a small town consisting of  a couple of hotels and mostly personal property. I would suggest renting from the locals instead of the hotels. My host was beyond anything I could have imaged. He made  breakfast and dinner every day, he drove us to the park and picked us up! The atmosphere that the locals created was very friendly and inviting.

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Now the park…it is a wonderland for all nature lovers. In the park you will be surrounded by the woods, the lakes,the streams and the waterfalls.It is quite a lot to take in. The foliage is deep green and the water is crystal clear. I was so tempted to jump in and take a swim with the fish. The trip I took was in the summer so it was very much alive and flowing, whereas in the winter some of the water freezes and some of the trees shed their leaves. I do suggest that you break away from the beaten path and go hike the different trails. These take you up to higher levels from where you can see the whole park and really take in the magic of it all (plus you will by yourself). It’s really hard to describe how this place can make you feel. It is so pure and so untouched by the human hand that it almost cleanses your soul.

You may just have to save up and take a trip to experience this for yourself.

Here is a link in case you want to explore the park virtually.

Over all, Croatia is a beautiful destination with gracious people, hearty food, and magical views. Did I forget to mention that it’s cheap??

Have you visited Croatia or know of a place that’s similar? Let me know!


XOXO, Ruta.

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