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Fishing in Malia

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Ancient Greek Fishing

Fishing has always been integral to the Greek way of life, going way back to the time of the ancient Greeks. During that time, tuna, sea bass and red mullet were all considered delicacies and only reserved for the wealthy, whilst anchovies and sapts were common among the poorer population due to their smaller size and greater availability.

You can still find these fish, and more in Greek waters, as they continue to feed the local population today.

Crete

Greece has almost 2,000 surrounding islands, all varying in shape and size, with Crete being the largest and most populated. Its1,046 kilometres of coastline also makes it especially popular for fishermen and sun-seeking tourists. The Coasts of Crete are relatively well known for fishing as many locals and tourists are regularly found trying to make their next big catch.

Waters around Crete and Greece are home to many different exotic fish that can be caught near the coastline. Such fish include the Greater weaver, White Sea bream, European sea bass and Mediterranean moray.

Check this site to see the full list.

Malia

While fishing is the epitome of most coastal villages in Crete, Malia is the most well-known among fishermen. Located north east of the Heraklion region, and with a land area of 60km2, Malia is the ultimate go-to destination for those after a fishing-based holiday. It boasts many harbours that are scattered throughout the coastline where you can sit and fish to your hearts content, not to mention the ideal air pressure that allows you to fish anytime of the year.

Experienced fishermen will be able to rent a boat or head to the harbour and start fishing right away. Novice fisherman also have a selection of fishing trips to choose from where they will be taken out in groups by a trained fisherman and taught the ropes. There are many companies such as Thalias travel that offer relaxed fishing excursions for those less experienced.

Licensing

If you want to head to the harbour or beach and do some relaxing fishing, you should be fine without a permit, however if you’re feeling a bit more extreme and would like to try something like spear fishing, you’ll definitely need a license.

All information regarding licensing can be found here.

Where to stay?

Malia is fast becoming a popular holiday destination. Hotels and resorts can be found all over Malia, and check reviews before you go so you don’t get bogged down with a bad deal.

Image credit: By Taxiarchos228 (Own work) [FAL], via Wikimedia Commons.

How to Entertain Yourself in Paradise – Things to do in Bora Bora

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Bora Bora is a honeymoon hideaway that travellers have to go to great lengths to get to. Flights aren’t cheap, but as a special destination location, few places can compete. You’ll fly in from Taihiti, the French Polynesian capital, on a tiny plane that’ll make you never want to step on another jumbo sized aircraft again, before circling the island and getting glorious glimpses of the green Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu.

It’s all well and good planning a getaway to paradise, but eventually everyone gets tired of sighing at sunsets and admiring the blue hues of the lagoon. So what to do when you touch down?

Things to do in Bora Bora

One of the most loved options on the island is underwater safaris. You can snorkel up and swim down to watch rays feeding, and admire the brightly coloured fish in their natural habitat around the corals. Even if you’ve done it before, the type of fish you’ll see in this exotic paradise will definitely top that. You can sign up for full or half day safari tours, most of which can be arranged through your hotel (if they look like the trustworthy types).

If you’ve got a reasonable amount of time on your hands and aren’t simply popping over to the island for a day trip, you could get yourself diving certified. Bora Bora has an abundance of diving centres that will take over even the most half-hearted, amateur paddler. You’ll be amazed at just how close the reef sharks and manta rays will get as you descend deeper below into the darker blues of the Pacific Ocean.

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For something that’ll mark your holiday snaps out from the rest, you could also try underwater scootering. This involves getting inside an individual submarine/hoover-like contraption and being lowered into the water before driving around in its depths. It’s by far the most unique way to see the underwater wildlife of French Polynesia, and because of the protective head bubble, it means you don’t even need to get your hair wet. (Not to mention, this is one of few locations in the entire world where you can do this activity). Make sure you take along underwater cameras!

Other options for the active traveller include kite boarding along the beach, parasailing over the lagoons, or if you’re really into fitness and working out, sign up for liquid training. (This involves long distance swimming, paddle boarding and other water based activities to burn off those indulgent meals out).

It is not necessary to sign up and pay for activities before you go, as you can simply sort your accommodation and then check what deals your hotel is offering. Depending on the hotel you choose, you might be able to get a package discount if you want to try a bit of everything. (Check out certified reviews of hotels in Bora Bora with Holiday Check before you book so you’re not disappointed. Although as many of the hotels on Bora Bora are 5/6*s it would be hard to!)

Featured photo credit: By Sba2 at en.wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia) [CC-BY-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5).

Second photo credit: By Tomsmail55 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0).

Don’t Drink Doubles

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And other tips to help you survive the Canary Islands

Tip one: First, it’s important not to assume that just because they’re grouped under the same name, these islands are in any way identical. On a very, very basic level, here’s the what’s what of the inhabited islands:

Fuerteventura – good for windsurfing and has enough beaches that you could switch every day for a month and still be bathing happily in new pastures

Tenerife – the ‘party’ island – although not to be overlooked as a family or cultural getaway destination

Lanzarote – great for art and sculpture, the most famous pieces of which were mainly created by the skilled hands of Cesar Manrique

La Palma – a hiker heaven

La Gomera and El Hierro – smaller, less touristy and the places where you’re most likely to be able to appreciate Canarian culture that hasn’t been soiled by sozzled tourists

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Tip two: If you’ve been thinking this could be the perfect opportunity to put Spanish language lessons into practice, think again. The lingo of the Canaries is much more similar to the South American varieties of the language than it is mainland Spanish, meaning all those ‘th’ sounds need to be swapped to s’s, and the locals won’t be able to comprehend your foreign-sounding accent.

Tip three: Tip. Spanish etiquette applies here, which means a 10% tip in bars, cafes and restaurants. The island’s industries are built on tourism, so your gratuities will likely count towards the wages of bar staff. Just because service charge isn’t included doesn’t mean it isn’t expected.

Tip Four: If you’re going on a wholesome family holiday, check out information about the nearby beaches before you go. The canaries have an abundance of ‘clothing optional’ beaches. So if you’re dragging along hormonal teens, they may end up going a bit pink, in more ways than one.

Tip five: Don’t just think of it as a chance to top up your tan. These islands have a culture and cuisine of their own. If you beach hop and don’t make time for anything else, you could miss out on more memorable activities like Harley tours in Costa Adeje, or whale watching on the coast. Which leads on to…

Tip six: Eat where the locals eat if you want a taste of Canarian cuisine. It may be difficult to distinguish the Canarian-fare restaurants from your average fish and chip tourist-grabbing, dingy café. To differentiate the real deal from the genuine fake, look for menu signs written in Spanish with words such as ‘Menu del dia’. No, they probably don’t want your custom, but if you bring along a guide book and can manage to pronounce the names of the dishes with some slight flare, what makes you any different from any other hungry customer? One traditional dish to look out for is Ropa Vieja – chickpeas, meat and potatoes.

Tip seven: And finally, be wary of the bars. A tourist at a resort is a walking target. Don’t get misguided by those offers of ‘free drink’ from empty bars. Usually the unprinted small print reads: buy one over-expensive cocktail and get a measly, watered down version for free. Go to a nice bar, where it’s worth paying 5euros for a beer, and enjoy the un-soiled atmosphere of a place that doesn’t try to lure you in with poor quality spirits. Finally, when settled in a suitable drinking establishment, don’t order doubles. The shots in Spain might be different to what you’re used to – poured with generous hands and likely to end up flooring you before you’ve even had a chance to dance.

Featured photo credit: Fuerteventura – Playa de Butihondo 2″ by Mário José Martins – http://www.flickr.com/photos/pepemartin/3663822040.

Second photo credit: “Fuerteventura – Playa de Butihondo” by Mário José Martins – http://www.flickr.com/photos/pepemartin/10161084964/.

All You Need to Know About Crete

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Everything you need to know about eating, sleeping and sight-seeing in Crete. 

 The Lowdown:

Greece’s islands often get a bad rep and are considered more of a destination for boozed-up teens than a relaxing holiday haven or foodie paradise. One side that often gets overlooked when we’re flicking through photos of the blue hues of the sea, the resorts and beaches is that Crete has a long history of myths and legends – tales of which make travel to Crete a much more interesting experience.

The Legends: According to legends, Crete was the home of the monstrous Minotaur, who lived confined in King Minos’ labyrinth. As the story goes, he was eventually killed by brave Prince Theseus of Athens to prevent him from eating 7 Athenian girls and 7 Athenian boys. The legacy of King Minos’ dynasty (the oldest known civilization in the whole of Europe) lives on in the island’s magnificent palatial buildings, including, of course, the palace at Knossos. With its use of luxury materials and its grandiose size, it is a monumental symbol of the Minoan civilization. (It’s 150,000 square feet (14,000 square meters) in total!) According to legends, Crete is also the birthplace of the mighty Zeus, who was hidden in a cave by his mother Rhea so his father (Cronus) could not find him and kill him.

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What to do in Crete:  Aside from the palace, the old Venetian harbor in Chania is another favorite for visitors. With its beautiful old buildings, churches and shops it’s a great place to spend a relaxed afternoon in the sun. Those more interested in history and cultural artifacts will also enjoy a visit to the island of Spinalonga,  which is the last leper colony in Europe. Read The Island by Victoria Hislop before you go to get a sense of life as an ostracized leper living on the island.

What to eat in Crete:  Another pull Greece has over tourists is its fabulous cuisine, including: Mizithra cheese (a soft cheese, often compared to ricotta) Kaltsouni – like a calzone; a crepe stuffed with mixed bitter greens and mizithra Dakos – the Greek answer to bruschetta, finished with crumbled cheese (there’s a theme here…) Sfakiani pita – looks like a pancake but has cheese kneaded into the dough. Best served as a snack, dribbled with honey.

Where to feast in Crete:  One place that can guarantee to impress is  Dounias (Ntounias), a restaurant settled high up in the mountains.  It’s one of those small, family-run kind of places that will serve you up what they’re making that day. The food is all locally sourced, incredibly fresh and often killed that day (sorry vegetarians!)

When to pack your suitcase: May, June, September and October are the best months – the weather will still be warm and balmy, but hotel prices are likely to be cheaper and you won’t have to fight with hordes of bustling tourists for restaurant and café space.

Where to stay in Crete: The north of the island is home to Chania and Rethymnon – the old harbour towns, whereas the south is busier with resorts. When choosing where to stay in Crete, you could check out hotel reviews and base your location on which hotel sounds perfect for you. From there, rent a car to travel to the island’s hotspots (or go by taxi). Public transportation around the island is also good.

What’s the time there? Crete is 2 hours ahead of GMT.

How much for the essentials? In most bars, a beer will cost around 4 euros, a coffee will be 3 euros and bread at the supermarket will be 1,50. More information on prices can be found here.

Anything else? If you do decide to take the plunge and rent a car, be careful not to get caught doing anything untoward; traffic fines are astronomical!

Photos credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org