Staying in Omalos

Crete may be famous for its beaches, but there’s nothing like a visit to the mountains to show you the heart of the country. So we headed to the Omalos area for three nights to get a flavor for life up in the hills. 

This is a beautiful part of the world, filled with wildflowers in the summertime.

It feels like nothing-but-nature if you’re just looking out of the car window, but there are reminders of man’s presence everywhere… 

… and you’re never too far away from a pile of ruined walls …

… a goat …

… a cluster of bee boxes …

… or a flock of sheep:

Lots and lots of sheep, that is, many of which ran by our Airbnb every morning. 

We also found plenty of them right out on the road.

Omalos is probably best known for two things: it sits at the gateway to the Samaria Gorge hike

… and it is home to this seasonal pond.

I’ve read that this is the highest temporary pond in western Crete, which seems like a dubious claim to fame, but it does play host to many plant and bird species (and sheep). There’s also a nice bench where you can sit and enjoy the scenery.

Why else would you visit Omalos? It’s a great place to unwind, to take walks, to listen to the bells of the various types of livestock, and to see stars late at night. There are plenty of hikes within reach. And it’s a wonderful spot to get away. Jocelyn and I stayed at a restored shepherd’s hut, which has come a long way since it was built in 1890.

It has been throughly modernized …

… and even offers a tiny pool.

We loved staying here and would highly recommend it — both for the renovated building itself and for the surroundings.

We really didn’t want to leave!

If you do find yourself in Omalos and would like a nice home-cooked meal, we would recommend Neos Omalos. We visited twice, and the food was excellent both times.

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