Crete is the biggest of the Greek islands, situated in the northeast of the island is the little fishing village of Sisi. With Malia a 12 drive away, and the capital of Heraklion only 40 minutes away it’s in a pretty ideal location. My mum had previously visited Crete many years ago for a girls holiday and while deciding where to go this year it was split between Kos (another Greek island that I visited when I was 7) and Crete. With Greece offering stunning landscapes, delightful food and some of the most welcoming people I’ve ever met, as well as being somewhere I’ve wanted to return to for many years. It was an ideal choice.
Last summer we stayed at the Sentido Marina Suites in Kuşadası, Turkey. I had such a wonderful experience at this hotel that I was eager to stay in another one, but in a different location. After hours (and I mean hours) of searching, I fell in love with the Sentido Vasia resort & spa. Only spurred by the fact that they offered maisonettes with 2 bedrooms and a private pool for on a little extra than a standard maisonette.
SENTIDO VASIA RESORT AND SPA
The Sentido Vasia Resort and Spa is situated with the greek mountains on one side and the ocean on the other. The hotel does have a 5* rating, although after talking to other guests they have mentioned that some of the rooms can look dated…we have no issues with ours though. There are 5 different types of rooms available depending on your budget and requirements; the superior double room, one bedroom suites, two bedroom family suite, vip maisonette with private pool (the room type we had) and then finally the execrative suite with private pool. I won’t go into too much detail about each of the room types but if you want to read more then you can here.
The food at the resort is not to be missed, the all inclusive package includes a buffet breakfast, lunch, dinner as well as afternoon tea along with a visit to one of the a-la-carte restaurants for every 7 days you stay and all drinks. Despite the fact we arrived at almost midnight the hotel had set up a meal for us in the main restaurant which was very nice indeed (even if the vegetarian option was just rice and peas). There was no issue finding food to eat, plenty of options both hot and cold and pretty much all of it was labeled with what it was and if it contained dairy or gluten which I thought was a nice little touch rather than trying to guess what was in everything.
One issue we did have is regarding late check out. In the book we were given when we checked in it stated that you had to book late check out 2 days before your check out date. That was absolutely fine, we had no issue with that, however when we went to do so we were told we would have to go back the morning of our check out date in order to find out if we were going to be able to keep our own room or if we would have to move. Unfortunately we weren’t able to stay in our own room so we had to quickly pack up and get ready to move rooms. So that kind of put a sour note on the holiday, but at least we did have somewhere to put our suitcases while we went and used one of the 5 available pools, before coming back and showering before setting off to the airport.
Spinalonga Day Trip
After our holiday last summer was used just for a bit of RnR, this time round we wanted to actually do a couple of trips and see more of Crete. After a bit of research before hand, there were a couple of ideas on our list but we only got around to doing a couple. The main one was a day trip to Spinalonga, which also included some free time in Agios Nikolas, a ‘BBQ’ on then boat as well as dip in the sea. We booked ours through Stefanos Tours after researching that they were the cheapest excursion provider in the area.
We were picked up from the back of our hotel at 10am, taken to Agios Nikolas and were given just under 2 hours to explore the shops before it was time to board the boat ready to have the ‘BBQ’
more like school dinner. Here is where we hit a problem. When booking I had requested a fish option opposed to meat, Stefanos Tours ran ahead and booked this for me, and it was written on the ticket. However when we we’re given our meal voucher I thought it was just a standard colour and you said when you collected your food if you had a dietary requirement…apparently not. The guy that gave us our vouchers had not read our ticket and therefore gave me the wrong voucher and as a result I could only have the ‘salad’ (cucumber and tomato covered in onion), a piece of bread, cheese and a peach. Safe to say I only picked at my food and instead ate twice the amount at dinner that day. So that was a bit of the sour start to the trip.
I soon perked up slightly when it came to swimming in the sea, now I’m always wanted to jump off a boat and into the sea and this was my opportunity…so I made the most of it. Although the sea was a lot more salty than expected, but it was a gorgeous turquoise colour that was just so inviting. After 30 minutes of swimming it was onto Spinalonga where we would have a 45 minute guided tour followed by 45 minutes to explore for ourselves. Now just a warning there is an additional 8 euro entry charge onto the island for adults
and children I believe. If you are a student you get free entry from showing a valid student ID, and if you are retired it is only a 4 euro charge. The tour itself was well informed and our tour guide was very passionate about the life of the Leper Colony that had once called Spinalonga their home.
Overall it was a good day, but do take plenty of water with you and avoid the shop on Spinalonga at all costs…unless you want to experience daylight robbery.
Like with many towns in Greece, Sisi has a happy train which is basically a road train that takes you on an allocated tour. Ours started at 10am and departed from right outside our hotel. It headed down to the harbour, the beach before heading up to the mountains. The first stop on the tour was St. Georges monastery, a small 16th century monastery up in the mountains on the main road from Heraklion to Agios Nikolas. We only got about 30 minutes to look around, like a candle and have a nose in the museum before we jumped back into the happy train to head to Vrachassi (which was actually the town in which our driver lives).
The views up the mountain to Vrachassi were absolutely gorgeous…even if they were witness off the side of a winding mountain round. The village itself is very very small, with a population of only 250. It’s almost a blink and you miss it kind of situation. However there is an absolutely gorgeous church and I found out that in Greek Orthodox when someone gets married the entire village gets invited…imagine having a big village and over 1000 people at your wedding! Outside of the church was a gorgeous cat…Sisi is full of cats and 99% of them at super friendly even if you don’t have anything to feed them they’re happy to have a few strokes. Which as a crazy cat lady was perfect for me…I made many cat friends! Up in Vrchassi there is a lady that collects donation in order to get the cats spade and neutered in order to keep the population out of control
more responsible than some owners of domestic cats.
In the village square there are two taverns, both of which have seating that over looks the gorgeous mountains and we couldn’t help but stop and have a drink and a spot of cake. I swear the Greeks make the best chocolate cake I’ve ever tried, it’s not too rich and sickly but still satisfies and sweet cravings. I’m very much missing the chocolate cake already.
We had roughly 45 minutes to explore and do our own thing before jumping back on the train to head down the mountains to be dropped back our hotel in time for lunch. It was a long day but there’s honestly no better way to see any parts of Greece than on a happy train. Our journey was 18 euro each and considering it lasted nearly 6 hours it’s very much worth the money…just remember to keep some change to donate along the way.
PEGGY’S IRISH PUB
If you’re looking for somewhere friendly and inviting to go then I highly recommend checking out Peggy’s Irish Pub down by the harbour. On a Sunday and a Wednesday they host a pub quiz which is free to enter and if you win you get a free pint…always a bonus. While it might not be your typical ‘Instagram goals’ location it does have a homely feel to it. Run by a husband and wife who are both very welcoming and encouraging to join in with the quiz and karaoke
the latter I need many drinks to participate in.
I took many photographs while visiting this pub
it was somewhere I desperately wanted to visit simply because of all the cute little extras, fairy lights dangling from the ceiling, letters from visitors on the wall, fun plaques above the bar as well as the classic shamrock located throughout. It’s very much worth the visit if you’re looking to go somewhere more relaxed and just have fun…and drink like the Irish do. I personally recommend ordering the Smooth Cavan Coke (Jamesons whisky, coke and Guinness) it tasted amazing.
You honestly cannot fault the Greeks on their hospitality…or the gorgeous weather. The whole week we were there it was gorgeous sunshine, and then as soon as we left they had thunder storms for a few days so you do have to be careful about what time of the year you jet off. Although they do only have a handful of rainy days during the summer and 90% of the time it’s glorious sunshine.
Does Sisi seem like somewhere you’d go?
Love you lots like jelly tots x
All photos within this post were taken by my myself or by my mum on my Olympus Pen E-PL7 using the 45mm lens in natural lighting. They were then edited on Lightroom CC.