Facade of the Minoa Palace resort & spa in Platanias, Crete

My summer holiday in Crete

If you follow me on Instagram you probably already know this, but on the this August The Boyfriend and I packed our bags and traveled to Crete! Even though we just celebrated our 13 year anniversary this was our very first beach holiday together, so we decided to go all out and booked ourselves into the 5 star spa resort Minoa Palace in a town called Platanias.

The hotel was terrific – beautiful, friendly, welcoming and with plenty of places to kick back and relax even for the non-beach/pool bunnies. The Boyfriend has a black belt in TripAdvisor so I let him pick the place, and as usual he did not disappoint. Platanias is a very small town about a 30 minute drive west from Chania (Crete’s 2nd largest city) and I have vacationed there two times previously, but none of the times have I lived in a hotel as nice as this one.

pathway inside the Monoa Palace spa & resort in Crete


Pomegranate on a tree

Hotel gardens with flowers and cacti


An outdoor seating area among flowerbeds


This is where I liked to sit and read, and I really got a lot of reading done. I don’t have the patience (or the skin type) to lay on the beach for hours on end, so it was lovely to find a shady spot and curl up with a good book. It didn’t hurt that there was a bar nearby, either. They made a mean mojito.

Maja reading a book in the hotel lounge area


I couldn’t go on holiday without doing some shopping, and since Chania had a Sephora I naturally had to get some makeup. I have been looking for the L’Oréal Lumi range for months, but had to face the fact that they pulled the range from Norwegian stores shortly after the launch and before I even got the chance to try it. I might have done a happy dance when I found it in Greece. Maybe. Same goes for their celebrity-named lipsticks, which I have only previously seen in their Flagship store in Oslo. I swear, it’s like they don’t actually want me to buy their products, because the ones that I want are practically impossible to find in stores.

A collection of skin care

I also did a little Pharmacy haul, since both the selection and the prices were much better than what I can find at home. I’m a huge fan of Bioderma so I made sure to get a giant bottle, and I also went a bit lip balm crazy. I had heard so many good things about Nuxe’s Reve de Miel, and my goodness did it live up to the hype! I bought one jar to keep in my bag and another jar to keep on my bedside table, because I am never going without that stuff again.


I also bought a few bags. You know me, I’m a sucker for a good bag, and Greece is a great place for leather. I snagged this boston bag in a perfect overnight size for €100, which should translate to about £80 or $130. I believe the SA told me it is bullhide. VERY sturdy, very roomy, and very classic.

Small green leather satchel

This bag I bought from a local leather craftsman in Platanias. I had purchased two bags from this little family shop (simply named Leather Centre) on a previous visit four years ago, and happened to be wearing one of his bags on the day that I stopped by to browse. He immediately noticed and got excited right away – before I knew it he had started doing thread maintenance on my bag and offered me a hefty discount on any new bag that I wanted. I couldn’t resist an offer like that, so I ended up buying the same bag as the one that I was wearing, but this time in a beautiful bottle green. Great bag and a great story, and the man proceeded to wave and say hello every time he saw me about town for the next two weeks.


Maja in front of a fountain in Chania

We also made several trips to Chania, as busses passed by our hotel pretty much every 15-20 minutes. It was very nice to be able to leave the small town behind for a little while and alternate between browsing stores and enjoying the historic Venetian harbor. You could find anything from Starbucks and Zara to high end and the traditional and hand made – and makeup. Don’t forget the makeup.


A small white poodle inside a jewelry store

Trust me to find a poodle even in Greece. This one watched over a jewelry store.


The venetian harbor in Chania


Maja making a grimace in a restaurant

I’m not used to eating out every day, and I also hate having to look for food when I’m hungry, so we quickly found our favorite places and kept coming back. I know the foodies among you will hiss at me for this, but I’m really not that fussed about trying new places to eat – I find something I like and stick with it until The Boyfriend forces me to go somewhere else. We went to Kyano for lunch nearly every day and loved Barba Thomas for dinner. They were highly recommended on TripAdvisor, which means they also had the Boyfriend stamp of approval, and both the staff and the food was phenomenal.


You might snicker at the “lamp chops”, but let me tell you, that lamp chop was delicious.

Legs on a lounge chair in front of a garden

And that was it! I’m going to upload a lot more photos to my Flickr account later this week, so stop by there if you want to see more of my trip. We had a phenomenal time, and we are so relaxed and ready to face autumn. The trip home had some mandatory Greek delays so we didn’t arrive at our apartment until 5.30 am Sunday morning, but I am now back and trying to get used to Norwegian temperatures and actual clothing again. Tomorrow I’m going for a short trip to Molde to get The Poodle back from her summer camp at my parents’s place, and later this week it is back to work. I hope your summer was as lovely as mine, and that everyone is ready for layers, boots and pumpkin spice lattes. I know I am!


15 thoughts on “My summer holiday in Crete

  1. Maja I am SO jealous of your trip to Crete (wishing I could be in Greece right now as it is so miserable in Sydney at the moment). Looks like you two had the most incredible time. The one thing I find about going to Greece is that the best thing is, every serves the same food, so you know what you’re going to get essentially.

    And yay for the Bioderma! I’ve had a few comments that the Garnier micellular water is just as good, so maybe you can buy that in Norway? xx

    • Hahaha that is true about the food, they really do serve the same dishes everywhere! There’s a difference in quality though, we ate at a few truly “meh” places before we got our TripAdvisor game down ;)

      I heard the same about the Garnier water, but also that it is a little less efficient on tough makeup? I use a fiber mascara that is borderline waterproof, so that put me off trying it :)

  2. That sounds like a fantastic trip! it sounds really refreshing to get away from the everyday life for a week or two, we really should start saving money for upcoming holidays with le fiancé :) That sounds like a perfectly balanced holiday too – reading time, some visits, some beach… Perfect!

    And yes, I am so ready for pumkin lattes, digging out my cashmere sweaters, low heeled boots and warm scarves. And fresh nuts. Can’t wait :)

    • Do save up for a holiday! I love love love to travel, and I’m already looking forward to booking my next one for next summer :)

      Mmm, cashmere and pumpkin spice. I don’t care that it’s the biggest white girl cliché in the world, when pumkin spice lattes are out I’ll be all over them!

  3. Nora says:

    Så fine bilder, så ut som en fin ferie :) Jeg var på akkurat samme sted ifjor, bodde på hotellet tvers over gaten (Sunprime) :D

  4. Sounds amazing!! And looks like you stocked up on all kinds of goodies too! That big black bag is so good it should be illegal, it’s really just perfect. And now I feel like I have to run out and find that magical lip balm too. Of course, what I really should do is follow your lead and take a real vacation!!

    • Greece is fantastic, this was my third visit altogether :) And lol! It is the bane of my existence that I live in a country where shorts season only lasts three weeks ;)

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  7. Marquita Davis says:

    Hi Maja! I’m in Crete on holiday and am wondering where in Chania the leather shop is. Any details you remember would be great!

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