Palekastro, Crete

Set the scene

Palekastro in NE Crete lies in the middle of Kouremenos Bay.

Around Palekastro, the ‘meltemi’ wind increases it’s power through a local thermal and a funnelling effect that gives the wind an additional Force 2 to the forecast. This makes Kouremenos Beach one of the most wind-certain spots in the whole of Europe and is why the largest windmill generator park in Greece is based there. Palekastro has yet to be discovered by mass tourism so remains a genuinly authentic Greek village with accommodation & food to match. Couple that with the wind stats & Palekastro could become a real windsurfing hot spot. Go now, before it gets too busy!

Fact File

Windy Season May to October
Air Temp In Summer 20 degrees in May, 30 degrees in August.
Wet Suit? Most people where rash vest & shorts.
Average Wind Speed Force 6
Flight Time (From UK) 3.5 hours
How To Get There

To be full ATOL protected, contact Sportif for package holidays including hotel, flights, transfers with prebooking rental and instruction to guarantee availability.

Plane

The main airport is Heraklion which has daily charter and scheduled flights from most European cities with flight costs between £100-£300 (140-430 euros) depending on the time of the year. From Heraklion it is a two and a half hour drive to Palekastro. There is also a bus service, which will take you from Heraklion to Palekastro; it goes approximately every 2 and a half hours and costs 14 Euros.

Recommended airlines:

Rental Car Cost: around 175€ per week

Ferry/Car

There are many alternative routes to get down to Greece depending on where you’re starting from. We’ll leave you to browse the web for that but this website is a good place to start for that final hop over to Crete - www.allgreekferries.com. The port of Sitia is closest to the resort but Heraklion is the main port with more routes.

How The Wind Works

Palekastro is a meltemi spot. The wind increases its power through a local thermal and a funnelling effect. It blows side shore from the left and blows anywhere between a Force 4 and Force 7. During the summer season (May – October) this averages out at a nice Force 6 with the most used sail being between 4.5 and 5.3m. The wind blows the whole day and starts to drop down at 5pm.

Month
Apr.
May
June
July
Aug.
Sept.
Oct.
Days Force 4+ (2008)
20
21
25
28
27
20
18
The Sailing Spots
Best wind direction: North-west (the meltemi)
Worst wind direction: North-east
Tide: You don’t notice it.
What’s on the bottom?: Sand.
Any hazards: 200m to the right of the station it is rocky.
Other water users: Swimmers and divers, no kite surfers.
Suitability/levels: All levels who want some flat water.
Wipe-out factor: There is no shore break or currents so it is easy to launch & land. If you do break something the bay is enclosed enough so that you won’t drift out to sea and the Freak Windsurf Station has a very powerful rescue boat!

Secret Spot

Faneromenis Beach is 45mins drive from Kouremenos Bay. The wind is not as consistent but when it happens some say it is the best wave spot in Greece. However, it is a tricky place to sail with lots of kit breaking potential. Not surprisingly, the Freak Windsurf Station does NOT let you take their kit there. However, they will provide lots of tips for sailing there on your own kit.

Water State

Flat-water near the shore, small choppy waves further out. Temperature wise you’ll be sailing in 20 degrees in May up to 25 degrees in August, so definite rash vest & shorts weather.

Instruction And Kit Hire

You can take lessons & hire JP boards and Neil Pryde sails from the Freak Surf Station which is open from 10th May through to 20th October (2009). The centre teaches from beginner to those wanting to learn spock 540’s!

Lesson Prices:

Beginner Course including kit –30 € per hour
Step Course (4 hours) including kit – 110 €
Step Course (4 hours) excluding kit –80€
Private Lesson (1 hour) excluding kit –40 €
Private Lesson (1 hour) including kit – 50

Kit Hire at Freak Surf Centre (€)

Duration
1
week
2 weeks
3
weeks
9
days
12
days
Fix Board
185
295
360
230
270
High Tech
210
350
430
265
310

Notes:

The high tech package allows you to rent a more expensive model of board. On both packages you can change the board during your stay for no extra cost.
If your partner also windsurfs then you can share the board & only pay 50% extra. Insurance is an option at 35 euro per week.

The centre often has low season deals. For 2009 these were between 10th May – 15th June and 15th Sept to 20th Oct.

Private Storage of kit:

  • 1 week 65€
  • 2 weeks 90€
  • 3 weeks 115€
  • 9 days 75€

For more info: office@freak-surf.com OR phone (0030) 6979 253861

Accommodation

Camping

There are no official camping sites in north-east Crete, however, free camping has been tolerated in the past, even though it is illegal in Greece. Try it at your own risk.

Holiday Apartments

1. Glaros Apartments 

These are situated right by the long beach of Kouremenos. The apartments are surrounded by olive trees and enjoy a sea view. There are 3 studios for 2 people and 3 apartments for 2-4 people all with sunny verandas.

2. Cassa Di Mare Apartments

Situated in a quiet olive grove with swimming pool. 150m from Kouremenos Beach and 300m from the Freak Surf Station. The complex of two buildings consists of six apartments, each apartment with a large balcony.

3. Flamingo Apartments

The impressive new Flamingo complex is situated in the small traditional village of Agathias, between Palekastro and Hiona Beach. About a 20 minute walk from the station and 2 minutes by car. The apartments are of a high standard and apart from two studios every apartment has a view of Kouremenos Beach.

4. Castri Village

This is near Kouremenos Beach on a hill with a spectacular view, 300m from the sea and 2km away from the village of Palekastro. The complex has 15 apartments up to 4-5 beds and 17 studios up to 2-3 beds, fully furnished with big verandas. For relaxing there is a restaurant, swimming pool, and pool bar.

5. Hellas Hotel

This hotel is situated in the middle of Palekastro town, right next to the main square. It provides 24 beds in newly renovated single and double rooms. You can just have the room or B&B.

6. Dretakis Villas

These three villas, built in traditional Cretan style, are situated on the slope of a hill with a spectacular view of Kouromenos Beach and the surrounding mountains.

Accommodation costs: 15€ to 35€ per person. For more information & to book contactoffice@freak-surf.com or sales@roho.co.uk

Food

Palekastro is an authentic, friendly village – like Greece was 20 years ago. It is still a secret spot hidden far from mass tourism. Eating out is the cheapest option in Palekastro. You will not pay more than 12€ per person including drinks.

» Here is a list of a selection of restaurants for you hungry hikers.

1. Glaros, Kouremenos Beach Front

Beautiful setting in the olive trees overlooking the sea, serving fresh Cretan food, good for lunch and dinner as it is just by the surf station.

Price: 15€ with Drinks

2. Pablo Tavern, Kouremenos Beach

Conveniently set just behind the surf station and great for a quick snack at lunchtime.

Price: 8€

3. Hiona, Hiona Beach

Very romantic, quaint setting – authentic Greek Style with lots of fish.

Price: 20€

4. Mythos, Village Square, Palekastro

Friendly, family atmosphere, traditional Cretan food, this is where to go to soak up the local village life. Try the fish soup.

Price: 9€

5. Gyros, Opposite Mini Market On Way To Kouremenos Beach, Palekastro

The ultimate Greek kebab.

Price: 4€

6. Itanos, Village Square, Palekastro

Basic Restaurant in the middle of Palekastro with great whole grilled chicken cooked on the grill.

Price: 10€

7. Finistrini, Opposite Mini Market On Way To Kouremenos Beach, Palekastro

Great Cretan food with a twist. Run by two lovely couples. Try the sarikopita, hot aubergine pies with feta, aubergine slippers, seafood pasta and Yirourtlou.

Price: 10€

8. Hellas

Village Square, Palekastro. Newly refurbished restaurant, great outside seating to enjoy your meal.

Price: 10€

9. Vaios, Agathia Village

Superb home cooked food. There are no menus – you chose your food directly from the kitchen. The octopus is good.

Price: 15€

10. Maridati, Maridati Beach – On The Way To Vai Beach

A beautiful setting in the middle of a wild landscape with concerts every Friday and Saturday night.

Price: 25€ with Drinks

11. Balcony, Sitia

Funky, stylish restaurant in the side streets of bustling Sitia, offering a different cuisine – Chinese to Mexican. Try the mixed fajitas.

Price: 25€

Nightlife

Easy going night life with a few bars in the village and one disco plus lots of beach parties in high season. If you want a hardcore night out join the Freak Surf crew to Sitia (20min by car/15€ taxi/ 4€ bus). They go at least once a week!

The local beer is Mythos (2€ each).

Bored Of Windsurfing

1. Toplou Monastery: Impressive 14th century monastery with a museum and café.

2. Vai Beach: The largest natural palm grove in the whole of Europe, with crystal-clear waters.

3. Valley of the Dead: A two hour walk through the beautiful gorge (with marked out rock climbing possibilities) and at the end you reach the tiny fishing village of Kato Zakros, where you can have lunch at the fish taverns.

4. Chrissi Island:
 A boat leaves Ierapetra (1 hour drive away) in the morning and after an hours cruise you reach the uninhabited island of Chrissi renowned for it’s beautiful white sand beaches. There is a tavern for lunch and drinks and the boat comes back late afternoon.

5. Finally: Mountain biking can be arranged through the Freak Surf Station.

Conclusion

This spot offers the perfect wind conditions, loads of sailing hours and is in a really beautiful unspoilt area – what more do you want! 

Tourist

With thanks to Hannes and Davina from the Freak Surf Station for helping us with the Travel Feature to Palekastro.

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