There is no doubt that, before anything else, Crete attracts its visitors with its sea and numerous beaches. The beauty of the biggest island of Greece is, however, in the variety of landscapes and activities: history, gastronomy, culture and nature are intertwined into a unique environment That being said, the enchanting mountainous sceneries are not to be missed, just like the Cretan seaside!
One of the mountain sites that is worth visiting is Botanical Park. The park is located in a breathtaking area of Omalos and make a great half-day trip for travellers. This place has an interesting history: what once used to be vast lands with olive groves and fruit plantations was burned to the ground with a disastrous fire. Petros Marinakis, who grew up in one of the villages, affected by the fire, and always valued the diversity of Cretan flora and fauna, wanted to make the most of the damaged land. That’s when he came up with the idea of establishing a space that would showcase the beauty of the regions nature in all its variety to the foreigners and visitors from the rest of Greece.
Nowadays, Botanical Gardens in Crete present to you hundreds of plants, both endemic and from around the world. You can take a tour and discover exotic flowers and fruit trees, stroll around the small lake and observe the nobel peacocks that are wandering around the park.
While the main jewel of the gardens is its collection, another reason to visit Botanical Park is its renown restaurant. Serving Cretan cuisine with a creative twist, the restaurant uses only local organic ingredients and provides a truly unique gastronomic experience. Apart from tourists, you will see many locals dining at the restaurant, as it is one of their beloved spots for the Sunday meal. When visiting the park, lunch or dinner at the Botanical Park restaurant is a must!
How to get there? Botanical Park is located approximately 30 minutes drive away from Platanias village. In case you are renting a car, getting there on your own is the best option, as the drive itself is quite picturesque. Apart from that, local bus network Ktel has launched a daily bus throughout most of the year, which is another convenient way to get to the Park. Check their website to find out the schedule.