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Crete Holiday? The 2021 Dilemma

Well 2020 was quite a year!

As we crept through the early weeks of what turned out to be such a challenging annual in our history I guess most of us that have an affection for the island of Crete had our trip booked and the thought of the warm sun on our faces & wisps of Cretan air across our cheeks was pulling us through and towards the airport and that clement first step off of the aircraft onto Cretan soil.

So many holidaymakers come back to Crete, Greece again and again because of it's stunning beaches and the legendary welcome of the Cretan people. The climate and atmosphere is something truly unique and special.
The clear waters and stunning beaches of Crete, Greece are something to be cherished.

Some of course still made it to Cretan shores during 2020 but for many (including us) our trip was booked for a time when travel was almost completely restricted and what ensued was a lengthy battle with tour companies and airlines to obtain a refund of the significant funds invested into visiting a place we hold dear in our hearts.

So as the curtain finally falls on the cloudy and uncertain year that was 2020 and with most of our plans for the previous year in tatters should we all be reaching for the laptop, tablet or phone and booking up to visit Crete in the coming year?

There can be no doubt that the year to come presents equal if not greater challenges than 2020. Of course we have vaccines roaring over the horizon and into view like a knight in shining armour on his trusty and proud white steed but we are not all just going to be afforded this jab right away, it's going to take time to vaccinate enough of the population to put an end to this nightmare and as such when making a booking to visit Crete yet again it could end in cancellation or disruption due to further waves or mutation of the virus and the subsequent travel restrictions.

The Neratze Mosque lies at the heart of Rethymno Town in the central region of Crete's northern coast & nestles in the stunning historical citadel. Roman, Venetian & Ottoman history accompanies narrow street and a wide sandy beach to the East of this wonderful & atmospheric town.
Neratze Mosque, Rethymno, Crete, Greece. One of any historical jewels on the island of Crete, Greece.

Of course there were many who rather than looking for a refund for their 2020 holiday accepted a movement of their trip to the island of Crete to 2021 and all those who kept their investment into their trip intact will be hoping that this year's holiday does not go the same way as it did in 2020.

There is no simple answer to any of the above and sadly there is currently as little certainty in this new year as there was last. But there are some things that we do know.....

Firstly the Cretans need us. The island of Crete works to a seasonal calendar with the bulk of the tourist season operating between May and October and given that a very healthy proportion of the island's economy and employment revolves around tourism the winter is a time where the locals enjoy a rest from the manic summer months but at the same time often live off of the spoils of the summer season and by the time spring comes need that new injection of tourism to afford their finances a new and fresh injection of welcome income. What happened last year was what was sometimes referred to as a 'triple winter'. The winter closed season of 2019/2020 was followed by another 'winter' as the summer season of 2020 largely never happened and then drifted in an isolated silence into the winter of 2020/2021. There is no doubt that another 'winter' in the form of summer 2021 would be catastrophic for both the Cretan and wider Greek economy, however their opening up later than usual in the summer of 2020 (for economic reasons) lead to the inevitable delivery of the virus both to Crete and wider Greece, and whilst the levels of infection have never reached the frightening heights of other territories a level of protection toward the Cretan health system must be preserved due to it's limited capabilities.

The PAGNI University Hospital in Heraklion, Crete, Greece is a very good medical facility with a high class teaching element. ICU facilities are limited and the Cretan population needs to be shielded from the pandemic to ensure that the medial services are not overrun.
Pagni University Hospital, Heraklion, Crete, Greece

I addition to the financial need of both the Cretans and the Greek economy we also know that the vaccine will come and that a good proportion of the vulnerable will be afforded the jab this year. But the quandary lies largely in timing.... just when will enough of the vulnerable (and those who feel they require it to free up their lives again) be vaccinated? The answer is that we just don't know and as such it is almost impossible to book a trip anywhere beyond our own shores with complete confidence that the trip will be allowed to happen. Every nation is having their own unique passage through this pandemic and it seems for those who reside in the UK the first quarter of 2021 will be the worst of this long and difficult time so far. But as the spring flowers rise from the soils of this terrible time will the warmer weather once again bring a reduction in infection rate? And will enough be vaccinated by then to negate the risks enough to put the balance in our minds toward venturing back onto aircraft and to warmer climes?

Well we just don't know but what we do know with all certainty is that we all need a dose of hope and something to look forward to. For those of us that hanker for Crete the pull of it's pretty towns and villages and long sandy beaches and warm waters is a strong one, and if there's any way that we can be in Crete this year both for our own mental health and to help in our own way to sustain the Cretan economy then we will most certainly be there. Some good news for Brits of course was the last minute deal with the EU that broadly means holiday travel to Crete is unaffected, and as a very significant nation for Cretan tourism this was welcome news for both Cretans and Crete loving Brits.

Sunset is such a magical time to visit the Palace of Phaistos in Crete, Greece. The plains around the raised Minoan historical site make for a stunning backdrop as the falling sun casts colours and shadows across the Cretan landscape that form a stunning vista. As you gaze across the view your mind casts back thousands of years to the Minoans who must have looked upon this landscape with equal awe.
Summer Dusk at The Palace of Phaistos, Crete, Greece.

So what are we doing in this 2021 dilemma at Photos of Crete .com? Well we are going to book our trip to the island of Crete. We'll do it on a credit card to ensure the protection of being able to get a refund if the airline or tour company goes bust or if once again our trip and plans are cancelled. We'll book and we'll look forward to our time in Crete with excitement and affection knowing that these uncertain times that we live in might mean that it's not possible to go. Our own personal choice is to have the vaccine when it's afforded to us to protect both ourselves and the vulnerable people that we come into contact with and we'll commit to wearing masks and following the rules for tests and guidelines at the time of travel. As this virus mutates and develops throughout 2021 we might be afforded good news or bad times. We could be plunged into hiding or out into the cities, towns, restaurants, cafes and get out lives back once again. Who knows and no one can accurately predict the twists, turns and timelines of the coming year. Our advice is that if you are making plans to visit Crete in the coming summer season do so in a secure financial manner and do so with and awareness to the possibility of your plans and hopes being altered, but in addition do so for the love of Crete and the Cretan people and know in your heart that the famous Cretan welcome will be even greater than ever because the people and economy of Crete need us more than ever but they only need us safely only as a tsunami of Covid would be catastrophic for the island and it's beautiful people.

Photos of Crete bring you our unbiased and honest guides to the island of Crete, Greece. We've had a connection to the island for over 30 years and we have called on our own personal experiences to bring you what we think is important and our opinions on how to get the best from your stay as we write guides about each and every aspect of visiting the largest of the Greek islands... Crete. We have a SHOP and we also offer PROPERTY CONSULTANCY & MANAGEMENT within Crete so don't forget to take a look and have a wander about the entire PHOTOS OF CRETE SITE. Thanks for reading.

© Simon Mcilvenna 2021 Photos of Crete


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