If you are looking for a lovely walk in Nature, the Crete Botanical Gardens are easily accessible from Chania: a terrace walk with lots of fruit trees, herbs, and pharmaceutical plants, it is also a great place for your lunch break with a delicious restaurant. Below is my guide to plan your visit to the Botanical Park of Crete.
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Why visit the Botanical Park & Gardens of Crete? - video
Located at thee foothill of the white mountains, the Botanical Park of Crete has been established in a typical Cretan Landscape.
The walk takes you to different paths on terraces surrounded by local and exotic plants.
It is a short excursions where you can:
- discover plants you have never heard of,
- be amazed by the huge variety of citrus,
- admire the peacocks around the pond,
- enjoy the views has you sip fresh mixed juice or eat a fruit plater.
Definitively a great addition to change from the ruins, beaches and gorges which are the most famous things to do in Crete.
Planning tips - Botanical Park of Crete
How to get to the Botanical Gardens of Crete (near Chania)
- The official name is Botanical Park & Gardens of Crete
- Located South of chania (North Coast), near the village of Fournes
- Chania to Botanical Garden - 30min drive
- Reythymno to Botanical Garden - 1h15 drive
- Heraklion to Botanical Garden - 2h15 drive
- There is a carpark on arrival but not that big
- Public Bus from Chania (departure 9:30 - return bus leaving at 2:30pm - daily
The Botanical Park & Gardens of Crete (with GPS coordinates) is included in my eBook:
- 5 easy-to-plan Maps
- 60+ Scenic locations for your itinerary
- 16+ extra photo stops and places to see
- Planning info to make the most of your time
- GPS coordinates for peace of mind
- 150+ original photos to help you select where to go
Tips for visiting the Crete Botanical Garden
- Botanical park entry price - 6 euros per adult
- Price include a bottle of water
- Botanical park opening hours - March to Middle November, daily from 9 am to 1h before sunset / Winter, open on weekends and public holidays
- Restaurant opening jours - dinner served until 6pm
- The walk is not flat, there are few steep sections. See the next section of this article to evaluate the difficulty
- Signs along the walk - some with just the name, other with short explanations
- In the Summer, avoid the middle of the day
- Wear sports shoes, this is not a paved walk
- Plan 2 hours to take your time and enjoy (but if you don't look at the trees that much, it can be walked in 1h
- Toilets at the restaurant and near the pond
Botanical Park & Gardens of Crete - The Map
Below is a map of all the sections of the walk.
You start at the restaurant, and walk down on the right starting with the Tropical section.
You continue down to the pond before climbing back to the restaurant.
My favorite section was the tropical one.
But the large variety of citrus with crazy shape is impressive
How difficult is the visit of the Crete Botanical Garden?
After reading some of the reviews, I was a bit worried for my mum since she has bad knees.
But at the end, she managed the walk very well.
It goes down and up, but it not constant. It is set up in terraces, so you have flat section in between with allows your knee to recover.
Near the entrance, you can borrow a walking stick.
If you have knee problems, I recommend taking one, it will help in the steeper turns, especially if it has rained and it is a little muddy.
You will also notice on some of the boards, that there is a number to call if you are having difficulties. This is very smart.
As you can see in the photo below, the path is just soil. So you should wear sports shoes for better comfort.
It can be a little slippery after rain.
But we have found that the alternance between slopes and flat path was really enjoyable to pace your visit.
Below my parents 🙂 There are a few benches here and there, if you need a break.
On some of the steeper sections they have set up steps. It is quite steep but not long.
If you feel tired at one point, there is shortcut (near the map). From here you can walk back up to the restaurant, without the last steep section down to the pond.
After the pond the path goes back up to the restaurant.
There is less to see, and it is faster to end the tour.
It took us 30min to walk from the pond back to the restaurant at a slow pace.
A brief history of the Park
At the beginning of the walk, you walk notice a burned olive tree; It holds a little sign with the tragic history of the land where the park is.
The whole area used to be very green with the oldest olive orchards in Crete. The main income in the region comes from olive oil.
Sadly in October 2004, a sudden hot wind storm from Africa caused an electricity pole wire to break. A wild fire spread very quickly spread burnt the whole region: 60000 olive trees (which were over 400 hundred years old) burnt.
Petros Marinakis and his three brothers had the idea to transform this burnt land into an educational botanical Park.
Crete Botanical Park - Exotic Plants & Cherry Garden
The first section of the walk takes you through the exotic plants garden.
It was my favorite section.
I saw trees I had never seen before.
The plantation was dense, so you are protected from the sun and there is much to see with a variety of green colors and shapes.
I was fascinated by the Jaboticaba. It is a fruit tree. The Brasilian Purple fruit resembles a grape. But it covers the branches of the tree.
This is another plant I have found fascinating. But apparently I did not take a photo of the name... Well, the mystery remains and you will have to visit the park to find out 🙂
Sometimes in between the trees, you get a glimpse of the hilly landscape that surrounds the park.
Every turn reveals a new world and new plants. You also see herbs, medicinal and ornamental plants.
Lake & Animals of the park
At the bottom of the park is a pond. It is a nice place to have a break.
I enjoyed the reflections of the scenery on the water.
Near the pond is a bathroom.
When I visited there was a large quantity of Peacocks. Really a lot.
I love them, so I was really happy.
Sorry I did not take a good pictures, I was watching them be...
There is are also fenced areas with some animals. They seemed well taken care for, but a few looked sad.
It must make kids happy, but it is becoming more and more difficult for me to see animals in fenced area when it is not for preservation or for saving hurt animals.
Mediterranean Fruits & Citrus Gardens of Crete
One the way back up you will see lots of Mediterranean fruit trees and Citrus trees.
I had no idea there was such a large variety. It helps moving forward as it is uphill.
In this section, the trees are a little less dense, and it would be difficult under the Summer sun.
Look at this one, how surprising !
Restaurant of the Botanical Park & Gardens of Crete
The Botanical Park is also becoming famous for its restaurant.
Located at the top of the park, if offers splendid views of the hills, but with a cover from the sun.
The food was original and delicious. They use some of the fruits from the garden.
Proportion were not too big compared to other places in Crete.
When you are ready to pay, they being a hot beverage and a fruit plater both made from fruits from the garden. Miam
Fun things to spot in the Botanical Garden of Crete
A little note on the side. There are a lots of little thing to find as you walk the loop.
Sculpture, rocks, scenes...
You have Snow white and the 6 dwarfs (not sure if it is on purpose or if someone stole the 7th one...)
Below was my favorite item was this duck. Look what has been used for its face!!!!
But I leave you the rest to discover as a surprise...
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