What is the cost of living in Crete and what is the weather like – it was so hard to leave!

When I wrote last year that we left the island because, as mainlanders, the island felt stifling, this time it was completely different! We couldn’t leave!
Written on 31.03.2024

I don’t want to pack! I don’t want to no longer be able to buy fresh bread from the local bakery in the mornings! I don’t want to know that I can’t chat with the smiling vendors at the market and grab fresh avocados, artichokes, and oranges anymore! This time we’ve settled in so well that it’s very hard to leave. But we will definitely come back! We have found our lovely spot here under the sun where we can make our winter nest.

We reflected on why our feelings were different last year and why we wanted to leave the island in the end. It wasn’t actually about being surrounded by the sea, but rather about being in the apartment. We rented a fairly spacious apartment back then, but it just wasn’t the same. This year we found a house and life is completely different. You can light a fire in the fireplace, the doors are wide open, and the kids run in and out, they can play and be in their yard. Last year we took the trip more as an exploration and wandering, but this time we consciously came to live and boost our health.

Speaking of health, we have encountered a strange phenomenon this time. We have no cravings for anything! We need to eat something, but choosing what to eat is quite catastrophic. Nothing appeals to us anymore. We’ve had plenty of fresh produce, seafood, fish, and meat here. We think our vitamin reserves are so full now that maybe that’s why nothing appeals to us anymore. I’ve never felt like this in my life.

And there’s another strange topic. It’s as if our senses have opened up or our hearts have opened here. We experience, perceive, and feel the world in a different way. It’s very difficult to explain, but something in all of us has changed tremendously. Some insights have emerged, and our perspective on life and people has undoubtedly changed.

I totally love the simplicity here and the lack of attention to little things. How incredibly complicated we can sometimes make everything in the north. Do we really need to follow all the rules to the letter?

What are we taking with us this time? Undoubtedly, a changed mindset and we will try to apply this simple life phenomenon to everyday life in Estonia. We will try to be more smiling and friendly in Estonia too – we first and maybe some northerner will reflect it backBut we have also learned that you can be friendly, but maybe you shouldn’t be too quick to welcome new people into your life. In this respect, we might have been too open before and here we take an example from the Greeks.

Let’s talk about the weather too, as is customary. Winter in Crete is warmer than on the mainland of Greece. Even in Crete, the climate in the western part, where the higher mountains are and there is plenty of snow in the mountains (yep, you can ski and snowboard here in winter), is wetter and cooler than in the eastern part, where we have found our cozy village. It also depends on the altitude where you are. This year, the roads were snowy even at 400 meters altitude, but down by the sea, the minimum temperature at night was probably +8 degrees. November is still full summer by our northern standards, and the sea is warm. Even on Christmas Eve, it was +23 during the day, and we were at the beach.

January and February are probably the worst months, with occasional storms and rain. In November and December, the sea water was still quite warm for us, but it cooled down to about 16-17 degrees in January after the storms. In the constant sunshine, it’s quite nice to sit by the fireplace and enjoy the cooler weather. During this period, the daytime temperature is mostly +16 to +18 degrees, but again, it’s very warm in the sun. Often, even in the Cretan winter, the thermometer tends to rise above +20 degrees during the day. In any case, we really like and enjoy this “winter” here. If the weather is bad, you know it won’t last long. At most, it storms for a couple of days. Long pants and a softshell jacket are the maximum you need here. In the evening, when sitting outside, you just wrap a blanket around yourself.

One big bonus, of course, is that life is a bit cheaper than in Estonia and the food is fresh! During the winter period, you can rent an apartment for two people starting from 300 euros. On average, an apartment costs 400-500 euros, and houses start from 700 mostly. The price of diesel in winter was mostly around 1.5 to 1.6 euros, so quite similar to back home in Estonia.

We will talk about food, recipes, and prices in the next post.

Our villa (it seems all houses are called villas by the Greeks) costs 750 euros per month, and it is considered quite large with a big yard by Greek standards. (You can find a video on my FB.) We don’t have any additional utility costs – internet, TV, hot water, electricity, and heating are already included in the price. In Estonia, we wouldn’t be able to manage our households in winter with this amount of money. We don’t splurge much in the summer so that we can come back here in the winter. We lock up our home and workplace, turn off the water, and adjö!

Before taking any long-term rental, it’s worth getting to know the situation a bit. For example, we found an incredibly cool two-story real villa with a pool at a super affordable price. We went to see it and realized that, first of all, the road to the house was too steep – we would have lost our clutch, and it could have ended very sadly. Just going there once made the bus wheels scrape on the turn because the asphalt here is very slippery. In the rain, we probably wouldn’t have been able to get up.

Secondly, it was quite high up, which would have meant a colder environment and even snow. Thirdly, the balcony railings were so low that we would have had to constantly watch the kids to ensure no one climbed anywhere. Fourthly, the yard was unbounded and sloped, so if someone fell and started rolling, they would have fallen quite a few meters over the yard boundary onto the asphalt below. In a mountainous area, there are many nuances that you initially don’t consider as a flatlander. We were quite enchanted by this property before arriving, but as I said, our senses have opened here. The previous night, I dreamed of Elistin, who was hanging onto the handrail above the corridor stairs. It was quite a horror but gave me a bigger warning of what to watch for and keep in mind. Both Tulijo and I had such interesting and strange dreams with messages.

The downside is that the houses here are not insulated in any way. The wind howls in through the doors and windows, so next time we’ll bring the seals ourselves

The stone floors are cold, and the locals themselves walk around the rooms in shoes. We bought slippers and a bunch of rugs to make the place cozier. These might be the cons you have to consider here.

We are so happy and grateful that we were able to spend the winter here and pleasantly boost our mental and physical health. Yes, the Estonian winter is also nice at times, but with three small children, I would still choose something simpler if possible. Life is all about choices, and I haven’t heard of medals being awarded anywhere for suffering?

If you now have any questions about wintering in Crete and other living conditions, leave them on Facebook, and I will gladly answer 😊

You can download a more positive mindset here: https://wonderfullife.motospirit.ee