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In summer, several small excursion ships offer 1- to 5-hour trips to the waters and islets off Chania. These trips depart from the old and new harbors and include stops for swimming at one or another of the islets; some provide free snorkeling gear. On the glass-bottomed Evangelos and Aphrodite, you can see underwater life. The cost ranges from 10€ to 25€ adults; free for children 11 and under. Those more curious about the terrestrial environment might want to take an informative walk through Old Chania with Dr. Alexandra Ariotti, a local archaeologist. She can be contacted via e-mail at alex@chania-oldtown-walks.gr. The cost is 25€ and lower, depending on the number who go along. Diktynna Travel Agency (www.diktynna-travel.gr) sponsors a day at a farm outside Chania where you get lessons in cooking Cretan specialties, participate in cheese, wine, and olive tastings, and cap the day with a meal. And for those few who are looking for an adrenaline rush, there is now what is said to be the highest bungee-jumping site from a bridge in Europe at the Aradaina bridge, down near the south coast, just west of Khora Sfakion.

The Botanical Park

It's rare to be able to come up with something new, different, and engaging after years of seeking out places of interest on Crete, but here is just such a place: Cretan brothers, having lost their olive grove to a forest fire in 2003, converted their mountain slopes into a botanical garden, with hundreds of species of trees, bushes, herbs, and flowers from all over the world. One walks along groomed paths up and down the slopes with most of the plants identified (in Greek and English) and their distinctive characteristics and uses (many are medicinal) described. There's a small collection of animals at the base -- including Crete's famous wild goat. At a leisurely pace it can take 2 to 2 1/2 hours; with shortcuts it can be done in half that time. The final ascent can be demanding but at the end you get to eat a meal prepared from local ingredients while sitting on the restaurant terrace and enjoying the spectacular view. The garden is about 19km (12 miles) southwest of Chania, just beyond the town of Fournes. Open April to October every day, 8am to 8:30pm. Admission is 4€ and includes a bottle of water and the use of a walking stick if desired. Children 12 and under enter free. See www.botanical-park.gr for more details.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.