Visiting Crete and Tzatziki Greek Cucumber Yogurt Dip

Appetizers and Snacks, Sauces, travel | 30 comments

As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve been pretty quite around here over the past few weeks. I sure hope you’ve enjoyed all the amazing guest posters who agreed to help me out while I took a little time away from the blog to spend with the family. I can’t wait to try out the delicious recipes they shared!

If curiosity has gotten the best of you, then you’ll surely enjoy this week. Since I couldn’t bring all of you along for the fun ride, I thought I’d share what I was up to while away.

The Island of Crete

Eric is a completely awesome computer nerd. And I mean that is the best possible way. He had the opportunity to attend a computer science conference in Crete, specifically in Heraklion, at the end of May.

sunset in heraklion northern coast of crete

When I first heard mention of the possibility many months back, I made one thing clear: He would not be going alone! And secondly, the kids wouldn’t be coming with us, but that was more for practicality’s sake.

A six and three and a half year old wouldn’t have survived the sprint through JFK to a connecting flight with carry-ons in tow, a 5 hour layover in Athens, a total of 3 connections, or the nearly 24 hours it took us to get to our final destination. I’m not sure I “survived” it, but it was worth it!

crystal clear water in crete

Unfortunately, we didn’t have a whole lot of time to explore the island of Crete. Eric was in conference most of the time, but I did have lots of down time to explore the beach and read by the ocean.

Our evenings epitomized the phrase “long walks on the beach.” I don’t where where everyone went after dinner, but the place was deserted in the evenings. We were easily the only ones on the beach at sunset. It was such a nice relaxing break.

long walks on the beach in crete

The views near where we stayed were stunning! Though I hear the southern beaches of Crete are even more incredible (and less touristy).

One interesting tidbit – Heraklion is filled with Russians on vacation. Everywhere we went, especially on the resort property, we heard Russian. And there were fur shops everywhere! Most everyone also spoke English. I hardly had any need for Greek while visiting beyond the courtesy of saying “good morning” and “thank you.”

Sites to See in Heraklion

During our one free day in Crete we went to the Knossos Minoan Palace, near Heraklion where we stayed, for a little site seeing. Knossos Palace is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on the island of Crete.

It is speculated to have been the ceremonial and political center of the Minoan civilization. The palace appears as a maze of workrooms, living spaces, and store rooms close to a central square.

knossoss palace minoan throne room

The Minoan Palace has been suggested as the source of the Labyrinth myth, an elaborate maze-like structure designed by the legendary craftsman Daedalus for King Minos of Crete.

Legend has it that the Labyrinth once held the Minotaur, a creature that was half man and half bull and was eventually killed by Theseus.

knossoss minoan palace photos

After that we tried to go to the Archeological Museum, but it was under renovations so we were only able to see a small collection of items in a temporary display.

Food in Crete

Feta, Yogurt, Tzatziki, Greek Salad and…Oranges. I didn’t realize that oranges were particularly special in Greece, but I frequently saw oranges trees in the area.

Every morning I enjoyed a large bowl of deliciously thick authentic Greek Yogurt flavored only with honey. It was so pure. The oranges in Crete were some of the sweetest and juiciest I’ve tasted, so I piled slices of them on top of my yogurt.

greek tzatziki

I’ve always loved Greek Salad and I’m pretty sure I ate it at every lunch and dinner, but one of the recipes I was most looking forward to trying at home was Tzatziki. I love this cucumber-y yogurt dip and I can’t believe I’ve never made it before! Tzatziki is great as an appetizer with toasted pita wedges and vegetables for dipping.

I took hundreds of photos on the trip and I’m still going through all of them. If you’d like to see more of them, check out my Greece Photo Collection on Flickr.

Tzatziki - Greek Yogurt and Cucumber Dip

Print Save Recipe


1 1/2 - 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1 English Cucumber, peeled, seeded, and grated
juice of half a lemon
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
1/8 teaspoon pepper, to taste


If you don't have Greek yogurt, or if your Greek yogurt isn't very thick, Line a colander with a double layer of cheesecloth. Then place it over a bowl and strain the yogurt over night.

In a bowl, combine the yogurt, lemon, cucumber, garlic, dill, salt, and pepper. Stir until well combined. Refrigerate until serving.

Serve with toasted pita wedges and/or raw vegetables for dipping or anything else you'd like to dip or top with tzatziki.

Katie Goodman

About the Author:

Katie’s lifelong interest in cooking good food has shown her that part of the goodness in life is enjoying delicious food with friends and family. She is: Mom. Writer. Photographer. Recipe Developer. Website Founder. Lover of all things good in life. A mix of great recipes, family memories, and yummy photography is what Katie serves up each week at GoodLife Eats™. Katie and her family reside in Colorado.

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  • 1
    Suzanna - June 20, 2011 @ 8:50 am

    What a great opportunity for you two!! how was the political atmosphere? Did you feel safe while you were there?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — June 20th, 2011 @ 8:52 AM

      Fortunately we left before all the riots started so we didn’t have to deal with any of that. I felt completely safe!

  • 2
    Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies - June 20, 2011 @ 8:58 am

    Katie, Santorini is on my life list of places I *have* to visit, and now I think Crete is too. I can’t wait to see what you have in store the rest of the week.


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — June 20th, 2011 @ 9:00 AM

      One of Eric’s friends at the conference went to Santorini after the conference was over. I bet it was amazing! Since we had to fly home through Athens we spent a couple of days there on the way back, but I would have loved to go to Santorini.

    • Molly at Duchess of Fork replied: — June 30th, 2011 @ 8:08 PM

      I visited Santorini on my honeymoon and it was gorgeous. To be honest, though, there isn’t much to do. I HIGHLY recommend Mykonos. We loved it!

  • 3
    BarefeetInTheKitchen - June 20, 2011 @ 8:59 am

    What an awesome opportunity! Sounds like you had a fabulous trip.


  • 4
    Shaina - June 20, 2011 @ 9:03 am

    Gorgeous photos, Katie! It looks like a fabulous trip.


  • 5
    Michelle Smiles - June 20, 2011 @ 9:04 am

    Great photos!
    The oranges I ate in Greece were the best I’ve ever had. Yum!


  • 6
    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction - June 20, 2011 @ 9:22 am

    Wow… Those photos are amazing… I want to hop in a plane right now! And, the tzatziki sounds great, too! Glad you had a good trip!


  • 7
    Louisa - June 20, 2011 @ 9:34 am

    Ahh Greece, my home away from home. I’ve never been to Crete (we go to an island on the other side of Greece) but I’ve heard it truly is beautiful, albeit infested with tourists. Glad you had a nice time, in my opinion there isn’t anything better than authentic Greek food!


  • 8
    Barbara - June 20, 2011 @ 9:39 am

    Greece is on my must visit list. What a wonderful opportunity. Is May the perfect time to visit?


  • 9
    Megan {a dash of megnut} - June 20, 2011 @ 9:46 am

    gorgeous photos! and ive been wanting to try tzatziki for a long time. maybe ill give it a try now!


  • 10
    Kristen - June 20, 2011 @ 10:02 am

    So much fun and such gorgeous scenery!


  • 11
    Maria Malaveci - June 20, 2011 @ 10:24 am

    Yes, you must definitely visit Santorini! My absolute favorite island!! Just beautiful


  • 12
    Teresa - June 20, 2011 @ 10:58 am

    Thanks for sharing! Is there anything I could substitute for dill? I absolutely cannot tolerate dill, but this sounds great to serve with fresh vegetables. Thanks!


  • 13
    Deborah - June 20, 2011 @ 11:05 am

    What an awesome trip!! Greece is definitely on my bucket list!


  • 14
    Amanda N - Wine and a Spoon - June 20, 2011 @ 11:32 am

    Good grief, that is gorgeous. Especially the water! I’ve made tzatziki before, but never with dill. I’ll have to try that. I LOVE me some Greek food.


    • Teresa replied: — June 20th, 2011 @ 1:17 PM

      Would you mind sharing your recipe? I am not a fan of dill and would love to make tzatziki.

    • Amanda N - Wine and a Spoon replied: — June 20th, 2011 @ 1:24 PM

      Absolutely! Actually, the one I do was part of Rachael Ray’s My Big Fat Greek Burger, which is to die for. Here’s the tzatziki part:

      One 2-inch length of cucumber–peeled, trimmed and coarsely chopped
      1 garlic clove, crushed
      1 cup plain yogurt, preferably Greek
      1 tsp dried oregano
      Juice of 1/2 of a lemon

      Place the chopped cucumber in a food processor with the crushed garlic, yogurt, the oregano and the lemon juice. Add a little salt and process until smooth.

  • 15
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen - June 20, 2011 @ 7:02 pm

    I love the beach at night, it’s such a relaxing place to be. I’ve always wanted to visit Greece, it looks like such a beautiful place. Glad that you both had a great time.


  • 16
    Allison - June 20, 2011 @ 9:26 pm

    Your photos are incredible! You have me missing Greece so much. I think I must try this recipe to make me feel better.


  • 17
    Lisa - June 21, 2011 @ 5:29 am

    Greece is on my world destinations list that I hope to complete someday. Thanks for sharing your photos! Isolated evenings on the beach sound much better than tourist activities! So glad you had a wonderful time!


  • 18
    TidyMom - June 21, 2011 @ 6:04 am

    Looks like a beautiful visit!!

    and that recipe totally looks like something my family would enjoy!!


  • 19
    Aimee @ Simple Bites - June 21, 2011 @ 7:01 am

    Welcome Baaack! Looks like a fantastic time. =)


  • 20
    Lisa - June 21, 2011 @ 7:25 am

    Welcome back! I always wanted to go on a vacation to Greece! Thanks for sharing your vaca with all of us.
    The tzatziki sauce looks fantastic! I like to add a bit of fresh shredded beets to my home made sauce to give it a pretty pink color.


  • 21
    Wenderly - June 22, 2011 @ 6:27 am

    OPA! Welcome back! My Yanni’s family is from Crete and that’s where we spent most of the summer on our honeymoon! Looks like you had a fabulous time! Just gorgeous Katie!


  • 22
    Aleksandra - June 23, 2011 @ 3:55 am

    Hello from Greece!

    I was born and raised in Hrakleio,Crete although for the last few years I live in Thessaloniki.
    Greece is a small country,but at the same time beautiful,full of sun,friendly people and tasty food!Most of us speak English,because of the tourists.

    I have once visited the States too and had a great time!My aunt lives in Atlantic City,so I spent a month there with my sister.

    Your recipe is exactly as tzatziki should be.We do not put oragano in it.Just dill.

    Lots of kisses!Hope you visit us again!


  • 23
    Jamie | My Baking Addiction - June 25, 2011 @ 3:12 pm

    Wow, what gorgeous photos! The tzatziki looks amazing as well.


  • 24
    Noni - July 20, 2011 @ 2:49 am

    The tzatziki was fantastic! Made this recipe for my falafel, and it was so easy and delicious I’m definitely gonna make it again. Thank you :)


  • 25
    Marie - July 24, 2011 @ 6:30 pm

    I made the tzatziki this weekend and it was amazing. It smells so fresh and tastes delicious. Thank you!


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