Wild natural beauty and thousands of years of culture, history and exquisite cuisine.
On Crete, you’ll find some of the most significant attractions in Greece: famous archaeological sites such as the Minoan palaces of Knossos, Phaistos, Malia and Kato Zakros. You’ll also visit important monasteries, some built in the 15th century or even earlier, including Preveli monastery in southern Rethymno, the monasteries in southern Heraklion and the historic Arkadi and Toplous monasteries.
Here you’ll eat to your heart’s content, whether enjoying gourmet gastronomy, or simply a homemade rusk salad with sea salt, extra-virgin olive oil, raw artichokes and cheese. Discover the secrets of a Cretan diet – the best example of the Mediterranean diet, long been considered, internationally, as the healthiest.
1. Chania: The old town of Chania with its world-renowned Venetian lighthouse, the aristocratic suburb of Halepa, the Tabakaria (centre for leather production), the Neoria (arsenal) and Kum Kapi, teeming with bars, cafes, restaurants and elegant hotels.
2. Rethymno: Discover the old town of Rethymno, a gem of a settlement on the island, with its Venetian buildings, mosques, minarets, fountains and cobblestone alleys lined with shops, cafes, bars and hotels. Explore Idaio Antro – one of the most important caves of Minoan worship.
3. Heraklion: The Venetian port of Heraklion, a lively city filled with sights, museums, restaurants, bars and hotels. Walk along the walls of the old city, and Morosini (Leondaria) Square, surrounded by important buildings; the Loggia (City Hall), Agios Titos and Armeria (armory).
4. Ierapetra: The old town with its narrow alleyways, little harbour and famous Fortress of Kales is one of the most significant sights in Crete.
5. Agios Nikolaos: A cosmopolitan summer resort, with the mystical allure of Lake Vouliagmeni (which, legend has it, is bottomless), with numerous cafes and restaurants dotted around its shores.
6. Sitia: The historic Kazarma fortress (Casa di arma) and its animated waterfront, lined with cafes, shops and restaurants, should be on your list of destinations to visit in Crete.
7. Elounda: A cosmopolitan paradise of sophisticated resorts and hotels, with private beaches, pools and piers. It has the highest concentration of Greece’s five-star resorts and is the top destination for a luxurious holiday.
8. Lassithi: Visit the palm forest at Vai but make sure you also find time for the caves of Diktean Antro and Milatos, the island fortress of Spinalonga and the Lassithi Plateau.
9. Mount Ida (Psiloritis): The highest mountain in Crete. Ambitious hikers will climb to the top and be rewarded with an unforgettable view.