Crete was home to Europe’s earliest civilisation, the Minoans, and the legendary birthplace of Zeus. That’s quite a claim to fame but not content to just be historically interesting, the island also has a wealth of natural beauty and some of the country’s best beaches.
The island was under the rule of the Romans, Venetians, Byzantines and Turks and its towns and cities have their fair share of architectural gems. It’s well worth wandering through the backstreet of Chania and along its pretty Venetian harbour, as well as exploring the medieval town of Rethymno with its impressive fortress.
Relive the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur at the palace complex at Knossos, capital of Minoan Crete, and delve further into the county’s fascinating history at the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion with exhibits spanning an impressive 5,5000 years.
As well as its rich cultural offerings, Crete is a naturally beautiful island. Explore the eastern region of Lasithi with its forests and vast plateau dotted with windmills. The Samaria Gorge at 16km is thought to be the longest in Europe and is buried deep within the White Mountains, so called because of the sun reflected on the limestone and the dusting of snow in winter.
No introduction to Crete would be complete without mentioning its beaches. Let yourself be seduced by the sparkling turquoise waters, the swathes of white sand and the secluded coves that are begging to be explored.
The largest island in Greece has a very distinctive local atmosphere. Influenced by a variety of cultures, you can still find the remains of Bronze Age settlements or the Venetian and Ottoman empires. There are also beautiful hidden bays and beaches, as well as undiscovered local villages that make this island so unique.
What to do
- Stroll along the Venetian harbour in Chania
- Explore the medieval town of Rethymno
- Discover over 5,500 years of history at the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion
- Hop from beach to beach, including stunning Elafonisi and inviting Balos Lagoon
- Marvel at the ruins of the Minoean Crete capital, Knossos
- Go for a hike in breathtaking Samaria Gorge
When to go
The climate on Crete is quite suitable for most of the year, with the temperature and sunlight hours increasing gradually from March through to August. The main tourist period runs from April to mid-October, but our favourite times to visit Crete are in late spring or early summer, as well as in autumn when the weather is not too hot and the main tourist crowds have departed.
Itineraries including Crete
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Accommodation in Crete
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