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.