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Crete: more than just another Greek island

Crete: more than just another Greek island

Crete feels like more than just another of the Greek islands. It gives the impression of being a little country in its own right. But it's really the largest of the Greek islands, and arguably its most diverse and fascinating, with a remarkable history and a dynamic capital that is the fifth largest city in the whole of Greece.It is located in the southern part of the Aegean Sea separating the Aegean from the Libyan Sea.


Crete is a favorite Greek Island that hosts nearly a quarter of Greece’s tourists. It's interior has a rural charm and famous archaeological sites, while the coast offers towns with fabulous seafood and, caves of historic significance including the famous one where Zeus, the king of the gods, is said to have been born.There is no best time to visit Crete; it depends on what you seek. In January to March the weather can be cold and rainy, but it is also the time when flowers start to grow, with almond trees blossoming in January, anemones are plentiful and the citrus trees are full of fruit. April is the time of the Greek Easter, the most important feast of the Cretan year. In May and June the good weather is almost guaranteed. July and August is the high season when the weather is very hot. In September and October the sea is still really warm. November and December are quiet but the chances of good weather are high and it's still possible to swim.


Visit and explore

Visit Knossos, the largest of the preserved Minoan palaces, which mark Crete as the center of Europe's earliest civilizations. Allow a good six hours to walk the 16km Samaria Gorge, one of Europe's longest. Take a look at Heraklion Archaeological Museum, whose exhibits cover 5,000 years from the Neolithic era to the Graeco Roman period. Explore the impressive Dikteon Cave (Cave of Psychro), the legendary birthplace of Zeus. It sits at a height of 1025m, west of the village of Psychro, on the side of a mountain above the beautiful plateau of Lassithi. The cave's narrow entrance is accessed by a steep path, 20 minutes climb. Once inside follow the steep 60m descent to reach an underground pool and chambers with impressive stalactites and stalagmites.


Stay and eat : To stay choose one of the following depending on your budget:

Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas, Agios Nikolaos, Crete, Greece £££

Most rooms, suites and villas have private heated pools with views of the Mediterranean. There is a selection of restaurants and bars including a beachfront Greek taverna, a gourmet venue, an international food bazaar, and a wet bar where you can enjoy a cocktail in the swimming pool.Domes of Elounda Boutique Beach Resort, Tsifliki, Elounda, Crete 72053, Greece ££

The ruined fortress on the abandoned island of Spinalonga is visible from most of the hotel’s private terraces. Inside, the white and Aegean-blue colors are crisp and clean, lending an airy quality to the spacious rooms. Wooden furniture is hand carved to contrast with otherwise cool modernism. Private jacuzzi s or plunge pools are standard. For families or larger groups, eight villas offer apartment-style luxury, complete with fully fitted kitchens and private spaces overlooking the bay.

Vasia Hotel and Spa, Sissi, Crete 72400, Greece £
Very popular with families this hotel boasts seven pools, four restaurants and a kids' club. All the attractions of Sissi are a short walk away. There is a spa and nightclub.


There are many restaurants but the following stand out:

Kipos Tis Arkoudenas, Episkopi, Crete, Greece, is a hip Cretan house and garden with innovative dishes and friendly relaxed atmosphere that George Vranakis inherited from his grandfather, renovated and turned into a traditional Cretan tavern serving traditional recipes from the surrounding area Kapetan Dimitris, Sea Front, Paleochora, Crete 73001 is one of the oldest restaurants in Paleochora, dating back to 1991. Dimitrios Michelarakis strives to bring together the past with the present, by using some of the oldest and most traditional recipes with a new modern twist.


If you have time to go further afield, Captain Nick's Aphrodite Glass Bottom Boat in the Harbor, Chania Town, Crete 73100 offers mini-cruises or two island tours with free snorkeling equipment both for adults and for children. The vessel has a glass bottom so everyone can join in the fun. 

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