While sun, sea and sand will be three big reasons for scouring the market for holiday villas in Crete, there is also much more to the island than the beach. Cultural attractions include some very interesting villages and historical sites which can help visitors and permanent residents get to know the story of the island. In this blog, we present our top three historical attractions in Crete:
1. Palace of Knossos
An important site for the Bronze Age Minoan culture, the Palace of Knossos is said to be the home of King Minos. It is a highly impressive residence which is built around a huge courtyard. The palace was abandoned over 3,000 years ago, possibly due to an earthquake, but there are still plenty of remains to see. The courtyard itself has an interesting history, having been a venue for ‘bull leaping’, in which participants run towards a bull and somersault over the animal after grabbing it by the horns.
2. Heraklion Archaeological Museum
This museum is situated in the capital of the island and offers no less than 23 halls which house archaeological discoveries from all over the island. You can feast your eyes on intriguing artefacts from the Roman, prehistoric and Bronze age eras. Among the star attractions are watercolour paintings of the Minoan people, which depict young men and women. The museum has recently undergone a renovation to bring it up to speed with historical attractions across the world.
3. Rethymnon Old Town
Wherever you are situated on the island, Rethymnon Old Town offers a great day out. It is constructed of mainly Venetian-era buildings, as well as some areas which include evidence of 200 years of Turkish rule in Crete. If you choose to stay overnight, you might find that your hotel itself is a historic building, and there is no shortage of inviting tavernas to visit in the evening hours. The Samaria Gorge national park and Mount Psiloritis are not far at all, making Rethymnon Old Town a savvy choice of base for visiting these attractions.