One worry that people have about island holidays is that, after a week or so, they will run out of things to do because of the size of the island. With Crete, this will never happen. As Greece’s biggest island, with 3,200 square miles to explore, there’s no way you’ll run out of activities and places to visit. From ancient Minoan ruins to Land Rover Safari trips, this island has something to offer everyone, and you can easily have action packed holidays in Crete as a result. Below we list the five things you shouldn’t miss.
1) Samarian Gorge
Don’t miss the chance to walk Europe’s longest gorge. This dramatic and beautiful pathway through the White Mountains is covered with flora and fauna. Although temperatures during summer can reach 35°C, most people of any fitness can complete the gorge walk if they have sturdy shoes and water. The walk is approximately 18km and finishes at the Libyan sea. You can catch buses from Chania to the start of the gorge at Omalos.
2) Knossos Palace
The palace of Knossos is located a few kilometres outside of Heraklion and is easily reachable by coach. This is the largest ruined palace in Crete, and is thought to be the centre of the Minoan civilisation. There were once over 1200 rooms in this palace, and according to legend this was the place where King Minos kept the Minotaur. The palace is popular with British tourists as it was discovered by British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans.
3) Chania City
Chania is Crete’s second largest city and was the capital for some time in the 19th century. The most beautiful part of Chania is the Venetian Harbour; which has plenty of elegant old buildings, cobbled streets and good restaurants. Visit the Archaeological museum on Halidon Street or the Maritime Museum situated in a corner of the harbour. It is also possible to catch boat rides from the harbour and go snorkelling.
4) Rethymno’s Venetian Fortress
Rethymno is worth a visit because it is a town of such contrasts: it has a modern section with shops, but also an old port, some ancient winding streets and a 16th century Venetian fortress. The fortress is thought to be one of the biggest ever built, but despite its impressive size it collapsed under siege when the Turks invaded Crete. Rethymno also has an Archaeological Museum, a Folk Art Museum, and some smart restaurants.
5) Dikteon Cave
The impressive Dikteon Cave is situated on the Lassithi plateau which is in the Eastern province of Crete. The cave, which is said to be the birthplace of Zeus, is situated west of the village of Psychro on the side of a mountain. The cave is accessed by a 20 minute climb to the narrow entrance of the cave. This impressive 2000 square foot cave contains an underground lake, several chambers and many stalagmites and stalactites.
Crete is an incredible place to spend an interesting holiday, as it is steeped in history and its own culture. Although there is plenty to see and do, make sure you strike a balance between adventure and relaxation. Our beautiful Cretan villas will give you a peaceful place to retire and unwind at the end of an exciting day.