Crete is the largest of the Greek Islands, and it’s often said that it could easily be its own country. Although this remark probably has less to do with its physical size and more to do with the island’s bewitching people, rich, captivating way of life and a distinct feeling that there simply can’t be anywhere else in the world quite like it.
The island is steeped in ancient history and mythology. According to Greek mythology, the island is the birthplace of Zeus, Artemis and Apollo, and the scene of world-changing battles and love stories. The island’s history is every bit as fascinating, and you can visit the most extraordinary sites, including palaces, tombs and sacred sites remnant from the sophisticated Minoan civilization that existed here some 4500 years ago. The ancient Palace of Knossos, the ruins of Phaistos and a host of sites from the more recent Roman Empire are at your fingertips. Visit the museums, churches and ruins and get in touch with the soul of the island.
Crete offers a veritable smorgasbord of activities, largely thanks to its varied landscape. The ocean, mountains, valleys, hills, rivers, forests and caves provide opportunities for exploring on foot, by bicycle, horseback, 4x4, boat and more. Play a round of golf at one of Europe’s most beautiful courses, or feed your inner adrenaline junkie with a parachute jump, paragliding or bungee jumping.
Being located in the south of the stunning, warm Aegean Sea, water-based activities are also aplenty and visitors will be spoiled for choice with sailing, sea kayaking, jet skiing, wind surfing and scuba diving in the perpetually tepid Mediterranean waters.
The island has over 80 beaches, ranging from small secluded stone beaches to endless ribbons of glistening white or pink sand. Most beaches have beach bars or nearby cafés where you can enjoy a drink or some food. But wherever you are on the island, you won’t be far from a beautiful beach.
Crete is also famous for its cuisine. And since it’s some of the healthiest in the world, you don’t have to worry about saying no to seconds! Fresh, colourful seasonal fruits and vegetables are grown on the island, and the seafood couldn’t possibly get fresher. Locally-produced olive oil, honey, yoghurt and cheeses are available across the island, and needless to say, Crete’s restaurateurs are in their element. Dinner is an important event here, and we recommend following the local’s example. Invite the family and friends, order some of the island’s delicious locally-made wine and settle in for a long evening of talking and eating – and raki, lots of raki.
The thing that sets Crete so distinctly apart from other destinations though is the people. Proud and true to their heritage and way of life, they’re some of the happiest and most welcoming people you’ll ever meet. Spirited and soulful, they make a visit to the island truly unforgettable.
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