Crete is Greece’s largest island and seems more like a small country than an island. It has remarkable history which is evident from the ruins of the Minoan palace of Knossos to the Venetian fortresses of Rethymo. There’s mosques and Byzantine monasteries to the cave that is the legendary birthplace of Zeus.
Crete has natural beauty and diverse landscape. There are spectacular mountain ranges dotted with caves sliced by dramatic gorges that reach out to sea. The east of Crete boasts Europe’s only palm tree forest beach and the south has some of the most stunning and beautiful sandy beaches.
Things to do
Crete is so deep in history that there is plenty of sightseeing to do around the island. Favourite tourist spots include seeing the ruins of the ancient Minoan civilization in Knossos, Phaistos and the Archaelogical Museum of Heraklion. If ruins are not your thing, the southern coast of Rethimnon prefecture is worth a visit. There are some beautiful beaches, many accessible only on foot.
Whilst in Crete, no doubt you’ll hear some traditional Cretian music. A three stringed fiddle called a Lýra is the dominant folk instrument on the island. Zorba the Greek increased tourists’ appreciation of traditional Crete music.
A popular sight in Crete is the kiosk. In towns you can find them on many street corners and every larger village will have one as well. They sell cigarettes, drinks, sweets and snacks, toiletry items amongst other things.
In the towns of Heraklion, Rethymno, Chania and Agios Nikolaos and in all the big towns of the island and in many picturesque mountainous villages visitors will find a wide range of shops selling local products such as Cretan honey, the famous Cretan wines and the tasty local cheeses.
There are shops that sell leather goods of high quality, copper, bronze, terracotta and wooden items. There are local embroideries and hand wooden articles can also be found in various shops. The choice is endless in whatever material you want it.
There are two types of tourist in Crete; the one who wants to relax and detox, and the other who wants to know where all the parties are. Crete nightlife is a busy affair and all four of the main resort areas have their fair share of popular nightspots. There are tavernas, bars, nightclubs, lounges and discos comprise the main attractions. Cretan nightlife is casual and a place to seriously unwind.
The prefecture of Heraklion proposes a varied and lively night life which is particularly intense in the capital of the prefecture, Heraklion Town. There are modern bars with all kinds of atmosphere and music as well as night clubs which are open until dawn.
Crete is famous for its tasty and healthy cuisines. The Cretan diet is very nutritious and great for detoxing on holiday. Main food delights include local Cretan cheeses, tender meats, salad and vegetable side dishes, soups and even snails, to tantalise your tastebuds.
People in Crete tend to eat out late, after 10pm or 11pm and often in a social group. Dinner can be eaten in a good tavern, a small local restaurant offering the local cuisine. Fresh fish becomes more and more rare, and is quite expensive as it is priced by its weight. Always ask your waiter to show you the fish and weight before you order. All food is cooked up fresh and overall a very enjoyable experience.