Charm and Beauty in Crete
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If you’re craving some serious sunshine, sand and sea, stop delaying and begin packing your swimsuits and flip flops for a fun-filled adventure in Crete. Crete is the largest and most southern of the Greek islands and is a popular holiday destination for British holidaymakers. This fascinating island offers beautiful sandy beaches and pebble coves that will fill cameras with postcard-worthy photos from your Crete holidays.
If you wouldn’t exactly class yourself as a beach bum, don’t fret. The stunning island of Crete can offer so much more than a beach holiday. Brimming with majestic mountains, gorges to hike, plains to see and curving coastlines to drive- there’s a plethora of things to do in Crete to get your teeth into. That’s not to mention the 5,000-plus years of history, culture, and delicious mezzes on hand, all rewarding experiences of holidays to Crete.
Things to do in Crete
Visit Crete and marvel at the rich history the island has to offer. Enjoy the wealth of cultural and historical sites or go for a drive through one of the traditional coastal Greek Island towns. Take a step back in time and marvel at local artefacts in the many museums that are dotted across the island, discover paradise for yourself around Crete’s coastlines or simply marvel at the realm of food, nightlife and natural beauty on offer. Crete is the ultimate destination in Greece for those who want to sample Greek history in picturesque surroundings.
Wine and Dine
When it comes to food and drink you will be spoilt for choice in Crete. Try some traditional Greek meatballs at Ta Dyo Rou, found in Rethymnon. Or, if you want to taste the very best in Greek seafood, you can sample some squid at Karnagio, which is located in Heraklion. For those who enjoy simple, rustic food, Ifigeneia is an ideal eatery. With dishes made using traditional techniques and only the freshest local ingredients, it triumphs in both taste and style. Situated in Plakias, this vegetarian restaurant offers authentic country-style dishes. For those who want to enjoy a drink or two, Malia is full of bars and nightclubs where visitors can let their hair down and enjoy the local drink of choice, Ouzo.
Action and Adventure
Crete attractions are ideal for lovers of the outdoors, and the Samaria Gorge National Park in particular is a must-see. It is one of the longest gorges in Europe and is located in the magnificent White Mountains, at an altitude of 1250km! The White Mountains themselves are an ideal area for hiking and canyoning, as well as plenty of majestic peaks that make ideal photo opportunities. Wildlife lovers will find plenty of things to do in Crete. Take to the peaks on foot and keep your eyes peeled for birds of prey, including the elusive Golden Eagle. Crete’s rich and diverse geography means there are plenty of activities and thrill seeking opportunities for adventure lovers to choose from.
Family Fun and Couples’ Holidays
The range of things to do in Crete makes it a fantastic choice for adventurous couples who want an adrenalin-packed holiday to remember. There are many adventure excursions available for thrill-seeking couples, while the scenic White Mountains are a popular destination for those who want to experience the great Greek outdoors. For families, the Acqua Park Plus in Hersonissos is full of flumes, chutes and pools for all the family to enjoy. Considered Crete’s best waterpark, the popular spot and has a huge choice slides and water features to choose from. The water park ensures a full day of fun for children and adults alike.
The range of things to do in Crete during the evenings is vast. Local hotspot Malia is a stomping ground for those who want to party and let their hair down. Widely considered one of Europe’s biggest party destinations, the town regularly draws in party-loving tourists from Europe and the rest of the globe. The Candy Club is one of Malia’s most famous hotspots and is renowned for its sound system and light shows. For cocktails, Babylon is the place to go, with extensive carefully crafted cocktails and some of the best DJs Crete has to offer, this is a popular choice for those hitting the town. For dance music lovers, Factory Night Club plays a mixture of house music, old school and retro classics. For those who want to chill out and enjoy a little piece of home, the White Lion Pub in Hersonissos sells traditional English ales and offers a more laidback vibe.
The Heraklion Archaeological Museum is home to some of ancient Greece’s oldest artefacts. With fascinating items on offer from the Minoan civilisation, including art, sculptures, pottery and mural designs, there’s plenty to marvel at. These artefacts date back to the time of the mythical King Minos, who stories say was the ruler of the island and son of Zeus and Europa. The Knossos Palace ruins are another must see for those who enjoy ancient culture and are evidence of Greece’s ancient civilisation, which existed around the same time as the Ancient Egyptians. Discovered in the early 1900s, the ruins are impressive and give a modern day insight into the Minoan civilisation and its rich history.
Kick Back in Crete
If you’re after a party experience, you should flock to the bustling resorts of Malia or Hersonissos, while those after peace and quiet should seek out secluded Greek villas in Elounda or a village full of welcoming Greeks - there’s a place for everyone during Crete holidays.
To stay in tune with the typical lures of an island of Greece, you will want to spend some time relaxing on the beaches. The north is home to an array of sandy stretches and the meltemia – northern summer winds - provide ample opportunity for windsurfing and wakeboarding on the fabulous ocean waters. Those that want to get beneath the water should head to the southern coast for warmer waters and the frequently-rocky beaches of the Libyan Sea for phenomenal snorkelling and diving. Traditionally the cleanest beaches around the island are the Blue Flag beaches like Platanias or Amoudara, near Aghios Nikolaos, proving great locations for families to splash around in.
Always an adventure
From the breath-taking beaches of Elafonissi in the west, to the stunning waves and palm trees of Vai in the east, Crete holidays offer more than enough beaches for a perfect Greek beach hop. The island is also full of beautiful Venetian towns and picturesque villages like Sissi, and an equal proportion of stunning, winding roads that lead you to unexpected ancient sites or traditional tavernas full of delicious, authentic food.
The city of Chania and its harbour look magical in the evening light, and the lighthouse at sunset provides a romantic feeling that couples won’t shake. The capital of Heraklion is full of winding cobblestone streets that will keep shoppers occupied for days, while Siteia, a quieter option, is worth the drive for its sandy stretch of beach that lasts for kilometres and its archaeological sites situated in the surrounding hills.
For something livelier, descend on the resorts of Stalis and take your pick from the tavernas, modern restaurants, pubs and clubs that line their streets. From a quiet evening in a traditional restaurant to dancing all night in one of the clubs, whatever you decide, holidays to Crete continue long into the night.