According to Ablogtophone, Crete is the largest island in Greece and also the most visited holiday destination in the country. Millions of tourists go on holiday to Crete every year, which, in addition to a pleasant Mediterranean climate and beautiful beaches, also has a lot of culture and nature to offer. To really get to know Crete you even need several vacations, because the island is too big to fully explore within two or three weeks. Crete has dozens of seaside resorts that vary from busy tourist strongholds to beautiful fishing villages where you can find some small-scale accommodations. For nature lovers, Crete has vast valleys full of olive trees, impressive gorges in which you feel very small and a varied flora and fauna. Because the sun shines exuberantly in the summer months, Crete is mainly a sun destination.
Top 10 Crete Attractions
In Minoan times, Knossos was probably the capital of Crete. Excavations at Knossos have been invaluable to contemporary knowledge of Minoan civilization. Today Knossos is one of the most booked excursions on Crete, daily thousands of tourists visit the excavations of Knossos with the palace being the main attraction. Part of the palace has been rebuilt. Some of the finds at Knossos can be admired in the archaeological museum in Heraklion.
#2. Samaría Gorge
Southwest Crete has about fifty gorges, of which the Samaria gorge and the Imbros gorge are the most famous. The hike through the gorge has a length of about 16 kilometers and takes an average of four to six hours. You then walk from the Omalos plateau to the coastal town of Agia Roumeli. During the hike that takes you through the Iron Gate (the narrowest part of the gorge) you descend a total of about 1250 meters. A good condition and sturdy walking shoes are recommended for the brisk walk.
In the first half of the last century, the leper island of Kalidonia (Spinalonga) was a place of exile where all leprosy patients in Greece lived isolated from the outside world. Today, the Venetian fortress on the island is a major tourist attraction. You can reach Spinalonga by boat from Plaka, Elounda and Agios Nikolaos. Allow about an hour to visit Spinalonga. With a guide, a visit usually takes a little longer.
#4. Archaeological Museum of Heraklion
The Iraklio Archaeological Museum is the most important museum of Crete. This museum, which dates back to the year 1883, currently has the most beautiful collection of Minoan art. The museum also gives a good impression of life on Crete during other periods in the island’s history. In the museum you can admire, among other things, the mysterious Phaistos disk.
The town of Vai is located in the northeast of Crete. Vai is known for its unique palm grove. The Cretan date palm is the last remnant of the many natural palm forests that used to be on the island of Crete. Now it is a popular day trip among tourists who come to sunbathe, swim, waterski and dive on its sandy beach. The protected nature reserve has no accommodation options. There are, however, two tavernas where you can drink and eat something.
#6. Lassithi Plateau
At about eight hundred meters above sea level lies the Lassithi Plateau: a plateau with an area of about twenty-five square kilometers that is partly surrounded by the Dikti Mountains. On the plateau you will find the cave of Zeus, where according to legend this supreme god from Greek mythology was born. On the plain you will also see a large number of typical windmills as you often find them in photos about Crete and Greece.
The Venetian fortress Frangokastello (‘castle of the Franks’) is nowadays a romantic castle ruins with a quiet place with small-scale accommodations and a wide sandy beach.
#8. Starbeach Water
Park Reviled by culture buffs, but very popular among young people, the Starbeach water park is located in Hersonissos. In addition to lots of water fun (slides, playground equipment and water fun on the water), Starbeach is also a meeting place for young people where they can party. Popular are the foam parties that are held daily in Starbeach.
#9. Arkádi Monastery
The Arkadi Monastery is centrally located on the island of Crete. During the independence struggle between the Cretans and the Turks, this monastery played an important role, which is why the locals now regard this building as an important monument and tourist attraction. The museum at the monastery shows many icons and portraits of freedom fighters.
The old town of Chania with the associated Venetian harbor is one of the most atmospheric places on the island of Crete. In Chania you will find the longest harbor promenade of Crete, countless narrow streets and beautiful Venetian houses. Chania also has a large number of excellent restaurants and tavernas. Of all the places on Crete, Chania is also the most suitable for shopping enthusiasts. In the shops you can buy plenty of local products such as carpets, leather products and handmade knives. If you want to buy fresh fish or fruit, you should take a look at the market hall (Dimotikí Agorá).