The most southerly part of Europe, the largest Greek island, Crete offers a lot more than a guide of the island can include. One of the most popular holiday destinations for people of all ages and preferences from all over the world.
Modern ferry services, airports, international class hotels, as well as small family hotels even up in the mountains cater for every wish or taste. Cretans are warm hospitable people with a unique personality making the visit to the island an unforgettable experience. The Minoan culture, one of the most important civilizations on Earth, hatched and developed here. Archaeological excavations have brought to light cities and palaces of that glorious period: Knossos, Malia, Phaestos, Zakros. The traveller, exploring the sea, high mountains, gorges and plateaus tends to forget that Crete is an island.
The prefecture of Rethimno is a miniature of the whole island of Crete. Huge planes and oak trees, vast olive groves, deep gorges and rivers alternating harmoniously with the dry barren scenery of the beaches in the south, in the Libyan Sea. Towering mountains, some bare others densely wooded and fertile valleys and plains. Dozens of picturesque villages inhabited by true Cretans: proud, imperious but at the same time kind-hearted and hospitable. There is a plethora of caves, ancient monuments ruins of Roman and Venetian buildings and deserted Byzantine churches with rare frescoes.
The prefecture contains many archaeological sites with Axos, ancient Eleftherna and Ideo Antro standing out. The gorges of Kourtliotiko and Kotsifou are impressive. The beaches in the Libyan Sea are splendid: Bali, Panormos, Rodakino, Plakias, Agia Galini, Agios Petros, Agios Georgios.
Wonderful woven fabrics, copies of Byzantine icons or of ancient items and ceramics are some of the souvenirs you can buy. The local specialties are tantalizing: yoghurt and honey, pies made of wild greens, fish and sea urchins, octopus and cuttlefish cooked on charcoal and plenty of local wine or "raki".
The prefecture of Heraklion is located in the centre of Crete. In antiquity it was the most important centre of the Minoan civilization; today it is a beautiful, densely populated region. Knossos, Phaestos, Gortina, Malia are some of the attractions for thousands of visitors to Heraklion.
The homonymous capital of the prefecture abounds in monuments mainly from the period of the Venetian occupation: the Byzantine walls of Handakas, the renowned castle of Koule, the legendary lions. Kazantzakis Museum at Varvarou is worth visiting. Other must visits are: Knossos, Phaestos, Gortina, Malia.
There are numerous verdant villages to explore, immaculate beaches on the northern side of the prefecture and sheltered coves to the south. Tranquil Tsoutsouras, cosmopolitan Hersonissos and everywhere the Cretan hospitality.
In Heraklion and its villages traditional eateries and picturesque seaside taverns offer tantalizing Cretan specialties: pies of wild greens, cockles, boiled goat, fish, sea urchins, octopus and cuttlefish, sweet tarts "kaltzounia" and delectable Cretan wine often accompanied by the sound of the Cretan lyre.
You can buy the renowned, handmade Cretan knives, copies of Minoan depictions, a Cretan kerchief or famous Cretan cheeses.
The magnitude and beauty of the cretan landscape prevails throughout the prefecture of Chania. Steep mountains, wooded slopes, ravines and gorges, dense vegetation, running streams, picturesque coves and vast beaches fascinate the visitor.
The indented beaches in the Lybean Sea are of rare beauty. The sole lake on Crete, Lake Kourna adorns the prefecture. The visitor can also admire the picturesque Venetian port in the city of Chania,Georgioupoli, Vrisses, Assi Gonia, Splantza, Agia Marina, Stalo, Kolymbari, Gramboussa. Also to the west, Kisamos, Falasarna, Chrissoskalitissa and the unique Elafonissi. Scenic routes from Platania to Paleohora, Sougia, Sfakia Frankocastelo. The extraordinary plateau of Omalos and the untamed beauty of the Samaria Gorge till Agia Roumeli round off the abundant natural beauty of the prefecture.
There also interesting museums to visit in the city of Chania. Archaeological sites at Aptera, the ruins of ancient Polyrenia or Falaserna, the medieval buildings of the Venetian city: Lodgia, Neoria, etc. and the monasteries of Gouvernetou, Gonia, Ag. Triada of Tzagarolon.
The nightlife is varied and the local wine excellent!
Fantastic beaches and high mountains are among the distinctive features of the prefecture of Lassithi. The plateau of Lassithi is adorned with thousands of famous windmills. Modern international class hotels with full amenities. Abundant natural beauty, a plethora of archaeological and historic monuments attract more and more visitors from all over the world.
You can visit the picturesque villages on the plateau, the beautiful lake in the centre of Agios Nikolaos, the famous Elounta, and the Venetian castle at Spinaloga. You can also enjoy the splendid beaches of cosmopolitan Ierapetra and experience the warm hospitality of Sitia. The tropical Palm Forest is another must visit.