Crete City Guide
Crete, the largest island in Greece, and the fifth largest in the Mediterranean Sea, has lured travelers through the ages. With a contrasting landscape of sunny beaches and warm seas, to rugged mountains and deep valleys, Crete is a masterpiece for the eyes and has long been favored by writers and artists. The people of Crete are noted for their hospitality to tourists, and are happy to explain their culture, food, and ideas or to just give directions.
Crete takes great pride in being the birthplace of the first advanced civilization of Europe. The island abounds with history and culture at every turn. Coveted by world powers for being a strategic naval port, Crete passed hands many times with each conquest leaving a mark on the food, architecture and culture. As you explore the island, notice how all the influences have melded to form a warm, vibrant community.
How to get there and how to get around
Crete has three airports, with daily flights arriving from Athens. You can also charter a flight from many airports throughout Europe. A ferry service is available for those who want to arrive from the mainland by boat or if you have your own seagoing vessel there are several fine marinas at which to dock.
Most visitors rent a car while in Crete, though visitors are warned that many of the smaller and side roads are only one lane, and to drive with caution. Many of the main roads have been upgraded to two lanes with passing. Taxis are also available, but that is not the most budget-friendly option. Buses are available in the bigger cities and towns, with some interconnecting lines. Both reasonable and dependable, many visitors use the buses to do their sightseeing, especially if they are only planning on staying in one region of Crete.
What to see and do
Get out and explore the natural beauty of Crete. An island famous for its natural beauty, Crete is perfect for anyone who loves sunshine, gorgeous beaches, clear water, green hills and rugged mountains. Why not pack a picnic and head to a remote valley or beach for a romantic lunch?
Explore the remnants of the first advanced society of Europe by heading out to the Palace of Knossos, the stronghold and surrounding city ruins of the once powerful Minoan people. Mentioned at length by Homer in his epic, The Odyssey, visitors today can see the palace on a guided tour.
Another popular choice with tourists is visiting the local farms, shops, and markets to taste fresh food and see how it is prepared. You can sign up for classes at local artisan shops and farms to learn how to make Greek cheeses, taste and use olive oil, or cook traditional Greek meals.
World-class art and history museums are found in the big cities of Crete, including Chania, Rethymnon, and Heraklion. See the history and art preserved and displayed from such an ancient culture to modern day, but also make time to visit the small museums and galleries in the numerous little towns and villages. There you can experience the values and culture that the locals cherish.
What to eat and drink
With such a mild climate, Crete affords the traveler a menu rich in fresh fruit and vegetables almost year round. The Cretan diet, also known as the Mediterranean diet, relies heavily on seasonal produce, an abundance of seafood, quality olive oil, cheese, bread, garlic, and fresh herbs. Other meat, such as beef, lamb and chicken, is often served only once a week in most Cretan homes, or on special occasions, though travelers can find such offerings on menus in restaurants and cafes daily.
Visitors should note that the people of Crete tend to dine later in the evening, after 9 or 10 pm, and often in groups with friends. Mealtime is communal in this culture, and an easy way to get to know locals is to talk with them over a long meal. If you can, partake in a local festival to experience the foods only brought out at such times…you’ll taste the best of regional cuisine and party while you’re at it!
Where to Stay
Crete offers accommodations to match every budget! There are no shortages of places to stay either; from all-inclusive resorts to luxury apartments, cheap sleeps such as hotels or quaint bed and breakfasts, there is something for everyone. Want a private rental apartment, or a place in the middle of it all? World Escape will help you find your home away from home!
At your own comfy home away from home, a holiday in Crete can be anything you want it to be. You can spend lazy days out on serene, secluded beaches or stroll through buzzing towns, enjoy nights out in modern bars or dine in traditional taverns. Lush nature, stunning landmarks and local hospitality combine to make Crete a delightful holiday spot.
Crete Holiday Apartments
Crete is an enticing island offering visitors delightful cuisine, sun-drenched beaches and enchanting landmarks. The island is the perfect spot for a family holiday with the kids, a romantic getaway or a get-together with your friends. Of course, different occasions call for different types of accommodation
Our collection of Crete holiday apartments covers attractive and homey properties throughout the island. Whatever your budget, lifestyle or needs, you will easily find an affordable apartment or a luxury villa, all outfitted with modern cons, amenities and extras you could not enjoy in any hotel.
This deceptively small island has many towns, natural and manmade attractions that hold a different appeal to everyone. Independent travellers are delighted by the tranquillity and unspoilt natural beauty of the south coast. Stay in a holiday apartment in southern Crete and you will enjoy uncrowded, secluded beaches and hiking trails.
Families and culture lovers find Rethymnon much more appealing. Known for its 16th century fortress, narrow alleys and traditional buildings, Rethymnon is a romantic, quintessentially Cretan town, yet one that also offers modern amenities, restaurants, shops and taverns.
Crete Accommodations and Attractions
Cretan culture and history is an exotic mixture of different influences. Each town has its own, unique character and distinctive charm. In one day you can admire the frescoes of the ancient palace at Knossos, visit Byzantine churches, Ottoman mosques or Venetian palaces and fortresses.
The beauty of the island is undisputed but what truly makes Crete a delightful place to visit is the hospitality of locals and the fantastic cuisine. Lush vineyards and olive groves produce delightful ingredients for the celebrated local wines and olive oils.
Exploring local markets is a feats for the senses but ultimately a night spent at a local tavern sampling sumptuous dishes sourced from local produce might be your most unforgettable experience.
Make your island escape unforgettable – pick your Crete holiday home and if you are looking for something to do during your stay here are 7 offbeat things to do when you find yourself on the island of Crete.