Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and the second largest island in the eastern Mediterranean Sea (after Cyprus). Heraklion is the largest city and capital of Crete, with other major cities including Chania, Rethymno, Aghios Nikolaos, Sitia and Lerapetra.
Horseback riders can follow trails, hidden paths and ancient donkey routes to see the best of Crete. Others may wish to explore the island on foot, by bicycle or by road. Spring is an excellent time to walk and ride along the ancient paths and trails that will take you along the coast and through the breathtaking scenery. For history and culture lovers, Crete is full of ancient history and mythology.
Known as the birthplace of Zeus, the island is home to many archaeological sites such as the Minoan palaces of Knossos and Phaestos, Malia, Zakros and Gortyn. The island has many museums, a visit to the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, which offers an insight into the islands past is a must.
Website of the Greek Ministry of Culture with descriptions, photos and information on opening hours and entrance fees for all excavations and numerous museums: www.culture.gr.Griechische Tourist Information Center.
Banks in Crete are open Monday through Thursday from 8 am to 2 pm and on Fridays from 8 am to 1:30 pm. At numerous ATMs you can withdraw cash with your credit card or EC-/ Maestro card.
Slight earthquakes occur repeatedly and are not a cause for panic. In case of earth tremors, you should seek shelter under a lintel door, table or bed. Once the earthquake is over, you should get out, but never use the elevator. Stay away from walls and pots that may fall. After that, it is best to orient yourself on the behavior of the locals.
There are some simple accommodations in Crete called “Youth Hostel”, but none are members of the International Youth Hostel Federation. They are private enterprises. Only the so-called Plakiás Youth Hostel is recommended.
Map of Crete
One of the oldest cultures of the Bronze Age was also created: the Minoan culture. During this period, agriculture, animal husbandry and handicrafts were developed. Trade with Egypt, Syria and Asia Minor intensified. In later periods, Greece gained more and more influence on Crete.
During World War II, the island was a scene of fierce fighting. In 1941 a major air landing of German troops took place here. After a few days, Nazi troops occupy the whole area: the period of ruthless occupation begins. Throughout its period, guerrilla operations operate here, and it becomes one of the main centers of resistance against the occupier in Greece.
The lesser known northeast offers the aforementioned relaxation and many nature highlights. The route from Heraklion passes through tourist fortresses before the visitor can immerse himself in the Cretan lifestyle.
Further east is the town of Sitia, which, with its 10,000 inhabitants, is an excellent starting point for further exploration of the east. The beautiful sandy Vai beach, which was already the setting for a Bounty commercial, invites you to relax.
What to see in Crete
Surely if you are reading this article, it is because you are looking for islands to visit, because you are thinking about going to Crete or just curious… After knowing a little more about this island, I assure you that you will love it.
There are several cities to visit, but Chania is one of the most crowded and in my opinion, the most beautiful. It is also here where the most outstanding beaches of Crete are located. Among them is the famous silver of Elafonisi, the lagoon of Balos or the beach of Falasarna.
Flying to Crete is not expensive at all. For those who do not know, we are living in Amsterdam, which is one of the most expensive cities when it comes to flying with low cost, however, we paid nothing more than €60.00 each flying with TUI in direct flight.
Another nice option is to take a ferry. For that I recommend leaving from Athens. You can take a ferry from the port of Piraeus. I recommend you to take the night ferry as it takes between 6hs and 9hs. The price is usually around €30 and €60.
We were based in Chania and from there we moved to the different beaches by bus. Luckily, the island is very well connected and buses leave every day and at all hours, to different points of the island.