This is one of the most beautiful, tranquil, luxurious places on earth and from the sun-drenched beaches in the north to the rugged canyons spilling out at the cove-carved and cliff-lined southern coast this place has it all. Take it all in on a driving tour, trek through Europe’s longest gorge, hike to the cave where Zeus was born or cycle among orchards on the Lasithi Plateau. Leave time for the smooth sandy beach, and boat, kayak or snorkel in the soothing waters.
“It’s said in Greece that Crete could be its own country. Not only is that absolutely true, but the more I travel its seashores and explore its mountain villages, and see how proud and true Cretans are to their ways of life, the more I see why it stands apart, a rich, intriguing land. Crete offers the chance to luxuriate on pink-sand beaches, then zip inland to mountain-rimmed gorges and quiet villages where locals are happy to jaw with a foreign visitor. Crete feels huge. Is that its heart or its landscape? I’d say both.
If you’re a foodie, you will be in heaven in Crete, where ‘locavore’ is not a trend but a way of life. Rural tavernas often produce their own meat, cheese, olive oil, raki and wine, and catch their own seafood. The Cretan diet is among the healthiest in the world.
Crete’s natural beauty is equalled only by the richness of its history. The island is the birthplace of the first advanced society on European soil, the Minoans, who ruled some 4000 years ago, and you’ll find evocative vestiges all over, including the famous Palace of Knossos. At the crossroads of three continents, Crete has been coveted and occupied by consecutive invaders. History imbues Hania and Rethymno, where labyrinthine lanes – laid out by the Venetians – are lorded over by mighty fortresses, and where gorgeously restored Renaissance mansions rub rafters with mosques and Turkish bathhouses. The Byzantine influence stands in magnificent frescoed chapels, churches and monasteries.
Crete is a magical tapestry of splendid beaches, ancient treasures, and landscapes encompassing vibrant cities and dreamy villages, where locals share their traditions, wonderful cuisine and generous spirit. ” Lonelyplanet.com
[image from telegraph.co.uk]