Crete is the largest of the Greek islands, and is packed with everything from historic forts, incredible scenery, gorgeous beaches, and of course, as much delicious Greek food as you want!
As the pandemic restrictions are eased again for Crete and Rhodes, and Jet2 has announced extra flights to the Greek islands as the holiday season is extended, we wanted to have a look at some of the best places to visit on this gem of an island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.
1. Visit Spinalonga Island
Spinalonga is a tiny island very close to Crete that can be reached by boat across the Gulf of Elounda. It’s ideal for exploring the Venetian histories of the region.
It has had a turbulent past, subject to historic Arab raids, Venetian conquering, and Ottoman occupation, all before being turned it into a leper colony. Thankfully, it is much more peaceful these days. Pop on one of the small boats that leave Elounda every 30 minutes or so.
2. Wander through Chania
Chania is one of the biggest island cities you’ll find on the Greek Islands, meaning there’s always lots to do. Make sure to take a wander to the Venetian Harbour, visit the old lighthouse and the Agora Marketplace where you’ll be able to grab some freshly picked figs.
3. Visit Europe’s oldest city
Knossos Palace is the biggest Bronze Age site across all of the island and is often referred to as Europe’s oldest city. It costs about €15 for entry but it’s well worth the adventure when you’re on the island. Look out for the stunning frescoes and amazing Throne Room too.
4. Explore Samaria Gorge
Samaria Gorge National Park is one stunning spot to see another side of Crete and something that’s so unique compared to the other Greek islands. Make sure you see the gates of the gorge, too. They’re not actually gates, but a very narrow part of the gorge that is pretty epic to see.
5. Visit the Sacred Monastery of Arkadi
Perched within the countryside of Crete is the gorgeous Sacred Monastery of Arkadi. The monastery itself is about 20 km from Rethymnon with a car being the easiest option to get here. Be sure to visit the bell tower and see the Corinthian columns.
6. Find the fishing village of Sissi
Sissi is a laid-back and charming fishing village in contrast to the popular party town of Malia nearby. Visit the village and experience the chilled atmosphere that every holiday should include. Remember to pack your swimming gear to explore the beach and chill out after exploring the village.
7. See the Fortress of Koules
Built in the 16th Century by the reigning Venetians, the Fortress of Koules and a site you should definitely see. The historical site itself is now closed for entry, but you can still catch a glimpse when you’re wandering around Crete’s capital, Heraklion. Whilst in the city, make sure to see the stunning Cathedral of St. Minas, too.
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