What to do
Crete is the largest Greek island, and the fifth largest one in the Mediterranean Sea.
Mythology has it that it was in a cave of Crete where the goddess Rhea hid the newborn Zeus. It was also to Crete that Zeus, disguised as a bull, took Europa to celebrate their love together. Their union produced a son, Minos, who ruled Crete and turned it into an important island empire of the seas. In Minoan times, even Attica would pay a tribute tax to Crete, until Theseus, the Athenian prince, killed the Minotaur. The truth behind the myth is the existence of a powerful and wealthy kingdom and of a civilization that is considered the most ancient one on the European continent.
In 1450 BC and again in 1400 BC the eruption of the volcano of Thera destroyed the Minoan Civilization was successively devastated possibly due to and was eventually led to its decline.
Crete is a uniquely diverse island : You can admire the remnants of brilliant civilizations, explore glorious beaches, impressive mountainscapes, fertile valleys and steep gorges, and savor the island’s rich gastronomic culture. Crete is, after all, a small universe full of beauties and treasures that you will probably need more than just one holiday to discover!
Activities in Crete
The overall coastline of Crete is 1046km long, with extremely beautiful beaches along it. The north coastline consists mainly of long, sandy beaches that are mainly affected by winds. North coast beaches are generally easily accessed and thus, are more popular.
The visitor can relax in one of the numerous hospitable, well equipped beaches mainly on the more developed north coast and the big touristic regions. All of them offer the visitor a wide range of services, amenities and security: coffee, drinks, food, water sports and lifeguards. However, for the romantics and nature lovers there are many pristine beaches of incomparable beauty especially in the south. There generally applies a rule that says that the more difficult to reach a beach, the more beautiful it is. And indeed this rule seems to hold for the beaches of Crete, taking into account the unique routes to be followed through wild gorges or snake-like roads with breathtaking views to the Libyan Sea.
Windsurfing and Kitesurfing
Windsurfing and kite surfing are popular in Crete and the number of water-sport fans is increasing. The most popular beaches in Crete for surfing are mainly situated in East Crete, but there are more places for windsurfers to try.
Visit Through History
Knossos was the most important city on Crete before the Roman Era and the center of the first brilliant European civilization, the Minoan. The Knossos Palace is the most visited archaeological site in Crete with more than 1.000.000 visitors per year. Apart from the palace itself, the area is full with several more archaeological finds.
The collection of the Minoan antiquities in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion is the largest in the world and the museum is considered the main Museum of Minoan civilization. It is classified as one of the largest and most remarkable museums in Greece and one of the most important in Europe
The Greek dances and music first appeared in Crete, where it is said that the mother of the Gods, Rhea, taught them to the Curetes (Cretan tribe). The most famous Cretan dance was the pyrrhic (the generalised name “pyrrhic” characterized all martial dances of antiquity). Today the Cretan dances, famous throughout Greece, constitute echoes of the dances of the Curetes or pyrrhic! Don’s miss the chance to attend a Cretan festival in a nearby village !
Crete is connected with several scheduled and charter flights during the summer months with major European airports. There are also daily flights from Athens by Aegean Airlines.
Crete can be reached from the two Athens ports (Piraeus and Rafina) especially in the summer when ferry companies add to their scheduled journeys; Modern high-speed catamarans offering several classes of service are operated by Hellenic Seaways (www.hellenicseaways.gr) and Sea Jets (www.seajets.gr) and are twice as fast if you wish to travel by boat. The trip lasts little approx 5.5 hrs.
The helicopter ride from Athens to Crete lasts around 60 minutes; an enjoyable ride over the magic of the Aegean.