CRETE

Guide of CRETE

Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and is a varied island and it has always been an important commercial centre since ancient times and the cradle of Minoan civilization. This island embodies every aspect of Greek culture and its strong thousand-year history has allowed it to remain distinct from the rest of the Greek islands.  The island is situated between the Libyan and the Aegean Seas, much further south than the other Greek islands, so the climate is mild all year round - it is even possible to go to swim in the sea in late autumn!

History 

Crete, more than any other Greek island, is intensely linked to its past and is of great importance in Greek mythology because it was said that Zeus and his son Minos grew up on the island. Theseus was said to have defeated the Minotaur here and the stories of Dedalus and Icarus are also based on Crete.

Legends aside, Crete was the birthplace of the Minoan civilization that dominated and transformed this region of the Aegean Sea from the third millennium BC until the fifteenth century BC.  Cretan domination ruled over all the other islands, but when this came to an end Crete became a Roman province and then part of the Byzantine Empire. Like the rest of the Greek islands it was defeated by the Venetians during the Fourth Crusade and the Ottoman Turks who ruled it for centuries. Finally, in 1913 it was definitively assigned to Greece at the end of the Balkan Wars.

Places to visit

Crete is an island that provides something for all, there is history, nature, entertainment and sport and this is what has made it a popular holiday destination for decades. The archaeological sites on Crete are a must-see for history buffs, for example, Knossos palace and the remains of the famous labyrinth, the archaeological museums and mosques are also worth a visit. It is possible to do some great trekking and walks in the woodland, there are also all kinds of outdoor sports including windsurfing, kite surfing, underwater fishing and diving. Birdwatching is also popular on Crete. 

Beaches

One of the best things about Crete, besides the artistic and historical beauty, is the sea. The beaches, all splendid, but can sometimes be crowded however, they are well equipped for families. Elafonisos is one of the most popular beaches, then there is Matala, which was the destination of choice for hippies, while Xerokambos and Frangokastello are equally as beautiful, but quieter.

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Travel guides and tips: CRETE

Discover how to reach and what to do in Crete: tips, events, local festivals, culture, food and all the other details to explore Crete can be found on our blog!

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