A seductive landscape of flourishing countryside, soft-sand beaches and undulating mountains, Crete is undeniably beautiful. Its charms are more than skin-deep: explore the island’s mythical history, Bronze Age artifacts and imposing fortresses.

When to go

Visit in May or June to make the most of the sunny weather before the large crowds arrive. Autumn in Crete is also balmy, or visit in December for a winter break full of quiet ruins and deserted hiking trails.

Food & Drink

In true Mediterranean style, Crete has thriving olive groves responsible for fuelling the island’s fondness for olive oil. Sample and buy bottles of the golden liquid at Bakaliko, a rustic eatery that doubles up as a shop selling local produce. In addition to its olives, fresh-off-the-boat fish comes in its bucket loads here. For some of the best on the island, head to award-winning To Pigadi, which serves up authentic Cretan dishes in its charming courtyard.

Not to miss

Hike up to the iconic Cave of Zeus, where stalactites, stalagmites and glittering rock pools add to the magical charm of Zeus’ supposed birthplace.

Nightlife

Crete comes alive at night, as buzzing clubs pulse with music and local hole-in-the-walls fill with chatter. Local Cretan wine is a must-try, but beware ‒ it’s rather potent. Don’t leave without sipping on a glass of raki: while strong, its bitter taste goes excellently with seafood.

Where to stay in Crete

The island’s capital, Heraklion, is an archeological wonderland full of Minoan ruins and the remarkable Bronze Age Knossos palace. The coastal town of Agios Nikolaos is also a must-visit, with arcing bays, luxury villas and seaside suites.

How to get there

Haniá and Iráklio (Heraklion) and Sitía airports serve domestic and seasonal European flights. Ferries from Athens, Rhodes and the Cyclades run on a regular basis to the island.

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FROM THE BLOG

ROXANE GERGAUD

10 days in Crete: The best beaches and boutique hotels

Greece’s largest island – Crete has a bit of a reputation for package-holiday vibes but step just outside the well-known tourist hubs and there are deserted beaches, sprawling mountains and quaint little villages aplenty.
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