Published on April 21, 2011 | by Andrea Guerriero0
Greece – Enjoy the uniqueness of Crete
Greece is a land of ancient traditions to be discovered and amazing landscapes to be admired! One of its most popular destinations is undoubtedly Crete, the major of the Greek islands and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.
There are plenty of places to see in Crete, both for the wealth of cultural history, and for its natural beauty.
For those who want to spend their holidays here, the ideal is to seek accommodation in a central location of the island, so it will be easier to get around, as some of the best places (for example Elafonisi and Vai) are situated at opposite ends of the island! The areas with more facilities for tourists are the capital Heraklion – the main city and key business center of Crete, hosting the Archaeological Museum, The Venetian Loggia and the famous Aquarium (aka CretAquarium or Thalassocosmos) – and Hersonissos – the reference point for entertainment and nightlife, whatever the kind of place you prefer to go out. Among the most distinctive cities, it is worth mentioning also Agios Nikolaos with its old port and many restaurants, bars and souvenir shops.
In mythology, Crete is mentioned as the birthplace of Zeus and therefore this is a region full of history and tradition. In Knossos, just 5 km from the capital, you will enjoy the most important archaeological site of Crete, dating back to the Bronze Age: we are talking about the Palace of Knossos, related to ancient myths of classical Greece, as Minos and the labyrinth built by Daedalus, and that of Theseus and the Minotaur. Destroyed by an earthquake in 1700 BC and later conquered by the Mycenaeans, this site has been expertly reconstructed by Arthur Evans, the archaeologist who discovered Knossos in 1900.
However, not only historical and archeological sites attract tourists to Crete, but also its wonderful beaches. Elafonissi, south-west of the island, is a small island linked to the mainland by a thin strip of beach. This is a truly enchanting place for the transparency of the sea and the characteristic pink reflections of the sand.
However, the best can be found at “Chrissy Island“, an uninhabited island about 12 km off the coast of the town of Ierapetra. From the port of this city, you can take the ferry to reach this paradise: on board you’ll find food, music and entertainment, but in a retro atmosphere typical of antique boats. This island is virtually uninhabited but it is renowned for its white beaches, sand dunes and forest of pines and junipers. The Golden Beach, the most famous beach on the spot, can be reached by crossing the island with a walk of about ten minutes. On your way back, ferries depart at 4.00 pm: don’t be late, because they do not wait!
The best way to reach Crete is to fly to Athensand then take the ferry from Piraeus to Heraklion, Chania or Rethymno, but – even if it’s usually difficult to find direct flights – there are also airports in Crete (Heraklion, Chaniaand Sitia). In general, to tour the island and discover all its attractions, the best could be renting a quad or a jeep, depending on the distances you want to cover.
Photo by Britrob