Crete Guides

Crete City Guides

Quick facts

  • Crete is a Greek island in the Mediterranean located roughly 400km south of Athens
  • The language spoken here is Greek
  • The island of Crete has a population of roughly 623,000, the capital, Heraklion, has a population of roughly 225,000
  • Crete has two international airports, Chania, located on the north-western coast and Heraklion, on the north-eastern coast
  • Crete would be best to visit in the summer, especially if you’re looking for a beach holiday
  • Food and drink in Crete are reasonably cheap for European standards
  • Crete’s main attractions are its beaches and historical monuments

Main districts

Western Crete

The north coast of western Crete is home to many sunny beaches which has made it popular amongst tourists visiting the island. Further inland the western side of the Island is a hilly and green area covered with vineyards and fruit trees. Crete’s south-western coastline boasts the towering mountain range of Lefka Ori, also known as the white mountains, standing at almost 2500m before descending to the Libyan Sea to the south.

Central Crete

Most tourists visiting Crete will arrive in the capital, Heraklion, which is located centrally in the island on the north coast. The beaches on the north coast have made central Crete the most popular region for tourists visiting the island with over half of tourist accommodation being in this region

Eastern Crete

the highlight of Crete’s eastern region are the sunny beaches and idyllic lagoons around Agios Nikolaos and Mirabello. The rest of eastern Crete is an arid and mountainous area, covered with olive trees.

Top Attractions

The main attractions around Crete are the beautiful beaches surrounding its coastline. Elafonissi beach and Balos lagoon are two of the most popular areas of Crete’s coastline which boasts several stunning beaches with clear blue waters and fascinating cave formations. Further inland Crete’s landscape consists of several gorges and canyons where Land Rover and 4-wheel drive safaris are popular amongst tourists to the area.

Crete is also home to several historical sites and ancient ruins. The most famous of these being the Palace of Knossos, which is famous in Greek mythology as the home of King Minos, and still attracts thousands of tourists each year. As well as this, Crete is home to the ancient city of Phaistos and the island of Spinalonga, both of which are well worth a visit.

As Crete is home to several vineyards, there are also many wineries on the island, which offer tours as well as wine tasting. The most popular of these is the Manousakis winery which is regarded as one of Greece’s top wineries.

Best culture spots

The Palace of Knossos

The main cultural attractions found on Crete are the ancient ruins that can be found all over the island. The Palace of Knossos is the most popular due to it’s role in Greek mythology. Knossos is the ruins of an ancient Greek palace where ancient artefacts and art are also on display.

 

The site of Phiastos

To the south if the island lies the ancient site of Phiastos. Phiastos was a city in ancient Greek civilisation whose ruins are now a popular attraction among tourists in Crete. This is home to several statues of famous Greek figures, such as Hercules and Zeus as well as being a well-known archaeological site.

The island of Spinalonga

The island of Spinalonga is another of the main cultural sites found on Crete. Located off the North -eastern coast of Crete, Spinalonga is home to a fortress that was built during the Venetian rule of the island in the 16th century. Guided boat tours are the best way to see the island and they usually last a full day, so you have plenty of time to take it all in.