The ancient island of Crete (aren’t all islands ancient?) is perhaps one of the more fascinating locations to visit in the Western hemisphere. With an overabundance of intriguing history, beautiful surroundings, and of course, an amazing culture, it truly stands out as a must-visit destination for anyone looking to delve into history, chill by the beach or mix the twain together. If that convincing introduction hasn’t already got you reaching for your passports and ready to book your flight over, you should read on to find out eight good reasons to do so.
There Are Endless Days Of Sunshine
Let’s get this point out of the way right away. Crete is blessed with fantastic weather that puts most other nations to shame. Classed as a temperate Mediterranean climate, it tends only to encounter very mild winters interspersed with the occasional thunderstorm and long, hot summers. What’s more, is that the hotter months tend to be extremely dry, making them more manageable than more humid locations (relatively, of course). Nonetheless, when discussing the weather in Crete for the purpose of selecting a time to go on vacation, you are almost guaranteed to arrive at glorious sunshine and clear blue skies. Furthermore, although the heat can become slightly overbearing durian the most intense summer months, there is nothing that a visit to any of the myriad of amazing beaches can’t fix.
Magnificent Beaches With Crystal Clear Waters
Speaking of beaches, Crete has a wealth of beautiful sandy beaches that you can laze around on topping up your tan or use as a conduit for your adrenaline-filled watersport desires. Moreover, these aren’t your usual tourist-soaked beaches that lie in alarmingly close proximity to the local waterworks. Crete is home to over 100 Blue Flag beaches, an official term regarding the quality and safety of a stretch of the open sea. These Blue Flag beaches also meet a range of strict environmental regulations, making them some of the clearest in the entire Med region.
Discover Ancient Sites And Cultures That Date Back Millennia
The recorded history of this relatively diminutive island stretches back almost 9,000 years, even preceding its most famous historical inhabitants, the Minoans of Minotaur fame. As you might imagine, with such an illustrious history, there is an unimaginably large number of things to see and do for history buffs of all ages. The island is home to three significant ruins that offer visitors a chance to step back in time and explore the past:
- Palace of Knossos
- The Minoan settlement of Phaistos
Aside from these three primary historical and culturally significant sites, you can visit numerous other locations and enjoy a day out with the family. If you want to get the full experience, it’s often recommended to hire a local tour guide who can explain things from a historical and modern perspective, providing greater insight into the past and its people.
Try Some Of The Regional Specialties And Broaden Your Culinary Horizons
As part of Greece and a fully-paid up member of the Mediterranean food scene, suffice it to say that your taste buds will be utterly tantalized during your trip. From savory kalitsounia, a type of pastry stuffed with cheese or herbs, to juicy and succulent souvlaki made with tender meat, the meals in Crete will tantalize your taste buds like never before. But what if you’re vegetarian, you might ask? Not to worry, because you will never be short of locations offering incredibly delicious salads made from a plethora of fresh ingredients, all liberally coated with plenty of the freshest olives this side of the European mainland. In fact, the food is so moreish that you will probably be tempted to take a cooking class in order to import the recipes back home with you.
Revel In The Beauty Of The Countryside
There is an arid beauty to Crete that you often find in other Medeteratian islands, but because of its size in compassion to others (5th largest), it has a much more extensive range of landscapes. They vary from inland, grass-covered mountains to semi-arid deserts, all the way to the more verdant coastlines with an eclectic mix of flora, including cactuses and breathtaking wildflowers. The best way to experience this variety is to get your hiking boots on or rent a bicycle and get out in the wilderness. You can usually plan a trip with the help of your hotel or guesthouse that can recommend a variety of walks and trails you can enjoy.
Experience The Vibrant Nightlife Of Heraklion
So you’ve done the wine tasting, walked the trails, and read so many books on the beach that your Kindle has actually run out of battery. What is there to do next, you might wonder? Well, aside from the usual cultural spots and eateries, the capital city of Heraklion is home to plenty of nightlife venues that span debauched nightclubs to more sophisticated wine bars and everything in between. Here, you can choose whether you want to get down and dirty with the other revelers or mingle with the locals as they go about their nightly routine of eating and making merry at a local tavern.
Unwind With Luxurious Spa Treatments While Overlooking The Wonderful Landscapes
If you want to make the most of this idea, you should be prepared to spend some money. While cheaper alternatives abound when on holiday, you should treat yourself and splash out on a spa day that takes in the glorious surroundings of this magical island. There is nothing quite like receiving a professional massage from a balcony looking over the mountains and coasts and falling into a massage-induced slumber, awakening to feel utterly invigorated and ready for the rest of your life!
Take Part In Any Of The Numerous Outdoor Activities Throughout The Island
Beyond the usual watersports, hiking, and biking, you have loads of options to participate in outdoor adventures. You could take an overland safari complete with lunch in unexpected locations, test your mettle by driving an ATV around some very unique spots, or even charter a yacht for the day and sail around the island looking for hidden coves to explore.
You can find just about any kind of vacation activity on the island of Crete. Lovers of history will be spell-bound by the number of archeological sites dotted around the place, sun-worshipers will be right at home lazing around on the beach, and those with a bit more adventure in their blood have plenty of choices when it comes to getting off the beaten track.