Greece’s largest island, Crete, is situated in the southern Aegean Sea. It is renowned for its natural attractions, which include rocky mountains, vibrant wildflowers, and rich plains and beautiful oceans.
With its golden sands, shady trees, and reliable surfing conditions, Crete Island appeals to water enthusiasts whether it’s Palm Beach in the south or Istro Beach in the northeast. There are affordable hotels and cheap flights to Greece. Take your time while you’re here and tour the Palace of Knossos’ ancient ruins, stroll Chania’s cobblestone alleyways, and stop by a Greek taverna for some authentic Cretan dakos.
The beaches of Crete are diverse in both size and shape. White-sand lagoons are bathed in cool Mediterranean waves in the west. There are islets in the south that are encircled with pink-tinged powder. In the east, vivacious beaches that are ideal for shaking off the hangover from the previous night take the place of party towns like Malia.
Even the most ardent beach bums among us will like Crete. In just a few hours, you can drive the entire length of the island, and it takes 50 minutes to get from north to south. That means there are always options available, whether you’re looking for a lively resort beach with lounge chairs or a remote cove to yourself for the afternoon.
The already languid pace of Cretan life slows to barely a crawl in the town of Agios Nikolaos. Ag Nik, as it is known by the locals, enjoys three distinct seafronts: a lake and port, a beach, and a marina. One of the best ways to spend an evening in this small town is by meandering through the three of these locations, each of which has an own vibe.
Start at Kitroplatia beach, where you can take in the sunset at one of the chic cafe-bars before making your way into town for dinner at the marina, a great place to see yachts. Before ending the evening at Voulismeni Lake, the town’s spiritual center and the epicenter of all forms of nightlife, take a stroll through Agios Nikolaos.
One of Crete’s most satisfying outdoor adventures is climbing the Samaria Gorge, which entails a 15 kilometer journey via winding paths and deserted settlements. The trail passes through a range of scenery, including steep rocky terrain and beautiful green forests, before starting at the mountain trailhead of Xylóskalo and terminating in the beach settlement of Agia Roumeli.
A few churches and chapels, like the modest St. Nicholas’s and the slightly bigger but no less charming Osia Maria, which dates back to the 14th century, are highlights along the route. A sturdy pair of walking boots are a must-have, and trekking poles are recommended for anyone with weak knees or ankles. There are some really steep sections in the walk, which is not unusual.
The largest and one of the most prosperous cities on the island of Crete is Heraklion. At the Natural History Museum of Crete, which highlights the region’s distinctive biodiversity, the city, which is a blend of new and old, celebrates its legacy. Visit the Agios Titos church, which dates back to the 16th century and has a Byzantine past.
Walk past the fountains in Lions Square and onto Handakos Street for a touch of modernism. Here, you’ll find upscale shops, jewelers, and trendy cafes. When you do, the historic Venetian Harbour will be just a short stroll away from the water.