Crete is a special story and the perfect vacation destination different from anything else in Greece, with its rich history, beautiful archeological places, and beaches. The island of Crete is special because it gives you the option to swim in three seas in one vacation, it is located far in the south, with the best food and the most beautiful olive oil in the whole country. Historically, Crete was once the center of the Minoan civilization. Today, Crete is an excellent option for those who want a quiet vacation, and visit historical places as well as for those who want to visit a new beach every day.
Why Is Crete A Must-See?
Crete is a beautiful and very inspiring island because of its history and traditions. It is located in the Mediterranean Sea, in the south of Greece. It covers an area of about 8,261 km² which makes it the largest island in Greece. It is washed by the Libyan, Aegean, and Ionian seas. The special charm of this island is that it is located at the crossroads between traditional Europe, untamed Africa, and Oriental Asia. Besides Mykonos, Corfu, Crete is extremely visited by tourists. There are about 600,000 inhabitants who live on Crete, with the number of people on the island being significantly higher during the summer tourist season.
Where To Stay In Crete If You Love History?
With 150,000 inhabitants, Heraklion is the fourth largest city in Greece, and since 1971 it has been the capital of Crete and its administrative center. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the Mediterranean, dating back more than 5000 years. It is also an outgoing urban center reachable by ferry from different ports such as Piraeus and Syros. Heraklion has an international airport named after the famous Cretan writer Nikos Kazantsakis, and nearby is the famous archaeological site of Knossos. The city itself represents a mix of all cultures and people who conquered the Cretan island.
A vacation in Crete is not complete until you visit some of the most popular historical sites.
Knossos – a journey through the history of Crete involves visiting the material remains of the Minoan civilization. Knossos is 5 km from Heraklion. You can visit the archaeological site every day from 08:00 to 19:00. The ticket price is 4.5 euros.
Gortis – represents a settlement from the late Neolithic and the former Rism capital. You can visit it from 08:00 to 19:00 for 3.5 euros.
Frangocastello Castle – the castle was built in 1371 by the Venetians and is located near Rethymnon.
Forteza – a fortress built by the Venetians in the period from 1573 to 1580 to defend themselves against the Turks.
Ideon Andron cave – according to legend, Zeus was born in this cave. Rhea’s mother hid him from his father so he wouldn’t swallow him.
The Church of Saint Minas is located in Heraklion. It is painted with beautiful frescoes and can accommodate about 8,000 people.
Agios Titos Church – was built in 961. The Turks turned it into a mosque, but the earthquake destroyed it, so the Turks rebuilt it. After liberation from the Turks, it became an Orthodox church again. The golden skull of Saint Titos can also be seen there. It is one of the most famous Orthodox buildings in Greece.
What To See In Crete If You Love History?
Spinalonga is one of the most visited places in Crete, right after the Konos Palace. It can be reached by boat from Agios Nikolaos. The entrance fee to the fortress is 8 euros per person. Spinalonga has a rich history. It is best known as the island of leprosy patients. First, people suffering from leprosy were brought here from Crete, and later from all over Greece. In 1903, Spinalonga gathered all the patients and was a hospital for people suffering from leprosy. Apart from the sick, there were no other inhabitants here, so the island itself was named the island of lepers. In 1957, a cure for leprosy was discovered, and the island itself became abandoned. Today, the fortress is in good condition and is one of the most visited sights in Crete.
The Samaria gorge is known as the ninth wonder of the world, meaning another wonder of the world on the island of Crete. This gorge is the longest and most beautiful in Europe, 18 km long. Here you will see a couple of viewpoints with the most beautiful views, and the nature in this part is divine. The walk lasts about 5 hours, after the walk you can rest in one of the most beautiful taverns and on the beach.