Monday, 27 May 2013

Crete: an ancient Greek treasure

I was truly shocked when a couple of days ago I realized 18 years has passed from my first visit to Greece. It was a week long trip to the country's largest island - Crete. I have visited Greece since then - most recently it was a trip to Corfu.

Crete is a brilliant location to take a holiday, particularly if you’re after somewhere with loads of history and culture, as well as pretty much guaranteed good weather most of the year round. All though it’s a Greek island, Crete is more like a little country of its own, with so much to offer in terms of sightseeing. It’s the largest of the Greek islands and there’s bags to do here, whether you’re after a family holiday, a couple’s romantic getaway or a break in the sunshine with a group of mates.

So, what exactly is on offer in Crete in terms of history and culture? There are the many Byzantine monasteries and ancient mosques to start with, then the Venetian fortress of Rethymo and of course the legendary cave said to be the mythical birthplace of Zeus, Greek king of the gods. If you’re after somewhere to stay in close vicinity to historical sights, Aphrodite Beach Club is a recommended choice, sitting just a short drive away from Heraklion, which houses the fabulous ruins of the Minoan Palace of Knossos. If Greek history and a bit of myth and legend float your boat, Crete won’t disappoint in terms of fascinating stuff to see and do.

Of course, there’s not just historical beauty here, Crete is well known for its stunning natural beauty too. The island is covered in a rugged landscape of wonderful mountain ranges scattered with caves and gorges spilling out to sea. The interior of the island is dotted with fertile plains, as well as Europe’s only palm tree forest beach and some truly gorgeous beaches and coves along the south coast in particular.

When you visit, look out for Cretans in authentic Greek dress and keep your ears open for some traditional Greek music on your holiday here; Crete is a place which has managed to hold on to lots of its culture and tradition, which makes for a really nice change to some of the more touristy-fied holiday spots.

When you come to Crete don’t forget to sample the gorgeous Greek cuisine too. There are loads of restaurants taking advantage of all of the fresh produce Crete has on offer, from olives, to fruit, fish, seafood and a whole host of other tasty treats. No wonder nearly a quarter of all Greece’s tourist choose Crete! Don’t worry though, you can escape the hustle and bustle by simply coming out of season; the good thing about Crete is that you don’t have to visit in the height of summer to get decent weather.

I suggest you pack your bags and visit Crete the moment you see a good holiday deal somewhere out there! You will probably like it. A lot!


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