Cheap Flights To Crete
As the largest and, for many, the most beautiful and fascinating of all the Greek islands, Crete is a microcosm of Greek history, culture and cuisine. The capital, Heraklion, is a modern, busy town with many hidden secrets, while the westerly town of Chania is more charming and laidback. Many excellent resort towns can be found across the island including Agia Marina, Almyrida, Rethymnon and Agios Nikolaos. The island is famous for the Bronze age Minoans who lived here three millennia ago and built the immense Palace of Knossos. Many more archaeological sites can be viewed as well as natural sites such as the amazing Samaria Gorge. Events on the island include a Carnival of Mardi Gras and a Rock festival in Chania.
Things To Do
Crete is a holidaymaker's dream; there is plenty to do from historic sites of immense significance to shopping and dining. For those looking for serenity, there's also many protected natural sites and even more wonderful beaches.
As a large island, it's little wonder that there is some seriously diverse flora and fauna to discover. The island boasts a high number of protected areas including the stunning Samaria Gorge that's protected for its landscape diversity as well as the largest palm forest in Europe, Vai. The beaches themselves are natural wonders and highlights include the beaches at Mýrtos, Elafonísi and Falásarna.
Minoans and the Palace of Knossos
Before the Ancient Greeks were the Minoans, a Bronze age people who inhabited the island over 3,000 years ago. The most amazing testament to their existence is the Palace of Knossos: the oldest palace on Earth. The palace was discovered in the late 19th century and was later, somewhat controversially, 'brought back to life' by the archaeologist Arthur Evans who painted it in the gaudy colours it might have once had. The Heraklion Archaeological Museum is excellent for finding out even more about this fascinating and mysterious culture.
Most visitors arrive in the main city -- a buzzing and modern town that is unlike the rest of the island. Whether you're actually based in Heraklion or wish to visit for a day, it's definitely worth exploring before heading off to relax on the beach. Highlights include the aforementioned archaeological museum as well as the Historical Museum of Crete, the Venetian fortress of Koules, the Natural History Museum and the Battle of Crete and National Resistance Museum. It's also the best place on the island to go shopping.
Calendar Of Events
There are a great number of events and festivities that take place on the island of Crete ranging from traditional religious events to alternative music and performing arts.
- Carnival. Around Shrovetide, Mardi Gras is celebrated in full swing on the island of Crete, and the best place to experience it is the town of Rethymnon that truly puts on a show with a massive street party and plenty of live performances.
- Summer Festival in Heraklion. This summer-long festival running from May to September sees the island's largest town play host to a wide range of performing arts and cultural events throughout the summer.
- Chania Rock Festival. Running through June and early July, this alternative rock festival is the biggest alternative music event on the island. Now well over a decade old, it's become an established stop on the festival tours of the biggest names in metal and rock.