Crete is the largest and most populous Greek Island. It plays a major role in the economy and culture heritage of Greece and is home to one of the oldest documented periods, the Minoan civilisation (c. 2700–1420 BC). The Minoans were revered for their architectural ability and built some of Europe’s first palace’s which to this day remain as some of Europe’s finest. Crete is a mountainous island with a fine coastline surrounded by the Mediterranean, Aegean and Libyan Seas. This fantastic topography offers the ideal destination for lovers of water sport, walking, climbing and more. Let’s not forget the cuisine. The Cretan diet, and its health benefits, has been studied by academics worldwide. Crete is home to wonderful flora and fauna, producing some of the world’s best wild herbs and vegetables. Oranges are in full blossom in April and roads will be lined with old women with bags of bright oranges on sale for a few euros. This moves to tomatoes in June/July – with some of the tastiest and fruitiest tomatoes you will ever taste. The wonderful coastline brings a festival of seafood to land and let’s not forget the Olive Tree’s, including ours in the South Eastern part of the island – producing the island’s savoured Olive Oil to accompany all the other lovely ingredients!
We’ve put together a few tips in case any of you are thinking of a holiday to Crete this summer. If you need any more advice, you’re welcome to drop us a question at email@example.com
This is my home town and is a great place to use as a base, especially if you have children, as there are excellent beaches with very good facilities for kids. The town is approx. 45mins east of Heraklion (where the main airport is located). My favourite beach is Almyros Beach where you can find a great mixture of water sports, beach based recreation, beach café’s and bars.
From Agios Nikolaos, you can easily visit the following places:
Knossos / Heraklion:
This can be a great day trip from Agios Nikolaos. You can drive to Knossos in the morning and take a tour of the ancient Minoan palace. The ruins are very impressive and the complex is very vast. From here, drive to Heraklion City, stop for lunch, take a walk around the port area and stop into the Archaeological Museum to see artefacts from the Minoan civilisation.
Elounda / Spinalonga:
Elounda is a small fishing town with excellent beaches and restaurants in the nearby vicinity. Elounda is a great place to set off for a visit to Spinalonga Island. Spinalonga was an old leper colony which also served as a defence area during the Venetian area. For this reason, it houses a massive fortress which is now one of the regions’ most popular attractions. Back on the mainland of Elounda, the area of Plaka which overlooks the bay and Spinalonga Island is the perfect place for an evening meal as it is full of fish taverns, which are supplied by local fishermen each morning.
Chania / Rethymnon:
These are the two most important cities on the western side of Crete. If you decide to use Agios Nikolaos as a base, you can’t travel here as a day trip – we’d recommend to stay for at least two nights. Stop in Rethymnon either on the way or the way back as the main attraction is the old fort. In Chania, stay in the old town, which is beside the old Venetian Port. It is a very charming city, full of interesting old streets and back alleys with shops selling local souvenirs and foodstuffs. There is also an interesting market between the old and new towns of Chania – here you will find a big selection of cheese, meat and veg shops.
This is located on the very east of the island and is unique with palm trees surround the edges of the beach. It has a very tropical feel. In addition to the beach, there are some rocks beside the sand, which you can climb to get aerial views of the surrounding area.
South Coast / Chrissi Island:
Chrissi (pronounced Hrissi) is the island furthest south of the Greek archipelago. You must drive first to Ierapetra town (which is close to where our Olive Oil comes from!) from where you can take a boat to Chrissi. The south coast is on the Libyan Sea, which has beautiful stone beaches – the benefit of the beaches here is that you will get a crystal clear view to the bottom of the sea, so it comes as no surprise that the area is great for snorkelling and diving. Also on the south coast, is Makry Gialos, east of Ierapetra – this is my favourite beach of all the beaches I’ve been to in Crete!