Crete is the largest island in Greece, and the fifth largest one in the Mediterranean Sea. Here, you can admire the remnants of brilliant civilizations, explore glorious beaches, impressive mountainscapes, fertile valleys and steep gorges, and become part of the island’s rich gastronomic culture. Crete is, after all, a small universe teeming with beauties and treasures that you will probably need a lifetime to uncover!
Agios Nikolaos (“Ag Nik” as the British visitors love to call it) is the capital town of Lassithi. Here, the bottomless salt lake Voulismeni dominates the area. A narrow channel of water connects the lake with the sea, while an imposing backdrop of red rock and trees adds to the natural beauty of the scenery. A small pine tree park lies above the lake, and a stone path leads to its southern section to a cute small harbour for fishing boats.
The city boasts interesting Archaeological, Folklore, and Natural History museums, Byzantine churches, a well-organised marina, bustling pedestrian streets (ideal for leisurely walks), and traditional squares with buzzing cafés and restaurants.
Chania (also spelled: Hania) is the capital city, a place where different civilizations have flourished throughout the centuries. Strolling around the Old Town’s maze-like alleys with the beautiful Venetian mansions, the fountains and the churches will guide you through well-preserved historical monuments.
The city of Chania is built on the area of Minoan Kidonia, at the end of the homonym gulf between Akrotiri and Onicha peninsulas. It was the former capital city of Crete (from 1847 until 1972). Nowadays, it is the second largest city of Crete after Heraklion and capital of the homonym prefecture.
Get familiar with the city of Chania by wandering around in its streets, visiting its museums and admiring the different architectural styles presenting the historical route of the city.
Heraklion is the largest city of Crete and one of Greece’s major urban centers. Its development begun in the wake of the 9th century AD (in antiquity, Knossos was the island’s most important centre, followed by Gortyn). In later times, Heraklion came under Arabic, Venetian and Ottoman rule; its conquerors initially gave it the name Khandaq or Handak which was corrupted to Candia. During the 2004 Olympic Games, the city of Heraklion provided one of the venues for the football tournament.
Rethymno is located in the north end of the prefecture, built by the sea and is a city with many faces. Rethymno or Rithymna as it was once called has been inhabited since the Later Minoan III period. Nowadays, it keeps the elements inherited by its history (from antiquity up to now), preserving at the same time the characteristics of a modern city. You can reach Rethymno by boat from Piraeus or by plane from Athens to Chania and then drive 60 km to Rethymno.