How to Experience Crete the Right Way
Considered by many to be the most beautiful of the Greek Islands, Crete is a destination that offers something for everyone. From seaside escapes to rugged mountain hikes, from bustling cities to quaint villages, from modern to historical, Crete has it all. While there are a number of hotels on the island, the perfect way to enjoy your stay is to book a luxury villa. This option can provide you with gorgeous seaside views as well as offering you the best in privacy, comfort and services. What more could you want?
Well, here are a few more things that may heighten your experience.
Touring the History of Crete
The oldest European civilization is from Crete. These ancient people are the Minoans who built many palaces, the most famous being the palace complex at Knossos. Here you can opt to take a guided tour or simply venture out on your own (making sure to purchase a tour book which will help you navigate through the ruins). Another site not to be missed is the Phaistos Palace which was built in typical Minoan style and grandeur.
Moving forward in history, you can also visit the site of the Basicalla of Saint Titus which is located in Gortyn. This was the largest church in Crete until it was destroyed by an earthquake in 640 AD. To round off your historical tour, make sure to stop in at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum which holds treasures from many different eras of Crete’s history.
Head out to the Beach
If you are staying in a villa, the beach is often just minutes, if not seconds, away. You can enjoy white sandy beaches and the sparkling blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Many of the luxury villas in Crete also have pools which overlook the Mediterranean and provide a wonderful combination of privacy and elegance. There are literally hundreds of beaches on the island, so you are guaranteed to find one that best suits your needs.
Eating and Drinking in Crete
Being a coastal town, the restaurants in Crete offer many tasty seafood dishes. Olive trees are abundant in Crete, and you need to sample the fresh olives and olive oils offered. Honey is widely collected on the island and is used in cooking, or served as a topping on yogurt. The Greeks also take pride in their cheese. Aside from feta, you can also find graviera, myzitra and anthotiros cheese to sample. The Cretans are followers of the Mediterranean diet meaning you can always find dishes made from fresh vegetables which are grown on the island. Note that dinner is served late so be prepared to stay up, especially if you visit a local taverna.
Drinking in Crete is truly a local experience. The alcohol of choice is Tsikoudia (or more commonly known as Raki) and is made from the dregs of distilled wine. Crete also produces numerous varieties of wine – many of which are only available on the island.
Shopping in Crete
Whether you’re looking for gifts or local food, there is one quaint village that you must stop in. The town of Rethymnon has multiple local boutiques and tavernas which were converted into shops from older, historical buildings. If you’re looking for authentic local goods such as leather or pottery, visit the mountain village of Krista.
Booking Your Trip
Though Crete can be enjoyed throughout the many seasons, the most popular time to visit is in the summer. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and get planning!
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