Crete: Views & Muse
Despite its distinctively Greek culture, Crete is the most cosmopolitan island in the eastern Mediterranean.
An ancient port for ships circumnavigating the globe, Crete now draws a crowd of well-heeled holidaymakers and is gaining ground as a popular yachting destination.
Sailing to Crete from the west, the first port of call is Rethymnon, between Chania and Heraklion. Without a doubt the most exclusive port on the island, the thriving restaurant scene extends beyond the promenade, which has spectacular views over the sea. From here you shouldn’t miss a trip to the historical monasteries of Preveli and Arkadi, and the Ideon Cave where Zeus was raised, according to mythology.
Eastward along the coast lies bustling Heraklion. Vibrant and colourful, the city is packed with chic restaurants, exclusive bars and flamboyant nightclubs. The town swells in the summer, go early or late in the season – May or October – to get the best tables and cooler weather.
Heraklion is also an ideal base for day trips further inland, enjoy some of the excellent hiking routes to remote villages. Eastward, on the northern side of Mirabello Bay, lies one of the many highlights of the Island, the splendidly charming yet luxurious village of Elounda. The elegant resorts, high class restaurants and exclusive bars call for long evenings ashore, while in the daytime, the water is your playground.
The beautiful harbour is sheltered by the peninsula of Kalydon and is ideal for kayaking, windsurfing and paddleboarding. North of the harbour is Spinalonga, formerly a leper colony. The village is steeped in history with preserved houses and churches. BBQ on the beach and swim in the clear blue waters. The famous Minoan palace of Knossos is fascinating. Discovered in 1900, visitors can walk through the palace’s rooms and visualise day-to-day ancient life.
To really appreciate the timelessness of Crete, head to the south where tourism is yet to really emerge and the small villages quietly simmer under the sun.
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