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 according to mythology, Zeus was raised.
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, with its elegant resorts, high class restaurants and exclusive bars. The beautiful harbour is sheltered by the peninsula of Kalydon and is ideal for kayaking, windsurfing and paddleboarding, whilst north of the harbour is Spinalonga - a former leper colony. The village is steeped in history with preserved houses and churches, whilst the famous Minoan palace of Knossos is well worth a visit. 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.