Crete, the largest of the Greek islands, is one of the world’s most unique places. Its location is very hospitable, its varied landscapes exist in an unexpected cohesion, its artistry and architectural legacy was a major influence on other cultures in the Bronze Age, and as Europe’s first civilization, its history is beyond rich. For a truly unforgettable vacation, this is definitely a destination to consider.

It is instantly evident to everyone, the moment they arrive on the island, that Crete is different. Subtle nuances such as the spoken language and the sincerity in which visitors are encouraged to mingle with local residence to experience the real Cretan lifestyle, music, cuisine, and social interactions. It is practically impossible not to be moved by the stunning beauty of olive trees and wild foliage, the rocks, cliffs, and sprawling beaches reflecting the sun’s rays off the water and sand.

There are four prefectures comprising the island, with individual attractions, historical artifacts, and charms. Primarily due to its proximity to Europe, the northern side has been modernized and developed with resorts and major cities suitable for tourism. On the southern part facing Africa, the land has remained virtually unspoiled and the character more traditional. Exploring both creates an amazing holiday.

Known as the land of the great King Minos, there is a lot of mystery and wonder to be found among the many ruins and caves of Crete. It has been invaded or occupied by the Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Venetians, Ottoman pashas, and others throughout the course of time – each group leaving its mark on towns and villages. This gives tourist much to see.

There is so much to explore with more than 400 centuries of history. Some of the things many people like to do are visit the folkway museums, the battlements that remain of the Venetian Fortezza, the Minoan Palace of Knossos, and the ruins left by the Roman-Byzantine era, or to peruse the palazzos and narrow walkways in the traditional quarters, hike mountain trails, or enjoy the beaches. Experiencing real Cretan lifestyle is also an option.

April and May are the best times to find great accommodation in Crete because this is the period following the winter closings but preceding the influx of the high tourist season. However, it is best to have made reservations far in advance if visiting anytime between June and September, especially if wanting rooms in Chania, because of the great number of travelers.

Those who visit during the late September and October time frame can experience gentler weather and more affordable accommodations with less crowds. Greece’s large island is a wonderful holiday spot for anyone who is seeking a unique and memorable getaway filled with incredible views and lots of tradition and history.

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