Destinations

Some of the numerous destinations to visit in Crete.

Agia Galini
Agia Galini is a picturesque fishing village at the south in Rethymnon prefecture where although package tourism and overdevelopment have spoilt much of its original charm, remains a remarkable place to visit. Build up against the sea by large sandstone cliffs, Agia Galini gets lively during peak season, and has a great atmosphere at night.

Agios Nikolaos
Agios Nikolaos is Lasithi’s prefecture capital. A former fishing village, with a picturesque lake connected to the sea, Agios Nikolaos is an undeniable beautiful place.

Elafonisi  ("deer island")
Elafonisi is an islet located at the southwestern corner of Crete. Under calm sea it is possible to walk to the island through shallow water. Elafonisi is a protected nature reserve.

Elounda
Small fishing village on the northern coast, at Lasithi prefecture. The road to Elounda from Agios Nikolaos is 12 km long and follows the coast as it climbs to the top of a small mountain. The view from the top is incredible. On a day with good visibility it is possible to see the eastern tip of Crete. Elounda is the closest major village to the former leper colony of Spinalonga and it hosts some of the most exclusive resorts in Greece.

Hania
Hania is the second largest town of Crete and the capital of the Hania prefecture.
The beautiful Venetian old town is a web of atmospheric streets that tumble onto a magnificent harbour and is a great place to spend a few days.

Sfakia
Sfakia is a mountainous area in the southwestern part of Crete in the Hania prefecture. The road from the north between Rethymnon and Hania to Sfakiá crosses the island from north to south through the White Mountains (Lefka Ori) to Hora Sfakion a coastal village by the Libyan sea. Halfway, there is the fertile plateau of Askifou, surrounded by high mountain peaks. From here to Hóra Sfakíon the road is particularly spectacular. The road hugs the western slope of the Imbros gorge with breathtaking views.

Ierapetra
Ierapetra (meaning Sacred Stone) is Europe’s most southerly major town that services the surrounding farming region. It was a major port for the Romans in their conquest to Egypt. Ierapetra’s main business continues to be agriculture.

Iraklion
Crete’s capital Iraklio (also called Heraklion) is a modern city and the fifth largest in Greece. The densely populated Iraklio lacks the architectural charm of Hania and Rethymno but is nonetheless a dynamic city. It has a lively city centre, chic boutiques, quality restaurants and buzzing cafés. Also nearby is the well known tourist attraction, the Minoan ruins of Knossos.

Knossos
Knossos, just 5km from Iraklio, was the capital of Minoan civilization and the Palace of Knossos is the island’s major tourist attraction. The ruins of Knossos, home of the mythical Minotaur kept by King Minos, were uncovered in the early 1900s by the British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans.

Lasithi plateau
The Lasithi Plateau, 900m above sea level, is a vast expanse of pear and apple orchards, almond trees and fields of crops. The plateau’s rich soil has been cultivated since Minoan times. It would have been a stunning sight when the plateau was dotted by about 20000 metal windmills with white canvas sails. They were built in the 17th century to irrigate the rich farmland. Today there are about 4000 still standing and few of them are still in service.

Matala
Matala is a coast village 10km southwest of Phaestos and was one of best-known hippie hang-outs. The dozens of eerie caves speckling the rock slab on the edge of the beach were occupied by the hippies during the ’60s.

Phaestos

The Minoan site of Phaestos, 60km from Iraklio, was the second-most-important palace-city in all of Minoan civilization on Crete. Of all the Minoan sites, Phaestos  has the most awe-inspiring location, with all-embracing views of the Mesara Plain and mountain Idi. The layout of the palace is identical to Knossos, with rooms arranged around a central court, but there has been no reconstruction.

Plakias
Plakias is one of the liveliest resort villages on the southern coast, in Rethymnon prefecture. Younger crowd, families, but older crowd also are attracted to Plakias. Good regional walks, a large sandy beach with enough activities and nightlife to keep you entertained, Plakias is also a good base to explore the region, with a number of excellent beaches nearby.

Rethymnon
Rethymno is Crete’s third-largest town and probably the most picturesque, with a charming Venetian harbour and a massive Venetian fortress. The delightful Venetian-Ottoman quarter is a maze of narrow streets, wood-balconied houses and Venetian monuments, with minarets adding a touch of the East. The city has a campus of the University of Crete bringing a student population that keeps the town alive outside the tourist season. An added attraction is the long sandy beach right in town.


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