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If you want lashings of sun, sea and souvlaki then Crete holidays should be at the top of your list. Situated in the southern Aegean Sea, this Mediterranean hotspot is the largest of the Greek islands. There’s no shortage of postcard-perfect Blue Flag beaches to spend lazy sun-soaked days on, but if you want to explore historical Greece at its most beautiful, you’ll be spoilt for choice here. Whether you want to chill out in Aghios Nikolaos, relax in the sun-kissed resorts of Chania and Bali or party all night in buzzing Malia, Crete holidays tick every box.

 

You'll be in for a treat if you're a foodie, as the island is known for having some of the best cuisine in Greece. Indulge in traditional Cretan cheese (with almost every village having its own signature taste), tuck into Sfakia pies (dough stuffed with traditional liquor raki and soft goats or sheep's cheese and fried) and pick up some Ntakos (a bruschetta style dish topped with tomato, olives, Cretan cream cheese and oil) during your holidays in Crete.

 

The best time to visit Crete is during the months of spring, but the climate is ideally suitable all-year-round. April to mid-October is a popular time to flock to this part of Greece, making spring best if you wish to escape excessive crowds. Heraklion International Airport “Nikos Kazantzakis” is the nearest airport to Crete at a distance of 32km, and the region is well connected to all the major tourist hotspots. Crete holidays are a magical combo of vibrant cities, whitewashed villages and heavenly beaches and there is self-catering, full board and luxury holidays to suit every budget.

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Crete Beaches

 

 

Crete Beaches

Agios Nikolaos, in the north-eastern area of Lassithi, is one of Crete’s most popular resorts thanks to its great choice of safe, Blue Flag beaches. The north is also home to the Heraklion region, which boasts amazing beaches in resorts like Stalis and Hersonissos. In the west, Rethymnon and Chania have the best sandy stretches.

Visit Heraklion

 

Visit Heraklion

The capital of Crete, Heraklion, traces it's beginnings back to the 9th century so it has plenty to please history buffs, including the old city walls, Koules Fortress and the stunning Venetian Palace. But it’s a bustling modern city too with plenty of great shops and restaurants.

 
Activities

 

Activities

Crete’s two waterparks have enough thrills and spills to keep adrenalin addicts happy all day long. Aquaplus near Hersonissos boasts black holes, an aqua slalom and a crazy river. Watercity in Anopolis has 36 pools and slides. Seaside thrill seekers are also well catered for with a great choice of scuba diving and watersports.

 
Caves, Islands and Lakes

 

Caves, Islands and Lakes

Don’t miss the chance to visit the former leper colony of Spinalonga Island, and if you haven’t read it, bring along Victoria Hislop’s Spinalonga-set novel The Island as your beach read. Crete is also home to beautiful lakes including Lake Voulismeni in Agios Nikolaos and over 3,000 caves including tourist favourite Dikteon.

 
Boat Trip to Scenic Loutro

 

Boat Trip to Scenic Loutro

Escape the crowds and take a boat trip to beautiful Loutro village on the south coast. This quiet, protected cove has a pebble beach, laidback tavernas and traditional blue and white sugar-cube shaped houses tumbling down to the water’s edge.

 

 

"The Land of Windmills"

Lassithi Plateau, located 900m above sea level in the Diktian mountains, stretches across 25,000 sq km of gardens and almond trees. This scenic idyll is interrupted only by the tinkling of goat bells and makes its way into all the guidebooks thanks to the hundreds of pretty white windmills that dot the landscape.

 
Indulge in Wine Tasting

 

Indulge in Wine Tasting

Cretans have been making wine for more than 3,500 years and Europe’s oldest vineyard was unearthed in the Kato Zakro area. Today, local growers are receiving worldwide recognition for their produce so head to one of the vineyards near Chania or Heraklion for a day of wine tasting. Don't leave without trying one of the white wines such as Vilano and Vidiano or the popular red wine Romeiko.

 
Shopping

 

 

Shopping

Visit the ancient and still bustling Agora, the cross-shaped, covered market at Chania built around 1911, and wander through the town’s colourful quayside for trinkets to take home. Check out the weekly street markets, particularly at Odos Minoos, for some local flavor, picking up Cretan honey and olives from Odos Hatzi Michali Yannari. If you visit at the end of the tourist season in October you can find some great jewellery and leather bargains.

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