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Crete - Luxair · PDF file Heraklion Heraklion is the largest city of Crete and the island s capital. Its long history began in post-Minoan times, even though the nearby Knossos used

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Text of Crete - Luxair · PDF file Heraklion Heraklion is the largest city of Crete and the island s...

  • Updated 03 June 2019

    Photo: Georgios Tsichlis/


    Olga Gavrilova/

    Sandro Pavlov/

    Veniamakis Stefanos/

    Crete, the largest Greek island, is washed by the waters of the eastern Mediterranean, and so enjoys a mild climate. An island where Myth meets History, where the age-old Cretan culture has its roots in the long-ago, where the sea meets the mountains and unspoiled nature coexists with modern tourist infrastructure. Crete has a thousand faces: one for each and every sort of traveller: the nature-lover, the explorer, the cosmopolitan, the lover of history and culture.

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    The Old Town of Chania The Old Twon of Chania is characterized by a blend of Venetian, Ottoman and ... Koules Fortress The Venetian Koules Fortress, also known as Castello a Mare (which means "fo... Historical Museum of Crete Founded in 1953, the Historical Museum of Crete in Heraklion hosts a permane... The Minoan Palace of Knossos The ruins of the Palace of Knossos, the largest and most brilliant centre of... Heraklion Archaeological M... This museum is located in the center of Heraklion and is one of the most imp...


    Roman Eremenko/

    Crete, the largest island in Greece, is one of the most popular travel destinations of the Mediterranean. It's an island with a thousand faces that combines everything a traveller might ask for: a rich history, several major attractions, a unique food culture, a vibrant nightlife, magnicent nature and pristine beaches.

    On Crete ourished the rst prehistoric civilization of note on European soil, that of the Minoan Bronze-Age, and its majestic palaces can still be visited today. In the long history of the island, a multitude of dierent cultures and conquerors have passed through, leaving behind important traces on the island. As a result, present-day Crete has a high level of historical, archaeological and cultural points of interest.

    The heart of Crete beats in its cities: Chania, the Venice of the East, Renaissance Rethymno, cosmopolitan Heraklion and picturesque Agios Nikolaos, Sitia and Ierapetra. In addition museums and historical sites and buildings, you'll nd many shops selling local products, lively bars and cafés, as well as restaurants where you can try the both delicious and healthy Cretan cuisine.

    At the same time, Crete stands out for its unique natural environment. On one hand, a seemingly

    endless and indented coastline oers countless beaches for each and every taste. At the other extreme, there is a spine of high mountains ideal for hiking and mountaineering. Gorges to wander through, caves to explore, valleys to admire, all waiting the visitor’s glance. In Crete, you'll never fall short of things to do.


    Olga Gavrilova/

    From the colorful Old Town of Chania to the Renaissance buildings of Rethymnon, and from the cosmopolitan city of Heraklion to the picturesque Agios Nikolaos and Sitia, each and every Cretan city has its own attractions and personality.


    Heraklion is the largest city of Crete and the island’s capital. Its long history began in post-Minoan times, even though the nearby

    Knossos used to be the most important Minoan centre, and saw the succeeding of various conquerors, whose traces are still evident in the city. For instance, one of Heraklion's most important landmarks is the Kouless Fortress in the Venetian harbour.

    Nowaydays, Heraklion is a large modern city,

    Destination: Crete Publishing date: 2019-06-03

  • cosmopolitan and busy all year round. It is also an important economic centre and has a rich cultural life. In recent years, many streets around the centre have become pedestrianized and link the major monuments of the city, so that one can go about on foot more easily, free from the rush of traic. In addition to its many interesting museums and tourist attractions, Heraklion has a unique charm worth savouring while on visit: saunter along the pedestrian streets of its historic centre, lose yourself in the alleyways of the Old Town, take your ease in the coee bars and raki-joints that are a part of the city's culture.

    Photo: Georgios Tsichlis/ Address: Heraklion, Crete


    Chania, or "Venice in the East", is the second biggest city in Crete, built on the site of old Kydonia. It has managed to keep its original appearance

    and its authentic colours in balance with the strong growth of recent years. It is one of the most picturesque cities in Greece, keeping alive the imprint of the various cultures that have passed through down the centuries.

    In recent decades, Chania has emerged as one of the fastest growing tourist centres on Crete. Especially during the summer, the Venetian harbour and the narrow lanes of the Old Town are swamped by visitors from all round the globe. At the same time, cultural activities reach a peak with the hosting of sundry festivals and events in the renovated historical buildings, such as the impressive Moro shipyards. The former Venetian Monastery of Saint Francis now hosts

    the Archaeological Museum of Chania.

    But it also remains a living city beyond the limits of the tourist season. The numerous student population and the active local groups continue the long intellectual and spiritual heritage of Chania, preserving it to this very day.

    Photo: Neirfy/ Address: Chania, Crete


    The third largest city on Crete, built on the site of the old Minoan Rithymna, Rethymno came to life during the Venetian era and still retains a

    Renaissance appearance. The most well-preserved structure is Rethymno's Fortress, located on a hill and dominating the city's skyline. Another major tourist attraction is the charming historic harbour, dotted with quaint cafés and taverns. In the Old Town, Venetian architectural elements coexist with Ottoman ones, creating a unique charm instead of a big contrast.

    In the summer, Rethymno has visitors from all over the world, who base themselves here for the exploration of the Prefecture and of the whole island, whilst in the winter the students of the local University bring a buzz to the place. During spring, the Rethymno Carnival takes place, which is a century-old celebration that has become an institution famous throughout the country.

    Photo: leoks/ Address: Rethymno, Crete

    Destination: Crete Publishing date: 2019-06-03

  • Agios Nikolaos Agios Nikolaos is one of the most picturesque towns in East Crete and a gateway to the whole region. It enjoys a strategic location on the

    Gulf of Mirabello and in the summer it turns itself into a cosmopolitan resort. The city chiey subsists on tourism, but despite the boom it has not lost its small town feel.

    An attraction of Agios Nikolaos is the Vouliagmeni Lake, where, according to old myths, Aphrodite and Athena were wont to come and bathe. Beautiful Neo-Classical buildings were put up round and about the small harbour, which is lined up with restaurants, cafés and shops and is a favoured spot for a "volta" – an evening walk – for locals and visitors alike.

    East of the lake is another favoured spot in Aghios Nikolaos – the beach of Kitroplateia, a place for a quick "dip" right in the city centre. If you feel like exploring but without going too far, Agios Nikolaos is close enough to the cosmopolitan and up-market resort of Elounda, as well as to the famous island of Spinalonga.

    Photo: Rostislav Ageev/ Address: Agios Nikolaos, Crete


    Sitia is the best ‘ambassador’ for East Crete: authentic, uncrowded and picturesque. It can be an ideal base for the

    exploration of the easternmost parts of the island, including the popular Vai Beach, home to

    Crete's biggest palm forest.

    The city, originally founded by the Minoans, has a troubled history of conquest and destruction, but managed to survive and prosper. Nowadays, it is a tranquil seaside town with about 10,000 inhabitants, built like an amphitheatre on the hills around the its lovely harbour, featuring colourful boats, several eateries and a beautiful promenade. Sitia also features a historic fortress, an Archaeological and a Folklore museum, as well as a long sandy beach where during summer locals and tourists ock to enjoy some relax or water sports.

    Interesting fact: Vitsentzos Kornaros, one of the most important Cretan writers and author of the epic poem Erotokritos, was born in Sitia.

    Photo: Anilah/ Address: Sitia, Crete


    The southernmost city of Crete and the fourth largest one in the country, Ierapetra combines the infrastructure of a tourist

    resort with easy access to pristine beaches and beautiful countryside the surrounding areas. A popular tourist destination within easy reach from here is the unspoilt Chrysi Island with its golden beach.

    Ierapetra is a city full of life throughout the year. Its icon is without a doubt the Kale fortress, and its liveliest part is the main promenade with its cafes, taverns and restaurants. Ierapetra is also the main commercial centre of the province for agricultural exports to Europe. Economic

    Destination: Crete Publishing date: 2019-06-03

  • prosperity is due both to tourism and to the production of early vegetables grown in the many greenhouses in the area. An important product of the region is Cretan oliv