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Holiday Guide for the Greek Island of Crete

Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and is one of the most popular destinations in Greece amongst holidaymakers. The island is packed with history and heritage which gives Crete a great sense of charm and character, making it an idyllic holiday destination for tourists from all over the world.

There are a great number of attractions found across the island ranging from historic ruins to stunning natural landscapes and idyllic beaches. The majority of inbound flights arrive at Heraklion airport in the capital city whilst Chania also has an international airport.

Whether you are looking for a self-catering break or an all-inclusive holiday in Crete, you are sure to have a memorable time during your stay on the island. If you choose all-inclusive you can enjoy as much food and drink as you like, these hotels are often larger and you can often have a wonderful holiday without even leaving your complex. A self-catering break offers a great way to explore the nearby towns and try out the local cuisines in some of the restaurants found close to your accommodation.

Hersonnisos is a popular resort found on the north coast of the Island, approximately half an hour from the capital city. Hersonnisos is home to a beautiful harbour with a number of bars and restaurants overlooking the turquoise waters, the town is highly targeted towards tourists with a great variety of shops selling a range of souvenirs and local products. If you are on a self-catering holiday in Crete, Hersonnisos has a great range of restaurants so you are sure to find something here to meet your needs.

From the harbour at Hersonnisos you are able to venture out on boat trips, either during the day or on a fishing trip in the evening, these can be enjoyed from as little as €20 per person. Many of the boat trips from Hersonnisos visit St. George’s Bay, a wonderful spot for snorkelling and diving, you then sail across to Sisi Bay, a stunning coastal village offering a beautiful harbour and a great range of restaurants, bars and shops. During this trip, you pass the popular resort of Malia and may even have the opportunity to spot giant sea turtles during your sail.

If you are looking to explore a lot of the island during your stay, there are plenty of car rental shops available which offer a great way to travel around Crete at your own pace. Popular attractions and destinations amongst tourists include the Samaria Gorge, Knossos and Agios Nikolaos. The Samaria Gorge is an 18km stretch that offers beautiful landscapes, it takes roughly 5 to 8 hours to complete the full hike and it is recommended that appropriate footwear is worn. Knossos is a historic site considered as the oldest city in Europe, ruins here include those that are linked with the myth of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth. Agios Nikolaos is a charming coastal town that is found on the north east coast of Crete, the town is home to the ‘Bottomless Lake’ which was allegedly bathed in by Greek Goddess Athena. It has been discovered that the lake in fact is 64 metres deep which is surprising given that it is relatively small in diameter. There is a stretch of coastline found close to Agios Nikolaos which is popular amongst celebrities, hotels in this region charge up to €20,000 a night.

The harbour at Agios Nikalaos offers boat trips to the unique island of Spinalonga, officially known as Kalydon. The island has been inhabited since the 15th Century and has been occupied by the Venetians and the Turks before being claimed by the Greeks. The Island is best known for being home to a leper colony which resided on the island from 1903 to 1957. Spinalonga is now a popular tourist destination with hundreds of visitors arriving by boat each day during high season.

Crete is a wonderful island which offers plenty to see and do, during your time here you may also wish to visit the iconic island of Santorini, this volcanic island is a unique setting that is famous for white buildings and blue domes on the side of high cliffs that overlook the sea. Excursions to Santorini are available from Crete and it is sure to provide you with some truly special memories.

If you plan to visit Crete then temperatures in summer range from 30 degrees Celsius up to the mid 40s. This lovely climate makes it great for short breaks but to make the most of your holiday it is recommended that you stay for at least a week in order to see what this beautiful island really has to offer.