Crete has lush countryside, a rocky and sandy coastline and many deep gorges
The famous Samaria Gorge, the longest gorge in Europe, is well worth visiting for its stunningly dramatic scenery.
This is located in the far north-west of Crete near Chania Bay.
Overlooking the bay is the ancient town of Chania, capital of Crete until the 1970's. It is surrounded by some of the island's most fertile agricultural land, rich in vegetation.
Behind is the stunning grandeur of the white mountains, from sea level to 8000 feet, with snow in the upper reaches for half the year.
Chania, the second biggest town
in Crete, is built on the ancient site of
Crete has much more than beautiful beaches and stunning
offer the traveller.
4000 years of civilisation have left a rich legacy of world-class archaeological sites, such as the ancient Minoan remains at the Palace of Knossos outside Heraklion.
Much later than the Minoans, the Romans, Turks and Venetians were also to leave their architectural mark on Crete.
This is very apparent in Chania, where the old
part of town has a
Venetian port containing buildings from the middle ages and mosques and minarets from the Turkish occupation, as well as the later colonial or neo-classical architecture.
Chania is a wonderful centre
for those seeking a genuine
interest in the
Cretan way of life and its history, as well as wanting to relax and enjoy the the superb scenery, sun and sea.
There are miles of sandy and pebble beaches, providing excellent bathing, particularly to the west of Chania.
The area suits most age-groups and is served by Chania Airport, 8 miles east of the town.
About 40 miles to the east of the airport, on the same north coast, is the elegant university town of Rethymnon. With its Venetian port and fountains and Turkish balconies, it is one of the most beautiful towns in Greece.
It also has a very long sand and shingle beach, great shopping and numerous bars and tavernas.
At the centre of the north coast, stands Heraklion, the modern capital of Crete since the 1970s.
Heraklion is the largest city on the island and the chief port. It faces the Sea of Crete to the north and is surrounded by lush countryside and wine-growing areas leading southwards through rugged mountains to the plains of Phaestos.
It has a mixture of ancient
history and a mediaeval street layout with
Venetian monuments, buildings and archaeological remains.
It is considered to be one of the most important centres of the ancient Minoan civilisation, with many sites found throughout the area; the best-known being the Palace of Knossos.
The Archaeological Museum in the city houses the Minoan treasures.
Here again there are good beaches on the western outskirts and plenty of good hotels.
Heraklion Airport is two miles east of the city, 90 miles from Chania Airport in the west.
16 miles east of Heraklion is Hersonissos, the
busiest sea-side resort in
Crete, with a line of hotels and shops extending over 4 miles along the
It has historical Roman remains and a colourful harbour with local fishing boats at their moorings.
This resort has been described as "one big party", since it has a constant loud buzz about it, especially near the centre.
The quieter edges appeal to older visitors and families. Walking in the nearby mountains is very popular.
4 miles further east is the extremely lively beach resort of Malia, one of the most popular in Crete with those seeking an action-packed holiday. It has 2 to 3 miles of sandy beach reckoned to be one of the best on the island. Water sports are very popular here.
Agricultural land, growing potatoes, olives and bananas stretches back from the sea-front to the impressively rugged Dikti mountain range inland.
Travelling another 22 miles to the east, you get to Aghios Nikolaos, probably Crete's best known and longest established tourist resort, made famous by the media.
Situated on the beautiful Gulf of Mirabello near the eastern end of Crete, it is still a working port for fishing and shipping, with ferries and yachts constantly plying its waters.
Aghios Nikolaos is centred around this harbour and a so-called "bottomless" lake.
The lakeside, joined to the harbour by a small bridge, is surrounded by tavernas, cafes and eating terraces and is always a hive of activity.
With the coastal road, impressive rugged mountains rising up behind and olive groves carving a passage through to the south coast, the area around Aghios Nikolaos is unforgettably beautiful.
The pretty village resort of Elounda lies 5 miles to the north of Aghios Nikolaos, overlooking the island of Spinalonga. Elounda has a choice of accommodation from the finest de luxe hotels to self-catering establishments and B and B.
For those seeking holidays on the more remote, very beautiful, south coast of Crete, the resorts of Matala, famous for its ancient caves, and Plakias, 20 miles south of Rethymnon, offer quiet holidays, especially for those with an interest in walking, boating and indigenous flora.
The wonderful, large Greek island of Crete has something to suit holidaymakers of all ages and tastes.
Visit-the-world offers a great choice of holidays to this beautiful sun-soaked destination.
Why wait? Life is much too short!!