Greece is one of the most beautiful countries around the world that enjoys a distinctive and picturesque nature that makes it occupy a distinguished position among the countries of the world. It is highly ranked among the most important tourist countries in the world, as Greece includes all forms of tourism that attract thousands of people to visit annually.
Greece contains a large number of islands that are the most beautiful in the world, including Crete, which we will talk about in this article. The island of Crete is the largest island in Greece and the fifth largest one in the Mediterranean Sea.
Crete is considered one of the most important islands in Greece both historically and culturally, its length, from east to west, is about 255 kilometers, and its width is 50 kilometers. The total area of the island is about 8331 kilometers.
Crete is distinguished from others with a unique peculiarity in culture, music, and special types of foods and it has many restaurants and hotels, as well as beaches and art galleries that you would love to visit.
The History of Crete
Humans settled on the island of Crete a long time ago, about 4000 BC the civilization in Crete was established and it was characterized by the beauty of its architecture and its palaces.
It was occupied throughout the ages by the Byzantines, the Crusaders, and then the Ottomans. In 1913, it was annexed to Greece.
Weather in Crete
The weather in Crete is mild, the winter is characterized by its gentleness and moderation, and snow falls on its high mountainous heights. The average temperatures in the summer range from 20 to 30 degrees, the south coast is located within the North African climatic region, which is characterized by higher rates during the summer period and more sunny days, and the best seasons to visit are autumn and spring.
Things to do in Crete
Crete is one of the beautiful islands to visit in Europe, where you can enjoy the nature around you and especially the beaches located there. You will have an amazing vacation there with your family or friends. Now let us see the most famous places to visit there and things to do in this magnificent island.
Heraklion Archaeological Museum
The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion is one of the largest museums in Greece and one of the most important in all of Europe, it includes several beautiful exhibitions. It was built between 1933 -1937, it is located in the eastern part of the old town.
The museum consists of 27 different halls where display artifacts spanning 550 years, and the glazed ceramic Snake Goddess dating back to 1600 BC. What will attract your attention in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion are its precise organization, and the value of the treasures it possesses, along with each artifact you will find its description and history, written in Greek and English, to help the visitor.
Heraklion is the capital city of Crete, its old town consists of pedestrian streets full of many shops and restaurants, and also you will see trees in every square in the city.
Also from there, you can visit Knossos and other parts of Crete, you can reach Heraklion by its international airport which is located 5 km east of the city.
Heraklion gained its present layout under the Venetians and at that time the city witnessed a huge culture blossom and it is also home to the writer Nikos Kazantzakis, the author of Zorba the Greek in 1946.
Chania was the capital city of Crete until 1971 and then it was moved to Heraklion, the city is located on the Aegean Sea with the White Mountains behind it that is covered with snow in winter and it is a fascinating city for you to explore.
There you will see a group of alleys with beautiful colored buildings and surrounded by the remains of a 16th-century wall. The city extends until the harbor and there you can see the Municipal Market which contains fresh seasonal produce and was built in 1911.
If you want to visit the city you can reach there by an airport which is 12 km northeast of the city and is served by regular ferries from Athens’ port.
Knossos is one of the most important and oldest archeological sites in Europe, it was the first maritime power in the Mediterranean Sea and it is located near Heraklion. It was said that the city was the place of the palace of King Minos who was the legendary King of Crete.
The site contains the Minoan Palace which is a residential complex, where you will find in the center a wide courtyard and it was used in some activities like running towards a bull and grape it from its horn.
Rethymnon is a beautiful old town located between Chania and Heraklion, its buildings were built in the Venetian era and some in the Turkish era. It is one of the perfect places to visit in Crete and spend a great day on one of its beaches.
When you are in town you will see that some of its buildings were turned into shops and restaurants and you can walk in its twisty streets and alleys in the afternoon and have a good time. There are some top attractions near Rethymnon that you can visit such as Samaria Gorge and Mount Psiloritis.
Samaria Gorge is considered one of the most beautiful tourist places on the island of Crete, and it is a wonderful national park that can be considered one of the most beautiful gardens in Europe. The most characteristic feature of the Samaria Valley is its green cliffs, which makes it a haven for nature lovers.
The main reason tourists come to Samaria Gorge is to walk the popular 16 km hike that runs through the gorge which is the longest gorge in Europe. It is also home to more than 450 species of plants and many other animals. We advise you to visit it, and discover the animals in it, and take wonderful photographs.
Preveli Beach is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Crete, it is located on the south coast of the island and many tourists visit this beach every year and that is due to having a beautiful landscape, where the rocky cliffs that surround it, in addition to the palm trees that overlook it.
You can spend a great time there on a day trip, but make sure to wear good shoes because you will have to walk about 30 minutes from the parking lot to the beach.
Preveli Monastery is located not far from Preveli Beach, it was built in the 17th century and is located near the top of a mountain. The monastery includes a terrace, small museum that contains collections of religious artifacts and courtyards.
For your information to enter the monastery you should wear a modest dress for the ladies and skirts are provided for women if they are wearing clothes that don’t extend down to their knees.
Malata Beach is another beautiful beach in Crete which is located on the south coast and it is a large arc of sand with a rock wall on one side. Matala is also located near some cities like Heraklion or Rethymnon from where you can make a nice day trip.
On the beach you will enjoy the beautiful sun, swim and also you can explore some ancient caves located near the beach and have a great meal in one of its restaurants.
Elafonisi Beach is considered as one of 25 important beaches around the world, it attracts tourists from all around the world who love lying in the sun, relaxing in the beautiful nature. You will also be attracted to the charming pink sand and the sky-colored water.
Elafonisi Beach which is located on an island that has the same name is also an important natural reserve in Greece, and one of the most important landmarks of Crete, where the island includes a group of wild plants, charming rocky cliffs, and some quiet caves.
One of the entertaining places to visit is Crete. It’s the place for animal lovers, and fish and marine creatures have a designated place, and reptiles have a designated place. In the Reptile Rescue Center, you can learn about turtles, snakes, and other reptiles with many patterns.
Balos Beach is the best place to spend a day for kids and adults, the water of this beach is shallow and that makes it a major gathering center for families from the local city residents as well as the tourists coming to the island.
Among the things that made Balos Beach one of the most important tourist destinations in Crete, Its waters are of stunning turquoise color, which gives the beach a charming view that attracts the attention of all who visit it and besides that its soft pink sand, which makes it one of the most beautiful beaches of the Greek islands.