Wherever you might go in Greece, there are countless beautiful islands and the best way to explore them and its amazing seascape is by boat. Today we are looking a Crete, the southernmost island in Europe is Greece’s largest island, playing host to a quarter of the country’s tourists. While much of the north coast has been taken over by package resorts, the island is large enough for the adventurous tourist to venture to the unspoiled pockets of this captivating and diverse island.
There are two international airports, the larger of which is Iraklio, the smaller located at Hania. The best times to visit Crete are in late spring/early summer and in autumn, once temperatures drop slightly and the swarms of summer tourists have left.
Picture dramatic mountain ranges and gorges, picturesque villages, expansive plateaus and lush plans, long sandy beaches and isolated coves. Hire a car or even better - rent a boat - and set forth on a mission to uncover some of Crete’s best kept secrets – experience the legendary Cretan hospitality and learn about the island’s fascinating culture and customs, enjoying wonderfully fresh produce and cuisine along the way.
Are you ready for the ultimate island escape?? Here are some Cretan gems that have largely escaped the scourge of mass tourism…ssshhh…
A tranquil picture postcard village on the southeast coast of Crete, Myrtos has cleverly retained its traditional village character. It has immaculate white-walled houses with colourful shutters, bright displays of plants and flowers and a small museum. The long beach with its clear waters is rarely crowded, even in high summer.
This is a fascinating archeological site in the valley of Amari located on the route from northern Crete to the Messara plain. Excavations have uncovered remnants of an Old Palace and a religious centre dating back to 1950-1700 B.C.
Neapoli is a small town in the Lasithi region, located 12 km from Agios Nikolaos. It is enveloped by mountains and olive trees and a cool breeze predominates throughout the summer months. The huge square in the centre of the town is packed with neoclassical buildings.
An essential stop-off for anyone staying in Heraklio, Agia Pelagia or Fodele Beach, the historical village of Rogdia offers the visitor a perfect taste of Cretan simplicity. Welcoming cafés and tavernas, houses and shops pepper the village and the idyllic streets, squares and churches are a pleasure to explore.
Located by the Lybian Sea in the southwest part of Crete and surrounded by turquoise waters and beautiful mountains, the district of Sfakia, with the main village of Chora Sfakion, is blissfully removed from the sprawling resorts of the north coast. The rugged and dramatic landscape is tempered by olive, pine and tamarisk trees and the jingling of sheep and goats’ bells.
There are gorgeous beaches to explore, such as Vrisi Beach, Beach of Iligga and Frangokastello Beach, which are easily reached by road. Other more remote beaches are Glika Nera Beach and Marmara Beach, only accessible by boat or an extended walk.
The village of Anogia survived burning by both the Turks and the Germans. Today, the square of Agios Georgios typifies local life and is a good place to stop for coffee, buy local cheese and Crete’s national drink, Raki, and visit the small church and Folk Art Museum. The air bursts with mountain freshness and during the summer comes alive with the sound of traditional Cretan music. Visitors should stock up on local handicrafts before restoring themselves at one of the excellent local tavernas.
A breathtakingly attractive mountain village on the southern slopes of the Idi mountain range in central Crete, renowned for its spring water. The lovely Lake Votomos is a perfect picnic setting and there are scenic walks aplenty around the Rouvas Gorge and wine tasting to be enjoyed at Zacharioudakis Winery.
Experience the magic of the real Crete while you can.
This article was written in collaboration with Nautal.com.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sabrina Iovino is the founder of JustOneWayTicket.com. She's half German, half Italian and has traveled to more than 50 countries around the globe. She feels weird to write about herself in the third person, so she'll switch now. Phew...much better! Let's restart:
Hi, I'm Sab! This is my blog and I write about the things I love. Mostly.
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