THE GREAT ESCAPE

Mythical Crete, the largest island in Greece, is more like a country of its own. From the western Chania region to the easternmost point of Lasithi, there are countless attractions to encounter, some of them known all over the world and some kept like an intimate secret.

ITS OWN COUNTRY

Location: Southern Aegean
Capital: Heraklion
Size: 8,335.882
Accessibility: By plane or ferry from Piraeus port and various Cycladic islands

It is no wonder that Crete is loved by Greeks and foreigners alike. Wild nature, rich culture, amazing gastronomy, vibrant traditions and unique climate make for an all-year-round destination, with every season offering distinctive, unforgettable experiences. This majestic island is a place of limitless potential, a land where steep, imposing gorges give way to spectacular coastlines with all kinds of beaches, good-natured locals insisting on treating you with a savoury meal soundtracked by the melodic tunes of local music, archaelogical sites that take you back to the Ancient Minoan times and numerous activities and adventures to chose from. The regions of Chania and Heraklion are arguably the most popular and can serve as a starting point with all the roads leading to surprising discoveries that can be found only on this blessed part of the world.

ESSENTIALS

1

WE LOVE

Walking around the seductive Old Town of Chania and admiring the Venetian heritage and the distinctive architectural styles. Sunrises and sunsets in the Gulf of Elounda, with the Spinalonga island standing imposing and otherwordly. The pink sand beaches of Elafonisi and Balos in Chania and the startling white of the clay beaces of Xerokampos in Lasithi.

2

LOCAL TIPS

To avoid long queues, visit Knossos Palace during the spring or autumn months. Explore the rural lifestyle with a visit to a mitato (traditional shepherd’s hut) and try the amazing homemade cheese with a shot of raki. Don’t miss a concert by traditional Cretan orchestras or musicians. To truly understand the Cretan spirit, pick a copy of “Zorba the Greek” or any other book by celebrated author Nikos Kazantzakis.

Events calendar

CRETAN WINE FESTIVAL

Held in early summer at Rethymno, this festival offers all varieties and flavours of Cretan wines

MATALA BEACH FESTIVAL

In late June, the famous beach of Matala in Herakion hosts a beach party with live performances by a number of Greek artists.

KAZANIA – RAKI DISTILLING

From October until mid-December, the traditional ritual of raki distilling is performed in various locations all over Crete

HYAKINTHEIA

An annual three-day event in July at the mountain village of Anogeia with traditonal music, dancing and cheese-making