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What to visit in Crete

Crete is the largest island in Greece and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It has a long history that dates back to one of the earliest and most developed civilizations in Europe, the Minoan culture. The island boasts of beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, rugged mountains, and stunning landscapes that attract visitors from around the world. The island is home to several quaint towns and villages, each with its own distinct character and culture. In this article, we'll explore some of the top attractions that the island has to offer.



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What not to miss?



Palace of Knossos


A must-see sight in Crete is the Palace of Knossos, which provides a fascinating look into the prehistoric Minoan culture. Explore the palace's remains to see its stunning frescoes, architectural details, and artefacts. Visitors can learn about the history and culture of the Minoans through the guided tours that are offered.




Venetian Harbor of Chania


A gorgeous and charming location ideal for taking a break is the Venetian Harbor of Chania. Visitors may savour the lovely Venetian and Ottoman architecture while perusing the cafes, restaurants, and stores lining the harbour. A lighthouse and a mosque are also located in the harbor, adding to the charm of the area.




Samaria Gorge


A beautiful natural wonder, the Samaria Gorge offers breathtaking views, possibilities for hiking, and other outdoor pursuits. Over 16 kilometres long, the Samaria Gorge is home to unusual plants and animals as well as striking rock structures. There are steep and difficult sections of the trail that visitors should be aware of whether they choose to trek it on their own or with a guide.




What else to visit?



Elafonisi and Balos Beaches


Two of the most attractive and well-liked beaches in Crete, Elafonisi and Balos, feature pink sand, crystal-clear waves, and breathtaking surroundings. Balos is a lonely beach that can only be reached by boat or a strenuous climb, whereas Elafonisi is situated on the southwest coast of Crete and has a shallow lagoon. Both beaches are ideal for swimming, tanning, and admiring the breathtaking scenery.




Rethymnon


Rethymnon is a wonderful old town region in a historic town that is great for exploring. Beautiful Venetian and Ottoman buildings, winding lanes, and charming alleys can all be admired by visitors. Additionally, the town is home to a large number of museums, art galleries, and stores, as well as a variety of restaurants and cafes where visitors may experience local cuisine.




How to travel there?



By air


Crete has several airports, including the two international airports of Heraklion and Chania, as well as smaller regional airports in Sitia and Kastelli. Direct flights to Crete are available from many European cities, and there are also domestic flights from Athens and other Greek islands.




By bus


The major towns and cities as well as smaller villages are connected by a robust bus network on the island of Crete. Buses are an affordable mode of transportation that run frequently all day.




By car


It is also possible to travel to Crete by car, either by ferry from the mainland or by driving through Europe and taking the ferry from Italy. The island has a good network of roads, including a modern highway that connects the major cities and towns.




By ferry


Crete is connected to the Greek mainland and other Greek islands by ferry. There are regular ferry services from Piraeus, Athens, and other ports in mainland Greece, as well as from neighboring islands such as Santorini and Mykonos. Ferry services also operate between the main ports of Crete, including Heraklion, Chania, Rethymnon, and Agios Nikolaos.


What to visit in Crete
Agios Nikolaos


When to travel there?



Spring


Because of the pleasant temperatures, blossoming wildflowers, and reduced tourist traffic, spring is a fantastic season to visit Crete. With temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C, the weather is comfortable, making it an excellent time to go hiking and explore the island.




Summer


The summer, when there is a lot of sunshine and mild temperatures, is the busiest travel season in the island. Swimming and water sports are at their peak during this time, although it can get crowded and pricey. In some places, particularly around the coast, temperatures can rise as high as 30°C.




Autumn


Warm temperatures and fewer tourists than in the summer make autumn a good time to travel to Crete. With temperatures between 18°C and 25°C, the weather is agreeable and an excellent time for outdoor activities like hiking and sightseeing.




Winter


Winter is the off-season, when temperatures are lower and it occasionally rains. It's an excellent time to research the island's history and culture because there are less tourists and the island is still stunning.


What to visit in Crete
Balos beach



Average costs



Accommodation


The price of accommodation in Crete varies according on the area, season, and kind of stay. A mid-range hotel will often cost between €60 and €100 per night, whereas a budget hotel or guesthouse would typically cost between €30 and €50 per night.




Food


The island has a rich culinary tradition and a variety of dining options, from traditional tavernas to modern restaurants. A simple meal at a taverna can cost around €10-15 per person, while a three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant can cost around €25-40 per person. Street food and snacks can cost around €5-10.


What to visit in Crete
Restaurant in Crete


Transportation


Crete has an extensive public transportation system, including buses and taxis. The distance and the mode of transportation affect the cost of transportation. Bus fare for a short trip can range from €1.5 to €2, while fare for a lengthy trip can range from €5 to €10. Taxis are more expensive; starting at about €5 to €10.




Attraction and activities


The island has a variety of activities and sightseeing options, including historical sites, museums, and natural attractions. The cost of these activities varies, with some museums and archaeological sites offering free admission, while others charge around €5-10 per person. Guided tours and excursions can cost around €30-50 per person.




Events



Carnival


The Carnival celebrations in Crete are among the biggest and most colorful in Greece, with parades, parties, and traditional customs taking place throughout the island in February or March. The town of Rethymno hosts one of Crete's most well-known Carnival events.




Feast of Saint Titus


On August 25th, Crete holds a significant festival known as the Feast of Saint Titus in honour of the patron saint of the island. Processions, religious ceremonies, and traditional music and dancing are all part of the celebrations.




Chestnut Festival


The Chestnut Festival is held in the mountain village of Elos in western Crete in October, celebrating the harvest of chestnuts. The festival features music, dancing, and traditional Cretan cuisine, including roasted chestnuts.


What to visit in Crete
Village in Crete


Olive Festival


The Olive Festival is held in the town of Kalamata in November, celebrating the harvest of olives. The festival features olive oil tastings, traditional music and dancing, and exhibitions of olive-related products.




Rethymno Renaissance Festival


The Rethymno Renaissance Festival is a cultural event held in the town of Rethymno in July, celebrating the island's cultural and artistic heritage.





We've reached the end of the article about Crete. This island has a fantastic atmosphere, and we believe you will love it as much as we did! In the meantime, you can read other articles on our website. Remember to follow us @thewalkingparrot to be continuously updated on the new releases. We will be back soon with a new article!

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