There are so many things to do on the isle of Crete, here’s our list of the top 10!
1. Step back in time by visiting Europe’s oldest city at Knossos. In Greek mythology, King Minos dwelt here and an underground labyrinth was built by Daedalus in which to retain the Minotaur, a mythical creature that was half man and half bull.
2. Learn about the history of the region at Herakleion Archaeological Museum (2 xanthoudidou Street, tel 2819 27900). Tickets at 6 and 3 euros with a 10-euro pass that includes the ancient site of Knossos.
3. The gorge of Samaria, the longest in Europe, is the second-most visited tourist attraction and by far the most popular walk. In winter it is closed to visitors due to danger posted by falling stones. Admire the rare flora and fauna of the place.
4. Visit Lake Voulismeni at the town of Agios Nikolaos. Legend has it that goddess Athena bathed here and, according to lore, the lake is bottomless though this has not been substantiated. The German army had disposed parts of their weaponry here when they withdrew from the area during World War Two.
5. Come face to face with hundreds of species and thousands of living organisms at the Creta Aquarium (CLICK HERE to visit their site)
6. The seaside village of Matala in south Crete, near Phaistos, became famous in the Sixties when hippies from around the world came to live in the celebrated beach-side caves. Residents of Matala included Janice Joplin, Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. “The night is a starry dome and they’re playin’ that scratchy rock and roll beneath the Matala moon,” goes Joni Mitchell’s song “Carey” that describes that Matala sky.
7. Visit Vai, the wonderful palm forest of Crete that was discovered by hippies in the Seventies when they were turned out of Matala.
8. Diktaion cae was reportedly the birthplace of Zeus, the king of the gods, and is located just outside the village of Psyhro. Legend has it that Zeus was hidden here to prevent his father, Cronos, from eating him. It was later a place of cult worship and a number of votive offerings were found here.
9. The pink sandy beach of Elafonisi, situated southwest of the island of Crete, is filled with dunes and sand lilies. The endangered careta careta turtle and other unusual species of animals can be found here.
10. Apart from the food, wine and Cretan music, lately Sifis the fugitive croc has acquired cult status in the region.