Crete, A Land of Mythical Legends and Natural Wonders: A Travel Guide

17 September 2018 Chania, Greece

Crete, the grandest island of Greece and the greatest of the Mediterranean - an island of legendary kings, mythical legends, and natural gems. It holds glorious history and civilizations, mouth-watering gastronomy, distinctive culture and heritage. Located at the southernmost part of Europe, this island is more than just a page turned in a book.

Here's my travel guide on Mysterious Crete

How to get there

To get to the lovely island of Crete and to its key cities, tourists are advised to fly down to the Athens International Airport then to the Nikos Kazantzakis in Heraklion through airlines such as Olympic Air, Aegean Airlines, and Athens Airways, taking a maximum of 45 minutes. Chartered flights from other European airports going to Heraklion and Chania are also available from the months of April until mid-November.

Getting around

Bus: Explore the island by using Crete's bus system which run across the north to south and vice versa of the island. One of the best thing is the buses are reliable and stick to their timetables, and if lucky, the drivers serve as tour guides - straying from the marked routes to enter little villages if asked. The buses have A/C, comfortable seats, and they also have luggage compartments to store your bags. You may visit the KTEL website for routes and timetables. Tickets can be bought at the bus stations as well as on board.

Car rental: Car rentals and driving around Crete gives you pretty much convenience as long as you have your driver's license. There are available car hire in Chania. If you are good at driving manual, then get one instead of the automatic. Manual cars are half cheaper. Whilst the bus system works well, renting a car does allow much more flexibility.

Taxi: Taxi services are also available in Crete. It comes in a steep costs, albeit it is also a good way to travel since drivers may be directed to go to some off-beaten destinations.

Ferries: Ferries are a thing here too, as the island is filled with many harbors.

Scooter: For short distances, you may want to opt a scooter. Scooters are commonly rented in and around the towns of Crete.

Things to do

1. Discover Minoan Culture at Knossos

Knossos Palace was the ceremonial and political center of the Minoan Civilization during the Bronze Age. This ancient capital and the ruins are some of the oldest in Greece. The archaeological site is about 20,000 square meter and has over 1,500 rooms, as well as old village ruins around the palace complex. So be prepared to walk a lot. The site is magnificently preserved and some of the original colors are still visible on the walls.

2. Explore Samaria Gorge

Crete is home to Europe's longest canyon, Samaria Gorge National Park. The 10 miles long National park is a trek down the Samaria Gorge from the Omalos plateu to Agia Roumeli is very tough but it is a paradise for hikers and nature lovers. The hike can take anywere betweet 4 to 8 hours, of course depending on your pace. Be sure to bring water and some gears with you.

3. Be smitten by splash white Loutro

Perched on the south coast of Crete another village offers beautiful and sweepings views of a clean, white sand beach. Loutro is a tiny little fishing village which feels like a hidden gem. This laidback Loutro is inaccessible by land so you'll have to get there by boat.

4. Explore Gerontospilios Cave

The cave of Melidoni, also known as Gerontospilios, is in itself a natural wonder worthy of admiration. Apart from its natural beauty, however, it is also of significant archaeological and historical interest.

5. Fall in love with Chania

This quaint harbour town of Crete is the most poetic city of Crete and encompasses exotic sceneries. This outstanding old fishing village offers views with a gorgeous Venetian harbour, dash of IG-worthy architecture which is definitely worth taking the time to explore.

Where to stay

Crete is vast and as large as it seems it offers plenty of accommodation options, so you'll never run out. There are luxury villas to budget hostels for you too choose from in Crete's hottest locations. If you want to experience living like a local, then Airbnb is for you.

The verdict

Crete is one of the most stunning places to visit in Greece and among all of the Greek islands, it is perhaps the only one that offers such diversity. Not only is the island filled with rich history, but stunning landscapes and unique culture.

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