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The largest of the Greek islands, Crete is a popular choice for those seeking sun, sea, history and natural beauty. Originally home to one of the earliest European civilizations, and sitting in the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea, Crete offers a great deal to holidaymakers.
The popularity of Crete as a holiday destination has meant that many travel operators offer services to the island. Shop around to find the best deals. If you are able to travel outside of school holidays, you are likely to find some real bargains. You can book flights and accommodation separately, or purchase a package. Online travel retailers, such as HolidayHypermarket, often have the best prices and offer a wide variety of options.
Crete benefits from a coastline of more than one thousand kilometers. Much of this length is made up of long sandy beaches. Among the most popular are Chiona beach, a tranquil spot with secluded coves and a few seafood restaurants, and Kedrodasos beach, which is backed by cedar and juniper trees. For a more remote adventure, try Dhomata beach, which is made from fine pebbles and is renowned for its crystal blue waters. Access to Dhomata is via either a three-hour gorge walk or a boat cruise.
The long coastline of Crete makes it a mecca for watersports enthusiasts. Waterskiing, jet skiing and paragliding are all available from many of the main beaches. The clear waters and abundant wildlife, including dolphins and turtles, make snorkeling and scuba diving popular as well. Nature lovers will also find plenty of interest on land, with a vast array of flora and fauna.
Crete is a mountainous island, with elevations of almost 2,500 metres. This makes for stunning views of rocky gorges and the green lowlands below, much of whioch is dotted with olive tress and citrus fruits plants. One of the best ways to experience the natural beauty of Crete is to hike the Samaria Gorge, while history lovers can explore ancient churches and Roman ruins.
Crete has two main airports, at Heraklion which is the biggest city and near Chania (Souda). They are both well served by buses to other main tourist locations, while taxis can take the traveller to other locations. Alternatively, car and motorcycle hire is available in major towns. Ferries mean that the other Greek islands are easily reached.
Crete is between three and four hours flight time from the UK (depending on your location). In just this short space of time, you are transported to an island with a mild climate all year round, making it perfect for a trip at any time. And while Cretans are proud of their heritage, English is widely spoken in the tourist trade.
© Dianne Selwood 2004-2012 Our Greek Villa