Situated in the eastern Mediterranean, Crete is by far the largest of the many Greek Islands and offers something for every kinds of traveller.
The island has experienced thousands of years of conquest and habitation and has a complicated and diverse heritage. Sightseers can investigate the remains of the ancient Minoan culture that flourished here thousands of years before Christ. Years of Roman, Venetian and Turkish rule have also left their mark and there are fascinating sights scattered throughout the island.
Its northern coastline is home to busy holiday resorts and a wealth of powdery white beaches where couples and families come to soak up the Mediterranean sunshine. The gateway to the island is the large, modern city of Heraklion, which is not so much an island idyll as a vital commercial centre. Other major holiday resorts in Greece include nearby Malia, lively Agios Nikolaos, Rethymnon with its lovely old town, and Chania, to the west, which known for its 14th-century Venetian harbour and waterfront restaurants.
The wild interior of Crete offers some spectacular mountain scenery drives and many opportunities for hikers and serious cyclists. The White Mountains in the west soar to over 2000m, while the more gentle mountains in the east hide the extraordinary Lasithi plateau in their midst, which is dotted with white windmills. The south coast of Crete is much more remote and rugged than the north. It is crisscrossed with gorges and dotted with unspoilt villages, pretty coves, and secluded beaches.