Crete: Places to Explore

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  • Arkadi Monastery

  • Ayios Nikolaos

    Ayios Nikolaos is clustered on a peninsula alongside the gulf of Mirabello, a dramatic composition of bare mountains, islets, and deep blue sea. Behind the crowded harbor lies a natural curiosity, tiny... Read more

  • Elounda

    Traversing a steep hillside, a road with spectacular sea views runs north from Ayios Nikolaos around the Gulf of Mirabello to the village of Elounda and the stark peninsula that surrounds it. The beaches... Read more

  • Hania

    Hania surrendered its role of capital of Crete to Heraklion in 1971, but this elegant city of eucalyptus-lined avenues, miles of waterfront promenades, and shady, cobbled alleyways lined with Venetian... Read more

  • Heraklion

    In Minoan times, Crete's largest city—the fifth-largest city in Greece—was a harbor for Knossos, the largest palace and effective power center of prehistoric Crete. The Bronze Age remains were built over... Read more

  • Knossos

  • Lasithi Plateau

    The Lasithi plateau, 2,800 feet high and the biggest of the upland plains of Crete, lies behind a wall of barren mountains. Windmills still pump water for fields of potatoes and the apple and almond orchards... Read more

  • Matala

    Renowned in the 1960s as a stopover on the hippie trail across the eastern Mediterranean, Matala today is a small, low-key beach resort. The 2nd-century AD Roman tombs cut in the cliff side attract day-trippers... Read more

  • Palace of Mallia

  • Palace of Phaistos

  • Rethymnon

    Rethymnon is Crete's third-largest town, after Heraklion and Hania. The population (about 30,000) steadily increases as the town expands—a new quarter follows the coast to the east of the Old Town, where... Read more

  • Vai

    The appeal of the surrounding, fertile coastal plain was not lost on the ancient Minoans, who left behind some of Crete's most enchanting ruins.... Read more

  • Vori

    Vori, the closest town to Phaistos and Ayia Triada, is a pleasant farming community of whitewashed houses on narrow lanes; you might enjoy stopping here for some refreshment at one of the cafés on the... Read more

  • Vrisses

    This appealing old village is famous throughout Crete for its thick, creamy yogurt—best eaten with a large spoonful of honey on top—that is served in the cafés beneath the plane trees at the center of... Read more

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