History and beauty are the trump cards of the stunning island of Crete. Sea-side resorts beloved of holidaymakers line the coasts, while inland, among the mountains, forests, and gorges, hide the secrets of ancient Greece: relics of early civilisations that conjure beads of sweat on the foreheads of historians.
For many visitors, Crete is about lazing on the pristine beaches, splashing in the cool blue Mediterranean, enjoying an icy drink in waterfront bars, and being charmed by typically friendly Greek hospitality in tavernas - where sizzling platters of meat and seafood, and giant bowls of feta-laden salad are served up all day long.
Crete hotels offer an equal measure of cordiality, usually with a shot of aniseed-flavoured ouzo to wash it down with on arrival. You can choose hotels in Crete according to taste and budget. There are four- and five-star hotels, which feature cool marble fittings, delightful sea views, and all-important air conditioning for the sweltering summer months. Many of these offer accommodation on an all-inclusive basis, with sumptuous breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets and free-flowing drinks.
You can also find a medley of budget hotels, which are spotlessly clean and well-equipped, but more about simply being a place to sleep in between hours spent at the pool, by the beach, in a friendly restaurant, or in the bars and clubs of the busier resorts.
There's a good choice of mid-range hotels too, which offer good facilities, competitive rates and more comfortable rooms, without the opulence of hotels with five stars to their names. The vast majority of hotels are locally owned and managed and major names are few and far between, however you will find offerings from Best Western, Iberostar and Louis Hotels.
Choose hotels in lively resorts such as Hersonissos, Malia, Rethymnon or Chania Town. Or opt for a quieter break in the peaceful resorts of Gouves, Koutouloufari, Sissi or Plakias. Harbour towns, such as Elounda and Aghios Nikolaos, offer a different view on Crete.
Top five attractions
WaterCity aquatic park
Between Heraklion and Hersonissos is an abundance of pools, slides and fun water games where the whole family can cool off for the day.
Thousands of years of history are contained within this hugely important site in Crete; learn all about it at the interesting museum.
Samaria Gorge National Park
Located in the White Mountains in the western part of the island, the gorge runs for kilometres and offers ever-changing beautiful scenery. Enter for a few euros to walk the spectacular gorge.
This gorge is in the south and, as a road goes through it, is popular with those less bothered about donning hiking boots. It is stunning, nonetheless.
Island of Spinalonga (Kalydon)
Originally part of the main island, it was cut off centuries ago and made into a defensive fort. However, it's the island's history as a leper colony that attracts tourists on boat trips.
Chania Rock Festival; August: Rock music is very popular in Greece and this annual event, within the grounds of the University of Crete, attracts great musicians and large numbers of rock fans.
Tsikoudia Festival; October/November: A festival wholly wrapped up in the celebration of the very strong local tipple Tskikoudia, also known as raki.
St Nikolaos Day; December: People debate whether St Nikolaos is St Nick, or Santa Claus. Whether he is or not, there's a party for the patron saint of Aghios Nikolaos and the coastal town is the place to be to join the festivities.
Related Links:Cheap flights to CreteCheap car hire in CreteHolidays to Crete