Crete is the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean and also the place where, according to classical mythology, Zeus, father of the gods of Olympus, was born. A land of ancient myths, including the famous Minotaur myth, and one of the southernmost regions in Europe, Crete is an enchanting island out of time, where history and myth meet natural beauty and landscapes and a simple and authentic lifestyle. Here you can find beaches bathed by crystal clear turquoise sea, hidden bays, small fishing villages, restaurants where you can try the local cuisine at affordable prices, and of course beautiful sailing areas. If you opt to hire a sailing boat in Crete you can discover the treasures of this island while staying away from the crowds of tourists who every year choose Crete as their summer holiday destination. Thanks to its location and climate, the environment is special and unique and can be discovered walking ono the many hiking trails you can find on the island. In this article you will find all the suggestions about what to see in Crete, a destination that meets everyone's taste.
What to see in Crete, between history and myth
History and myth lovers will surely find this island interesting. Among what to see in Crete you cannot miss a visit to the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion in which you can find important archaeological findings that were recovered in the sites of Knossos and Phaestos and represent all historical periods of Crete. The capital Heraklion, now a busy and chaotic town, was the birthplace of the painter El Greco, born in the first half of the '500 under the Venetian Empire.
Hiring a boat in Heraklion you can discover the northern coast of the island, but you can also reach other islands in the Mediterranean, including Santorini. Another place of interest not to be missed is the Palace of Knossos, considered among the most important archaeological sites in the world and the greatest testimony of Minoan civilization. As the myth tells, the construction of the city-palace led by Minos and overlooking Crete, was entrusted to the Athenian architect Daedalus, who was locked up with his son Icarus at the end of the construction. The palace was so complicated and intricate that it formed a real labyrinth and this links it to the famous myth of the Minotaur and Ariadne. Knossos was destroyed by an earthquake and then rebuilt several times, and finally left to abandon until 1900 when Sir Arthur Evans restored it to its former glory. Thanks to its renovation, much criticized because it was not respectful of the original, the frescoes, the rooms and the bathrooms with hot water have emerged.
The most beautiful beaches of Crete
Characterized by mainly jagged coastlines, Crete is characterized by two different souls: the more worldly one of the northern area that contrasts with the quieter one of the southern part, less inhabited, where the mountains descend steeply on the coast. The southern area, which is wild and sometimes almost uninhabited, is particularly recommended for the ones who love nature and outdoor sports, but also for those who are looking for places to spend a holiday of relax and tranquility.
In Crete there are numerous beaches, some of which are among the most beautiful in Greece, such as the Balos Lagoon in Chania, the classic postcard of the island, and the beach of Elafonissi, where you can sail safely by hiring a boat in Greece. Among the best beaches on the west side we recommend the beach of Falassarna, consisting of fine golden beach, perfect place to watch the sunset. In Crete the wind often comes from the west and therefore the beach of Falassarna is the most affected and it is better to inquire in advance if you want to enjoy some relax on this beach. As for other sailing tips, the strongest winds blow in winter and therefore the rest of the year you will enjoy wonderful sailing conditions and a mild climate.
The small villages of Crete to visit
Crete is rich in small characteristic fishing villages where you can enjoy the slow rhythms that are typical of the Greek islands and where there are the classic taverns that expose rows of octopuses hanging on the strings outside. To get to know Greek culture, the various monasteries with their imposing architecture, such as the monasteries of Arkadi and Agia Triada, are also worth a visit. Don't miss a visit to Rethimno, a town on the northern coast with an almost completely intact old town where Venetian influences are mixed with Turkish ones, from the small port to the minarets and mosques. Hiring a boat in Crete you can see from the water the characteristic profile of this place and the various buildings that make it up. Sailing on the north-west coast you will also find Xania, also known as the "Venice of the East". The buildings overlooking the sea are reminiscent of the Venetian ones, while the Janissaries Mosque is the most important Ottoman landmark monument in this town.
If you are looking for a destination where to spend your next holiday on boat, Crete may be the destination for you, with its beaches bathed by crystal clear water and its millenary history. So don't wait any longer and let this article inspire you to set sail to the southernmost island in Europe!