Column of the Levant,
My Crete, beautiful island,
Your soil is made of gold,
Your each stone a diamond. traditional Cretan matináda
Crete is Greece’s largest island (260km by 50km), and by any measure, its most extraordinary. Endowed with every earthly delight, Crete nurtured the first civilization on European soil, the Minoan, which, judging by its art and architecture, was so graceful and inventive that Europe has yet to see the like.
It is a terribly old place, older than the rest of Greece, the birthplace (and tomb) of the great sky god Zeus, the cradle of the earliest myths. Crete’s immense popularity is a tribute to its charms. Like Rhodes, the season is long here – and charters from all across Europe arrive from early spring until the end of October. If you have fantasies of tripping alone through the labyrinth of Knossos, come in winter: after the Acropolis, it’s the most visited site in Greece. But Crete remains lively all winter – and mild, especially along the south coast.
Image by Inge Knoff