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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.

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Ag. Nikólaos

And around the Gulf of Mirabelo

Chaniá and around

Crete's second city

Crete Mythology

The Birth of Zeus, and Europe’s Bullish Origins

Crete: History

Europe's first literate civilization

East of Chania

Akrotíri to Réthymnon

Crete: Geography

What's where on the big island

Crete's Southwest

Paleochóra, the Sélino and Gorge of Samaria

Crete: Way out West

Staggeringly stunning beaches

Deciphering the Minoans

How Michael Ventris did it


Europe at its Southernmost:


The Capital of Crete

Heraklion to Ag. Nikolaos

Aquariums, Malia, Milatos Cave and Dreros

Ierapetra and the Southeast

The southernmost town in Europe

Knossos and Archanes

The Minoan Capital and summer palace

Lassithi Plateau

The Birthplace of Zeus

Minoan Art

Rise and decline of 'the world’s first naturalistic art'


Crete's charming third city

Rethymnon to Heráklion

Along the coast and inland

Sitia and Eastern Crete

out to the Palace of Zakros

South of Rethymnon

Between the White Mountains and Psilorítis

South to Chóra Sfakíon

The rugged Eparchy of Sfakiá

Southeast of Heraklion

Down to the Libyan Sea

Southwest of Heraklion

Gortyn, Phaistos, the Plain of Mesara and Mátala

Understanding Crete's mythology

What's it all about?

Text © Dana Facaros

Image by Inge Knoff