6 minutes reading time Greece
Everyone surely hopes to visit Greece someday. Many people want to go to Greece for their honeymoon, to learn about the once-great and powerful Greek civilization, or just to enjoy the beautiful beaches and soak up the sun.
Greece is always a good choice for a vacation or holiday, to tell the truth. You can visit cities like Athens and Thessaloniki, which are very modern, and you can also live on an island. Today, though, we’ll talk about Crete, which is the largest island in Greece.
As was already said, Crete is Greece’s biggest island and the fourth biggest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Even if you only go to Crete and not Athens or other parts of Greece, you will still be able to see everything the country has to offer, in my opinion. In fact, Crete is home to the Minoan civilization, which is one of the oldest in Europe.
When you go to Crete, you will see the beginnings of what we now call the European civilization. Also, there are beautiful places to see on Crete. There are beautiful mountains, amazing beaches, and many valleys and canyons that will take your breath away.
Top 5 Beaches to Visit
Discover some of the best beaches in Crete, Greece!
1. Elafonisi Beach
You can visit the Elafonisi Beach in the southwest of Crete. It is right in front of the island of Elafonisi, which is how it got its name. The beach is best known for its pink-tinged white sand. When the tide is low, you can walk to the island of Elafonisi without getting wet. Since the water isn’t too deep, it’s great for young children.
Elafonisi is an island with a beautiful beach and great views. Even though it’s only a mile long, you can see a lot of different landscapes and plants. The beach has many coves and interesting rock formations that are great for people who like to be close to nature.
2. Balos Beach
When you get to Balos beach, the rocky hills give you a beautiful view of the lagoon. The bright turquoise water and white sand of Balos beach make for a beautiful picture. It’s easy to see why so many people go to the beach every year.
The area is also a protected natural reserve, so you can snorkel and see rare sea life or, if you’re lucky, monk seals and long-headed turtles.
3. Agiofarango Beach
At the end of the Agiofarango gorge you can visit the Agiofarango Beach. So, you can either walk through the gorge to get there or take a boat from Matala, Agia Galini, Kokkinos Pyrgos, or Kali Limenes. The beach is shaped like an arch by the rocky cliffs that surround it. Most of the time, the water is very calm and clear blue.
4. Falassarna Beach
There are five beaches in Falassarna bay, but the two in the middle are the most popular. People choose to visit Falassarna Beach because they find it the best beach in Crete and one of the top 10 beaches in Europe. In fact, you shouldn’t miss Falassarna beach with its white sand and turquoise water. It is also known that the best sunset in all of Crete can be seen at Falassarna.
5. Stefanou Beach
Stefaou Beach is a well-kept secret. It is a small beach in a narrow cove, and the only way to get to it is on a steep, narrow path that starts at the parking lot. So, it’s best to wear sneakers or hiking shoes when you go visit Stefanou Beach. Fine pebbles, clear blue water, and white marble cliffs protect the beach from strong winds.
Top Historical Places to Visit
Cretan history dates back thousands of years, making it one of the oldest civilizations on Earth. Discover some of its most important historical sites!
1. Minoan Palace of Knossos
The Minoans were Europe’s first advanced society, and Knossos was the most important city on the island of Crete. It was also where the King of Crete, whose name was Minos, lived.
In fact, Minos is not a name but a title, like the Pharaohs in Egypt. Even though the palace has been damaged by both nature and people, it still has the style of architecture that was used by the ancient Minoans.
As you look around the palace’s many rooms and areas, you can see the rare wall paintings in the queen’s room, hallways, and other places, as well as the throne room and ceremony room.
2. Rocca a Mare Fortress
The Venetians built Rocca, also known as the Mare Fortress or the Fort of the Sea, when they were in charge of Crete in the Middle Ages. It was built as part of a plan to protect the island by making it stronger.
It still stands tall and proud today near Heraklion’s modern harbor. The fortress is a museum, and it has beautiful views of the harbor and the city.
Spinalonga is a small island in the northeast of Crete. You can visit Spinalonga by boat from Elounda or Plaka to get there. Walls built by the Venetians protect the island.
The village of Spinalonga, on the other hand, is now empty and uninhabited. Up until the 1960s, Spinalonga was one of Europe’s leprosy colonies. The island was closed to the rest of the world for more than 50 years.
It is now one of the most popular places to visit in Greece, and you can walk around the empty streets and houses of the village. You are lucky to have such a beautiful view of the sea.
4. Monastery of Arkadi
Arkadi is the most important monastery in all of Crete. It was built in the 1100s, but it didn’t become important until much later. During the time when the Cretans were fighting for their freedom, the Monastery of Arkadi became a place where people could get help with education, morals, and the country as a whole.
Also, the rebels from Crete were drawn to the monastery because it was fortified. It was a safe place for the rebels to stay, and it was the start of Crete’s freedom.
5. Diktaean Cave (Cave of Zeus
Instead of being important in history, Diktaean Cave (Cave of Zeus) is important in mythology. Zeus, the most powerful god, was born and grew up in this cave. In order to protect her son from his father Cronus, Zeus’s mother, Rhea, told Cronus that she had already given birth to Zeus. She did this by giving Cronus a bundle of rocks, which he swallowed like he did with all of his other children.
Later, Rhea hid in Diktaean Cave, where she gave birth to Zeus and raised him with the Dikatean Kouretes, the goat Amalthea, and the nymph Melissa.