Crossroad of Civilizations, Harmony of Contrasts, Paradise for the Senses

Crete (in Greek ‘Κρήτη’; kriti), like other Mediterranean islands such as Cyprus and Malta, can often be mistaken for being a small country in itself. In fact it briefly ruled as an independent state back in 1898. Situated between the south Aegean and the Libyan sea, the magnificent mountain range divides the two seas. Not only is Crete the largest of the Greek islands, it is also the keeper of a history other islands, even countries, cannot match up with. From Europe’s most ancient civilizations – the Minoans to this present day, you are sure to be overloaded with stories of all the famous landmarks.

The history is everywhere you look and are being kept alive by the way Cretans who appreciates their history in daily life. It’s a part of the local life, they live in the old towns and the old coffee shops, can still be found in listed buildings dating back thousands of years. For the Cretans, the history is embraced and used with the life today. For outsiders it may often be seen as a living museum, and some cities could arguably be described as just this. A living museum.

During the early summer months the high mountain peaks are providing visitors and locals alike with views of “sugar-covered” mountain tops, green olive groves, beautiful beaches and fantastic blue seas. All in the same eye-glimpse. The combination of this scenery is often argued to be the reason why visitors return again and again to this diverse island, often characterised as a small continent.

Together with history, the culture and local tradition of Cretans are also different to other islands. The gastronomic and culinary traditions are simply collections of past times being portrayed in food, with a long evolution process. Only the best recipes are kept and often passed down to the next generation.

Chania (‘hahn-yah’; also spelt Hania)

Situated to the west of the island, Chania is welcoming you with Venetian houses, Roman walls and narrow, often labyrinth streets dotted with restored town houses and an array of coffee shops, restaurants and handicraft gift shops.


The Venetian harbour becomes to life every summer’s evening with a mix of locals and tourists gathering to walk along to the Venetian lighthouse, enjoy an afternoon drink before strolling into the alleyways of the old town in search of the perfect restaurant or gift shop. Smaller galleries and museums are also plentiful in the city. When the sun sets, the swift birds flock together in the purple skies around Chania, and it’s time to find that place for a relaxing drink or restaurant for a bite to eat.

Rethimno (‘reth-im-no’ often spelt ‘Rethymno’)

Situated between Chania and Heraklion, the city of Rethymno is often portrayed as a smaller version of Chania, with an impressive mountain setting behind the Venetian city centre. It is also host to a 20 kilometre long beach offering many resort hotels along the east of the city.


Rethymno is a vibrant student city with more than 8000 students. This also gives the place a modern feel with the influx of tourists, allowing for a great nightlife and plenty of restaurants. The Venetian streets and archways provide visitors with plenty of shopping opportunities and high quality local produce.

Iraklio (‘ee-rah-klee-oh’, also called Heraklion or Heraklio)

Often referred to as the capital of Crete, Heraklion is the largest of the four main cities in Crete. It shows signs of being a more city-like place than Chania or Rethymnon, be it through car traffic, ferries offloading goods on large container vehicles or aircraft taking off from the airport of Kazantzakis situated close to the city centre.


Heraklion does however provide you with a Cretan feel, if you care to look closer into the heart of the city. The restaurants and coffee places are everywhere and locals flock to the pedestrian streets to catch up with the latest news of their friends. For visitors, it’s a great place to shop and to explore museums during the day. It is also a haven for locals and visitors who wish to take advantage of the city life at night, with a vibrant bar and night club scene.

Agios Nikolaos (‘ah-yee-os nih-ko-laos’)

The Eastern province of Crete, Lasithi has the city of Agios Nikolaos as its’ administrative centre. Agios Nikolaos is a small city with a vibrant cafe and bar atmosphere both day and night.

Agios Nikolaos

It is situated in the Mirabello Bay and the harbour front is a meeting point for locals and visitors from nearby villages and towns. A short 15 minute drive away you will find the smaller village of Elounda, famous for its exclusive resorts and high end villas. The small town and nearby areas grew even more famous following the release of the book “the Island” by Victoria Hislop in 2005 depicting life on the island of Spinalonga. The island is situated in the bay of Elounda, with the nearest town of Plaka overlooking the island with a great pebble beach with crystal clear waters. Agios Nikolaos and Elounda provides visitors with a great twin option; combining rural villages, high end resorts, town feel and an abundance of history attached to both places.