My Facebook feed is flooded with gorgeous photos of Crete, because my fiancés mum and her husband are on their honeymoon! Largest of the Greek islands, Crete is often associated with all-inclusive family resorts but this is an island of great diversity and once you move away from the popular areas, there is plenty to be discovered.
The island’s three mountain ranges give it a landscape which is full of surprise: glorious beaches in the north, rugged coves and canyons in the south and in between, lakes, gorges and villages in hidden valleys. This is definitely an island I definitely want to explore.
After a little research, here are my top 7 reasons why Crete is on my 2018 bucket list (other than the fact my Mother-in-Law highly recommends it!):
The amazing Mediterranean weather
You can visit Crete all year round because the south falls in the North African climatic zone and temperatures are such that fruit and vegetables can be grown throughout the year. In the north, the beach season stretches from May to October but temperatures in August can get uncomfortably hot.
The uniquely gorgeous beaches!
Crete has an incredible variety of stunning beaches, there really is something for everyone and going on a road trip and discovering a new beach is a great way to explore the island. Elafonissi Beach is well known and popular but you should certainly check it out.
Its fine sand, tinged pink by a million crushed shells, is often compared to the Caribbean. Falasarna Beach is less serene, with great waves and spectacular views. If you want to get really remote, head for Balos, where again, the views are spectacular and the wildlife abundant.
The rich culture and history
Legendary birthplace of Zeus, Crete has a rich cultural and historical heritage. The Minoan civilization flourished here over three and a half thousand years ago and the Palace of Knossos, five kilometres south of Heraklion, is a must-see. The island’s Archaeological Museum houses over a 150,000 examples of Minoan art, including the amazing bull frescos. After the Minoans, the island was colonised by the Romans, the Arabs, the Venetians and the Ottomans, all of whom left their mark on the art and architecture of the island.