Crete is an island of 35 million olive trees. A large percentage of all the world’s olives are grown on Crete. If you like olives, there is nowhere better.
The other main source of income for Crete is tourism. With its large snow-covered mountains which drop to amazing coastlines of rocky headlands interspersed with glorious sandy beaches and hidden coves, Crete is a visitors delight.
Crete is definitely not a backwater. You will find automatic cash machines , bars, restaurants, web access and every amenity of modern life (except decent plumbing) in all the bigger towns and resorts on Crete. Agios Nikolaos is one of the largest towns on the island and a favourite destination for young party goers. The town sits on the north of the island.
Crete was the home of the Minoan civilization (around. 2600 to 1400 BCE), The minoan civilization on Crete is recognised as one of the earliest great civilizations in Europe. Today the ruins of Knossos are a must see attraction for any history buff.
However on such a large island, history is not the only attraction. Crete has great beaches, excellent nightlife and wonderful wildlife too.
Samara Gorge comprises 18 amazing kilometers of stunning landscape as you walk through a gorge that sometimes is hundreds of meters wide and sometimes shrinks to just wide enough for two people to walk side by side.
Meanwhile the walls of Samara Gorge themselves soar up to 500 metres high.
The entire gorge is lined with natural springs so this is one long walk where visitors don’t even need to bring their own water.
Samara Gorge on Crete is a protected national park and one of europe’s greatest natural wonders.
Not far from Crete’s airport of Akrotiri, Chania was built on the ruins of the ancient city of Kidonia. The Venetians later built a port here and the old port at Chania is a must-see attraction. Souda bay to the east of Chania has grown to be one of the the largest in the Mediterranean. As a result although the port and old town remain picturesque, outside the old town Chania can feel a bit industrial.
There is a great public market in the middle of town along with some nice public parks and Turkish Baths (Hamam). A Byzantine Wall surrounds the old city and there are many beautiful churches in Chania.
Some of the resorts east of Chania suffer from aircraft noise. If you want to stay by the seaside I suggest you avoid the resorts of kalavi and Kalives. Once you get as far east as Georgiopoli, aircraft noise ceases to be a problem.
A review of Chania
Close to Iraklio (also spelled Heraklion) are the ancient ruins of Knossos, the capital of Minoan Crete. Uncovered by Sir Arthur Evans in the early 2oth Century, Knossos is Crete’s biggest tourist attraction. Crete was the home of Minoan culture for about 600 years between around 2000 BC and 1400 BC. The site is vast and a must-see visit.
On the north east of Crete, the town of Agios Nicolaos, commonly known as ‘Ag Nick!’ is a popular vacation spot for holidaymakers.
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Reviews of Crete
If you are on Crete, then do not miss Samara Gorge. It isn’t for the feint hearted but is an absolute wonder. You really need to give the gorge all day and take your time, good shoes and plenty of water.
The wildlife in Samara gorge is outstanding. Do not miss it or you will regret it.
Hi! Agios Nikolaos is NOT the largest town on the island. The largest city is Iraklion (not Irakio), followed by Chania.
But Chania is very run down. The waterfront bars are too expensive and service is not good.
Panorama Blue Hotel
We stayed at the Panorama Blue Hotel in Chania last summer. The traffic noise is a bit of a problem so I suggest getting somewhere away from the main town.
Just wanted to let everyone know that Kournas lake near Georgiopolis on the north western end of the island is not worth the visit. Pedaloes for hire and tacky tourist shops cater to busloads of disappointed tourists every day. One to avoid i’m afraid.
There is a lovely tiny church on the end of a very long pier justting out into the water. The pier is all boulders so difficult to walk along, but if you can make it to the end, it is a beautifully peaceful spot.
Georgopolis – great for kids
Walk to the seafront, turn left and walk eastwards over the Almiros river bridge and head for the giant eucalyptus trees. Hire a pedalo and head upriver where you will discover terrapins who flock to the pedaloes (presumealy because the owne of the boats feeds them). The current can be fun on the way back, which is a bit of a blast too.
At 2456 metres, Mt Ida is the highest mountain on Crete. According to legend Zues himself was brought up in a cave on the slopes of this mighty hill in the very middle of the island. Much later a small church was built on the summit and on September 14th each year people flock to the summit for a religious service and celebration. However, it is no easy climb, and when the sun beats down on a rocky lifeless mountaintop people can become dehydrated quickly, so bring plenty of water.
We stayed at the Kokalas Apartments in Georgioupolis. Everyone was friendly and helpful and the place was kept really clean and tidy. I would reccomend it to a family on a budget.
Agios Nikolaos is an absolutely beautiful resort. The Voulismeni Lake is the main tourist attraction of the town, its crytal clear waters, adorned with small boats makes it impossible to miss! There are plenty of restraunts surrounding the Lake, but beware, as with all tourist hot spots, the restraunts are a little more pricy, but the atmosphere around the lake is extremely plesent, making an enjoyable experiance for all. There are plenty of fun bars to visit too, i strongly reccomend the Aquarius Bar, they play a wide range of music and have drink suitable for all, the also have a sports bar with free internet access. There is also a great tourist attraction just off the coast, a small Island called Spinalonga, it is a must see!