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Crete see + do

Crete is not quite the continent many of its residents like to consider it. But at 150 miles long, it is big, and unlike most other Aegean islands, Crete offers experiences that are not directly related to the sea. The hiking is superb, not only at the Samaria Gorge but also along mountain and high-plateau trails. In the White Mountains, to the west, you can visit villages so isolated that the locals consider even other Greeks to be foreigners. And on 8,057-foot Mount Ida, at the center of the island, you can sometimes stand in snow—if that's what you've come to the Aegean Islands for. The sea is still the major draw, though, and most residents and visitors stick to the north coast. Except to spend a few hours at the Archaeological Museum and nearby Knossos, there's not much reason to linger in the main northern city of Iraklio. Head west to Rethymnon and Chania to find a fascinating mix of Venetian and Turkish architecture.

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Beaches on Crete

While none of Crete's beaches approach the household-name status of Mykonos's Paradise or Super-Paradise, there are hundreds of them, offering clear water,...more

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Knossos Palace, Iraklio

At the risk of sounding pedantic, pronounce it with a short "o," NOS-us, and keep in mind that this site is not a faithful re-creation but an amateur...more

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Samaria Gorge, Chania

Whether or not it is the longest gorge in Europe, this giant crack in the earth at the far west end of Crete is certainly, on many days, the most crowded. From...more

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Spinalonga, Elounda

Visiting a former leper colony is not everyone's cup of tea. But a recent best-selling beach read, The Island, by British author Victoria Hislop, has put...more

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Zakros Palace, Kato Zakros

Like Knossos, Zakros, at the far eastern end of the island, is a Minoan palace that may have been destroyed by a tidal wave in 1500 B.C. generated by the...more

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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