The best food in Crete is often the simplest - a fresh salad of tomatoes, cucumber, onions, olives, and feta cheese, or a plate of chargrilled sardines and a glass of chilled white wine. For the best seafood, seek out a psarotaverna, or fish restaurant. For spit-roasted chicken, lamb, and pork, look for a psistaria grill.
Crete's accommodation portfolio includes charming boutique hotels in historic Venetian mansions, spa hotels, all-inclusive resorts designed for family fun, and self-catering apartment complexes. A beach hotel with a big pool is a priority for most visitors. But if that's not at the top of your list, there are tranquil rural inns high in the hills, or friendly, family-run guesthouses in out-of-the-way harbor villages.
Crete offers great beaches, breathtaking mountain landscapes, historic cities, and lively vacation resorts. Cretan hospitality is famous, and most people working in hotels and restaurants speak fluent English - and often several other languages as well. It's easy to get around using public transport, but if you'd rather drive there are plenty of car rental outlets and main roads are good.
Looking for colorful beachwear, cool cottons and linens, handcrafted leather goods, Ottoman-era antiques, or gold and silver jewelry inspired by finds from Crete's great archaeological sites? You'll find temptation everywhere in Crete. In local produce markets, browse for herbs from Cretan hillsides, marvel at fresh fish piled on beds of ice, and discover more olive varieties than you knew existed.
Crete's must-see attractions and must-do experiences range from outstanding museums dedicated to art and history, Minoan palaces, and Roman amphitheaters to deep canyons, spooky caverns, and rugged, treeless sierras where wild goats roam and raptors soar.
For most visitors to Crete, beach hotels famed for water sports and nightlife are the main attractions. But go a little farther from the resorts to find quieter coves, mountain walks, verdant vineyards, and harbors where fishing boats anchor under the battlements of impregnable strongholds. Famed archaeological sites such as Knossos are easy to reach from Crete's main resorts and cities.
Crete has a well-earned reputation as a party island. In summer, thousands of young visitors flock to Malia and Hersonissos, resorts that are famous for an after-dark scene based on loud music and potent cocktails. Nightlife elsewhere is no less lively, and driven as much by caffeine as by alcohol. Locals mingle with vacationers at clubs in Rethymnon and Chania, where DJs play an eclectic mix.
Beaches are the star attraction for most families vacationing in Crete. Gently shelving sands like those at Georgioupoli, Matala, and Palaiochora are good for smaller children. Older kids can snorkel safely in pebbly coves where the water is glass-clear. On land, you'll find horseback riding, water parks, cycling, and open-air museums.
Crete is a creative hotbed as well as a vacation spot. Classical and traditional music thrive with the support of local communities. Summer music festivals attract world-class performers. Folk museums display village handicrafts such as weaving, spinning, and woodcarving, while other museums celebrate the life and work of renowned, Cretan-born painters and writers.
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