CRETE

The cradle of European Civilization, Crete invites you to explore its countless historical, natural, and cultural treasures in a truly memorable Greek holiday experience.

Whether you're visiting for the first time or have already become a regular, the island of Crete and its genuinely friendly people promise you'll have a truly memorable time. Discover your Crete, from dawn till dusk, in the diversity of its landscape. The rugged mountains, the endless beaches and the turquoise seas, the stunning countryside, the buzzing cities, towns, and villages -the heartbeat of the island.

A sparkling diamond in the heart of the Mediterranean, Crete is the fifth-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and the southern boundary of Europe. It's the birthplace of the Minoan civilisation, the first in Europe, and even today, the majestic palaces of Knossos, Phaistos, Malia and more reflect the Minoan splendour through jewellery, architectural and other masterpieces.

After tranquil, sun-washed days exploring the natural landscape, time for some lively entertainment. In times of peace or war, the people of Crete never gave up music and dancing. This tradition is still alive today in hundreds of traditional music and dance associations, as well as modern forms of artistic expression. You'll often stumble upon a "panigiri" (traditional folk festival), culinary feasts and religious festivals organised across the island throughout the year. Moreover, there are hundreds of music spots merging rhythms from Greece, Europe and America. Her√°klion Summer Festival, held in the Cretan capital, is one of the richest events in Greece's cultural calendar.

But the island's abundant landscape has also shaped the Cretans' eating habits for centuries. The Cretan diet -from the island's famous olive oil to its wild herbs and greens- has been recognised as the healthiest among Mediterranean diets -and you'll find ample opportunity to savour the earth's goods, from village tavernas with a view to high-end gastronomic hot spots.

With warm summers and mild winters (which here start mid-December), the island is bathed in sunshine for the greater part of the year. Which is to say, there's always a good time to delve into Crete's bountiful beauty and rich cultural heritage.

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