Crete, or Kriti as it’s called by locals, is the largest Greek island and with a lush, mountainous interior, shimmering olive groves and plenty of gorgeous sandy beaches, is one of its most picturesque.
Resorts like Chania and Rethymno are packed with archaeological treasures, while beach resorts like Malia and Hersonissos are heaving with loud bars and clubs attracting a young, energetic crowd.
There are plenty of resorts for families and activity holidays focus on walking, water sports and some sailing. Literary fans can visit Spinalonga, the tiny island off Plaka, which was the setting for Victoria Hislop’s bestselling novel The Island.
Getting there and around in Crete
Crete is a package holiday favourite so you’ll find plenty of charter flights to and from the main airport at Heraklion, or the smaller one at Chania, especially during summer months. Charter companies include Monarch and Thomsonfly. British Airways (through GBAirways) are now offering direct scheduled flights to Heraklion from Manchester and London Gatwick.
You can also get a ferry to Crete from Piraeus, the port serving Athens which takes 9 hours on a standard ferry and 6 hours on the high-speed, daytime service. Ferries from Piraeus call either at Chania or Rethymno and companies include Minoan Lines and ANEK Lines. Once you’re there, your tour operator may include airport transfers as part of your package, or you can take a taxi to your resort. Cars and mopeds are easy to hire, but be careful with mopeds, there have been many accidents involving tourists in Cyprus.