Crete’s myriad of beaches are wonderfully complemented by the island’s natural beauty and diverse landscape. Indeed, beaches in Crete are just as diverse as the scenery; the island boasts Europe’s sole palm-tree forest shoreline. It’s believed that a quarter of all tourists on cheap Greece holidays are visiting Crete, once you’re there its popularity won’t come as any surprise.
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Just 3 miles South-East of Heraklion, the famous Minoan Palace at Knossos is a historically significant landmark from the time of the Minoan civilisation - considered to be Europe’s first high culture. The palace is the largest archaeological site on the island and, at a small cost, is open for the public to visit. Associated with the myth about Theseus and the Minotaur, the labyrinth has enough to keep everyone on a family Crete holiday entertained on a cultured day away from the beach.
There’s a good chance that if you and your family find yourselves on all inclusive Crete holidays that you’ll spend a significant amount of time on the beach. With 1,000km of coastline it goes without saying that there are beaches of all shapes, sizes and sands, but which is the best? The answer is Elafonisi. Regarded by many who’ve visited as the best beach anywhere, the soft sand and calm waters make it an absolute must for anyone staying in the Chania region, while those outside are recommended to rent a car and get themselves to this heavenly sun-spot.
Malia is Crete’s premier destination for an evening of revelling and one of the most popular places on the continent for 18-30s, rivalling Ibiza and Magaluf. The cramped, meandering streets of Malia are an endearing characteristic that all lead towards the main strip. The parties spill onto the street and the close proximity of establishments makes it easy to be swept in and out of them all night; while the drinks deals you’re offered ensure you’ll be able to keep getting the rounds in.
Crete has many gorges ready to be trekked and marvelled at; the best and biggest – in not just Crete, but Europe – is Samaria Gorge. The trail is 10 miles long and takes in some beautiful natural Cretan sights and smells. The resort of Agia Roumeli at the end of the gorge signals your trails completion, at which point a dip in the sea will be welcome refreshment. It’s recommended that you set out in the morning, as the heat can become quite intense even if you weren’t hiking on a rocky uneven surface for 10 miles. Comfortable shoes are an absolute must!
Cheap Crete holidays aren’t all geared towards history buffs, sun-seekers and ravers, they’re also for families, and if you’re a parent then you can’t go too wrong visiting Aquaworld Aquarium in Hersonissos. The Aquarium – one of only three in Greece - specialises in local sea life and reptiles and gives visitors a real ‘hands-on’ experience. The staff are friendly, well-informed and willing to give you time, as are the snakes, lizards and tortoises, who’re ready to pose for all your photographs.
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Important numbers: Embassy: 020 7313 5609, Tourist Office: 020 7495 9300
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