Crete, the largest island in Greece, is one of the most popular travel and vacation destinations. This southernmost island in Europe has a variety of natural features and historically significant sites. There are mountain villages, long sandy beaches, rocky bays, the fabled remains of the Minoan culture, old Venetian towns, quaint villages tucked in the foothills and the spectacular rugged mountains, plateaus and gorges. Crete is bathed in clear sunlight much of the year, and its climate is mild and pleasant.
With its supreme quality of the light and the sharp rugged mountains meeting with clear seas, Crete has a magic radiance. There is an abundance of wildlife, plants and flowers, which are unique to the island. The scent of fresh herbs envelops the island, and along with the taste of fresh fruit, Cretan olive oil and cheeses it remains in the memory of those who traveled here. Mountain villages provide a view into the "inner Crete".
Heraklion or Iraklion is the largest city and the capital of Crete. It is known for its archaeological museum and its elegant and cosmopolitan cafes and shops. There is designer shopping on Daedalou Street, but also many small shops selling interesting local products. For centuries Heraklion was known as Candia, a Venetian word for Latin "Candida" meaning "white land". The stunning Minoan ruins of Knossos, excavated and restored by Arthur Evans, are nearby, as well as other interesting archaeological sites, amazing landscapes, picturesque villages, and impressive gorges.
Chania or Hania retains much of its Venetian history intact. Its luxury Venetian villas have been converted to hotels, the impressive Venetian Harbor, narrow shop-lined pedestrian streets and waterfront restaurants create an unmistakably Venetian-Cretan atmosphere. The view of the Chania Harbor changes with the time of the day and the light which produce different visual effects, each time showing a "different place". Chania's Old Town has many beautifully preserved old Venetian and Turkish design old buildings and the town is surrounded by delightful beaches, mountains and many sites to be explored and discovered.
There are hundreds of other small towns and villages scattered throughout the island, each of them a truly unique place, each with a different mood, a different pace of life, a different style and setting.