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.
Finding accommodation on the Greek Islands is easy but sometimes intimidating, with hostel and villa owners waiting at ports for oncoming travelers. Knowing the best and most affordable areas is the trick. Generally more coastal areas away from town centers are cheaper and often more charming than those found in the hub of island life. Traveling between the two is simple and brief thanks to island transport and absent traffic.
Island shops are unique and colorful with delightful specialties like craft shops, traditional Greek jewelry or fresh fish and olive markets. Greece has a long and proud tradition of woven fabrics, pottery and crafts, ranging from t-shirts and souvenirs to high quality, locally crafted jewelry and antiques. Greek jewelry is well known for fine craftsmanship and classic designs.
In the way of local produce, the islands provide an ample choice of seafood caught right on their shores - fresh catches can even be seen hanging in the harbors - and with their numerous olive groves you can always find ripe olives spiced in the traditional flavors of Greece. As for variety, restaurants range from gourmet French and Italian to the traditional rustic dishes of Greece.
Surrounded by vibrant waters that shaped their history, the Greek Islands have a deep relationship with the sea. Experience the underwater volcanoes, submerged caves and thriving sea life by diving, or skip along the coastline with plentiful water sports. With the country steeped in history and folklore there are also an endless wave of museums and archeological sites to stumble across, whether it be the dramatic mythology of the Greek gods or the crumbling ruins of Venetian fortresses.
The Greek Islands are a rich mosaic of sun-kissed landscapes, fresh foods and vast culture set amongst the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. Moving between islands is easy as skipping stones thanks to constant ferries, and the ancient culture is evident with an outlandish amount of museums and archeological wonders. Water sports are popular among all the islands with a variety of beaches of all colors and textures as well as lush valleys, mountains and romantic cities.
The best places to stay in Athens are mainly concentrated in the center of the city, within a short distance from the Acropolis. These areas are generally just walking distance away from each other, which offers a good portion of the heart of the city as attractive accommodation. With so many historical attractions in a vibrant city, Athens is both old and young at the same time. Alternatively, some decide to stay on the coast, aka the so called ‘Athens Riviera’.
Athens provides a unique shopping experience. From markets and souvenir shops to boutiques and department stores, the Greek capital offers the complete cross-section of the shopping sphere. Much of the shopping excitement is in the center but there are plenty of charming and authentically Greek little stores that reach out into the suburbs.
The diversity of food in Athens is mainly thanks to the diversity in Greek cuisine, which is the dominant food in the Greek capital. From seafood and barbecues to cheeses and fresh salads, the Greeks have perfected the use of their Mediterranean surroundings to give us the culinary wonders of Athens.
Athens is a vibrant combination of ancient and modern. Most of the attractions are found in the center of the city in the area around the Acropolis, and while this does dominate the interest of the tourists, it does no harm to the pleasant atmosphere around the wholly modern and lively areas further afield. Glyfada and Vouliagmeni are home to beautiful marinas, chic restaurants, beaches, bars and traditional tavernas.
Athens could be considered the mother of western civilisation. Every year, the Greek capital attracts huge throngs of tourists who come to visit its historical sites that have stood as icons for centuries. From its temples and museums to its traditional ways of living, Athens is a paragon of Greek history.
Everyone expects sea, sand and sunshine from their holidays in Greece, but the country’s diversity might surprise you. Book a hotel in Greece for islands and mountains, diving and white- water rafting, rustic tavernas and temples to haute-cuisine.
Expect Ancient Greek relics, creative Mediterranean cuisine and vibrant nightlife on an Athens city break. Book an Athens hotel to discover the roots of European civilisation.