Since the Paleolithic Age, the island of Crete has played a crucial role in the affairs of the Eastern Mediterranean. Greece’s southernmost island, and the Mediterranean Sea’s fifth largest in terms of land mass, has been continuously inhabited for at least, astonishingly, the last 125,000 years. Crete was also home to Europe’s very first advanced civilization, and thereby superpower, the Minoans who reigned during a time that predated Jesus Christ by nearly 3,000 years. Crete has been a strategic island for commerce, culture, and conquest through the millennia. In recent decades, a concerted effort by the Greek state and by Cretans of the diaspora alike has resulted in Crete becoming a vital tourism hub for the Greek economy. One which through its ports and its airports have become hubs for massive tourism agencies, international airlines, and cruise line companies, all of whom strive to give their guests the very best that Greece has to offer.
And what is it then that is the very best that Greece has to offer? The answer is quite simple: Pristine beaches, lively urban centers that are near the sea, luxury hotels, outdoor adventures in some of Europe’s most beautiful mountains , hospitality that is unrivaled, and a cuisine that since ancient times has been lauded as being on a different plane altogether.
With the rich history of the island it’s very tempting to get lost in antiquity, but even in Greece’s modern era, Crete has played a pivotal role as a catalyst for the formation and the creation of modern Greece under the visionary leadership of the ethnarch Eleftherios Venizelos of Chania in the early 20th century. It was the birthplace to such intellectual luminaries such as Nikos Kazantzakis and Odysseas Elytis. From Gramvousa to Palekastro visitors of Crete are able to uniquely craft a vacation based on all their interests all on one island – it is truly an island for all seasons. There are major cities like Chania, Rethmyno, and Heraklion which offer quality restaurants and vibrant nightlife coupled with museums and natural wonders within a short drive of each city. For outdoorsy visitors there are large mountains to scale, gorges to traverse, hunting to do, and rivers to raft down, of course all the while, not neglecting some UNESCO-recognized beaches, some of the finest in the world.
At a time when Instagram would have you think that the only Greek Islands that exist are Mykonos and Santorini, it is essential for visitors to Greece to understand that there is an island for all seasons and for all interests, and that island is Crete. Thank you for allowing The National Herald to be your gateway to Crete. Kalo Taxidi!
Click here for our special insert on Crete for our recommendations!