Stunning Crete is the largest of the Greek Islands, and also the fifth largest in the Mediterranean. It boasts gorgeous beaches and mountains and is dotted with quaint villages. During the Bronze Age, this beautiful island was the home to the Minoan civilization, which is considered to be the first advanced European civilization, so there are also many historical attractions in Crete. Besides Minoan ruins, visitors can also still see the remains of Ancient Greece, the Venetian era, and the Ottoman period scattered around this island today. Visitors come to Crete for a number of reasons. But don't worry, Crete is an island with so much variety that it can probably offer something attractive for everyone. Here you will find the top 4 cities of Crete.
Heraklion is a city where warm hospitality, rich architecture, culture, leisure conveniences and urban nightlife have successfully intertwined to provide every visitor with a sincere Cretan stay. Visitors can take advantage of the variety of sights they could see and experience in and around the prefecture of Heraklion by investing some quality time with their loved ones and going on a tour, cultural or nature, to see this splendid island of Crete. For the independent visitor who doesn't want structured itineraries, exclusive tours can be arranged to fit their requests or fine car hire can be arranged to ensure a visitor a sound and comfortable ride on the coastal and inland roads.
Rethymno is the only city in Crete which is built on a cape, and more specifically, “on the boundary between calmness and fierceness,” as the location is eloquently described by local writer Pantelis Prevelakis. To the east stretches a vast sandy beach, while the coastline is rocky to the west. Unlike Irakleio or Hania, Rethymno never had a large port that would have made it a centre of trade. But it does have a wonderful old harbour, full of colour, lined with Venetian and Ottoman buildings that have for centuries been reflected in its calm waters. The best time to explore the city is very early in the morning when the light is perfect and the tranquillity a sheer delight.
The cool air of the morning is also propitious for making your way up to the Venetian citadel, the Fortezza. When it was built (1573-1580), on the hill once occupied by ancient Rithymna, it was the largest fortress on Crete. High up on the battlements, you will feel the salty breeze from the Sea of Crete; you can walk along the old defensive trenches, between the towers, bastions and gates, among the solitary palm trees.
As in all Cretan cities, Rethymno is full of Venetian features. Until today, Rethymno has very a strong relationship with Venice, since it constitutes one of the best-preserved Venetian cities in the Mediterranean. The landmark of the city is the Castle of Fortezza, which was built to protect Venetians from Ottoman navy attacks. Behind the castle, lays the Old Town of Rethymno, with numerous scenic alleys and memorials. Visit one of the several traditional coffee shops, get to meet the locals and make sure that you try the traditional Cretan cuisine. You will never forget the experience.
Chania is a city on the northwest coast of the Greek island of Crete. It’s known for its 14th-century Venetian harbour, narrow streets and waterfront restaurants.
For many, Chania is the most beautiful city in Greece, a characterization that has not been attributed to it at all by chance. Exceptional examples of architecture from previous centuries, despite the alterations that have been made from time to time, largely retain their original glory.
Chania will steal your heart. Romans, Byzantines, Muslims, Venetians, Ottomans… all came through here, creating a multicultural corner of Crete. Wandering around the port, you’ll encounter the Venetian lighthouse, the Grand Arsenal, Kum Kapi and Halepa. You’ll enjoy luxurious accommodation in elegant villas, pulsating bars and restaurants, as well as significant cultural sites.
Beyond the town of Chania are the famous beaches of Agia Marina, Stalos and Platanias. Go a little further and you’ll find the exotic beaches of Balos and Falasarna. In southern Chania, the world-famous Samaria Gorge invites you to explore it. So much to do, so little time!