Crete’s Top 10 Travel Destinations

Crete’s (Greece) 10 Best Travel Destinations according to DK

10. Gournia
Gournia is the site of a Minoan palace complex on the island of Crete, Greece, excavated in the early 20th century by the American archaeologist, Harriet Boyd-Hawes. Gournia lies in the municipality of Ierapetra in the prefecture of Lasithi.

9. The Amari Valley & Mt Ida
Crete’s Mount Ida is the island’s highest summit, sacred to the Goddess Rhea, and wherein lies the legendary cave in which baby Zeus was concealed from his father Cronus. It is one of a number of caves believed to have been the birthplace or hiding place of Zeus. On the flank of this mountain is the Amari Valley, the site of expansion by the ancient settlement at Phaistos.

8. Samaria Gorge
A 14km gorge that descends 1250 meters to sea level through some of Europe’s most spectacular natural scenery. The walk up the gorge from south to north is pleasant for the main part but the last 3km, up the Xyloskala is extremely tiring. The most famous part of the gorge is the stretch known as the Gates, where the sides of the gorge close in to a width of only four meters and soar up to a height of almost 300 meters.

7. Gortys
Gortyn is a municipality and an archaeological site on the Mediterranean island of Crete, 45 km away from the modern capital Heraklion. The seat of the municipality is the village Agioi Deka. Gortyn, the Roman capital of Crete, was first inhabited around 3200 BC, and was a flourishing Minoan town between 1600-1100 BC.

6. Rethymno
Rethymno is a city of approximately 40,000 people in Greece, the capital of Rethymno regional unit on the island of Crete. It was built in antiquity, but was never a competitive Minoan centre. It was, however, strong enough to mint its own coins and maintain urban growth. One of these coins is today depicted as the crest of the town with two dolphins in a circle.

5. Phaistos
Phaistos currently refers to a Bronze Age archaeological site at modern Phaistos, a municipality in south central Crete. Ancient Phaistos was located about 5.6 km east of the Mediterranean Sea. The name, Phaistos, survives from ancient Greek references to a city in Crete of that name, shown to be, in fact, at or near the current ruins.

4. Chania
Chania is the second largest city of Crete and the capital of the Chania regional unit. It lies along the north coast of the island, about 70 km west of Rethymno and 145 km (90 mi) west of Heraklion. Despite being heavily bombed during World War II, Chania’s Old Town is considered the most beautiful urban district on Crete, especially the crumbling Venetian harbour.

3. Heraklion Archaeological Museum
The Heraklion Archaeological Museum is a museum located in Heraklion on Crete. It is one of the greatest museums in Greece and the best in the world for Minoan art, as it contains the most notable and complete collection of artifacts of the Minoan civilization of Crete.

2. Heraklion
Heraklion is the major city and capital of the largest Greek island of Crete. Its Archaeological Museum holds the remains of the 3000-year old Minoan civilization, which grew around the nearby legendary palace of Knossos (of Minotaur fame), as well as Byzantine churches and a well-preserved Venetian wall and fortress from the 15th century.

1. Ancient Knossos
Knossos is the site of the most important and best known Minoan palace complex in Crete. It is located some 5 km south of Heraklion. According to tradition, Knossos was the seat of the legendary Cretan king Minos. The Palace is also connected with further legends, such as the myth of the Labyrinth and the Minotaur, as well as the story of Daidalos and Ikaros. Excavation has revealed that the site was continuously inhabited from the Neolithic period (7000-3000 B.C.) until Roman times.

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