An island bursting with culture, cuisine, and color, Crete is a wondrous travel experience for those who seek total immersion in a new destination. It's a place to lose yourself in the ancient history, sparkling azure waters, and warm hospitality that surrounds you. Here are just a few of our favorite unexpected Crete excursions.
If you're a hiker, take a trek along this well-marked trail, which also happens to be the most-walked path in Greece. Located in the White Mountains in the Chania region, the Samaria Gorge is a Greek national park and home to numerous endemic wildlife species, including the Cretan goat (Kri Kri).
Let ancient Greece come to life around you through evocative ruins of palaces, courtyards, baths, and more at the Palace of Knossos, the capital of Minoan Crete. Hear the tales of the Labyrinth, the Minotaur, King Minos, Theseus, and Ariadne. Check out the Fresco Gallery, with its incredible replicas of the famous frescoes Bull Leaper, the Ladies in Blue, and the Blue Bird (the originals are in the Heraklion Archaeological Museum in Iraklio).
Throw a Pot
Some of the first archaeological discoveries in Crete date back as far as 7000 BC. You'll find today that there remains a Minoan influence on the professional potters' objects throughout the island. Learn the creative art yourself and make your first Cretan clay pot at a local olive oil farm, where you can also indulge in wine and cheese tasting.
Tour with a Local
Cretans are excited to show off their island to you; they know it best. For an authentic immersion in the culture, history, and cuisine of the region, tour with a local who can reveal secret treasurers, tidy homes set apart from the larger cities and towns, Byzantine neighborhoods, and colorful villages (as well as the best landmarks of Chania, Rethymno, and Heraklion).
No visit to Crete is complete without sipping raki with your new friends. Also called tsikoudia, the beverage is a symbol of Cretan hospitality. You'll find it in every home, in cafes throughout the town, and in traditional taverns (you can expect the tavern owner to come over to your table to offer a raki carafe!).
Bring Home Culinary Secrets
Take it from us; you'll want to bring home every secret in the book to recreate the decadent and delicious Cretan meals you'll indulge in. Learn the basic element of regional cuisine, including olive oil, honey, and cheese, and how to best use them in Cretan pies, anise cookies, bean soups, fresh seafood recipes, and more. Save room for wine, of course! Many Cretan professions are directly related to the famous Cretan tradition, including a gardener, beekeeper, and stockbreeder.
Intrigued by Crete? It's a wondrous place full of incredible surprises and opportunities for cultural discoveries. Let's chat.