With all of Crete in lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic, it’s a time for us all the appreciate the paradise island we live on. East to West, and North to South, there is more wonder on the island of the Minoans than anyplace on Earth.
Located about 80 km south of Heraklion on the Libyan Sea, this fantastic beach sits at the end of the Gorge Agiofarago. Hidden away in a remote area of southcentral Crete, the beach is stunning for its high cliffs, the azure blue waters, and the nature that surrounds.
The Palace at Knossos is one of the wonders of the world. Excavated in the early 1900s by famous archaeologists like Sir Arthur Evans, Knossos is the most prominent place in European history. Thought to have been the capital of a mighty and mysterious Minoan Civilization of the Bronge Age, the palace/temple is wrapped in myth, legend, and culture unsurpassed anywhere in the world.
One of the most peaceful beaches on the island, Dermatos is a pebbly sand beach perfect for those in search of remote seclusion without a mile-long hike. Nature surrounds this wonderful stretch of beach where olive groves and tamarisk trees hug the shallow aquamarine of the Libya Sea just east of Tsoutsouras.
We can never decide if Crete makes people more beautiful, or if the people here make the island more beautiful. Both possibilities are probably true since there is no separating the natural beauty of this place.
This Rugged Land
Crete has an area of 8,336 km2 (3,219 sq mi) and a coastline of 1,046 km (650 mi). These numbers do not take into account the hundreds of gorges, the mountains that dive into the sea, or the countless plateaus which hide inestimable treasures. The terrain, the topography of this amazing island makes room for hundreds of tiny countries, within a country, that is like all the continents in one. Here you can see the island jutting up out of the Mediterranean as a bold idea of the gods.
The Spectacle of Timelessness
Crete has more spiritual and religious iconography and history per square meter than any place in the world. At every turn the visitor is captivated by layer on layer of human hope, belief, and majestic beauty. The Minoan Theater in Karteros is a culture center that brings forward the food and ritual of the ancient Minoans, into the recent past of traditional Cretan dance, music, and culture. One cannot fathom the richness of this place in a month, a year, or a lifetime.
Located about 35 km south of Rethymno and 10km east of Plakias, Preveli Beach of Preveli, also known as Lake Preveli or Phoenix, is located at the exit of the imposing Kourtaliotikos Gorge, where the Grand River (Megalos Potamos) flows.
Located a few kilometers west of Heraklion, Agia Pelagia is an idyllic seaside village popular with locals and visitors. A former fishing village and once the site of ancient Apollonia, the resort is the best swimming place on the north side of the island. Fabulous resorts, individual apartments, and self-catering luxury bliss like SeaScape Luxury Residences below dot the landscape. For the first time visitor, this is paradise. The sea here is perfect for kids since Agia Pelagia Bay is protected from the wind.
Cats of Crete
Did you know that Crete only has two rats? And those two rats are the fastest, toughest, most indestructible rodents on Earth. Seriously, Crete has some of the most beautiful and interesting cats you can imagine. This one at Preveli reminds me of our office cat Tobi, who used to routinely paw at my coffee cup from behind my computer monitor.
The most famous beach in east Crete, Vai is home to the largest date palm forest in Europe. Vai was totally unknown until the early 1970s, when a popular commercial for the Bounty chocolate with coconut was filmed here, using the magical background of palm trees. In the advert, coconuts were falling from trees, however, Vai palms produce dates. Consequently, coconuts had to be falsely hung to create the right impression. The ad made this unknown earthly paradise renowned throughout the world. Thus, hundreds of hippies started to stay here on their holidays. In the 1980s, when hippies faded out, Vai was invaded by backpackers and rapidly degenerated into a rubbish-strewn campground. The palm grove was consequently fenced off and proclaimed a conservation area, is open to the public only during the daylight. (Cretan Beaches)