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215 215 9814

Top 5 Crete’s Most Important Cities

April 22, 2024 5 min read.

Crete is the largest island in Greece and the center of the Minoan civilization, the oldest in Europe. It is located in the Mediterranean Sea not far from Egypt, it has a pleasant climate, typical of a Mediterranean island.

It was established as a state in 1898 but was later annexed to Greece in 1913. Today it is one of the best-known islands and tourist spots in Greece. Let’s explore more about the most important cities of this island!

5 Most Important Cities in Crete

Here we show you the most important cities in the island of Crete and their main attractions.

Knossos

When in Crete, one has to visit the important monuments of its great history. The most important, without a doubt, is the Palace of Knossos. This Palace was the cradle of the Minoan civilization and the oldest city in Europe.

Homer mentions Knossos as the place where King Minos reigned. Also, according to the myth, the Crete Labyrinth, made by Daedalus to shut away the fierce Minotaur, was located here.

Heraklion

It is the capital of the island and the most important city in Crete. In Heraklion one can find protohistoric and also Byzantine, Venetian and modern monuments. Heraklion was the home of King Minos and his Minotaur.

This city, it should be noted, was the most important of the Minoan civilization. At around 1500 BC, its port was destroyed by a tsunami from the nearby island of Santorini, levelling out the entire region and covering it with volcanic ash.

Heraklion is also the homeland of El Greco, of Nikos Kazantzakis, the author of Zorba and of Odysseas Elytis, the Literature Nobel Prize winner. For this reason, around the city, you can find several sculptures, statues and busts that commemorate important events and figures in the history of the city.

If you’d like to visit this place, take a look at our amazing Heraklion tour packages!

Rethymno

Rethymno is a city founded during the Minoan civilization. It was also Venetian territory. A good mix of Venetian, Roman and Greco-Christian influences make Rethymno a unique city.

Today, Rethymno is a city not only for tourists, but also for students. In Rethymno you should not miss the chance to taste its excellent gastronomy. The most famous Cretan dishes you should try are dakos, Cretan cheese with honey, kalitsounia, fried snails, gamopilafo and many more.

Even if you feel that you really know Greek food, you should try the Cretan cuisine, which has all the hidden treasures that make it unique and unlimited. You can get to know more with our tours to Rethymno.

Elafonisi

This island is a small, beautiful and protected nature reserve that belongs to Crete. One of the reasons that it is included in the Natural Protected Areas is that the Caretta-Caretta turtles are born here.

Elafonisi is known for its pink sand beaches, bathed by the transparent waters of the Libyan Sea and has been chosen as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The crystal-clear waters of the island used to be a well-kept secret, enjoyed only by a few Cretan people.

The beaches in the area are perfect for everyone, with very shallow waters. Several meters from the shore, the depth of the sea still reaches below the knee. So, if you are traveling as a family, your children will love it and feel safer splashing around it. In front of this beach there is a small island called "Deer Island", which can be easily accessed on foot.

Chania

Chania is the second largest city in Crete with numerous places of interest for the visitor. A Venetian quarter, a synagogue, the Catholic Cathedral and the Chrisoskalitissa monastery are just some of the architectural and cultural monuments that can be seen.

The Chrisoskalitissa monastery, in particular, is an architectural wonder built entirely on a rock. This monastery also stands out for its great cultural and historical content and importance as well as for its amazing views.

In this city you should also try the most famous alcoholic drink in Crete: raki (or tsikoudia). This drink has come to be considered almost synonymous with Crete and there is literally nothing more Cretan than this.

Other important Cretan drinks are retsina and the wine traditionally produced there. All are key to the development of the local economy.

Is It Easy to Get around Crete without a Car?

Fortunately, all major cities in Crete offer local bus services, providing convenient access to various destinations within the city. Moreover, the cities themselves are highly pedestrian-friendly, with most attractions within walking distance due to their compact size and walkable layouts.

So, while public transportation may have its limitations, exploring Crete on foot can be a delightful and rewarding experience.

Plan Your Next Travel Adventure!

Embark on a journey of a lifetime with our expertly curated tour packages in Greece. Whether you seek a cultural immersion, an outdoor adventure, or a relaxing retreat, our experienced team is dedicated to crafting the perfect itinerary for your dream vacation.

Book your Crete tour package today and embark on an unforgettable odyssey through one of Greece's most iconic destinations. Your adventure awaits!

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