Crete is a big island with a personality to match and a lot to offer its visitors. Blessed with a wealth of fabulous beaches, holidays here aren’t just about sun, sea and sand: Crete’s landscapes range from fertile, lush vistas covered in olive groves to craggy mountains broken up by hidden, narrow gorges to golden sandy beaches and sparkling seas. The ecosystem isn’t the only eclectic part of this island: the range of activities, sights and experiences on offer is just as diverse and enough to keep even the most active of travellers happy.
If you want to be left breathless by more than just the scenery, Crete has plenty to offer. Combining the two, Samaria Gorge is a particularly popular spot with tourists and hiking through the gorge is not for the faint of heart. Leading from the steps of Xyloskalo out to Agia Roumeli, the trek takes roughly five hours to complete, but the work is worth it. The Gorge is a designated National Park and a Biosphere Reserve, so expect to see beauty wherever you look. Buses run to the gorge frequently from popular resort Chania, but if you’re more at home in the water than hiking through hills, hop a boat from the coast, enjoy diving and snorkelling in Crete’s translucent waters and make friends with its varied marine life.
If all of that excitement isn’t enough for you, a night out in Malia is sure to set your heart racing. In this town, life is a non-stop party and you can expect to see it awash with the young and beautiful of the world dancing their cares away. You’d think bars and clubs would rule the roost here, but restaurants take that crown – there are over 80 of them in Malia alone, offering every kind of dish imaginable, from Indian, to American fast-food and more local flavours. Sip cocktails while tossing back some souvlaki ahead of a night out for the true Malia experience.
The music in Malia is fast, loud and often imported from the charts, and if you’re looking for something a little more traditional, Crete’s many tavernas are the place to go. The home of the Lyra, Crete folk music remains popular with locals: so much so that they host a festival devoted to it – the Yakinthia Festival held in Anogia in July each year.