One of the most popular Greek islands to visit on holiday, Crete has earned its reputation as a beach paradise with gorgeous shores, mountain landscapes and wild nightlife. If that's not enough, the food is phenomenal and there's temple-loads of history here too - after all, this is the fabled birthplace of Zeus.
Do a panoramic sweep of your surroundings in Crete, and, more often than not, you'll find am arcing coast on one side and a green, hilly landscape on the other. The beaches are the main hubs of activity for most resorts, as they're usually treated to beach bars and tavernas, rows of sunbeds and umbrellas and water sports whirring out on the waves. And with warm temperatures throughout the year, there's never a bad time to enjoy the great outdoors in Crete.
Many of the resorts offer diving centres for budding snorkellers, as well as windsurfing and paragliding equipment, banana boats and pedalos available to rent onshore. Resorts like Hersonissos and Chania even have their own water parks.
The mountain ranges towering across Crete are havens for outdoorsy types. They're often reachable via short car trips into the hills, as well as off-roading excursions. Carved with gorges and walking trails, the mountains are a top spot for hikes whose incredible views stretch for miles.
This historic town has been built on the remains of ancient buildings and fascinating ruins. There's an unending amount of history to discover here, including a historic church built in the 10th century and an archaeological museum. Aghios Nikolaos is also home to three seafronts with exceptional diving schools.
The modern resort of Amoudara is close to the capital Heraklion and airport. Almost five kilometres of sand gave Amoudara its name, which translates as 'Big Sand' and it's backed by a busy promenade offering lots to do. Or close by are Knossos Palace, the Almyros Gorge and Water City waterpark..
Holidays in Chania bring you afternoons along the busy harbour, strolling through the market stalls and lounging on the beach beneath a thatched umbrella. While nights are cocktail-filled and dance-heavy. It's the second biggest town in Crete, and has the swoon-worthy amenities to show for it.
With luxury accommodation and a Blue Flag award-winning beach, it's no wonder Elounda is the chosen holiday venue among the rich and famous. It's also a history buff's paradise, with the sunken ruins of an ancient city and easy access to the uninhabited island of Spinalonga, with a mysterious past.
Gouves is a coastal resort that offers the best of both worlds. Here, you'll get a vibrant waterfront laced with watersports, tavernas and hotels, and an inland village tucked into a hillside that takes life down a notch. So you can switch between banana boats and lazy coffees.
As Malia's neighbour and partner in crime, Hersonissos adds another nightlife hotspot to Crete's north coast. Home to three sand beaches, some of the best high-end shopping on the island, two waterparks and a theme park, it offers bags of fun in the sun.
Stalis is wedged so closely between Malia and Hersonissos, the three towns almost meld into one. It's home to its own taverna-lined beach, extending for more than six kilometres. Stalis is the shy little sister to its nightlife-savvy neighbours, so staying here means you're never far from the action.