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Crete is the largest of all the Greek islands, and arguably one of the most beautiful. Yes, it's got the requisites for a fun-filled break in the sun, including sparkling seas and vast swathes of sand, but it also has diverse landscapes and a fascinating history and heritage. From its fertile plains to its rugged mountain ranges, you'll find warmth and hospitality in cities and small villages alike. There are dozens of activities to try and plenty of attractions to visit, not to mention the delicious cuisine that awaits you in every street-side restaurant.
Divided into four prefectures, Crete offers a great range of locations to choose from. You can choose Cretan villas in Chania, Rethymnon, Heraklion or Lassithi: you'll find something unique about each and every area, and excellent public transport means you can make the most of your time away. Fancy sunbathing on blissful beaches, visiting ancient ruins, or exploring outstanding landscapes? Whatever your interests when travelling abroad, rest assured Crete will exceed your expectations.
Top places to visit in Crete
Chania is the gateway to Samaria Gorge, one of the most impressive natural landmarks on the island. Situated outside the towns of Sfakia and Omalos, it's around 15 kilometres long, and descends almost 1,300 metres to sea level. Needless to say, bring sensible shoes when planning a visit to the gorge: it's breathtaking in more ways than one! Villas in Chania can be found in a range of locations: Chania city has a beautiful Old Quarter filled with Turkish Baths and ancient monasteries, whilst fishing villages such as Almirida provide a tranquil retreat in unspoilt surroundings. Staying in Livadia, meanwhile, is a particularly exciting prospect for divers: not only will you find a sense of real Cretan culture, but fantastic snorkelling opportunities around the pink coral of Elafonisi.
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Rethymnon is home to Crete's most beautiful beaches: with their crystal-clear, azure seas and extremely fine, white sands, you'd be forgiven for thinking you were somewhere more exotic! This is the ideal place to try sailing, windsurfing and scuba diving, but it's also a great choice for those interested in hillwalking. Hike to the summit of Mount Vrysina, and you'll find underground caves and beautiful, lush vegetation along the way. If you can drag yourself away from the shores and summits of Rethymnon, you'll soon find out what this prefecture's famous for: its city of the same name is brimming with historical sites. With ruins dating back to Byzantine and Roman times, and a great number of Venetian sites to boot, walking tours are a great activity when renting properties in Rethymnon.
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Heraklion might be home to lively Malia, but it's also home to the world-famous palace of Knossos, where ruins of ancient Minoan civilisation can be found. Dating back almost 4,000 years, they're an unmissable site for anyone renting villas in Heraklion: it's said that the palace was the seat of Cretan King Minos, and gave birth to the legend of the Minotaur. Other sites of interest here include the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, which houses the most important remains found on the island: from ancient jewellery to enigmatic statues of Goddesses, it's an absolute must for anyone interested in Classical Greece. But before you think it's all about history, know that there's a water park and stunning beach, replete with excellent opportunities for water sports.
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Lassithi is home to some of Crete's most traditional towns, and ideal when you want to escape more tourist-led destinations. There are over 30 Blue Flag beaches here on which to relax in the sun, and also beautiful landscapes and exciting archaeological sites. You could go hiking or climbing around enormous sandstone cliffs, go fishing in a sparkling lake or mountain biking through vast forests: there's so much to see and do. Sites of interest include Minoan ruins off the island of Mochios and the town of Makrygialos, and the magnificent Dikteon Cave. Found on the slopes of Mount Ida, it was said to have housed the mythical God Zeus as a child, when his mother Rhea attempted to hide him from his father Cronus.
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Things to do in Crete: free fun for all the family!
Crete is a fantastic choice when looking for cheap holidays: not only are there lots of attractions and activities, but they're all completely free to enjoy!
Archaeological sites and museums abound, housing fascinating remnants of Minoan civilisations, whilst beaches are some of the best in Europe, boasting exciting shores where you can snorkel and scuba dive. The landscapes, meanwhile, are just begging to be explored: whether you hike enormous peaks or swim in vast lakes, you'll find lush vegetation, a wonderful array of wildlife and memories to last a lifetime.
You could also coincide your visit with one of the island's free festivals or celebrations: Yakinthia Festival is a particularly colourful display, featuring traditional dance and music played on the Cretan Lyra - a three-stringed fiddle - and portrayals of Greek mythology. Fiestas are always characterised by delicious, local delicacies too: tuck into snails and souvlaki, sheep's cheeses and seafood, and wash it all down with a refreshing glass of Raki.
More cheap holiday accommodation in Crete
"Christos Place" these are our 6 cottages in Anidri - a small paradise in the middle of a large olive grove. From our, with love and care, furnished cottages, you can enjoy the tranquility and breathtaking views of Use Libyan Sea, protected by the...
Pericles Beach Villa
On the edge of the small rural community of Sfinari, this beach villastands on a large plot of land overlooking the sea, just where the little beach road from the village meets the coast and takes a sharp left bend in the dir...
Villa Metapothia stands on a quiet hillside overlooking the village of Gavalohori in prime position to enjoy magnificent vistas towards Crete’s distant White Mountains and sea views down the green and wooded valley to nearby Soud...
An extravagant and contemporary three bedroom Villa just beyond the parameters of a small village on the west coast of Crete, Villa Meli has stunning sea views, is within walking distance of a choice of excellent tavernas, has air con...
A handsome air conditioned villa and 10m x 4m swimming pool, set in pretty, partly walled gardens in a hillside hamlet under 2km from Vrisses and 8km from Georgioupolis’ sandy beaches.
Tastefully and newly restored with polished wood ...