Mountain gorges, some of the best beaches in the world, and oldest historical sites in Greece. Here Venetians made a lasting contribution to the cities, building ports, walls and fortresses that stand tall today in Chania, Rethymno and all the way to Heraklion.

Appreciate the neat and sweet look of the Chania old harbour, the three century worth of work by Venetian masters. Get up to the beautiful Odigitrias Monastery, also known as Monastery of our Lady of Gonia, on a steep hill facing the Gulf of Chania, known for its fortified walls and the floor of the courtyard made of small cobblestones completely surrounded by the cells of the monks. Walk through Old Town of Rethymno, the third-largest city in Crete, the best preserved old town on the island with Renaissance mansions, arches and catholic churches.

Get some of the best memories of your life hiking the challenging 16 km route in the Samaria Gorge, major tourist attraction of the island created by a small river running through the White Mountains. Look up as you walk, to catch sight of the endangered kri-kri, a kind of feral goat that makes light work of even sheer rock faces. Add to your nature exploration tour any of other sweet spots like Imbros gorge, or Komolithi hills in Potamida village in the Tyflos river valley, or Kournas lake with hills views, birds, ceramics shops and paddle boats.

Ride to one of the world’s best beaches, Elafonisi, a nature reserve on the channel between the mainland and Elafonisi, with pink sand and dunes, where you can pass from one to the other on sand bars without getting your feet wet. Get amazed at the paradise that is Balos Lagoon, one of Crete’s most famous images. Enjoy biodiversity of Agia lake or the sunsets on the coast of Sfakia. 

Check out Falassarna beach, often ranked as the best beach on Crete and one of the best in Europe. Surprise yourself when returning from Falassarna beach to discover the town’s acropolis climbing 90 metres above the water, featuring the remains of wells, cisterns, fortifications and a temple going back to the 4th century BC. Add Kalaviani-Falasarna hiking trail to your tour around Falassarna in addition to the beach and the ancient city. Check any of the other notable beaches of Western Crete: Ravdoula, the wildest one, or Marmara beach. Refresh at the waterfalls and springs of Argyroupoli. 

Rest on a plateau surrounded by vineyards, olive trees and oaks near the Arkadi Monastery, founded by the Byzantine emperor Arcadius. Get inner peace at Holy Trinity Monastery on the Akrotiri Peninsula, ensconced in vineyards, olive groves and cypress trees, where wine and olive products made by monks are sold at the monastery shop. Pay a visit to one of the most unspoiled places to visit in Crete, the pretty peaceful village of Loutro, accessed best by boat, flanked by steep mountains and home to a sizable herd of goats with the view of the tepid sea, sheltered by a lush bay. 

Choose the history and architecture tour with places like the ancient city of Aptera with Roman aqueduct and cisterns, or Fragokastelo fortress. Get another full package of options in Plakias, much like in Farnassa, with an enormous beach, remains of a fortress, churches of all architectural styles, horse riding school and ruins of an old water mill.   

Try the peculiar lite and healthy local dish - eggs with wild weeds, an example of Cretan cuisine, which is not the same as Greek. Cretan breakfast is another example of distinction. Sip local Cretan wines at the wineries in the inland valleys. 

Zeus was one of the children of titans Cronus and Rhea. Cronus learned at some point that he was destined to be overcome by his own son as he had overthrown his own father. Rhea gave birth to Zeus in Crete, handing Cronus a rock wrapped in swaddling clothes, which he promptly swallowed just like his other children.

Daedalus, was a resourceful and very talented Athenian artist and inventor, serving beside king Minos of Crete. Minos assigned the ingenious tradesman with the construction of the Palace of Knossos and the legendary Labyrinth of the Minotaur. Daedalus, and his son CIarus, had to flee Crete, because he helped Thesseus to escape the Labyrinth after slaying the Minotaur, by using wings made of bird feathers, wood and wax. Icarus flew too far above and wax on his wings melted and he fell down into the sea.

Zeus brought Europa, the beautiful daughter of king of Phoenicia, Agenor, to Crete, where she gave birth to future kings of Crete Minos and Radamanthys.

Talos was the mythical guard of Crete. He was an anthropomorphic giant automaton with a copper body. He is regarded as the first robot in ancient mythology. Talos was the vigilant guard of Crete, circling the island's shores three times daily, in order to protect it from enemies.
According to one version, the God of Fire and Iron, Hephaestus (or Daedalus according to another version) created Talos and gave that to king of Knossos, Minos, so as to guard Crete. Another legend says Talos was the gift of Zeus to Europa. Europa, from her side, gave this present to her son Minos.

Once the son of Minos, Androgeos, took part in the Panathenean Games, in Athens, where he won some races. Some envious Athenian athletes killed Androgeos so as not to win the rest games. After learning the news, Minos declared war against Athens and defeated them. In retaliation for his son’s death, he forced them to send to Crete, every nine years, seven young men and seven young women to be devoured by the Minotaur. The young people were thrown into the dark labyrinth, where they wandered aimlessly until Minotaur would find and kill them.

The son of the king of Athens Aegeas, Theseus, could not bear this humiliation and asked to be one of the people (on the third time) that would try to kill the Minotaur in the dark maze. So, he arrived in Crete, where he met the daughter of Minos, Ariadne, with who he fell in love. Ariadne gave him a ball of thread (known as Ariadne's thread) and advised him to tie its edge of the entrance of the labyrinth, so that then, after killing the Minotaur, he could find the exit.

Idomeneus or Idomeneo, son of Deucalion and grandson of king Minos, was a king of Crete who took part with his friend and associate Meriones in the Trojan War.