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Crete is a beautiful place to spend a staycation and there’s plenty to explore that you may not have seen before.
Vai beach is a beautiful sandy palm beach and is one of the largest natural palm forests in Europe. Lake Voulismeni is also worth visiting, and is located at the centre of Agios Nikolaos just a short 5-minute walk from our rental location. If you’re looking for an excursion, you can hop on over to Spinalonga Island, known as the island of the living dead, and explore the legend of the island in person. For those looking for a bit of history, take a trip to the Toplou Monastery which was built in the 15th century, and head on over to the Idean Cave also known as the ‘cave of the Goddess’ rumoured to be the birthplace of Zeus himself!
Heraklion is steeped in history and home to ancient cities Knossos, Phaistos, Gortys, Tylissos and Malia. Knossos Palace is a must visit when you’re in town, and is the largest bronze age archaeological site on Crete, and linked to the tale of the Labyrinth and the Minotaur. We also recommend visiting the Heraklion Archeological Museum to find out more of the islands fascinating history and the Minoan civilisation, as well as the Koules Fortress located at the entrance of the old port. For those of you wanting a more relaxed day out, a visit to Matala beach will not disappoint.
When visiting Rethimnon be sure to visit Rethimnon Old Town so you can see all the beauty it has to offer, including the many little shops selling local produce and gifts. You can also book onto a sightseeing cruise at the Venetian harbour, which dates back to the 13th century and is still in use today. A short walk from the harbour is the Fortezza Fortress, which was the citadel of the city back in the 16th century. This is a paid for attraction but is only about 4€ and worth every cent. We also recommend vising the Arkadi and Preveli monasteries which still sit in fantastic condition.
Western Crete is a beautiful place to visit, and spring flowers last well into May giving a very picturesque habitat popular among bird watchers. There is also the natural park of Samaria Gorge, which is home to a rare Cretan kri-kri (goat) which lives in the mountains. If you are looking for a chilled-out staycation, head on over to the Old Town and harbour for a nice walk. The old town is also known as the most photographed spot in the city. For a relax on the beach you have Elafonisi, with stunning white sand, or Balos, another beautiful well photographed spot, to choose from.