Provided by: Georgios Tsichlis/Shutterstock.com
Heraklion

Heraklion

Heraklion is the largest city of Crete and the island’s capital. Its long history began in post-Minoan times, even though the nearby Knossos used to be the most important Minoan centre, and saw the succeeding of various conquerors, whose traces are still evident in the city. For instance, one of Heraklion's most important landmarks is the Kouless Fortress in the Venetian harbour. Nowaydays, Heraklion is a large modern city, cosmopolitan and busy all year round. It is also an important economic centre and has a rich cultural life. In recent years, many streets around the centre have become pedestrianized and link the major monuments of the city, so that one can go about on foot more easily, free from the rush of traffic. In addition to its many interesting museums and tourist attractions, Heraklion has a unique charm worth savouring while on visit: saunter along the pedestrian streets of its historic centre, lose yourself in the alleyways of the Old Town, take your ease in the coffee bars and raki-joints that are a part of the city's culture.
Read more
Chania

Chania

Chania, or "Venice in the East", is the second biggest city in Crete, built on the site of old Kydonia. It has managed to keep its original appearance and its authentic colours in balance with the strong growth of recent years. It is one of the most picturesque cities in Greece, keeping alive the imprint of the various cultures that have passed through down the centuries. In recent decades, Chania has emerged as one of the fastest growing tourist centres on Crete. Especially during the summer, the Venetian harbour and the narrow lanes of the Old Town are swamped by visitors from all round the globe. At the same time, cultural activities reach a peak with the hosting of sundry festivals and events in the renovated historical buildings, such as the impressive Moro shipyards. The former Venetian Monastery of Saint Francis now hosts the Archaeological Museum of Chania. But it also remains a living city beyond the limits of the tourist season. The numerous student population and the active local groups continue the long intellectual and spiritual heritage of Chania, preserving it to this very day.
Read more
Rethymno

Rethymno

The third largest city on Crete, built on the site of the old Minoan Rithymna, Rethymno came to life during the Venetian era and still retains a Renaissance appearance. The most well-preserved structure is Rethymno's Fortress, located on a hill and dominating the city's skyline. Another major tourist attraction is the charming historic harbour, dotted with quaint cafés and taverns. In the Old Town, Venetian architectural elements coexist with Ottoman ones, creating a unique charm instead of a big contrast. In the summer, Rethymno has visitors from all over the world, who base themselves here for the exploration of the Prefecture and of the whole island, whilst in the winter the students of the local University bring a buzz to the place. During spring, the Rethymno Carnival takes place, which is a century-old celebration that has become an institution famous throughout the country.
Read more
Agios Nikolaos

Agios Nikolaos

Agios Nikolaos is one of the most picturesque towns in East Crete and a gateway to the whole region. It enjoys a strategic location on the Gulf of Mirabello and in the summer it turns itself into a cosmopolitan resort. The city chiefly subsists on tourism, but despite the boom it has not lost its small town feel. An attraction of Agios Nikolaos is the Vouliagmeni Lake, where, according to old myths, Aphrodite and Athena were wont to come and bathe. Beautiful Neo-Classical buildings were put up round and about the small harbour, which is lined up with restaurants, cafés and shops and is a favoured spot for a "volta" – an evening walk – for locals and visitors alike. East of the lake is another favoured spot in Aghios Nikolaos – the beach of Kitroplateia, a place for a quick "dip" right in the city centre. If you feel like exploring but without going too far, Agios Nikolaos is close enough to the cosmopolitan and up-market resort of Elounda, as well as to the famous island of Spinalonga.
Read more
Sitia

Sitia

Sitia is the best ‘ambassador’ for East Crete: authentic, uncrowded and picturesque. It can be an ideal base for the exploration of the easternmost parts of the island, including the popular Vai Beach, home to Crete's biggest palm forest. The city, originally founded by the Minoans, has a troubled history of conquest and destruction, but managed to survive and prosper. Nowadays, it is a tranquil seaside town with about 10,000 inhabitants, built like an amphitheatre on the hills around the its lovely harbour, featuring colourful boats, several eateries and a beautiful promenade. Sitia also features a historic fortress, an Archaeological and a Folklore museum, as well as a long sandy beach where during summer locals and tourists flock to enjoy some relax or water sports. Interesting fact: Vitsentzos Kornaros, one of the most important Cretan writers and author of the epic poem Erotokritos, was born in Sitia.
Read more
Ierapetra

Ierapetra

The southernmost city of Crete and the fourth largest one in the country, Ierapetra combines the infrastructure of a tourist resort with easy access to pristine beaches and beautiful countryside the surrounding areas. A popular tourist destination within easy reach from here is the unspoilt Chrysi Island with its golden beach. Ierapetra is a city full of life throughout the year. Its icon is without a doubt the Kale fortress, and its liveliest part is the main promenade with its cafes, taverns and restaurants. Ierapetra is also the main commercial centre of the province for agricultural exports to Europe. Economic prosperity is due both to tourism and to the production of early vegetables grown in the many greenhouses in the area. An important product of the region is Cretan olive oil, which is used in many of the city's Mediterranean eateries.
Read more
Malia

Malia

Malia offers plenty to do, not only during the day but also at night. Indeed, its vibrant nightlife has nothing to envy to bigger European destinations like Ibiza. Bars and nightclubs spring up like mushrooms near restaurants, taverns, hotels and shops, making it a popular tourist destination in Northern Crete. In addition, Malia also features a busy organized beach, a charming old town quarter and the third largest Minoan palace in Crete. You can get there by bus from Heraklion, departing from the station near the port.
Read more
View Cities & Towns on map