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Things to see in Crete
By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor


Crete has a large choice of sand or pebble beaches. However, know that the beaches are really dirty in the tourist zones, and don't particularly inspire swimming or sunbathing.

The fauna and flora

Surrounded by Mediterranean landscape, Crete perpetually hums to the tune of crickets and goats. The combination of mountains, plains, and mild temperatures makes for a highly diversified fauna and flora.

Arts and culture

Cretan culture is rich with history dating all the way back to Greek mythology. The people of the island are very proud of their past and remain very anchored in their traditions to this day, despite the progress of modern society. To discover the art and culture of Crete, the most significant place to visit is the Heraklion Museum, considered to be one of the most important museums in Europe. It has frescoes from the Minoan Palace of Knossos as well as numerous objects from archaeological sites in Crete. You can also discover the Cretan culture simply by watching the locals in the little villages who have preserved some of their ancient traditions, such as the art of embroidery in Fodele, and leather crafting in Hania. In Axos, on the sacred mountain of Mount Ida, it is essential that you stop by the workshop of artist Georgios Koutantos, where you will be able to admire his impressive wood carvings, which are very striking with their details and their realism.

The locals

The people of Crete are a very proud people and are very happy to tell you where they come from. Crete is based on a matriarchal society in which the women all have a strong personality. The Crete people are very welcoming to strangers and if you happen to pop in on them there's no question of leaving without having drunk at least one glass of raki! They have a very developed sense of hospitality and will make you feel like a member of the family. To really get an idea of this, though, head inland to the less touristy areas. Ancestral traditions are still very much a part of the local culture in the small mountain villages. The many ecotourism and agrotourism complexes here bear testimony to the Cretan people's desire to preserve their island.


Cretan cuisine of one of the most balanced in the world. With its staple products including olive oil, fresh fruits and vegetables and fish, Crete is a country with one of the highest life expectancy rates. So if it's good for your health, there's no reason to deprive yourself! Don't miss out on the many Greek specialities, such as starters (or 'mezze') like tzatziki (a blend of yoghurt, cucumbers and garlic), moussaka (aubergines or courgettes with minced meat and potatoes), and Souvlaki (kebabs). Crete's main specialities are its bean and lentil soups, its sea urchin salad and its snails. The most common meat is lamb, either grilled or in a stew. Other well-known specialities include the pita, a special type of Greek bread filled with meat, tomatoes and sauce. Don't forget to enjoy all this with some wine from Crete, which is among the most famous of the Greek islands. Some of the best ones include Arhanès, Mandilari, Dafnès and Sitia. To finish off your meal, try some baklava (flaky pastry filled with honey and nuts) or some delicious yoghurt with honey.