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Spotlight On: Crete

By HarrySaturday 27th August 2016

Chania’s Venetian harbour. Chania’s Venetian harbour.

Greece has many lovely islands, from marvellous Mykonos to superb Santorini, and each one has such a lot to offer. Although we can’t play favourites, Crete, the largest of Greece’s many islands, has a special place in our hearts. From the unbelievable beauty of Elafonisi to the locally-distilled raki which follows every meal, we love everything about this island. Find out why Crete should be at the top of your list as we shine a spotlight on this Grecian gem.


Located on Crete’s northern coast, Chania is best known for its pretty old town with its winding, cobbled streets, and the Venetian harbour, dotted with waterfront restaurants. The architecture in this part of Crete is a mixture of styles, so you’ll see a diverse range of buildings wherever you go. Wander through the streets, looking out for the 13th-century Orthodox Cathedral of Chania, and take a look around the harbour where you can see the Ottoman baths, the Venetian shipyards and the 21-metre-high lighthouse. Stop for a bite to eat and a cold beer at one of the harbour-side restaurants and enjoy the view out to sea. The Orthodox Cathedral of Chania The Orthodox Cathedral of Chania


The waters surrounding Chania are great for snorkelling and the best spots can be reached by boat. There are many different boat trip providers to choose from, many of which can be found along the harbour, but most offer similar tours at comparable prices. You can join a quick one-hour trip, or you can go out for 3.5 hours, depending on how long you want to spend at sea. You’ll stop at various snorkelling places, where you can look for colourful fish and underwater plants. Drinks and fresh fruit are usually served onboard, but it’s a good idea to bring a big bottle of water. Enjoy a spot of snorkelling. Enjoy a spot of snorkelling.


It probably goes without saying, but Greece has some of the Mediterranean’s most delectable food. Wherever you go, mouth-watering food is guaranteed. Crete has the usual Greek fare – succulent lamb cooked over hot coals, traditional Greek salads and stuffed vine leaves – as well as its own regional dishes. Look out for dakos (crisp rusks topped with grated tomatoes, Myzithra or feta cheese, black olives and oregano), kalitsounia (small cheese pies) and chochlioi boubouristi (fried snails). Wash it down with a refreshing glass of retsina wine and finish your meal with a small measure of raki. Try dakos, one of Crete’s specialities. Try dakos, one of Crete’s specialities. Elafonisi If there’s anywhere in Crete that’s unmissable, it’s Elafonisi. A little under an hour’s drive from Chania, this small island off the southern coast can be reached by a sandy causeway. The clearest blue waters surround the sandy walkway, creating a shallow lagoon which is beautifully blue and inviting. Like many of Crete’s beaches, Elafonisi has sun loungers for hire – they only cost a few euros each – and there are toilets, showers and a few places to grab a bite to eat. High winds can disturb the sand, so it’s best to check the weather before you go. The water at Elafonisi is crystal clear. The water at Elafonisi is crystal clear.

Explore Crete with Royal Caribbean

Take a look at our Greek cruises and Mediterranean cruises and start planning your Grecian getaway.

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