Steeped in Homeric history and culture, scented by wild fennel and basil, Crete spoils visitors with its wealth of myths, legends and history, a blessed and dramatic landscape, an extraordinary fusion of past and present, and an abundance of choices and experiences.
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Nestled on the tranquil coast of Elounda on the island of Crete, Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection Resort, offers emblematic views to the relics of Spinalonga Island.
What To See
Hania Old Town
An exotic mix of Venetian and Ottoman architecture makes Hania Crete's most evocative town. The Venetian lighthouse and former mosque frame the picturesque harbour lined with restored Venetian mansions that house boutique hotels, pensions and restaurants. Remnants of the Venetian city walls border a web of atmospheric streets, where you'll see artisans at work and find the island's most eclectic shopping.
This palace, in a beautiful site just southeast of Iraklio, is the most magnificent, intricate and evocative of Crete's Minoan sites. In order to give visitors an idea of what the palace looked like, its discoverer, Sir Arthur Evans, had parts of it reconstructed.
Right below Moni Preveli, Preveli Beach is one of Crete’s most celebrated strands. In August 2010 a massive fire swept through the canyon, burning the proud palm trees to a black crisp and seemingly dealing a major blow to the local tourism industry. But nature fought back with a vengeance and by the following summer most specimens had already sprouted new fronds.
The setting is truly stunning. The beach sits at the mouth of the Kourtaliotiko Gorge, from where the river Megalopotamos slices across it before emptying into the Libyan sea. The palm-lined riverbanks have freshwater pools good for a dip, while rugged cliffs begin where the sand ends.
Agios Nikolaos (ah-yee-os nih-ko-laos) may lack the historic character of Crete's other major towns but its natural advantage is a striking position on a hill overlooking Mirabello Bay, with a small picturesque lake connected to the sea and a pleasant harbour.
Rethymno (reth-im-no) is Crete's third-largest town and one of the most picturesque, with a charming Venetian harbour and delightful old Venetian-Ottoman quarter. The old quarter is a maze of narrow streets draped in floral canopies, graceful wood-balconied houses and ornate Venetian monuments, with minarets adding a touch of the Orient. While architectural similarities invite comparison with Hania, Rethymno has a character all its own.
Apart from being the largest city in Western Crete, it's swamped with beautiful Venetian and Turkish buildings and this, along with its harbourside setting, white onion-domed churches, and winding paved laneways make it ideal camera-bait.