Posts Tagged ‘Iraklion’
Tuesday, July 26th, 2011
As one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean, there are plenty of things to do in Crete. With some of the best beaches in the Aegean, a wealth of historic sites and plenty of sports and leisure activities, many people choose to go back again and again.
You can either hire a car to go exploring or look at the wide range of excursions available, as you may be able to book some of these from your hotel. You will also find tourist information available in most of the large towns. Crete is the perfect destination for those looking to get away on last minute holidays, as it has pretty much year round sunshine and plenty to see and do.
The island has a fascinating and turbulent history in which many invaders have left their mark. There are Minoan sites to visit across the island, for example at Knossos, Malia and Zakros and there are also Roman remains, such as the ruins of the Greco-Roman city of Gortys, as well as monasteries and castles.
The huge fortresses at Iraklion, Chania and Rethymno are evidence of the legacy of the Venetian rule over the island for a number of centuries. The Turks also left their mark and you will still find minarets and mosques at some of the large towns, such as Rethymno.
In Plaka, you can visit the islet of Spinalonga. Once a Venetian citadel, it became a leper colony made famous in the novel ‘The Island’. With frequent boat trips taking visitors there, it makes a thought provoking visit and a must for fans of the book.
Three out of the four waterparks on the island are close to Hersonissos, one of the island’s popular tourist resorts and any one of these make a great day out. With plenty of facilities and places to eat and drink in the parks, you can easily stay for the day.
Aquaworld, the first aquarium in Crete, is also located near to Hersonissos. The aquarium mainly features the abundant local marine life, also exhibiting some reptiles from around the world. With knowledgeable staff making it interesting and informative, it is a popular tourist attraction and many visitors make multiple visits to the aquarium during their holidays.
With its pleasant beaches and clear waters, Crete is a good destination for water sports. Many of the beaches are safe for swimming and of course there are plenty of opportunities for boat trips to explore the attractive coastline of the island from the sea.
You can try out wind surfing, water skiing or snorkelling and there are a also a range of sailing experiences, from canoes to speed boats. If you want to try out some of these, then head for the more tourist orientated beaches.
Another different way to see the island is on a horse riding tour, which are available at a number of stables around the island and you can sometimes combine them with a BBQ or picnic. Alternatively, you could try mountain biking or a jeep safari.
There are plenty of other places to visit in Crete. You could try walking along the Samaria Gorge, one of the longest in Europe, driving through the White Mountains, or taking out a pedal boat on Lake Kournas, a scenic and peaceful inland freshwater lake.
For a completely different experience, try visiting the Sasteria, an observatory in south eastern Crete. The observatory will give you a breathtaking tour of the night sky with some knowledgeable and informative guides.
Iraklion is the capital of Crete and there are plenty of things to do in the city, with a number of interesting museums as well as places such as the cathedral, Morosini Fountain or the Tomb of Kazantzakis. There are also an interesting range of shops, cafes and restaurants to wander around.
There are a number of other large towns on Crete to visit, such as Rethymnon, with its Fortezza Castle that was built in 1590. There is also the Archaeological museum, which has a range of ancient objects such as vases, figurines and frescos.
Another town to visit is Chania, a perfect place to browse the shops, indoor food market or visit the pleasant harbour. If you want to see a different side to the island, then take a drive inland and you will be able to visit many pleasant rural villages.
The island of Crete offers a wealth of activities, from sports and leisure, historic sites and museums through to enjoying relaxing in cafes and restaurants. Whatever your reason for visiting, there will be something to interest, amuse or relax you.
This was a guest post written by travelsupermarket.com
Main Photo By Jim Bahn