Traveller – Crete best for… antiquities, active adventures and sunshine all year round

Greece’s largest island, Crete has ancient ruins, snow-capped peaks and beaches galore. Sunshine is pretty much guaranteed year round, but spring is especially lovely for rambling and sightseeing. The Minoan palace of KNOSSOS is glorious, despite the steady stream of coach parties (go early: it opens at 8am).

The 16km-long SAMARIÁ GORGE also teems with pilgrims, but there are 50 more canyons to explore, often with only the elusive kri-kri(wild goats) for company.
With the exception of ELOUNDA – a pocket of bling popular with oligarchs – the north-east coast is scarred by over-development.
Instead head south, where there are miles of empty sand dunes, sprinkled with SIMPLE yoga retreats such as YOGA ROCKS atTRIOPETRA and YOGA PLUS  at AGIOS PAVLOS.
Or take a back-to-nature break with WILD FITNESS  at MILIA, a 17th-centruy hamlet powered entirely by solar energy.

Time slows almost to a standstill in the mountain villages, where locals with formidable whiskers welcome you with shots of tsikoudia (Cretan raki) for breakfast and celebrate saints’ days with a volley of gunshots.
Even the road signs are peppered with bullet holes.