So you've booked your holiday to Crete and you know you are in for a break in a warm and sunny climate with lovely beaches and warm seas. But where else is there to do on the island of Crete? Here's Photos of Crete .com's guide to the best things to do and see whilst visiting the island.
Whether your a history buff or not Crete was the home to the first and earliest civilisation in the whole of Europe. The Minoans are said to have flourished on Crete from as early as 3000bce and are thought to have created over 50 towns and large settlements all over the island. We have created a separate and more in depth guide to Crete's rich ancient history however whilst you might have visited Crete for the sun, sand and warm welcome if you've got an appetite to head out beyond the beach checking out one of Crete's stunning Minoan palaces is an absolute must.
There are three major Minoan sites on the island of Crete that are both the largest and most famous 'Palaces' of the Minoan civilisation. The 'Palaces' of Malia, Phaistos & Knossos are all expansive and rich in ancient history.
The 'Palace' of Malia lies to the East of the seaside 'party' town and is famous for it's stunning offering table. Areas of the site are covered to protect the detailed ruins and guided tours are available both in advance and at the entrance. Car parking is ample and you can pay to enter the site at the booth as you enter and is priced at 6 euros for adults & free for children.
The 'Palace' of Phaistos is set in the most stunning of locations in the south of the island around 10 minutes drive from the former hippie colony at Matala and around an hours drive through the pretty mountains and hills on a very good road from the island's capital Heraklion. Phaistos is not only the location where the famous Phaistos Disk was found (Europe's earliest writing) but in addition provides the most atmospheric and inspiring of settings. The grand staircases are stunning and as you wander through the ruins the landscape around this place is simply stunning. We recommend visiting at dusk after a day on the beach at Matala to avoid both the mid day heat and capture the essence of the aura in this stunning ancient site. There is a car park that has a short walk to the palace and entrance is 8 euro for adults with reduced fees for kids.