Susan Hegarty 13 May 2005
Crete is often seen as a party destination, somewhere for young and lively holidays and while there are certainly resorts that cater for this type of trip, there is far more to Crete than this. The largest Greek Island, it has a long and fascinating history, being so far south in the Mediterranean it is blessed with a climate that boasts long hot summers and mild winters.

This was my second trip to Crete and I certainly hope it won’t be my last. Previously I had stayed in Stalis, this time we choose Malia. Close enough to Hersonissos for a night out but less hectic with a nice beach and a plentiful supply of bars and restaurants it was a good option.

Crete has a large choice of waters sports and we spent a very enjoyable day in one of its water parks. During our stay we took a day trip to the former leper colony of Spinalonga. This was a unique trip and I felt immersed in the history of this poor group of people who were removed from their homes and put onto this island to live out the rest of their days. We saw perfectly preserved houses and churches and the fortress that surrounds the village.

There are plenty of day trips in Crete including the pretty village of Elounda, the lovely Agios Nikolaos and my personal favourites Rethymnon and Chania with their gorgeous harbours filled with lovely waterfront cafes and restaurants, their winding streets and beautiful Venetian buildings with their faded grandeur hinting at a truly amazing past.

Don’t miss a day trip to the breathtaking Santorini or a visit to Knossos. This is the site of the legend of the Minotaur and his labyrinth and dates back to 2000BC and was the political, economic and religious centre of the Minoan Dynasty.

For the active there are endless opportunities for walking and cycling and even the adventurous will find the 18km trek through the Samaria Gorge exhilarating.

Other options include Jeep safaris, sailing, diving, canyoning, kayaking, river trekking and rock climbing. Of course you could always just sit on your sun longer and plan what more active pursuits you will undertake on your next trip to Crete!