Crete is the largest island near Greece and the fifth largest in the Mediterranean Sea. However many Americans who have visited Greece are not even aware of it as a tourist destination. It is sumptuous.
A lot of British nationals have second homes here. That’s because, despite its ancient history, Crete is a surprisingly affordable way to own fabulous beach home at a fraction of what it would cost to own one in England. In fact, the island of Crete has been renowned for thousands of years for its incredible terrain. The island locals boast of fine sand at Elafonisi Beach and the majesty of the White Mountains. Mt. Ida, the tallest mountain of the range, has long said to be the birthplace of Zeus, according to Greek mythology.
Crete is unlike other Greek Islands with uniformed whitewashed walls and blue domes; in other words, it has a charm all its own. While many parts are heavily populated or have many hotels, there are areas in Crete that remain secluded. I recommend you rent a car and explore Crete, a substantial expanse of real estate which incorporates some 3,200 square miles. I spent a full four days driving through every corner of the island and discovered many fascinating sights – a number of them largely unknown to tourists.
I drove around with no particular schedule and stayed at smaller hotels – some as as low as $60 per night. I spent the afternoons driving through mountain ranges and navigating some dangerously steep roads with no barriers (not for the faint of heart). I strolled through vineyard after vineyard to pick the most delicious grapes I have ever tasted, and often sampled the incredibly fresh seafood, which was often cooked right before my eyes. I took a dip at Elafonisi Beach, which is probably one of the most beautiful beaches on the map, with its azure water and sand formations that connect the island to another sub-island. Crete is mind-blowingly cool and it’s a side of Greece you would relish experiencing.
Enjoy new highlights of travel photographer Edwin Santiago’s journeys each week.
Last modified: July 27, 2017