Your Dream Holiday on Crete by:Dan Williams
Across the Aegean there are many dream holiday islands to choose from, but for many holidaymakers the largest of the Greek islands, Crete, still retains unique factors that set it apart from the others. As you examine the vacation possibilities on Crete you will be spoilt for choice with a vast selection of luxury hotels and villas.
Secluded coves, breathtaking bays, golden sandy beaches and dramatic countryside backdrops make the island a very special place. It's no wonder that the island has attracted the rich and famous including celebrities, royalty, world leaders and stars of film and music over the years.
In terms of history Crete can rank with the best of other islands and locations in the Aegean. Some of the earliest European human settlements from the Minoan era have been found on Crete but for most visitors the island's main attraction are its weather and holiday options.
The size of the island (almost 250 kilometres from east to west) provides it with around 1000 kilometres of wonderful coastline to enjoy. Daytime average temperatures rarely drop below 15 degrees Celsius, even in winter, and during the months May to October temperatures are always warm and pleasant. Rainfall is also negligible during June, July and August.
Crete ranks alongside Lanzarote in terms of visitor numbers, with around 2 million visitors coming to the island every year. Much of the growth in Crete's popularity came in the late 1980's when visitors numbers jumped by 50 per cent.
The capital of the island, Heraklion, is also the main transport hub, providing a port for cruise ship arrivals and an international airport which is currently quite stretched and in need of expansion. The airport is the second busiest in Greece and handles around 5 million passengers per year. Six years ago the Greek government announced plans for a new airport that should become operation by 2014. Reading the reviews, few people have a good word to say about the current airport, especially during busy periods, but don't let that put you off from visiting Crete. Once you get beyond the hustle and bustle of the airport, this wonderful island will reward you with its treasures.
Crete is a large island and you are unlikely to be able to take in all of its wonderful offerings in one visit. Here are some of the more beautiful bays and coves across the island.
At Elounda you will be greeted by the almost perfect bay, home to a selection of some of the island's most luxurious hotels. Luxury villas are also a feature of the area and recent constructions exhibit state of the art contemporary design with stunning balconies and infinity pools carved into the hillside around the bay.
For people who want to get away from the mass crowds the bay at Loutro may have everything you need. It's a small stony seaside village on the south coast of the island and is fairly inaccessible making it amazingly quiet. There are a few local developments so you will not be totally cut off, but peaceful beaches and gentle swims in crystal clear waters may be all you need for the perfect day.
Remember the advertising slogan "a taste of paradise"? The beach at Vai, surrounded by palm trees, was made famous in one of the Bounty commercials and is still called the Bounty beach by some. It is a popular spot with a lovely sandy beach and plenty of sunshades to shelter beneath, but can become crowded during high season.
Finally you may be tempted by a visit to the beach at Matala. Despite having one of the best beaches on the island, with soft golden sand leading down to wonderful waters for swimming, this location retains some of its original relaxed atmosphere. It is here, in the caves near the beach, that German and English hippies made their home during the 1960's. The village itself now makes the most of its attraction to tourists. It is mainly made up of hotels and rooms for rental and can become very busy during the summer, so perhaps the best time to go there would be out of the main season.
About the author
Here is Dan Williams' wrap up of Crete. As an tourist in Crete Dan is seeing changes, with many of the hangovers from its previous popularity now updated. There are now some fantastic hotel choices on the island and cheap flights to Crete are provided by companies like http://book.flythomascook.com