Crete is the 5th largest island of Mediterranean sea with a 8.261 km2 area. Governmental centre of the island is Heraklion which is located in northwest shore. Larger towns of the island, Chania, Rethymnon and Iraklion are all located at the north. Its climate changes between moderate to tropical.
First human settlements in Crete dates back around 4000 BC. A Bronze Age civilization known with the name of its legendary king Minos developed in the island in 3000 BC. There are many palaces built in Knossos, Phaistos and Mallia around 2000 BC. Crete becomes a state subject to North Africa with the in its conquest by Romans in 67 BC. It was handed over to Byzantine in 395 AD. After year 824 Arabs claim some parts of the island, and in 1204 Venetians claims all of the island. 5 centuries of Venetian occupation on the island left many marks on the island. In 17th century Ottomans claims a part of the island and in 1699 they conquer all of Crete by vanquishing Venetians. It is recorded that Turk population was mainly settles in Heraklion region during Ottoman period. Even today the warmth and familiarity of an Aegean village still dominates the town centre. After Ottomans leave the island in 1898, island was become subjected to Greek in 1913.
Rethymnon: Compared to other touristic centers of Crete, Rethymnon town stays relatively untouched till today. Damaged structures restored conserving their original. Walks through streets where houses with oriel windows lined make you feel that you are in a town from Ottoman period. Further you can walk to the beach from town centre. You can stay in elegant boutique hotels on this shore, and enjoy the Crete food on nice boutique restaurants. Its good to remind that there is a wine festival in Rethymnon in June.
Crete cuisine is considered as the healthiest Mediterranean cuisine by the nutritionists. Cooks in Crete has the skills to boil any herbs and make salads with lemon and olive oil. Radish, hibiscus, labada and chicory are just a few of these salads with sauces. Many of the restaurants and hotels have their own fields to grow natural products. Further Maghrata dish cook with different methods with lamb is the most famous food of Crete cuisine with its anise flavor. Also it shall not be forgotten that Crete people do amazing appetizers. You must eat the zucchini flower filled with rice. If you will want to eat fish you can find restaurants that you can eat the most delicious Aegean fish in any of the towns at the restaurants near ports.
It’s possible to reach Chania and Heraklion through Athens. There are 2 flights (Thursday-Sunday) every week between June and September from Istanbul. Further there is ferry from Pire Port to Crete. Pire to Heraklion takes 9 hours with fast ferry. In summer time there are more runs. You can reach to your hotel from port or airport by private transports with ease. The best way to travel in the island as you wish is to rent a car. There are also public transports by buses. There are frequent transfers between centers. It takes 2.5 hours between Chania and Heraklion by bus. If you want to visit towns without land transportation in the south you can reach those places by ferry. There is also ferry between Paleochora, Sougia, Agia Roumeli, Loutro and Hora Sfakion along with Gavdos Island in the south.