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Crete Island

According to a Greek saying, a Cretan's first loyalty is to his island, his second to his country. The insular Cretan mindset-shaped by centuries of bitter resis­tance to relentless invasion-causes the island's people to view even their fel­low Greeks as foreigners. Cretans are nonetheless friendly to the outsiders that continue to vacation on their beloved home, and visitors will enjoy a healthy dose of that old Greek hospitality. Like the long-moustached men in black who sit by the harbour polishing their high boots, the island welcomes you but tends to remain aloof.

Records of Cretan life reach back to 6000 BC, when Neolithic inhabitants dwelled in open settlements and placed terra-cotta statuettes on mountaintops to honour their deities. When settlers arrived from Asia Minor around 3000 BC, Cret­ans forged a civilization that would distinguish Greece , the Mediterranean , and all of Europe . Through the next two millennia, Crete 's Minoans developed unprece­dented technological and artistic abilities, constructing enormous palaces which still astound archaeologists and casual observers alike. Modem excavations have turned up shards of decorated pottery, colourful frescoes, intricate jewelry, cere­monial horns, stone libation vessels, and small sculptures.

Catastrophes--earthquakes, a tidal wave from an enormous volcanic eruption on Santorini, and Mycenaean invasions-plagued Minoan society; three times, the Minoans rebuilt from the ground up. Distinct artistic styles accompanied each rebuilding period. The Early Period's iconography makes it famous: women on thrones appear repeatedly, leading to speculation that early Minoan society may have been matriarchal. The Middle Period brought a political and artistic high point , as the Palace at Knossos dominated a prosperous Aegean marine empire. Later Greeks dated their own origins to the Middle Period, when Zeus was born on Mt. Ida , the mythical Minotaur munched men in the Labyrinth of Knossos, and the Athenian king Theseus wrested power from Crete 's Minoans and handed it to the Achaeans of mainland Greece .

In the 8th century BC, the Dorians occupied the island, carpetbagging with their own ideas about jewelry-making, sculpture, pottery, and language. Conquering Romans later set up camp, only to find the island an unstable aristocratic hangout rife with intercity fighting. Next, Crete fell under rickety Byzantine rule, resulting in the construction of countless Byzantine churches, until the Arabs conquered Crete in AD 827. The Byzantines eventually regained the island but lost it again to Frankish crusaders in 1204. After being sold to Venice , Crete became a commer­cial hub, with fortified ports ringing the island, and developed an early middle class, dominated by Venetian nobles and local merchants.

Cretans look back on this period far more fondly than on the Ottoman occupa­tion that followed. From the late 17th century until Prince George 's liberation of the island in 1898, Crete was Ottoman turf. After the Balkan Wars of 1913, Crete joined the Greek state. During World War II, the island combatted German occupa­tion with strong guerrilla resistance; the period is regarded with pride. Since then, Crete has been spared conquerors and attacks as a part of the Greek nation.

Today, Crete is divided into four main prefectures: Hania, Rethymno, Iraklion , and Lasithi. Transportation networks are based on the prefectures. It's easy to get around within a prefecture, but bus transportation between prefectures can be more complicated, so make your plans with the divisions in mind.


 

Online Travel guide with the best accommodation in Crete. Find the cheapest hotels is Crete & get exclusive online deals. Great rooms at bargain prices. Book online now! Compare Hotel Prices and read Reviews from others.

Great Hotel rates and information See photos, reviews & what's nearby Crete . Detailed tourist and travel information about hotels of Crete providing also regional information.

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 Stella Island Luxury Resort & Spa (Adults Only)
Offering a spa center with a range of services, Stella Island Luxury Resort & Spa is set in the Analipsi district, 3.1 mi from Hersonissos and 984 feet from the sandy beach. more...
 Radisson Blu Beach Resort, Milatos Crete
Set on the edge of the Aegean Sea, Radisson Blu Beach Resort in Milatos is surrounded by turquoise waters and beautiful beaches. more...
 Infinity Blue Boutique Hotel & Spa - Adults Only
Offering the main outdoor swimming pool, pool bar and two restaurants, Infinity Blue Boutique Hotel & Spa is settled just a breath above the “Blue Flag” awarded beach of Hersonissos. more...
 Royal Marmin Bay Boutique & Art Hotel
Located right on the beach in Elounda, Royal Marmin Bay Boutique & Art Hotel features a swimming pool with a spacious sun terrace and sun loungers. more...
 Abaton Island Resort & Spa
Abaton Island Resort & Spa is set on a stunning location in Hersonissos. more...
 Fodele Beach Water Park Resort
Fodele Beach Water Park Resort is a luxury, all-inclusive resort with a seafront location on the sandy beach of Fodele, on Crete's northern coast. more...
 Stella Palace Resort & Spa
Set on a private part of Analipsi Beach, Stella Palace features 2 lagoon-style swimming pools, 3 children’s pools and 2 tennis courts. more...
 lti AKS Minoa Palace - Adults Only
Right on its private area of Amnisos Beach with free sun loungers, Iti AKS Minoa Palace features an outdoor pool. Facilities include a fitness room with hammam. Free Wi-Fi is provided. more...
 Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas
Nested on a hillside overlooking its private bay on the North-East part of Crete, Daios Cove features 165 private sea-water pools a 2,500-m² spa, and luxurious rooms with spectacular views of the cove more...
 Balos Beach
Balos Beach offers modern, self-catering accommodations in a beautifully rugged, unspoiled corner of Western Crete, overlooking Kissamos Bay, around an hour’s drive from the magnificent town of more...
 Elysium Boutique Hotel & Spa (Adults Only)
Featuring a magnificent outdoor pool and a restaurant, the 5-star Elysium Boutique Hotel & Spa (Adults only) offers accommodations in Analipsi of Hersonissos. more...
 Kiani Beach Resort Family All Inclusive
Kiani Beach Resort is ideally located on the beach of Kiani, just a few miles east of Chania center and old Venetian town. It offers 2 pools, a sea-view restaurant, an open theater and a tennis court . more...
 Lyttos Beach
Directly located on the Blue Flag awarded beach of Anissaras village, Lyttos Beach is surrounded by a 150-acre garden of more than 500 palm trees and flowers. more...
 Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa, Crete
Set on Elounda coast, the 5-star Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa, Crete combines luxurious accommodations with award-winning cuisine and a state-of-the-art spa. more...
 Capsis Astoria Heraklion
This well-known Capsis Astoria Heraklion is located next to the Archaeological Museum. more...
 Vasia Resort & Spa
Boasting a 1500 m2 spa center, outdoor swimming pool and 6 bars, Sentido Vasia Resort & Spa is peacefully set in the picturesque fishing village of Sissi. more...
 Iberostar Creta Panorama & Mare
Standing right on the shore of the Aegean Sea, Iberostar Creta Panorama & Mare is an elegant and peaceful complex boasting a pool complex of 6 pools, a spa center and 3 restaurants. more...
 GDM Megaron, Historical Monument Hotel
Built in 1925 and classified as a monument, the GDM Megaron is located in the heart of Heraklion, overlooking the old Venetian port and within walking distance of all the major sights of the city. more...
 Star Beach Village & Water Park
Just 164 feet from the sandy beach and the port in Hersonissos, the Star Beach Village features a spacious pool complex with water slides, a children’s playground and free on-site parking facilities. more...
 Kavos Hotel & Suites
At a quiet and beautiful location on the coast of Kavos, Kavos Hotel & Suites features views over the Cretan Sea. It offers well-designed accommodations and a large outdoor pool with sun terrace. more...
 Dyo Suites
Dyo Suites is located in Rethymno Town, just steps from the sandy beach and a 10-minute walk from the scenic old town. more...
 Casa D'Irene Deluxe Hotel
Casa D'Irene Deluxe Hotel features an outdoor swimming pool, bar, a shared lounge and garden in Falasarna. Featuring family rooms, this property also provides guests with a children's playground. more...
 Aquila Atlantis Hotel
Within 656 feet from the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, the 5-star Aquila Atlantis Hotel features an outdoor pool with unobstructed views over the harbor, a semi-covered pool and an elegantly more...
 Mitsis Laguna Resort & Spa
Mitsis Laguna Resort is located on Anissaras sandy beach, only 1.9 mi from Hersonissos. more...
 Creta Maris Beach Resort
Overlooking the Blue Flag Hersonissos Beach, the all-inclusive Creta Maris Beach Resort combines a Cretan hospitality and green oriented environment with exclusive 5-star services. more...




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Cyclades
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Peloponnese
Saronic Gulf Islands
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