Loose yourself on Crete, Europe’s southernmost frontier and an island of stark contrasts. From the snow-capped mountains of the interior, looming imposingly over tiny, crumbling villages, to the elegant seafront resorts that fringe the changeable waters of the Mediterranean Sea, Crete is sure to enrapture your soul. The island’s rugged landscape hosts a particularly bountiful crop of herbs, and the heady scents of rosemary, thyme, oregano, chamomile and fennel perfume the air throughout the year.
The largest of the Greek islands, measuring 160 miles in length, the Cretan landscape is a kaleidoscope of towns and villages all with their own unique aura. From Heraklion, the capital and fourth largest city in Greece, to tiny Loutro and its quiet pebble beach, there’s something for everyone on this eclectic island. Every summer, the international jet-set descend on the chic village of Elounda, overlooking the sparkling waters of the Mirabello Bay and a favourite of international personalities from Leonardo diCaprio and Lady Gaga to the Saudi royal family. Dinner at the Calypso Elounda Peninsula is a unique experience and particular favourite with yacht-owners moored nearby, whilst the more laid-back Lotus Eaters serves fresh, local fare in a luxuriously peaceful location.
The island’s long coastline also offers a range of conditions suited to different water sports, from jet skiing and parasailing to kitesurfing and sailing. iKiTe provides premium, professional kiteboarding in Heraklion, whilst the best surfing is found during the winter at Phalasarna Beach in the Chania region.