The summer holidays seem far behind us, so I thought it would be good to remember some good memories to brighten our autumn days.
Today we fly to Crete! Another island in the Aegean Sea, just in front of Santorini.
If Santorini is dear to my heart because of my solo wedding , Crete has become my second home.
Crete is the largest island in Greece with an area of 8,336 km2, with 1,046 km of coastline and more than 600,000 inhabitants. It's the 5th largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus and Corsica.
Often cited in Greek Mythology, Crete is believed to have been inhabited for 130,000 years, and has experienced several great periods of development, associated with very different conquests and cultures: prehistoric period, Minoan era, Mycenaean civilisation (remember the mask of Agamemnon in the article Rainy Day in Athens), Roman Empire, Byzantine, Venetian period then Ottoman, and finally attached to Greece in 1913.
Rich in this history, we find the traces of these civilisations in many parts of the island.
There is so much to say about Crete, so this article is the first in a series of a few episodes, in order not to miss anything of this beautiful destination. And to begin episode 1, the capital Heraklion and its surroundings.
Heraklion is the capital and largest city of Crete, with more than 140,000 inhabitants, making it the 5th largest city in Greece. Heraklion is also the largest seaport of the island and the main link to the mainland, not to mention the many ferries that serve Athens and the other islands of the Aegean Sea.
With the succession of civilisations, this city still has many vestiges, including a part of the ramparts, which offers a nice walk: Agios Minas Cathedral, Venetian Loggia, Church of Saint Titus, Morosini Fountain, Koules Fortress, the market, the Historical Museum of Crete ...
I also like its archaeological museum with the most beautiful collection of pottery I’ve ever seen, I keep visiting it, this museum is a must-go on this island, but I’ll devote a whole article to this subject very soon.
For those wishing to discover more about Heraklion, a video is available at the end of the article that will show you all the highlights of the city.
And like any adventurous day, a break is required!
My favourite places: Crumb in the centre of Heraklion that reminds me of my Australian habits, matcha latte with coconut or almond milk, gluten free chocolate cake, but also Greek specialties like spinach pie...
Then, Spyridon, a few kilometres from Heraklion, at Kokkini Hani, paradise of dessert and ice cream, and my favourite place for waffles to accompany my coffee (check the article Coffee Addict, don’t count calories here hahaha!!
Next stop: Knossos!
The Palace of Knossos is the cradle of the Minoan civilisation, known as the oldest civilisation in Europe (circa 2700 to 1100 BC).
It covered nearly 5 hectares with the only main building of an area of 3 hectares.
It was composed of more than 1,000 rooms, serving as both administrative and religious centre. This also included several areas dedicated to storage, especially for olive oil, wine, wool ...
The Palace was very modern with its equipment: natural ventilation system, bathrooms, toilets and running water.
There was also a theater that could accommodate 400 people.
It’s the largest archaeological site in Crete from the Bronze Age.
The site was discovered in 1878 by a Cretan antique dealer, then in 1900 Arthur Evans, a British archaeologist acquires it and begins a large excavation site.
The palace was rich in colours and frescoes, made of stones and uncooked bricks.
In addition, the Knossos Palace is associated with the legend of Minos King, where he lived and built the Minotaur’s maze according to Greek mythology.
To better imagine the size of this palace, a short 3D video for you, you will recognise some of the pictures seen previously:
And for those who prefer a relaxing day at the beach, there are nice spots even around Heraklion:
If it’s more convenient to rent a car to discover the island, I like to use public transport, it gives me plenty of time to admire the landscape. And that's what I see when I take the bus to go shopping:
A sunset is always special, no matter where, but Crete is truly inspiring! Have a good week!
Love & Joy,
P.S.: For those who want to discover more about Heraklion: