Flights to Crete
Crete is the largest of all the Greek Islands, and it’s situated in the Mediterranean Sea just south of mainland Greece. Crete is one of Greece’s top tourist destinations and it’s been attracting visitors, especially northern Europeans, for many decades to its attractive beaches, cities and ancient archaeological sites.
The main airport for flights to Crete is the Heraklion International Airport (airport code: HER), also known as the Nikos Kazantzakis Airport. It’s located just outside the city of Heraklion. When coming from Johannesburg, flights to Crete usually have 2 connections. British Midland and Virgin Atlantic take the same route through London then Athens. Another option would be with South African Airways or Egyptair; their flight to Crete travels through Cairo and Athens. Going through Cairo will take around 17 hours, but the London route is more than 30.
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The Tourist Attractions of Crete:
Crete has been a popular destination for British holidaymakers for many decades. The island hasn’t suffered over development like some islands in the Mediterranean though, and it’s managed to retain a balance between being a popular package holiday destination and an upmarket place to visit. As a tourist this gives you plenty of choices when it comes to accommodation – you can choose a standard hotel or apartment at the lower end of the scale, or splash out and enjoy some of Crete’s luxury offerings.
For many tourists the main appeal of Crete is its beaches and pleasant weather. There are some towns that are more touristy than others, such as Malia, but there are also those that have remained small and peaceful, like Plakias. So whether you’re looking for a vibrant resort town with plenty of restaurants and bars, or a quieter getaway, Crete can offer both. Another reason why Crete is so popular is because visitors can mix the beach with culture and history. Crete has some excellent examples of ancient Minoan settlements, as well as some attractive towns and cities to enjoy.
Heraklion (also known as Iraklion) is the capital and largest city of Crete. This is the place to come if you want to take in some of that culture, as Heraklion offers several museums including the History Museum of Crete, the Natural History Museum, and the Heraklion Archaeological Museum.
Close by the city is Knossos, the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete which was believed to have been the political centre of the Minoan civilisation. The ruins have been substantially restored and are in parts very spectacular, featuring frescoes, columns, a throne room and more.
A little smaller than Heraklion is Chania, popular for its attractive Old Town. Quaint streets lined with whitewashed buildings lead you down to the old Venetian harbour and seafront, which comes alive at night with its thriving nightlife.
Other Towns in Crete
Crete is also home to a number of other attractive towns. Of these the most notable include Agios Nikolaos, a smaller coastal town with pretty beaches and a small lagoon. Rethymno is larger and has one of the best preserved old towns in Crete and a large Venetian castle to explore.
When Should You Visit?:
Crete has a mainly Mediterranean climate and is most popular for visiting during the summer, particularly July and August when average highs are between 27 and 28C. From May through to September you’re usually guaranteed warm and dry weather though, and if you visit outside of July and August it’s likely to be a little quieter. The winters are mild, though a little wet, but a good time to visit if your sole purpose is sightseeing.