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Villages of Crete:

The villages of Crete are where more than half of the island’s population lives. The island is highly appreciated for its rich history, its people’s respect for age-old traditions and the hospitality of the people, characteristics that are built into and visible in the architecture, the abundant planting of and care for flowering plants, the strong farming work ethic and of course in the people living in the island’s many villages. The stunning landscapes with many charming villages and the rich diversity of the scenery make Crete one of the most outstanding destinations in the Mediterranean that draw the attention of all visitors.

The beautifully preserved Cretan villages have ancient roots that go back in history. The largest towns, including Chania, Rethymno and Heraklion, are found in the northern coast of the island. Although they were originally established in ancient times, these towns mostly developed during and after the Venetian period from the 13th century CE. Their architecture has very evident Venetian and Ottoman features.

In fact, many towns and villages in Crete have retained the same Venetian and Ottoman period buildings, including castles, towers, stone bridges, churches and mosques as well as many old rustic houses and some former nobles’ mansions. Other places located up in the mountains have a more characteristically Cretan architecture with stone houses, red-tiled roofs, narrow streets, flowered gardens and always a square with a church in the centre of every village.

Heading out of the towns or cities of Crete, from Chania, Rethymno, Heraklion or Agios Nikolaos and away from the coastal areas of the north shoreline, inland, you will discover, on almost any road heading southwards, so many charming villages. Crete is an excellent driving location. Not only is the scenery outstandingly beautiful but also almost every village of any size is worthy of a stop and an enjoyable stroll, wandering through narrow streets and alleyways where flowering plants and fine rustic houses or sometimes grand old mansions from the Venetian or Ottoman periods combine to charm you. Often there will be a village taverna where one can have a good meal of Cretan mezza, freshly made and healthily and hospitably cooked and served specially for you.

Looking for a hotel or a villa in or near one of the many beautiful villages of Crete? Check our recommended hotels and holiday rental villas. For car hire, consult our agents.


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