Explore the cradle of European civilisation

Discover Minoan palaces, Venetian harbours and more...

By far the largest of the Greek islands, Crete is almost a country in its own right, and as such offers more scope for exploring than could be exhausted in any single holiday. That said, the location of these three villas close to the island's geographical centre means that, in spite of their wonderfully tranquil setting, they are extremely well placed for seeing as much of the island as you fancy.

The most important attractions - the world-famous Minoan Palace of Knossos and Heraklion's Archaeological Museum - are just the shortest of drives away. Heading further east, you can explore the stunning Lassithi plateau with its distinctive windmills, the tiny isle of Spinalonga in the scenic Gulf of Mirabello, and numerous other Minoan sites including Gournia and Kato Zakros. To the west lie the majestic White Mountains and the atmospheric Venetian harbour towns of Rethymnon and Chania, whilst on the south coast you can visit the beachside caves of Matala and the splendid monastery at Preveli. And dotted all over the island you may stumble upon charming hill villages and picturesque fishing harbours.

Spinalonga Island, the one-time leper colony near Elounda Nearby Knossos Matala beach and caves Ancient fresco in Heraklion's Archaeological Museum The Venetian harbour in Rethymnon The Gulf of Mirabello east of Agios Nikolaos