The capital Heraklion is a city where the ancient blends with the modern. On the one hand, the city has traditional buildings, monuments and churches from both the Eastern and Venetian culture, while on the other hand it is a lively tourist hot spot which has several hotels, restaurants and beaches. Visit this capital to get a feel for the Cretan culture while in the comfort of the typical tourist attractions. Heraklion is an important shipping port and ferry dock. You can take ferries from here to destinations including Santorini, Ios Island, Paros, Mykonos, Rhodes and mainland Greece.
In Iraklion there are two museums to visit; the archaeological museum and the historical ethnographic museum. Another attraction worth a visit is the Palace of Knossos built by the Minoan civilization which is located a few miles from the centre.
In Rethymno the third largest city on the Island you can see the minaret and the mosque of Neratzes. The town still maintains its old aristocratic appearance, with its buildings dating from the 16th century, arched doorways, stone staircases, Byzantine and Hellenic-Roman remains, the small Venetian harbour and narrow streets. A wine festival is held here annually at the beginning of July.
Chania is a picturesque town that is home to several museums, such as the archaeological museum (which includes several collections of vases and sculptures) and the Naval Museum. Chania is the site of the Minoan settlement the Greeks called Kydonia. The city is divided in two parts: the old town and the larger modern city. The old town is situated next to the harbour and is the matrix around which the whole urban area was developed. The centre of the modern city is the area extending next to the old town and especially towards the south.
Crete is not just an island full of towns and beaches its vicinity is characterized by mountain ranges and vast expanses of orchards. An impressive natural spectacle is the splendid gorge of Samaria a UNESCO World Heritage and a national park. These gorges are located forty kilometres from the city of Chania, with a length of eighteen kilometres they are considered the longest in Europe. Strolling through the park you can also see different plant species and animals such as weasels, marmots and badgers.
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