The biggest of the Greek Islands, Crete certainly makes the most of its size. On the one hand, it lines up miles of beaches and a guidebook’s worth of sights. On the other, it has every type of holiday base going, from sleepy hillside villages to up-all-night party towns.
In the northeast of the island, there’s the region of Lassithi. The big name here is Aghios Nikolaos. It fans out around a lake and comes with a generous helping of tavernas and shops. There are Blue Flag beaches on the doorstep, too.
In the centre of Crete’s north coast is the Heraklion area. Here, you can choose from large and lively beach resorts like Hersonissos, Stalis and Malia, and traditional towns like Gouves and Piskopiano.
Head west for about 80 kilometres and you’ll hit the Rethymnon area. The town of Rethymnon itself offers a big sandy beach, a lovely harbour and a healthy dose of restaurants and bars. And not far from here is the fishing town of Panormo, whose calling cards are a pretty beach and a couple of seafood restaurants.
Drive west for another hour or so and you reach the Chania area. Resorts here include Gerani and Maleme, as well as Chania itself, with its old town and Medieval harbour.