Crete, Greece

Thankfully Theseus killed off the Minotaur (murderous King Minos came to a sticky end not long after), so there’s no reason not to come to this poet-inspiring island. One look at the landscape and it’s clear why it’s the stuff of legends: milky white stretches of sand, dramatic canyons, deep gorges, verdant olive groves, wild flowers, ancient towns and hilltop villages. The imprint of the island’s varied cultured custodians remains today; Minoan palaces sit side by side with Ottoman mosques and Byzantine monasteries and the ruins at Knossos, Malia, Zakros and Phaistos will impress even the most reluctant of historians.

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When to go

Crete has a long high season – from mid April to October. The island sizzles and simmers in June and July, with temperatures above 40 degrees, so avoid these months if you're no sun worshipper.

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  • Smith Extra on arrival

    Enjoy extras such as a picnic lunch, champagne or spa treatments, on the house

Getting there

  • Planes

    The three main airports are Heraklion | Chania and Sitia. Easyjet serves the former | with direct flights from LGW (www.easyjet.com). BMI | Multiple Airlines | Aegean Airways and Olympic Air also offer indirect flights to Heraklion and Chania | with stop-offs in Athens | Eleftherios Venizelos and sometimes Munich.
  • Boats

    Hop on a ferry from mainland Greece. There are plenty of different options: boats from Piraeus stop at Agios Nikolaos, Chania, Heraklion and Rethymno; from Gythio head north west to Kissamos-Kastelli; from Thessaloniki dock at Heraklion (www.ferries.gr).
  • Taxis

    Flagging down a taxi in the mountains might prove irksome; ask your hotel to book cabs for you.

Pegasus room at Kapsaliana Village Hotel, Crete, Greece

Pegasus room at Kapsaliana Village Hotel, Crete, Greece

Hidden among the island’s largest olive grove (the hotel has its own 18th-century press), this traditional Greek hotel is so similar to a quaint Mediterranean village that you could almost miss it. Inside the Pegasus room, things are simple, understated and unequivocally Greek. Whitewashed walls, farmhouse furniture, a king-size bed graced with sprigs of lavender and rosemary, a cosy seating area and an oak-clad bathroom stocked with olive-oil unguents all lie behind a heavy wooden door. The suite’s sprawling terrace overlooks the flower-flanked pool and the soundproofed windows ensure this sexy sea-facing room keeps its secrets to itself.

Find out more about Kapsaliana Village Hotel