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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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