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7 Reasons Why This Dreamy Mediterranean Island Is Breaking All-Time Tourism Records

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Nothing sounds better right about now than a beachy getaway to the Mediterranean, and if you want to go somewhere that’s already been vetted (and loved) by millions of other travelers, Crete is the place for you.

According to Statista, this past year was a record-breaking one for the Greek hub, with international arrivals surpassing 2019 levels by quite a margin.

If current trends are anything to go by, 2024 will be even more popular.

Woman overlooking Balos, Crete

I know what you might be thinking – well, it’s great that so many people are loving Crete right now, but do I actually want to deal with the crowds that come with such massive levels of popularity?

Luckily for you, there are still plenty of lesser-known gems to explore on the island, so whether you want to revel in that lively atmosphere or wind down somewhere quiet, here are 7 reasons why Crete is just too good to miss out on (and why so many other people agree).

The Beaches Are Second To None

Elafonissi Beach, Crete

I’ve always believed that Europe’s most beautiful beaches are in Greece, and Crete is the perfect example of that.

There are just so many pristine, postcard-looking beaches scattered across the island, that you’ll struggle to get through them all.

While iconic places like Elafonissi and Balos are always worth a visit, I’d argue that the most jaw-dropping places, the ones you can’t even believe are real, aren’t even on most maps.

So I'd highly recommend asking hotel staff or a local you might strike up a conversation with to give you some insight into the region’s actual best beaches—you won’t be disappointed.

Plenty Of Culture To Take In, Too

Street in Chania

As hard as it is to look beyond all the incredible beaches, Crete is actually a treasure trove of culture and history that’s just waiting to be explored.

The Palace of Knossos, the walls of Agia Triada Monastery, Chania's Old Town (my personal favorite), and Rethymnon's Venetian Harbor are just too good to miss out on, so make sure to take a break in between sunbathing sessions to truly get to know the island.

You Can Travel At Every Budget

Aerial view of Agios Nikolaos, Crete, Greece

When most people think of Crete, their mind immediately wanders to luxurious all-inclusives and high-end restaurants way out of their price range – and while all that’s definitely part of some people’s experience, in reality, a trip to Crete can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be.

Great hotels and Airbnbs for less than $65 a night are a dime a dozen, whereas a quick, fast-food lunch for two is usually around $15 – the average solo traveler can definitely get by with $100 a day.

The Weather Is Just Perfect

Kalamaki Beach, Crete

I don’t know about you but when it comes to summer weather, I’m very particular about what I like.

I want clear skies, a light breeze, and temperatures that are high enough for sunbathing but not so high that they make it unbearable to stay at the beach past 2 P.M. – that feeling of scorching heat and sweat sliding down your back is just the opposite of a fun, relaxing experience.

That’s why people love Crete so much – with temperatures ranging between 25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F), that’s exactly what you get!

Getting In And Out Of Crete Has Never Been Easier

Plane approaching an airport, Crete

Because it is an island, Crete hasn’t had a chance to live up to its full tourism potential because of connectivity issues—you either have to get there by ferry or plane.

Luckily for those who’re not too keen on traveling by sea, though, new flights to and from the Greek island have made getting there easier than ever.

Hospitality Culture Is Unbelievable 

Venizelou square, Heraklion, Crete, Greece

As many times as I’ve been to Crete, I’ll never not be impressed (and touched) by the locals’ welcoming nature and hospitality.

Businesses go above and beyond to make sure you’re happy—hotel staff will try to accommodate your every request, waiters and bartenders will always stop and ask how you’re doing, and most restaurants will give out freebies in the form of appetizers, deserts, or even shots.

The Food Is Truly As Good As They Say

Traditional Greek gyros

Greek Food’s reputation precedes it, but unlike so many other overhyped attractions that end up seeming disappointing, this time, the object of adoration truly lives up to the hype – if anything, dishes here are even better than you’d expect.

Whether you’re craving the irresistible tang of tzatziki, a soul-warming gyro, a rustic Cretan salad, or freshly caught seafood, the combination of flavors and aromas will leave you speechless.

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