With 5,000 years of history and untold natural beauty, Crete is a feast for the mind and the senses. The cradle of Minoan civilization (Europe’s first civilization), and the land where Zeus and El Greco were born, Crete brims with myth, mystery, and ancient traditions.
Greece’s largest island offers an incredible diversity of landscapes. Within the space of a day, you can go from snorkeling in crystalline waters or exploring the otherworldly grottos of Matala’s horseshoe beach, to hiking up the snow-capped Mount Idha, or diving into the gaping chasms of the Samaria Gorge. There are beaches for every mood and moment, from protected castaway coves where turtles nest, to lively all inclusive resorts.
Crete’s cerebral pleasures are overwhelming. Iraklion’s Archaeological Museum showcases artifacts than span over 5,000 years. Tourists come in droves to pay homage at the Palace of Knossosthe, the mythical home of the Minataur and the world’s most important Minoan site. Dating to 1950 B.C., the palace is a striking confection of ochre columns and vibrant frescoes.
You don’t have to travel far in Crete to come face to face with antiquity. The land is dotted with ancient sights and ruins, from Byzantine chapels to bulbous domed mosques that stand as vivid testimony to the Ottoman Empire’s 250 year rule over the island. Crowning a craggy hilltop, the Venetian fortresses of Rethymo was built in 1573 to defend the island (ineffectually) from piracy and Turkish invasion.
Despite the tourist onslaught, Crete’s traditional way of life is still evident. Whitewashed villages tumble down hillsides where shepherds in traditional garb still tend their flocks. Crete’s traditional lifestyle fulfills many of the ‘blue zone’ lifestyle tenets: a harmonious society that prioritizes family and friends; an economy based on agriculture that requires moderate physical labor; and a wholesome diet based on fresh produce, fish, goat milk, and red wine. It could be that a visit to Crete may actually make you live longer.
Airports on the island of Crete:
- Nikos Kazantzakis International Airport (HER)
- Chania International Airport (CHQ)
- Sitia Airport (JSH)
Popular aircraft charters* to the island of Crete include:
- Citation Excel (super light)
- Learjet 45 XR (super light)
- Citation CJ3 (light)
- Learjet 31ER 400A (light)
- Learjet 60 XR (midsize)
- Citation III (midsize)
- Gulfstream G200 (super midsize)
- Citation Sovereign (super midsize)
*This is just a sample. Zephyr provides access to aircraft at every end of the spectrum, from luxurious VIP airliners, to ultra long range business jet, helicopters, and economical turboprops.