The Northern coast - This is...
The Northern coast - This is the where most of the tourist targets are situated: huge hotels and camping sites, night clubs and disco, international cuisine, entertaining; the Northern coast has also warmer waters, wide beaches and the most beautiful towns. From East to West you may find: Kastelli (not bad, isolated, far from the main tourist circuit) - Chania (most ships arrive/leave from its harbour, which is a bit out of the town in aplace called Souda; it's very crowded, the line of bars and taverns around the old port is impressive, but - unfortunately - the number of people eating, smoking, talking, singing, drinking is so huge the atmosphere is
completely lost) - Irakleion (the capital town of Crete, a nice Venetian fortress and a nice ancient port) - Malia is what you see in the picture (hotels, hotels, hotels and a few hotels more) - Agios Nikolaos (the charming place for nice people to meet; expensive, crowded. Worth a visit, but not longer than a couple of hours) - Siteia is the same as
Malia - Vai (on the most Western tip of the island, Vai was a wonderful place where the beach is surrounded by palm trees and oleanders, now it's so crowded it's difficult to enjoy its peculiar anvironment)
Cretan music is unique in Greece.It's a kind of traditional music that has the privilige to be still alive and going,because in Crete ,even young people love it and many of them get to learn to play the "lyra".It is based on a special poetry (mantinada) that is being improvised on the instant.In its pure form one man says the first verse and another one responds with the second verse.They talk about serious matters of life in a kind of popular wisdom that can sometimes be astonishing.But you won't be lucky enough to find yourself in a situation like this ,because poetry is born usually at family or company gatherings.(of course you won't understand the words also,even I miss some of the Cretan idioms).
Most travelers wouldn't miss out this must-see ancient Greek ruins--an amazing palace built four thousand years ago. I like the frescos there. However, there are no descriptions about this site. My advice is hiring one of those local guides at the front door or following (skillfully) a group, otherwise, it could be a little dull.
The archeological museum in Heraklion is widely regarded as the best on the island and one of the best Minoan museums in all the world. It's actually not as big or impressive as I had expected given all the hype it receives, but it is absolutely worth your time. Even if you go through it slowly and thoroughly you can easily see the entire thing in one hour, so don't worry about having enough time. If you plan to visit Knossos (and you definitely should), it's best to see the museum first to help put things in context.
Heraklion (or Iraklio)
Herklion serves as a common arrival and departure point for visitors to Crete via ferry or airplane. It is best known for its archeological museum and the nearby ruins of Knossos. Sadly, aside from those two features and the Venetian fortress guarding the old harbor it has virtually nothing to offer. The waterfront is a busy, crowded, and congested place hemmed in by heavy traffic and the general ugliness of the city, making it hardly worth your while to go there. If you want to see a Venetian fortress there are much better examples in Rethymnon and Frangokastello anyway. I was put off by Heraklion's run down appearance, its congestion, and its overall lack of a pleasant atmosphere.
To make matters worse, reasonably priced accommodations are almost non-existent here, and even food costs more than in many other parts of Crete. If you can avoid going to Heraklion altogether, do. If you must go for some reason, see the archeological museum and Knossos and get out of town as fast as possible, because there are far nicer places on Crete than this.