Archaeology and Luxury on the Idyllic Island of Crete

As the largest of the Greek Islands, Crete has a huge amount to offer, from amazing natural beauty to ancient archaeological sites. And the town of Rethymnon sits at the centre of many of these, offering an opportunity to learn about the past while you holiday. And, of course, it has enough high-end accommodation to make it the perfect place for a luxury break.

Some Cretan Historical Highlights

Sanctuary of Hermes and Aphrodite

We begin with the main attraction: the Ancient Greek gods. Most people will have fond memories of hearing about this elaborate mythology growing up, and no trip to Greece would be complete without seeing some artefacts dedicated to them. This sanctuary more than ticks that box. Established as early as 2000 BCE, the messenger god Hermes and the goddess of love Aphrodite were worshipped here into the Roman era. Book a trip to the Museum of Heraklion to see more unique artefacts.

Malia Minoan Palace

Our next stop brings us a little closer to the present day – but only a little. First built around 1900 BCE, this palace served as the site of many a luxury break for the Minoan rulers until it was destroyed around 1450 BCE. Numerous efforts at reconstruction and commemoration have bequeathed a space with the marks of many different eras, and guests today often marvel at how well preserved some of old courts are.

Late Minoan Cemetery

As Minoan rule came to an end towards the twelfth century BCE, locals established this graveyard. Dated to at least 1150 BCE, this rugged, craggy space bears the unmistakeable mark of its use, conveying that same particular stillness we experience walking through present-day cemeteries. The effect is only enhanced by the preserved bodies lying in the cut-open tombs. Visitors can journey through the rows of resting places at their leisure, but should make sure to check out tombs 159 and 200. Although a graveyard might not be the place you expected to go on your luxury break to sunny Greece, the palpable sense of history means this is not to be missed.

Where to Stay: The Caramel Grecotel

Of course, it’d be hard for any number of interesting sites and excursions to make up for shabby accommodation. Luckily, visitors to Rethymnon needn’t worry. The Caramel Grecotel mixes a cosy interior with beautiful views across open land nearby to produce the perfect holiday experience.

Hidden away in a quiet spot along the island’s coastline, the Caramel Grecotel makes the most of the atmosphere with al fresco dining, allowing guests to enjoy locally sourced seafood as the ocean air brushes across them. Meanwhile, inside the homely villas and suites, guests enjoy a private balcony or terrace, a coffee machine and more – including direct access to the beach. A spa centre with many treatments completes the luxury break experience, ensuring you’ll always be able to relax.

John Dixon is an experienced world traveller and the Managing Director of Prestige Holidays. For over 30 years, he has been providing holidaymakers with a top luxury break, experience in Crete, Bermuda, Croatia and many other destinations around the globe. John tries to visit each of the destinations regularly in order to ensure the quality of his properties, and stay up-to-date about the latest local news and events. He has a taste for the finer things in life and has an interest in arts, history and culture.

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