Captivating, mysterious and achingly beautiful; these are only a few words that could be used to describe the former home of King Minos, the birthplace of Zeus and the land where Zorba the Greek once danced his way into the hearts of readers everywhere. Rising like two broad shoulders from the sea, Crete is the largest Aegean island spanning a vast surface area of 8,700 square kilometres. Criss-crossed by mountain ranges, gorges, caves and spectacular summits the island is a hauntingly beautiful reminder of the area’s tumultuous geological past. With its own regional dialect as well as native music, poetry, dance, clothing and customs fiercely maintained by the inhabitants of the island Crete is unlike anywhere else in Greece and often feels as though it’s a country unto itself. The island is divided into four distinct regions (known as ‘prefectures’ to the Greeks), those of Hania, Rethymnon, Heraklion and Lasithi, providing thousands of possibilities linked to ecotourism and alternative tourism.