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As I have been researching Greek food, culture, and recipes I came across information about the cuisine of the island of Crete, which looks to be a bit different than the rest of Greece. Is my impression true? Here are some of my observations:

** The food is ultra fresh and most people eat seasonally. I know, this is typical of all of Greece, but the climate on Crete makes the food supply pretty diverse so it stands out with this island

** The cuisine seems to have had influences from various places through the centuries, both because of various groups occupying Greece, such as Venetian and Ottoman, and also because of trade and its location - the island is pretty far south

** There are some interesting and unique food specialties, like dakos, koukouvagio (some type of salad), and other food items...

So, when traveling to Crete it looks like the cuisine is a big part of those travels. What do you guys think? Any other advice you can give? I think I might go to Crete in the near future to explore these ideas.
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I was there for a relaxing week in September so didn’t have the opportunity to eat much outside of the resort apart from a day trip to Heraklion. While there, husband had an olive and tomato pastry and I had apple bougatsa at a gorgeous vegan cafe. Dakos was easy to find and in the past I’ve been given little goats cheese or cherry pies as snacks when having drinks, all delicious 😋
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Every region in Greece will have its own unique cuisine, depending on what’s available, historic and/or geographic influences, and local custom. However you are absolutely correct, Crete does have a particularly long growing season, a strong multicultural influence in its cuisine, and a great interest in farm-to-table food. If that is a special interest of yours, then by all means….visit Crete! Our favorite prefecture is Chania, where I highly recommend Dounias, a farm-to-table taverna just past the Therisso Gorge. You’ll find great seafood along the harbors and wonderful meats & home cooking up in the mountain villages like Afrata and Anopolis. There are also weekly open-air markets, organized food tours, olive & cheese factory tours, vineyards, a Xarma brewery, and the wonderful Botanical Gardens which offers a beautiful walk through an amazing variety of trees, plants, and herbs…..all food served there is strictly farm-to-table. Mizithra is a very special Cretan cheese. If you order a Greek salad, it’ll come with feta. If you order a Cretan salad, it’ll come with mizithra. (Speaking of salads, “koukouvagia” means “owl” in Greek. Could that have been the name of a restaurant and not a particular salad?)

My advice would be to avoid the high tourist area places found everywhere in Greece that promote picture menus and use undue pressure to get you to come inside. Be sure to get out and explore on your own as an independent traveler. Also as you do your research…this is the most important….learn the Greek names for food and dishes. That way you can request a non-tourist, Greek menu and can be assured that you’re getting all of the very best that the restaurant has to offer. Your effort to do this will definitely not go unnoticed! Authenticity is what you’re after; not just an Americano coffee, club sandwich, or huge English breakfast! You could spend months exploring Crete and armed with the research that you’re doing now and a great “theme” to your travels, I think that you would have a fantastic time and would get to interact with local people who love to show off their culinary skills and produce. The Cretan people wrote the book on φιλότιμο (quickly defined as hospitality) and when you meet them over a shared interest, you’ll see exactly what I mean….friends and memories for life. Sorry - I’ve written a book! Suffice it to say that Crete is a good choice!!!
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Thank you everyone for your thoughtful responses! Deborah, I don't mind that it was a book - I loved it. So helpful! It's funny that you mentioned Theriso - someone JUST mentioned that place to me a few hours ago. I definitely need to visit, I feel like it's meant to be now. It seems like one can explore Crete for days or weeks and never really experience everything.


Try years 😳….23+ years for me and I STILL want to return, so be sure to give yourself enough time there! Glad my comments helped!


I love Cretan cuisine. Everything I ate in Crete was a home run. Many of the dishes are the same as they are throughout the rest of Greece, and some of it is different. I love Dakos, for example, and I don't see that in the rest of Greece. I guess it just depends. There were other influences on Crete than there might have been elsewhere in Greece.

Great Beaches to Visit on the Island of Crete

Crete has some of the best beaches I have ever seen. I thought I'd share this link I found:

I haven't been to Crete in a while, but the next time I go to Greece, I was thinking of spending a few days here. I have only been to a few of these and of the ones I've been to, Balos is my favorite.

Those of you who have been to Crete, what do you think of this list?

Essentials to See in Crete?

I live in Greece, but am a bit nomadic. I plan to spend an extended period of time on Crete in a rental and I want some advice about what to do while here! I found this link:

I know this site is geared towards tourists, and I am an expat living in Greece so I am not quite a tourist. But, I am a writer and plan to finish something on Crete before I move on.

From that list, is there anything here that you think I absolutely won't want to miss? For me, the time tends to fly and even if I am in a place for a few months, I get swept up in the daily life and don't seem to do as much as I originally planned. I need a plan!

Fun Things to Do in Crete that Involve the Outdoors?

I already decided to visit the Samaria Gorge. I won't do the whole hike, but rather hike into the gorge from the village.

Now, I am looking for some other experiences to do that involve the outdoors? I know that Crete is so pretty, and I want to spend some time in nature while on the island.

Guided Hikes Down the Samarian Gorge?

I am thinking of putting the Samaria Gorge on my Greek Bucket List but I feel like I need more information. In my research, I can see that one should start at the top, hike down, and then allow some time to explore the village at the end and get something to eat, maybe even sit at the beach. So, this seems like an all day thing? It seems totally doable and I am in decent shape, but I am nervous and need more information.

Are there any guided tours that will take me through the process?
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