Of all the Greek Islands, Crete is both the largest and most varied. Historical sights are topped by the ruins of the Knossos Palace, the pinnacle of the Minoan civilisation. It’s just to the south of Crete’s capital, Iraklio (also called Heraklion). There are also some tremendous beaches – particularly Elafonisi in the south-western corner – while Samaria Gorge offers one of the continent’s great canyon hikes. The island’s also large enough to have substantial mountains, dotted with picturesque monasteries such as the culturally symbolic Moni Arkadiou.