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The largest of the Greek islands carries its own distinctive archaeological DNA. A few miles out of the main town, Heraklion, lies the Palace of Knossos, once the HQ of the Minoan civilization. British archaeologist Arthur Evans started a life’s work restoring the labyrinthine complex that dates back to 2000BC. Further afield, the central mountains and natural wonder of the Samaria Gorge will reward hardy trekkers. The north shore of the island is the most heavily developed with miles of beaches offering every expected distraction. But to tap the soul of Crete and its people, head south or west to pretty little villages where Turkish and Venetian-style houses huddle and locals indulge in age-old dances like the syrtos and the sousta.

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