All ArticlesEntertainmentTravel

Queer Crete!

IMG_0631Role over Rhodes and make way Mykonos! Adrian Gillan hits Crete – birthplace of Zeus; and the Minotaur!

By far Greece’s largest island, covering 3,200 square miles, Crete lies just 125 miles north of the African coast, with a resident population of around 700,000. The glories of the mighty Minoan civilisation (flourishing 2000BC-1500BC approx.) still litter the land; and the sun-drenched northern resorts remain rightly dwarfed by peaks rising to almost 2500 metres, vast goat-filled olive groves, plus deep gorges and caverns.

The island has outlasted myriad invaders – from Romans and Byzantines, through Arabs, Ottomans and Venetians, to integration into the modern independent Greek nation, German invasion, then liberation! Throughout it all, Crete has maintained a fierce identity well-nigh bordering on independence. High up in the mountains, its plucky resistance fighters were famously never defeated by any invader – and even remained mercifully aloof from the post-WW2 civil war that ravaged mainland Greece.


  • Heraklion – Bustling capital with stunning colossal Venetian city walls and harbour fort; plus world-renowned Archaeological Museum brimming with Minoan treasures, mainly preserved from nearby Knossos!
  • Knossos Crete’s most visited attraction, just a 15 minute bus ride south of Heraklion, featuring great palatial ruins, once covered in exquisitely preserved ancient murals and frescoes. And – who knows – did this warren of halls, lobbies, corridors and stairways once constitute the famous labyrinth where Theseus confronted and defeated the man-bull Minotaur?
  • Gortys – Ancient capital of Crete in Roman and Byzantine times, rich in ruins!
  • Ágios Nikólaos – Eastern Crete’s most picturesque town, with wonderful colourful harbour, not to mention sandy beach and vibrant marina! About 1½ hours by bus from Heraklion.
  • Toplou Monastery – On Crete’s Eastern tip, famous for where monks tried to hold out against Turkish invaders!
  • Lasithi Plain – Rural idyll in Eastern Crete, home to the Dikteon Andron cave where great Zeus was supposedly born!
  • Samariá Gorge – Trek through Europe’s longest gorge, in Western Crete.


Crete’s scene is small, with just one gay bar proper, in Malia; a few gay-friendly places in capital Heraklion and other towns; plus numerous nude beaches.


  • Pagopiion (front of Agios Titos church, Heraklion) – Stylish gay-friendly café-bar in the city centre.
  • Desire (Esplanade, Heraklion) – Gay-friendly club on the capital’s seafront, just before the stadium.
  • Georgiadis Park – Gents oft take nocturnal airs in the park just over the road from Eleftherias square.
  • Kazantzakis Monument – Restless men oft take strolls above Plastira Street, near the monument to the great Greek writer.


  • Eros Bar (Em. Tsagaraki, Malia; T: +30 694 6489148;) – The only dedicatedly gay bar on Crete, in Malia, 15-20 miles east of capital Heraklion.
  • Malia Beach – A famous beach for nudism with a lot of tourists; and gay cruising at the rocky area.


  • Aegean Airlines offers frequent daily flights from London Heathrow to Crete via Athens from just £219 return, inclusive all taxes and charges.

One thought on “Queer Crete!

  • Nice little article. Have you actually been here? There is of course the well known nudist beach near Port Hersonissos, and even more famously Villa Ralfa near Old Hersonissos, the first and as far as we know the only accommodation and guesthouse totally dedicated to serving gay and lesbian tourists to Crete, Greece

Comments are closed.