It has its own distinctive culture, history and cuisine (snails in tomato sauce sound good to you?), so much so that at times it seems like a separate country. Visitors can spend their vacations admiring the remnants of ancient civilisations, such as the Minoan ruin complex Knossos, exploring gorges that spill out to the sea and hiking up whitewashed mountains. 

Of course no Greek island holiday would be complete without a little lazing on a pristine, sun-soaked beach, and the southern coast is the best place for this, with its clean sands and isolated coves, along with smaller and slower-paced villages. Over on the north side is where the nightlife gets more raucous. Malia is still the place to go for the biggest party scene, with fish bowls, glow sticks and slut drops galore.