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After a swim, make the return journey at sunset, for the best view on the island, and an indelible memory of red sky over black water. FOR HISTORY Crete's story begins almost 5,000 years ago, with the mysterious Minoans.The prehistoric equivalent of a modern superpower, the Minoans built vast palaces, from which they controlled the rest of the island and an empire further afield (the famous "Linear B tablets", written in a primitive form of Greek, provide vivid evidence of their obsessive bureaucracy – no literature, just lists and lists and more lists).
The best are half a mile inland, high enough to offer magnificent views of the setting sun.
At the northern headland of Kini bay, take the footpath north for a 2km clifftop walk through heather to the sandy beach of Delfini.
At remote Kechria, in what the Skiathian writer Papadiamantis called a "beautiful, melancholic valley", a Greek flag flies above the craggy beach as people wade into the sea, or stop in the shade of the beach taverna for a cold Mythos beer.
Visibility for snorkelling and scuba diving is especially good around the islets.
Ermoupoli is characterised by gorgeous neoclassical mansions and 19th-century tenement blocks.
Its labyrinthine alleyways are home to fish restaurants and marble- and-brass espresso bars.
And if much of the island's sand is buried beneath rows of sunbeds, it doesn't take a great deal of effort to find a windier, sparser and less manicured slice of island life.
A half-hour walk north through the woods from Koukounaries takes you to the laid-back Mandraki and Elias beaches, while further east is expansive Megalos Aselinos.
It has a rockers' beach bar, where nubile Australian backpackers hunt for grizzled Greek bikers, and a small and secluded beach with skinny- dippers.
It also has several restaurants with perfect sunset views over the sand dunes, while you eat, serving minced lamb with chicory and unusual fish dishes, alongside standard Greek fare of roast meats and stews.
Expect a diet of bread, olives, tinned sardines, yoghurt and honey – Megas Gialos is too remote for deliveries of much fresh food.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating