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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 26 June, 2023
Expert travel writer: Rachel Howard

Seasonal, local, and traditional, Cretan food is phenomenally fresh and tasty. With its balmy climate and diverse landscape, the island produces a vast range of amazing produce, from olive oil, honey, wine, and cheese, to more atypical crops such as avocadoes, bananas, and mangoes.

Grilled, roast, or stewed meat is much loved by locals, particularly goat and lamb, which is often free-range. There’s less of a fishing industry than on smaller islands.

Cretans are generous hosts. Portions are generally huge, and you’ll be offered shots of raki (local grappa) wherever you go.

What to try

Raki, the local spirit of choice (see above), goes well with nubbly graviera cheese, wrinkly olives, and apaki (smoked pork).

A summer staple, dakos is the Cretan version of Greek salad: grated tomato, crumbled feta, olives and capers heaped onto a crunchy barley rusk and doused In plenty of olive oil. Stamnagathi (wilted bitter greens), fried snails, kaltsounia (turnovers stuffed with cheese or spinach), and sfakiani pitta (cheese-filled dough drizzled in honey) are also Cretan delicacies.

Also see our round-up of traditional Greek foods you must try in Greece.

Dialeskari Taverna

Crete, Greek Islands, Greece

Dialeskari Taverna

With a terrace overlooking the sea, a wood-fired oven, and meat and cheese from the owner’s own flock of goats and sheep, this lovely taverna on Marmara beach is as authentically Cretan as it gets. Order braised lamb tsigaristo, boureki (baked, layered vegetables with feta), dakos, and loukoumades (honey-drenched donuts) for dessert.

Best for ages 13+

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Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around
Duration: -

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