If you think of Crete only as a destination for high summer, then think again – or better yet book a ticket any time of the year for Irakleio, a city that in 2017 was the fastest growing tourism destination according to data from Euromonitor.

You will have to explore it to discover the reasons why this – at first glance chaotic – city is quickly on the rise as a city break destination. In years past, the city chiefly played host to tourists seeking to take in the Minoan palace of Knossos before moving on to a seaside resort. But in recent years it has acquired 6 modern and refurbished museums, contemporary restaurants building on the best of Cretan products and cuisine, new hotels and a pedestrianized city center.

Add to that the youthful energy of a student town, its mild climate, and that it is a safe destination that is both lively year-round and easy to get to thanks to year-round international flights. Visit in particular in spring or early summer and you will not regret it.