MUST VISIT Ir¿klio's Archaeological Museum (housing Greece's finest collection of Minoan art) and the ancient palaces of Knoss¿s and Phaistos.
MUST SPREAD a beach towel on the sand at Vai on the east end of the island (about 15 miles from Sit¿a) where a lush palm forest springs out of nowhere.
MUST HIKE Samaria Gorge, in the White Mountains. Arrive at dawn to beat the heat and crowds and watch for the kri-kri, Crete's endangered mountain goat.
MUST STAY at Hani¿'s prize inn, Doma, a converted neoclassical mansion with tons of local flavor.
MUST TASTE kalitsouni (cheese and spinach pie) and lamb stew, then linger over a glass of raki at Nykterida.