Minoan masterpieces share in-demand beachfront real estate with modern monstrosities on Crete's north coast. While some places are "beautiful and rugged with an authentic feel," the whole area suffers from "poor environmental management." Some archaeological sites are well preserved. Others show the wear and tear that comes from over-visitation.
Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:
"The northern coast of Crete has endured several waves of development, but it remains surprisingly intact both ecologically and culturally. Built heritage is well preserved. That said, too many cruise passengers visit the region. Local entrepreneurs have begun to promote sustainable tourism, but tourists are still not very well informed."
"In late May I was surprised at the level of tourism development and would not want to be there in season. We stayed in small hotels that were appropriate in scale and character, but they were located near mass charter hotels that were totally inappropriate."
"This place is getting hammered. Poorly planned tourism development has already destroyed many of the coastal areas."