Crete is the biggest island of Greece and a holiday destination for approximately 3 million tourists every year. This number has a great value as Crete gets into the heart of thousands of visitors who come back at least one time per year to enjoy the beauty of the island, the famous Cretan hospitality, the very good weather and the clean seas.
Crete has a length of 250-260km and its size can trick the people who sometimes forget that they are on an island! On the northern side of Crete there are countless resorts and some big cities as Heraklion (200.000 residents), Chania (100.000 residents) and Rethymno (30.000 residents) and the cities of Sitia and Agios Nikolaos. On the southern side, there are only some towns like Ierapetra, Tymbaki, Moires and Paleochora. The southern coasts are ideal for those who look for quiet, isolated beaches. The internal part of the island is the most infamous of Crete. It’s the central, mountainous part of the island; the roads are not pretty good and the road signs are not very helpful. However, if you look for traditional villages without tourist influence, this is the ideal place for you. In this part, you have the opportunity to meet the real Cretan people, proud and friendly, with a great sense of humour, ready to help you and treat you the traditional drink ‘’raki’’. You will understand quickly what really the word hospitality means.
|Places of Interest In Crete|
Beaches and mountains
On the island of Crete there are countless beaches to enjoy the sun and the sea. Either looking for beautiful large sandy beaches or small gulfs, beaches with shallow waters ideal for kids and isolated nudist beaches; in Crete you can find everything. Some of the most famous and popular beaches are the Agia Pelagia beach, the beaches in Chersonesus, the Malia beach and many more others.
Crete is mainly a mountainous island, so there are a lot of mountains which its snow-capped tops reach to the 2.500 metres and in their hug hide beautiful plateaus sometimes populated sometimes not. Crete is ideal for those who want to come close to the nature through activities like walking, hiking and climbing.
Hiking, mountain climbing and exploring gorges in Crete
Mountaineering in Crete is a great way to experience its unknown face. Crete is not just resorts and bars or a sunny place with beautiful beaches. Above all it is an island full of mountains that have affected both the history and the personality of the residents. To the west are the White Mountains (2453m), in the centre is the Mountain Ida (2456m), and at the east is the Mountain Dicti (2148m). In southern Crete, the Asterousia Mountains are a natural barrier that separates the coast from the mainland. The 4th European path (E4) ends in Crete. The path E4 starts from Portugal, continues through Spain, France, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and ends in Crete after crossing along from Kastelli to Kato Zakros. The E4 is marked with yellow and black signs. Due to the limestone soil of Crete, the existence of many caves and gorges is observed. The estimated number in Crete reaches the number of 3.500, with the most of them unexplored. Recentlythe biggest in Greece cave was discovered in Crete with a depth of approximately 825m. The most famous gorges and caves in Crete are the gorge of Samaria, the Zeus cave and the Psychro Cave, while the last years more and more people visit the magnificent cave of Sfentoni in Zoniana.
The Cretan Nature
Crete is one of the few places which combine so many different landscapes. There are forests full of oak and chestnut trees, exotic forests with palm trees next to beautiful beaches, plains full of lemon and orange trees which give a unique aroma to the air, hills fully covered by olive trees, but also naked hills, rocky and wild landscapes which are the home for many small birds and animals. Maybe the most famous and also interesting natural sight of the island is the gorge of Samaria which hosts the rare and endangered wild goat; the kri-kri.
Crete includes history and also modern facilities
On the island of Crete, someone can visit the Minoan palaces which were built before 3.500 years, can walk across the Roman paved roads, can see Byzantine temples, Venetian and Turkish fortresses. All these create a mosaic of the Cretan history and culture, the most ancient civilization of Europe. In Crete the visitor will find the most modern tourist resorts offering hospitality and entertainment day and night to thousands of people, while a few kilometres away dozens of villages follow a different lifestyle while preserving the traditions, the language, and the local mores.
Crete, an island for all
Crete is an island for every age, budget, taste and preference. If you want to find yourself in a luxurious resort where they will care for your every wish and will offer comfort and services, then choose the luxurious hotels in Elounda. If you like the energy and liveliness of the city, but also want a romantic atmosphere and walks in picturesque narrow roads of a bygone era, then you will be excited staying in Chania and Rethymno. If you look for intense nightlife, cheap drinks and loud music, then the dozens of bars in Chersonesus, Malia and Platanias are waiting to keep you awake every night of your holidays. The afternoon you will replace the lost energy of the previous evening with refreshing fruit juices and dips in the pool so in evening to be ready again for another party until the sunrise. As for those who prefer a quiet and relaxing seaside holidays on Crete there are many places that can offer it. Places like Paleochora, Bali, Souya, Sissi, Frangokastello, Loutro, Myrtos, Makriyalos and Zakros are some of the villages you can spend your vacations low cost, without pitch and bustle, enjoying cool dives into the crystal blue sea and romantic walks on the sand under the moonlight.
The island of Crete; the biggest and the most beautiful
Wherever you find yourself in Crete, remember that the different routes you can follow are countless if you want to know better Crete, and every one of them still holds surprises and pictures which are alternated in front of your eyes. Enjoy car rides along the coast of Crete, or in narrow streets in the mainland which is full of small charming villages. Walk in the gorges or climb to the tops of the impressive mountains. Swim in the beaches, do water sports, wear a mask and discover the magic of the Cretan seabed or enjoy the warmth of the sun lying on the sand. Visit the museums and the archaeological sites, spend an educational and enjoyable breakfast in Thalassocosmos, one of the largest aquariums in the south-eastern Mediterranean, play golf with your friends or become again a child in one of the five waterparks in Crete. Whatever you wish Crete can offer it, because Crete is great, is beautiful and always takes care of its visitors in the best way.
Useful information about transport
There are two international airports in Heraklion and Chania connecting Crete with the most Greek islands and many European destinations with scheduled flights or charters. The flight to Athens takes 40 minutes from Heraklion and 35 minutes from Chania. There is a smaller airport in Sitia mainly for interior flights.
The biggest Cretan ports; Chania, Rethymno, Heraklion and Agios Nikolaos offer daily departures to Piraeus. Also there are departures for the Aegean islands and Thessaloniki. The ship trip from Crete to Piraeus lasts from 5.5 until 10 hours.
There is a dense network of roads in Crete, with the Northern highway to link all the counties and capitals among them. You can catch buses, urban or intercity to move through the cities or villages of Crete. You can also take a taxi, rent a car or a bike anywhere on the island.
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