“Out in the dark blue sea there lies a land called Crete, a rich and lovely land, washed by the waves on every side…”
Crete is the largest island in Greece and the second biggest (after Cyprus) of the East Mediterranean. It lies in the Southern Aegean Sea and at the crossroads of three continents: Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Crete is perhaps the most famous travel destination of Greece, especially among those who seek to experience the traditional side of the Greek culture. Offering a unique and diverse landscape, a chance to come close to the local customs, native people with authentic hospitality and the famous for its taste and health benefits Cretan cuisine, Crete is a “must to explore” for the conscious travellers of today.
From fertile coastal plains to rugged barren mountains, from mellow stone houses to stark concrete modernity, from bustling capital to sleepy hill villages, Crete is an island of contrasts. Home to around 650,000 people and several million olive trees, the island remains ever popular with visitors from northern Europe, other parts of Greece, and indeed, visitors from all over the world.
Extra virgin olive oil, legumes, and vegetables still constitute the base of the local cuisine as they have done for thousands of years and make the Cretan cuisine renowned worldwide for its benefits on longevity and good health.
The climate in Crete is temperate. The atmosphere can be quite humid, depending on the proximity to the sea. The winter is fairly mild and tolerable. Snowfall is practically unknown to the plains but quite frequent in the mountains. During summer though, average temperatures are high. Probably the best time for a traveller to visit Crete is spring and autumn.
History and Culture
The island has a long history, it is, however, best known for the Minoan civilization, the first great civilization of Greece that flourished from 2600 to 1100 B.C. The island is full of relics of the Minoan ages, the most famous being the palaces at Knossos and Festos.
Although globalization, tourism, and economic growth have inevitably changed the way of life in Crete, especially in the large urban centres, to a modern and cosmopolitan style, the Cretans still preserve the bonds with their rich folk traditions and cultural heritage.
The Cretan dances are still danced at every opportunity and the “madinades” and the “rizitika” songs resound in every celebration. In the countryside, many old Cretan men and women wear the traditional costume and the Cretan idiom is widely spoken even in the large cities.
There is an exceptional artistic production in traditional sectors such as pottery, embroidery, jewelry, etc, and of course the very special Cretan Music. Arts and literature had always played a significant role in the life of the Cretan people. Famous painters like El Greco, Michael Damaskinos, writers like Nikos Kazantzakis, poets like Vincenzos Kornaros and Odysseas Elitis, composers like Mikis Theodorakis, Manos Hatzidakis and Giannis Markopoulos are Cretans or of Cretan origin. Today there are many important Cretans with significant contributions in all aspects of the cultural life in Greece.
There are numerous direct charter flights to Chania Crete (CHQ), departing from many cities in Europe. Alternatively you can fly from almost any big European city to Athens and:
- further fly to Chania Crete using Olympic Air or Aegean Air. Early booking is advisable.
- go to the port of Piraeus and get a boat to Chania Crete (daily connections). It’s important to know that it takes about 2 hours to reach the port of Piraeus by Bus or Metro after you have landed. From the port of Piraeus you can buy a High-Speed Ferry ticket (the ferry to Chania takes about 8 hours).
Collecting you from the port or airport of Chania is included in most of our holiday packages.