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Crete

Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in crete

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Crete (Greek Κρήτη / Kriti, occasionally spelled "Krete" in English) is the largest of the Greek islands and is located between the Aegean and Lybian Seas, south of the Peloponnese. Crete is approximately 260 km long and 60 km wide. Crete consists of four prefectures: Chania, Rethimno, Heraklion and Lasithi.

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Map showing Crete periphery in Greece

crete Travel Guide :

Crete

Cities

Crete

Other destinations

  • Samaria gorge
  • The Minoan archaeological sites of Knossos, PhaistosPhaistos, GourniaGournia and MalliaMallia.
  • The Roman archaeological site of GortysGortys
  • Byzantine churches
  • Monasteries (Arkadi, Triada, Preveli) with interesting histories
  • Lasithi Plateau
Crete

Understand

Tourism is the basis of the Cretan economy. The island is very green despite only having around 60 days of rain per year.

There are many contrasts in this region, you can go from incredible beaches to impressive mountains, from big (and chaotic) cities to really small picturesque villages, from very dry, almost desert areas to very green zones like the springs in the center.

Crete

History

Crete was the centre of the Minoan civilisation, a literate and highly artistic Bronze Age culture, the island bearing witness to their achievements in the form of palaces, tombs and sacred sites. Towards the end of the Late Bronze Age, the Minoans were superseded by Mycenaeans from the Greek mainland. Thereafter, Crete very much followed in the classical slipstream of Greece and - much later - Rome.

Crete was the site of an airborne invasion by German troops, and a spirited resistance by Allied (mainly British and Australian) troops and the People of Crete during the 1941 Nazi invasion of Greece.

Crete

Talk

The language used in Crete is Greek, although in main cities people have no problem understanding English. Even in small villages you usually have no problem for basic things like shopping or eating.

The spoken Greek in Crete is the same as in mainland Greece but it might have some small differences.

Crete

Get in

Crete

By plane

Airports near Iraklion and Hania. Flights into Chania (Hania, Xania) airport in the west are usually on Tuesdays, and daytime only. This is a military airport with few commercial flights. Flights into Heraklion (Iraklion) are day and night on all days of the week.

An international airport is also under construction at Sitia, but is not expected to be open before 2006.

Crete

By boat

Ferry services from Greece mainland to Iraklion and Hania.

Crete

Get around

Crete

By car

Hiring a car is easy, as long as you have your driving licence with you. Check, though, that the insurance is comprehensive, and make sure when you take the car that all previous marks on it are recorded so that you don't get charged for these! Insurance on hire cars doesn't usually cover the underside of the car, or damage to tyres. Petrol stations often close around 7 pm, particularly in villages. Most petrol stations expect you to pay cash - they serve you, so you can choose for them to fill the tank or put in petrol to a cash value. On the National Highway, there are service stations, but they are often 30 miles or so apart - make sure you fill up with petrol before bank holidays and Sundays when you may have more difficulty finding an open petrol station.

Crete

By bus

Public transportation is fairly frequent and timetables quite trustworthy. Bus drivers usually divert from their marked routes to enter little villages if asked to do so. Bus services along the north coast are excellent, reliable, frequent and cheap.

Crete

Eat

  • Meat: souvlaki (meat or fish on skewers), moussaka.
  • Fish:
  • Sauces: tzatziki, taramosalata.
  • Vegetables: greek salad (cucumber, onion, pepper, feta cheese and tomato)
  • Dessert: Amigdaloto (made with almonds), Greek yogurt with honey, mpaklava, kataifi, pastries and cakes are excellent.
Crete

Drink

  • Raki, which is a strong drink similar to Grappa in Italy or Orujo in Spain.
  • Beers: although cretans drink a lot of imported beers (Amstel, Heineken, etc.) there are two major companies that produce beer in Crete, Mythos (since 1997) and Zorbas.
  • Greek coffee: very strong coffee usually served with a glass of water. The Greek coffect ('ellenikos) comes in levels of sweetnet. Glykos - 2 sugars, Metrios - 1 sugar and Sketos - no sugar. In addition there is Varis Glykos which is 2 sugars and extra coffee.
Crete

Sleep

  • Excellent choice of "rooms" available all over the island. You can just turn up and book on the spot out of the school holiday season.
  • Lots of apartments and studio flats for self-caterers too.
  • Plenty of package companies go to Crete from UK. Most cater for those who want to go to Eastern Crete which is very lively. One or two cater for Western Crete (much quieter) and south western Crete (eg Paleochora).

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