Crete is the largest Greek island and the fifth largest island of the Mediterranean Sea. With a population of about 650.000, it is located in the southernmost part of Greece, separating the Aegean from the Libyan Sea.
The island has an elongated shape with a mountainous backbone and more than 1.000 km of coastline, with most of the beaches and towns in the northern coast, the southern being rockier and less developed. The varied geomorphology of the island produces some spectacular scenery, while the climate is the mildest in Europe, with short winters and long summers. It is, thus, the perfect place for outdoor activities, like hiking and cycling, scuba diving and snorkeling, horse riding, skydiving or bungee jumping.
Crete is also a place with a rich history, being the birthplace of Europe’s first civilization, the Minoan civilization (c. 2700–1420 BC) and according to the myth, the birthplace of Zeus, king of the gods. The island is full of evidences of this long history, with many important archeological sites like Knossos Palace, Festos Palace, the old towns of Chania, Rethimno and Heraklion, monasteries, fortifications etc.
Connection and infrastructure
Crete has two international airports: one in Chania and one in Heraklion. Direct flights from various European airports are frequent during the tourist season, from March to November, while during winter months there are connection flights through Athens. There is also a smaller airport in Sitia used mainly for domestic flights.
The main ports of Crete are Souda (next to Chania) and Heraklion, both with daily ferry connection to Piraeus (Athens). There are also smaller ports in Rethymno, Agios Nikolaos and Sitia.
Crete has many hospitals (the largest ones are in Heraklion, Chania and Agios Nikolaos) and health centers, private and public schools and three universities. Banks and Post Offices are found in all larger villages, while the National Highway, the main road in the island, covers the entire north coast.