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What to Know Before Visiting Crete

About Crete

Crete, the largest island in Greece, is a destination of stunning diversity and rich history. Known for its breath-taking landscapes, the island boasts gorgeous beaches, rugged mountains, and serene villages. 

Visitors can explore ancient treasures like the Minoan Palace of Knossos and immerse themselves in a history that dates back to mythical times. 

The Cretan cuisine, celebrated for its flavour and health benefits, is a highlight, featuring fresh local ingredients like olive oil and herbs. 

Adventure seekers can enjoy hiking through gorges like Samaria, or partake in water sports along the coast. 

The warmth of Cretan hospitality makes every visitor feel welcome, enriching their experience with local traditions and vibrant culture. 

In essence, Crete is a blend of scenic beauty, historical depth, and cultural richness, offering something unique for every traveller.

General info

Time zone

ET (Eastern European Time) UTC +03:00

Currency

Euro (EUR)

1 EUR ≈ 1.08 USD

1 EUR ≈ 0.86 GBP

(approximate, subject to change)

Best Time to Visit

May to October

Language

Greek language

Capital City of Crete

The Capital and largest city is Heraklion

Population

As of 2023, Crete has a population of 670,000 people

Airports

Crete has three significant airports, Nikos Kazantzakis at Heraklion, the Daskalogiannis airport at Chania and the smaller Sitia airport

Main ports

The main ports from west to east are at Kissamos, Souda, Rethymno, Heraklion, Agios Nikolaos and Sitia

Regional units of Crete

From west to east the four regions of Crete are: Chania, Rethymno, Heraklion, and Lasithi. These are further subdivided into 24 municipalities

Principal cities of Crete

Area size

Crete has an area of 8,450 km2 (3,260 sq mi) and a coastline of 1,046 km (650 mi)

Seas around Crete

Crete bounds the southern border of the Aegean Sea, with the Sea of Crete (or North Cretan Sea) to the north and the Libyan Sea (or South Cretan Sea) to the south

Distance from Greek mainland

Crete rests about 160 km (99 mi) south of the Greek mainland

FAQ about Crete

What is cretelocals.com?

CreteLocals.com is your go-to guide for exploring Crete. We offer insider tips, local secrets, and expert advice to help you experience the best of Crete, from its stunning beaches to its rich history and vibrant culture.

Why should I visit Crete?

Crete is a gem in the Mediterranean, boasting diverse landscapes, ancient ruins, picturesque villages, and some of Greece’s best culinary delights. It’s a perfect destination for beach lovers, history enthusiasts, and anyone looking for an authentic Greek experience.

When is the best time to visit Crete?

The ideal time to visit Crete is during the spring (April to June) or autumn (September to October) when the weather is pleasant, and the tourist crowds are thinner. However, Crete’s mild climate makes it a great year-round destination.

What are the top attractions in Crete?

Crete boasts numerous must-visit sites, such as the historical Palace of Knossos and other Minoan archaeological locations. Notable islands include Chrissi, Gramvousa, and Spinalonga. The island’s beaches are another highlight, with Elafonissi, Falassarna, Balos, and Vai’s Palm Beach – Europe’s largest natural palm forest – standing out.

For nature enthusiasts, the Samaria Gorge is one of Europe’s longest and most striking. Additionally, the old towns of Chania and Rethymno offer a charming glimpse into Crete’s rich history and culture.

Can I find good accommodations in Crete?

Yes, Crete offers a wide range of accommodations to suit all preferences and budgets. We have partnered with Booking.com and locals to get you a large selection of accommodations. 

What local dishes should I try in Crete?

Crete is famous for its cuisine. Try Dakos, Fried snails (Chochlioi boubouristi), meat and seafood dishes and local cheeses and pies. Also, savour the locally produced olive oil and wines.

Is Crete suitable for family vacations?

Absolutely! Crete is a family-friendly destination with many beaches, parks, and attractions suitable for children of all ages. Many hotels and restaurants warmly welcome families.

How do I get around in Crete?

Getting around Crete is easy with various options like renting a car, using public buses, or hiring taxis, but also ferries. For exploring remote areas, a car rental is recommended.

What should I know about the local culture?

Cretans are known for their warm hospitality. Respect local customs, enjoy the laid-back pace of life, and don’t forget to join in the traditional Cretan music and dance if you get a chance!

How can cretelocals.com help me plan my trip?

Cretelocals.com is your go-to resource for planning an unforgettable trip to Crete. On our site, you’ll find comprehensive information about everything the island has to offer – from its stunning beaches and majestic gorges to a wide range of accommodations suited for all preferences.

Additionally, we provide insights into various activities and things to do to enrich your Crete experience. With our detailed and user-friendly platform, planning your Crete adventure becomes easier and more enjoyable, ensuring you don’t miss out on any of the island’s wonders.

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