Crete is the largest island among the numerous Greek islands. It lies in the southern Aegean Sea, at a crossroads between Europe, Asia and Africa. It covers an area of 8.336 square kilometers The length of the island is 260 kilometers but its shore-length is four times that—1.046 kilometers. At it widest point it is 60 kilometers wide, and at it narrowest it is only 12 kilometers wide. There is a high mountain range, consisted of three different groups of mountains, that crosses the island from west to east.
The White Mountains, with their highest peak at 2.453 metres, are the group on the west side. The Mountain of Idi (or Piloritis), with its highest peak at 2.456 metres, is in the middle of the island. In the east of the island is the Dikti Mountain that is 2.148 metres high at its highest point. These mountains have many plateaus that are fertile and very important to the people living there, like Lassithi, Omalos and Nid, and a lot of valleys and small plains as well.
The largest and most important plain is that of Messara, between the mountains of Piloritis and Asterousia, in the southern central part of the island. Among some of the beautiful sights that these mountains have to offer are the caves of Diktaion and Idaion, and the gorges like the famous Gorge of Samaria. Apart from its mountainous parts with their villages, Crete also has a plentiful variety of other features, like its long sandy beaches, the rocky bays, quiet coves and the exciting beach nightlife. Most of the days during the year are sunny and the climate is one of the best and mildest in Europe.
Crete’s varied and rich landscape offers exhilarating and invigorating experiences to those who enjoy nature. The enchanting radiance of this place, the wonderful and otherworldly quality of the light here, the contrast between the sharpness of the mountains and the openness of the seas, the abundant wildlife, the plants and flowers unique to this island—it is more than a good enough reason to visit.
As it is the largest island off the coast of Greece, it is quite expected a very popular travel and holiday destination. This island is like a country within a country. It has its own history, folklore and traditions. It is considered the birthplace of Europe’s oldest civilization—the Minoan culture, that existed 4,000 years ago. Crete is a renowned historical, archaeological and cultural site. Over the course of its history it has suffered Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Saracen, Venetian and Turkish influences. All this makes up a very rich and varied human heritage, available for the enjoyment of everyone wishing to visit.
Crete has many well developed tourist areas capable of catering to the needs of visitors. There are many resort hotels and a lot of smaller properties offering more secluded accommodation.
The cuisine is a great delight, with the flavours of wild herbs, the fresh fruit, the world’s best olive oils, the seafood and the delicious cheeses. The small towns and the people living there celebrate life at every opportunity and it is not rare for a tourist to chance upon a wedding or another festive occasion and enjoy the local way of life. Crete’s people are more then hospitable and have a strong tradition of welcoming visitors. All this guarantees a completely satisfying and unforgettable experience.