In the glorious numerous galaxy of the Greek islands, Crete is the largest and most tourist, one of the largest in the Mediterranean. Three seas wash it: Cretan, Libyan and Ionian. The capital of the island is Heraklion. Crete is the south of Europe, its satellite island of Gavdos is considered the southernmost point of this part of the world.
The first settlements appeared on Crete 13 thousand years ago. In the II-I millennia BC the island was experiencing the heyday of Minoan civilization. For the territory of Crete, the Byzantines and Muslims competed with each other several times. In the XVIII-XIX centuries, the island was shaken by war and rebellion: the people of Crete demanded reunion with Greece. At the end of the 19th century, as a result of the Cretan revolt on the island, the Cretan state was proclaimed, and the long-awaited reunion (enosis) occurred only in 1913.
Before a trip to Crete, it’s good to refresh the plots of ancient Greek myths, because many of them are associated with Crete. This is the birthplace of the high Olympian Zeus, who brought here the stolen beautiful Europe. This is also the place of Theseus’ feat, which defeated the Minotaur in the maze, the path from which the guiding thread of Ariadne pointed him. This is the tragedy of Daedalus, who wanted to fly away from Crete with his son Icarus, who rose too high and fell into the sea.
The climate on most of the island is Mediterranean, on the south coast it is even warmer, since this area belongs to another climatic zone – the North African. In summer, the average air temperature is +30 degrees, in winter +16. In winter, in Crete, with the exception of the south, it is rainy and windy, snow is possible in the mountains. The first hot days are already in March, although in April it still rains. The hottest months are July and August. The swimming season here lasts almost until November.
The direction of medical tourism in Crete is under development. Clinics located on the island specialize in artificial insemination procedures, kidney problems, organs of vision, psychological rehabilitation, and dentistry. A separate area – relaxation services, cosmetic care. The island holds seminars on various types of yoga, aromatherapy courses, gastronomic events with an emphasis on dietetics and proper nutrition.
Crete is connected with the rest of Greece and other countries by three options:
– ground – highway E65 with final points in Chania and Malmö (Sweden) and E75 from Varde (Norway) to Sitia;
– air – there are three airports on the island: two international in Heraklion and Chania and a local in Sitia;
– sea – in the cities of Chania and Heraklion there are ports through which most freight and passenger traffic is carried out. Rethymnon and the city of Agios Nikolaos have smaller ports, and perhaps you can’t count the small harbors and parking lots on the island.
Crete has a public transport system that includes city and intercity routes. Through the whole island runs the modern highway “New National Road.”
In addition to the capital of Heraklion, Chania, Rethymnon, Sitia already mentioned above, Ierapetra and Agios Nikolaos are the largest cities in Crete.
The center of resort life on the west coast is Chania, resorts are located at a relatively short distance from it. This is the modern resort of Agia Marina, the fishing villages of Almirida and Kalives. The beaches here are mostly sandy, Kalyves is included in the list of the best beaches on the island. For some reason, Chania itself is not considered a resort, but there is something to see, where to swim and have fun.
In the central part of Crete, resorts are located near the cities of Heraklion and Rethymnon. Crete even has its own Bali – a small village between these two cities. Rethymnon itself is one of the most visited resorts of the island.
The north of the island is the resorts of Kokkini Hani, Panormos, Platanes, each of which is beautiful and interesting in its own way. To the eastern resorts of Crete, the path lies through the airport in Heraklion. Among them are Agios Nikolaos and the adjacent Elounda, the very popular Chersonissos, quiet Istron, Malia, beloved by the youth, the fishing Sitia covered with golden sand of Stalis.
Ierapetra is the southernmost city in Europe, a resort for every budget. In the south, both quiet and peaceful places and popular resorts are concentrated: the relaxed Agia Galini, the small Makrigalos, the popular Matala with the beautiful bay of Messara, where, according to legend, Zeus in the form of a bull with stolen Europe, the resort of Paleochora with nightlife, family Sugia and others .
Each part of the island has its own specifics. In the central part with Heraklion are attractions. Rethymno boasts the best preservation of ancient architecture. Chania is a vacation, nature and greenery, and Lassithi is the most fashionable resort area.
Sights and excursions
Crete is rich in attractions. Knossos, the ancient capital of the time of the Minoan civilization, was not far from the place where modern Heraklion now stands. Part of the famous Knossos Palace has survived in ruins, part has been reconstructed. Built in II thousand…