Do you know what is the largest island in Greece? And what is the southernmost island of Greece? The answer to both questions is Crete! Sunny Crete beckons with its diversity, the smell of the Mediterranean Sea that washes over the sandy beaches, and the exotic nature of the destination. This is the farthest part of Greece you can go and still say you are in Greece, precisely because of the mix of cultures and spirits that is unique. This is why vacationing in Crete is so popular. Getting there is very easy, as there are 3 airports, but you can also reach the island by ferry. The Port of Piraeus in Athens is connected to Sitia, the most authentic Cretan port town, and the journey lasts approximately 20 hours. If you’re up for an adventure like this, book cheap ferry tickets at Let’s Ferry’s website. Welcome to the south of Greece, the hot Mediterranean, and an island that is washed by as many as 3 different Mediterranean seas.
- The beaches
The beaches of Crete have a different character and offer a variety of pleasures for all tastes. If you are a fan of sandy beaches, Crete can certainly offer them, but if you are not a big fan of fine sand, there are also semi-gravel beaches that will suit you.
All the beaches have a crystal clear, transparent blue color of the sea, while certain beaches are such that you will feel like you are walking on water all the time.
These are the most popular beaches in Crete:
Vai beach (Lassithi – north-eastern side of the island)
Balos beach (Chania – northwest side of Crete)
Elafonissi beach (east side of the island)
Gramvousa (Rethymno – south side of the island)
Preveli (Rethymno – south side of the island
Matala beach (south side of the island – favorite beach among hippies)
Plakias beach and many others. (south side of the island)
- The food
Traditional restaurants in Greece can be found on every corner. If you have found the perfect arrangement for the summer in Crete, but hesitate because you will have to eat outside the hotel or apartment – feel free to make a reservation! In Crete, there are many bars and restaurants where you can eat a variety of food. From gluten-free lunches to standard gyros, pizza, moussaka and cooked meals, restaurants in Crete have it all, and at very reasonable prices!
- The history
Ancient Minoans chose Crete as the center of their civilization, which developed from 2700 to 1420 BC. It was a good strategic position from which it was quite easy to reach the other Greek islands. Well in this period navigation was not at the level of the rise of Mycenaean Greece and the golden age of antiquity when Athens developed as the most dominant Greek polis.
It is interesting to say that the Minoan civilization most likely began its fall as the most developed civilization of this period, due to the sudden deterioration of natural living conditions. Numerous earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, such as the Thera volcano, are believed to have first halted and then wiped out the Minoan civilization. Since that moment, civilizations, empires, and cultural epochs have changed in turn, many of which have left their mark, and some of the most common attractions that you can see today come from the Byzantine period and the Venetian rule. Of course, there is also the famous palace of Knossos, a symbol of the power of the Minoan civilization and the home of the mythical creature Minotaur.
- The culture
The island has about 600,000 inhabitants, who mostly live in small towns with a rich and varied social life. Crete is divided into four administrative regions: Chania and Rethymno in the west, Heraklion and Lasithi in the east. The northern coast is much more developed when it comes to tourism, while the southern coast has retained its uniqueness and untouched nature.
- The weather
As an island in the center of the Mediterranean, you can expect extremely hot summers, alternating between a Mediterranean climate and a North African type of climate. However, this will not be one of those summers where you won’t be able to get out in the sun, despite the mention of the “African” influence. Ideal for walks and swimming in the refreshing Aegean, Ionian, or Libyan seas. The choice is yours.
- The affordability
Prices in Crete are similar to prices in other Greek places. Probably the best-selling Greek meal – gyros, costs around €2.50. When you walk the streets of Crete in the evening, pay attention to the restaurant’s special offers for “menu for two” at better prices. Dishes that are specific to this island are fried snails, crispy salad with tomatoes and feta-dakos, calicunia pastry with sweet cheese, lamb topped with eggs, and lemon. As the exclusivity of the restaurantс and hotels grow, so do the prices.
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