Information about Crete

I don't see Crete as picturesque, smiling place. Its form is austere. Furrowed by struggles and pain. Situated as it is between Europe, Asia and Africa, the island was destined by its geographical position to become the bridge between those three continents. That is why Crete was the first land in Europe to receive the dawn of civilization which came from the East. Two thousand years before the Greek miracle, that mysterious, so-called Aegean civilization was in full blown on Crete- still dumb, full of life, reeling with colours, finesse and taste which surprise and provoke awe.
Nikos Kazantzakis(1883-1957) excerpt from his interview on French Radio(Paris), 6th May 1955

And till this day, Crete still surprises and provokes awe. It's difficult to resist the many splendoured charms of Crete, Greece's largest island. The legendary birthplace of Zeus and the 'cradle' of European civilization boasts a landscape that is quite diverse. Stunning caves and gorges oppose pristine coves and lagoons for visitors' eyes. Mountains loom over valleys dotted with cypress, elm trees and olive tree groves. Rich flora and fauna lay in the background of shimmering beaches which punctuate a string of scenic port towns in the prefectures of Chania, Rethymno, Heraklio and Agios Nikolaos in Lasithi. Crete is one of the most popular destinations in Greece and visitors can indulge in many natural and ancient sightseeing.

An area that combines natural beauty with archeological and historical areas, the county of Chania is found on the west coast of the island. It has a large tourist population and its visitor can enjoy many glorious beaches. The area is full of historical monuments such as Theriso where Elefterios Venizelos declared in 1905 the revolution against the Turkish regime with the assistance of Greece. And for those of you who love nature, the places to see are the plateau of Omalou and the many canyons like the famous canyon of Samarias, without exaggeration one of the most beautiful nature sites in all of Europe. There are many organized treks to the canyon, even though it has been classified as a national protected park.

The old town of Rethymnon in the county of Rethymno, is one of the best-preserved towns of the Renaissance. Lying in the heart of modern Rethymnon, it combines the oriental features of the Turkish period with Renaissance-style Venetian architectures. As opposed to Heraklion and Chania, Greek features are predominant in Rethymnon because most nobles were Greeks, known as "Archondoromeoi" (noble "Romans", that is, inhabitants of the Eastern Roman Empire).

The prefecture of Lasithi occupies the far -eastern part of the island and it is divided into 8 municipalities: Agios Nikolaos, Ierapetra, Sitia, Neapoli, Makri Gialos, Lefki, Oropedio (Lasithi Plateau) and Itanos.It is embraced by three seas: the Cretan Sea in the north, the Libyan Sea in the south, the Carpathian Sea in the east, whilst in the west, the mountain range of Dikti prevails imposingly, spreading its verdant mountainsides down to the plains of Mirabello and those of Ierapetra, in a picturesque contrast.