Crete – for when you want it All!
There is nothing simple about Crete, after all it’s divided into four prefectures – Chania, Rethymnon, Heraklion and Lassithi. Each of these prefectures is then subdivided into provinces which are still further divided. The purpose of this Crete guide isn’t to bore you about all the divisions but to offer some insight into the four prefectures.
Crete is the largest island in Greece and is about a 50-minute flight from Athens. It feels as if you can reach across the waters and touch the Greek mainland, especially when the wind blows and the whitecaps dance across the Aegean Sea.
So Many Reasons to Extend your Holiday
There is so much happening on Crete that it will seem like somebody has pressed a ‘fast-forward’ button and before you know it your Greek Isle getaway will be over and you won’t have seen a fraction of it.
The best advice you can have is to tell your boss you’re taking a year’s leave to explore Crete and then it may not be long enough. Even your trip from Athens to Crete can be amazingly fascinating as you travel to reach your destination.
Look at the town of Hersonissos as an example. Just this exciting town alone comprises the areas of Gouves, Episkopi, Hersonissos and Malia. The town is about 26km from the capital city Heraklion and 20km from the airport. You need at least a week in this town alone as it offers a whirlwind of surprises with a number of beaches and an unlimited number of restaurants, cafes, bars, shops and activities for kids.
A Treasure-Trove of Exciting Sights and Activities
The reason that you need a holiday that is a decade long when you visit Crete is because you don’t have to go far to find a treasure-trove of attractions. Just a couple of kilometers away from the town of Hersonissos are the traditional villages of Koutouloufari, Piskopiano and Ano Hersonissos.
If the crowds become too overwhelming, these villages provide a quieter way of life, but they still have their own mix of winding and twisting streets, wonderful restaurants, hotels and shops. Don’t forget to buy some olive oil soap and a few other items to take as souvenirs for green-with-envy family and friends back home.
Crete is also well known for its party vibes and the island has a vibrant nightlife in some areas. You’ve got the opportunity to dance the night away at wild parties or you can sit outdoors at a Greek restaurant with traditional live Greek music. Crete simply has it all and for night owls it has a splendid mix of taverns, restaurants, dance venues, bars and clubs.
A rental car will be your ticket to freedom and independence to explore all these places. The road network is well developed but traveling is slow as the island is mountainous and many of the roads narrow and winding. Driving can be tiring as you have to watch out for goats and sheep on some of these unknown roads. Making use of public transport can sometimes be a wiser choice.
Some quick facts and general info on Crete before we get to the four prefectures
Getting to Crete:
Charter flights, scheduled international flights, regular ferry boat services from the port of Piraeus to Heraklion and Chania. Ships depart each evening. From other islands there are also ferries to Rethymnon (not regular). Buy your ferry tickets online.
Crete has a few airports – in Chania, Heraklion and Sitia. There are direct flights from Chania to Thessaloniki.
The Euro, currency of the European Union is what you’ll need to spend in the Greek Isles.
Police: 100, Chania – 28210
Elpa: 10104 – national car breakdown service
There are plenty of pharmacies in the towns and cities. Some stay open till 7 at night.
Best time to visit:
May to September is when the weather is at its warmest. It is the island’s peak tourist period. July and August are the hottest months.
Budget- up to 5-star hotels in Crete. The northern side has upscale, luxurious hotels and resorts while the southern side offers comfortable family apartments and bed and breakfasts.