Crete General

Crete is the largest island of Greece and the 5th in size in the Mediterranean Sea area, preceded by Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus and Corsica. It has an area of 8260 km2 and a coast-line of 1050 km.
The largest length is 265 km and the largest width is 60 km. The narrowest part of Crete of 15km, gives way from Pachia Amos to Ierapetra, the southernmost town of Europe. The island has approximately 700.000 inhabitants. The last official counting was in the year 2000. The results, however, are not known yet.

The island is subdivided in 4 provinces:
Chania, with its capital Chania,
Rethymno, with its capital Rethymnon,
Iraklio, with its capital Iraklion and
Lasithi with its capital Agios Nikolaos.

Tourism, agriculture and cattle-breeding form the main income to the people of Crete. In the small towns they stick to their century old traditions. Here you can still find the elderly Cretan people in their traditional costumes and their donkey being an important way of transport.

The mountains, mainly consisting of limestone, form the main part of the Cretan landscape. Lowland can only be found near the coast and on a few places in the interior.
In the west of Crete the White Mountains of Madares can be found, a massive mountain with a maximum height of 2450 meter.
In the middle of Crete you can find the Lasithi Mountains, a chain of mountains with a maximum height of 2145 meter. Lasithi is an important horticultural area. The main part of the vegetables on Crete is coming form Lasithi.
Some beautiful gorges can be found on Crete. The best known is the Samaria Gorge, which is certainly worth to be visited. Most gorges cross the island, starting in the tops of the mountains and leading into the sea. These gorges make an important contribution to the flora and fauna of Crete.

The coasts of Crete are a mixture of beautiful sandy beaches in the north and in the south a panorama of small bays, often with beaches of small pebbles, where one can still enjoy the sea undisturbed. The climate and the quietness can still be found by those who want enjoy the things that this island can offer. The individual traveler that wants to see beyond his or her nose and passes by the concentrations of mass tourism can still find what he or she is looking for.

Crete has 2000 different species of plants, of which 170 are native and can only be found on Crete.

Apart from the animals one can find all over Greece, Crete also has several native species of animals. The most important one is the Kri-kri, a wild goat that only can be found in a reserve in the area of the White Mountains and on some deserted islands along the coast. Next to these some native cat species, a kind of marten and a badger still live here.

Next to this Crete has a very fascinating archeology. Her history and her myths can open a new world for you.

All subjects as mentioned above are extensive described in the various chapters on this website.
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Map of Crete, please click on the thumbnail to enlarge

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