A Land of Dramatic Beauty
Crete is the largest of the Greek islands (covering an area of 8.231km2) located south of the Aegean with a long and narrow east-west orientation. It experiences ideal weather conditions – a temperate climate with short, mild winters and dry, hot summers.
Its extraordinary geographical and ecological diversity gives rise to a land of unique charm and unsurpassed natural beauty. It is dominated by panoramic inland landscape such as the White Mountains (containing 4 peaks over 2.000m high) and Psiloritis Range (containing the highest peak of 2.456m above sea level). Scenic roads weave passed attractive traditional villages and untouched scenery. From the highest mountain peaks to the coast 100 awe-inspiring gorges are carved. The most notable is the Samaria Gorge which is the longest (16km in length) and most impressive gorge in Europe. It is found in the National forest of Crete and is rich with vegetation and unusual wildlife.
Within the mountains are a plethora of more than 2.000 caves, most of which were used in ancient times as sites of worship, religious observances or places of refuge. Ideon Andron, believed to be the birthplace of Zeus, as well as Sfendoni are examples of remarkable caves in Crete decorated with rich stalagmites and stalactites.
In the midst of the mountains, fertile plains and plateaux are formed, used for cultivation or pasturing. The largest plain in Crete is the Messara situated in the southern part of Heraklion; the most peaceful plateau is Lasithi - hidden between the high peaks of the Dikti Mountains and consisting of nostalgic sights of authentic farming.
The landscape plunges down towards the depths of the Aegean, Ionian and Lybian Seas. The coastline has a length of 1.065km adorned by beautiful beaches, secluded gulfs, steep cliffs, picturesque harbours and quaint fishing villages. Blue flags have been awarded to most beaches – some with exotic white sand and others with glistening pebbles. The waters are crystal clear with shades of the palest turquoise which gradually fade into deep blue. There is plenty of interesting marine life to be discovered including sea turtles and large mammals such as dolphins, seals and whales.
Crete was always “lovely”! Today it remains a land of spectacular beauty, inviting visitors to venture and explore!