Crete offers the visitor a wonderful array of natural beauty, beaches, mountains, gorges, forests, unique ancient sites and landscape, and impressive hospitality, which makes each visit an unforgettable experience.






CRETE situated between 345o and 354o N. lat. and between 233o and 262o E. long. Its north-eastern extremity, Cape Sidero, is distant about 110 m. from Cape Krio in Asia Minor, the interval being partly filled by the islands of Carpathos and Rhodes; its north-western, Cape Grabusa, is within 60 m. of Cape Malea in the Morea. Crete thus forms the natural limit between the Mediterranean and the Archipelago. The island is of elongated form; its length from E. to W. is 160 m., its breadth from N. to S. varies from 35 to 71/2 m., its area is 3330 sq. m. The northern coast-line is much indented.













EXPANSE AND POPULATION:  Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and largest in the Mediterranean sea after Sicily, Sardinia and Cyprus. It is located in southeast of the Mediterranean sea and it is also the most southern point of Europe. It lies at the Southern Aegean Sea and at the crossroads of three continents Europe, Asia and Africa.

The island Crete is one of 13 large territories of Greece and her total population is  601.131 habitants. Capital cof Crete is the city of Heracleio. All the large cities of the island are situated on its northern side and all border with the sea. From west to east, these cities are as follows: Chania, population 53.373, Rethymno, 31.687 , Heracleio, 137.711, Aghios Nikolaos, 19.462.

Crete covers an area of 8.336 sq. kms. The length of the island is 260 km, but the shore-length is 1.046 km. The biggest width is 60 km from the Dion cape to the Lithinon cape, while the smallest is 12 km and is called "isthmus of Ierapetra".


CLIMATE:  The climate of Crete is considered as one from the more beautiful, healthier and more softly of Europe. A factor, which plays decisive role in the configuration of climate, is the sea that surrounds the island. In the coastal regions, particularly in the southerner coastal regions, the climate it is so much mild so that here are cultivated tropical plants, for instance bananas. The city of Jera'petra is considered the hottest Greek city and her region is considered as the hottest lands of Greece.


MOUNTAIN RANGES: Crete is island especially mountainous. A high mountain range crosses the island from West to East, formed by three different groups of mountains. There are three big mountain ranges with their ramifications where they unfold as backbone at length of island. In western Crete is found the mountain chain of the <<White Mountains>> (= in Greek: ËåõêÜ üñç, pronunciation <<Lefka ori>>) and cover the bigger department of the prefecture Chania, with taller top the Rimes, in the 2.456 altitude. In the centre of island is found the mountain chain of the <<Tall mountain>> ( pronunciationidhi or Psiloritis”), with taller top the Idi, in the 2.456 m. In the eastern part of Crete is found the mountain chain of the <<Mountain of Jupiter>> (= in Greek: Äßêôç, pronunciation “Dhikti”, from “Äßáò > Äßêôç, ôßêôù - äßêôù”, according to ancient writers.) , with taller top the “Spathi” in the 2.148 metres in height.


GORGES – RIVERS – LAKES: The most famous gorge of Crete is that of Samaria’s in the western part of Crete, in the White Mountains. It is wild, unapproachable and has 18 kilometres length, width 3-40 metres and depth 600 metres. In the plateau of Omalos, from where it becomes the access to this, exists big cavern gulf with internal lakes. It follow the gorge of Nimpru, in the eastern side of the White Mountains and the Kurtalio'tiko gorge in the prefecture Rethymno, that leads to the monastery (abbey) of Preve'lis. The biggest rivers are the Anapoda'ris and the Geropo'tamos in the plain of Messara's. Others rivers are Kakope'ratos and Kole'nis, that are poured in the gulf of Kjsa'mu, the Tayroni'tis, the Keri'tis or Platanja's, the Cerisiano's and the Kladjso's that is poured in the gulf of Chania and others. Three from the rivers of Crete have salty waters, “Almiros” of Apokoro'na, length 1hlm.,Almiros” of the Heraklion, length 2hlm. andAlmiros” of the Mirampe'llu, near in the coasts.

In Crete there are three small lakes. His bigger Kurna' is found in the Apoko'rona, the other in in the city of Saint Nikolaos and third in the province Kjsa'mu.


BEACHES: In the prefecture of Chania there are two splendid beaches, the Elafoni'sj in the southwestern and the Falasarna in the northwestern, while one of the bigger beaches is found in the Georgia town (Georgiupoli), between Chania and Rethimno. A tropical beach, that is found in east part of Crete is the beach Va'j, a paradise landscape, where there is the alone natural palm of Europe (Here is the unique forest of palm tree of the Europe). The beach of Ma'tala , in southerly the Heraklion, is known for his caves while it allocate also a enjoyable sunny beach with sand. There are, also, beautiful beaches in the Frankokastelo, Long Seashore , Down Za'kro , Pre'veli , Palajo'hora , Saint Pelagia , J'stro and Ma'lja .





The island Crete is divided into four Prefectures (which are subdivided in provinces), which from west to east are: the Prefecture of Hania, with Hania as the capital, the Prefecture of Rethymnon, with Rethymnon as the capital, the Prefecture of Heraklion, with Heraklion as the capital, and the Prefecture of Lassithi, with Agios Nikolaos as the capital.

Crete is divided into four prefectures, those of Chania, Rethymnon, Herakleion and Lasithi:

Prefectures of Chania = 150.387 habitants, with 23 municipals and 2 small Communities, capital city is the city of Chania with 53.373 habitants.

Prefectures of Rethymno =   81.936 habitants, with 11 municipals and capital city is the city of Rethymno with 31.687 habitants.

Prefectures of Heracleion =   292.489 habitants, with 26 municipals and capital city is the city of   Heracleio with 137.711 habitants.

Prefectures of Lassithi =   76.319 habitants, with 8 municipals and capital city is the city of Aghios Nikolaos with 19.462 habitants.

All the big cities of Crete are found in the northern side of island and are wetted by sea. From west to East is the cities: Chania, Rethimno Heraklion, Agjos Nikolaos, Sitia etc In the South the bigger towns are: Hierapetra, Tympaki,  Moires.

Ancient famous towns:  Knossos, Paistos, Gortyna, Lyctus or Lyttos, Kydonia etc


COUNTY LASSITHI: The prefecture Lassithi covers the Eastern utmost of the island. The prefecture is separated in the four provinces: Mirampe'llu, Lassithi, Jera'petras and Sitia. The largest cities are: Agjos Nikolaos, the Jera'petra and the Sitia.

According to the fable and the ancient writers, the Djktaj'o antro in the Plateau of Lasithi   it was the place of birth and his upbringing of the Jupiter.

Certain of the ancient cities of Crete were discovered in the prefecture Lassithi. In them they are included: Bassiliki, My'rtos, Palace of Za'kros , Prajso's, Mohlos, Goyrnja' . A important ancient Greek city, the Lato, finds itself near in the Kritsa'. In the marvellous archaeological museums of Saint Nikolaos and Sitia are exposed somebody of the discoveries of these excavations.

The region round the Saint Nicolas (= in Greek: Aãéïò Íéêüëáïò, ðñïíèíøéáôéïí «Aghjos Nikolaos”) is not only the most developed tourist region but also one from the most interesting things.

The church of Virgin Mary Kera's near in the Krjtsa' has certain from the Byzantine frescos of the Crete.

There is A Venetian castle in the Eloy'nta . The region of Sitia is full from Byzantine churches, Venetian villas and ancient regions of Minoans. The Monastery of Toploy' allocates a museum where is exposed the collection of his pictures. The excluded monastery of Kapsa offers in the visitor a picture of monastic life. Interest have and the Sitia. There are Minoan installations in:  Mohlos, Palai'kastro, Minoan' Palace of Za'kru etc Interest they present the Gorge of Deaths in the Za'kro and the Hellenistic region of Jta'nu that is found near in the Va'j. There are enough Byzantine churches in the region and traces of Venetians in the Etia' and in the Chantra .


COUNTY CHANIA: The prefecture Chania covers the western department of island and has expanse 2.376 square kilometres. It is subdivided in five provinces: Celery, Kydonj'as, Kjsa'mu, Apokoro'nas and Sfakia. The largest cities of prefecture are Chania, the capital of prefecture: Kasteli in the Kj'samo, Palaiochora and Ka'ntanos in the Celery, the Country Sfakj'wn in the Sfakia etc


COUNTY RETHYMNO: The Rethymno is the smaller prefecture of the Crete) and is found between the prefecture Heraklion and the prefecture Chania and is subdivided in four provinces: Rethimno, Mylopota'mo, Amari and Saint Kingdom. The most important cities of region are the Rethimno, Anoghia, Amari etc


COUNTY HERAKLION: The prefecture Heraklion is the bigger of the Crete, has the bigger population, while it is also the richer region of Crete. It has the biggest at head income. The prefecture Heraklion is subdivided in 7 provinces: Malevjzj', Teme'no and Plain are found in northern beach and the provinces Pyrgjo'tjssas, New, Monofatsi and Via'nnu are found in the centre and in the southern beach. The largest cities of region are the Heraklion, Ma'tala , Tympa'kj , Fates , and  Ano Vja'nnos .

The prefecture Heraklion is found between two mountain ranges, the J'di in western and the Dj'kti in Eastern. The valleys behind the city of Heraklion produce many from the more beautiful grapes, eatable or for the production of raisin. In these valleys the English archaeologist. Evans discovered the Minoan Palace of Knososs’, the ruin ruined buildings of big culture.

There are found important archaeological regions (of Minoans, of ancient Greeks and Romans): Phajsto's , Saint Trinity, Go'rtyna etc.

The prefecture Heraklion has enough sights. There are ruined buildings of bigger cultures, the most beautiful collection of Minoan discoveries and the Byzantine churches that are scattered everywhere. There are still Venetian castles and sjntrjva'nja. The villages and the monasteries have they demonstrate a history of fights for the independence that appears from the monuments for those that died fighting against the conquerors of Crete.

The beaches in the Saint Pelagia and the Peninsula in the northern, the Ma'tala and the Good Ports in the southerners, attract the visitors with their hot and clean waters. Marvellous restaurants and taverns in all the prefecture offer spesjaljte' the Cretan cooker.

The Eastern department of prefecture Heraklion has the bigger coastal tourist resorts. The Limin Chersonissu and the Mallia are certain from bigger archaeological sights, with ancient buildings and enough important Byzantine churches.





Crete is a place with a great history from ancient times.  Crete offers visitors a priceless wealth of findings of all the civilizations that flourished on the island in its museums and in its archaeological sites. The island is full of relics of the Minoan ages the most famous being the palaces at Knossos and Phaistos.

Crete is famous for its high distinctions in the area of arts and letters. Three of the most known figures in these areas are the painter Dominikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco), the author Nikos Kazantzakis and the great Eleftherios Venizelos (Politician and prime minister of Greece)


No one is certain as to when Crete was first inhabited. Its history is lost into the depths of the centuries. The first traces of human presence on Crete appear to be during the Neolithic Age, that is, around 6000 B.C.

A description of it in the writing system of today can be found in Homer and Hesiod (Theogony) and in the previous system (Linear Writing A and B) on the epigraphs of Knossos and Phaestos and others

The first known historical period of Crete, the Minoan period, begins in 1453 before Christ (time of king  Minoas), during which Crete experienced its most flourishing period as a great merchant marine power. It was during this period that the palaces of Knossos were built. During this same period, the Minoan ships travelled and engaged in trade with all the peoples and states in the Mediterranean. The cultural influence that resulted from trading with all these peoples and states is what formed the Minoan Civilization. The Minoan Civilization is the distant ancestor of what we call European Civilization today, its centre being Knossos.


Crete was under Roman Occupation from 69 B.C. to 330 A.D. Saint Paul, who undertook the task of organizing the Church of Crete, visited the island in the year 62-63 B.C.

During the first Byzantine period, Crete was briefly occupied by the Arabs, between 824 and 961. In 961 and during the years of Romanos Melodos II, Crete was under the rule of Nikoforos Fokas

The Second period of the Byzantine Empire spans between 961 A.D. and 1204 A.D. A major strengthening for the island was the appointment of twelve young noble men by the Byzantine Emperor. These noble youths were granted vast areas of land by the Emperor Alexios Komninos. The islands Administrator of the time bears the title of Duke.

From 1211 A.D. to 1669 A.D. Crete is under Venetian Occupation. There follow a number of revolutions against this occupation, all of them, however, unsuccessful. The most enduring of these revolutions started in 1282, lasted 17 years and was led by Alexios Kallergis. During the Venetian period, Crete flourished in the area of arts and letters. Among others, two major poets of the period were Vincenzos Kornaros, whose masterpieces include Erotokritos and The Sacrifice of Abraham, and Georgios Hortatzis, author of the famous Erofili.

There follows the Turkish Occupation (1669-1898 A.D.), during which Crete falls into absolute spiritual and intellectual darkness. With the Greek Revolution of Independence in 1821, Crete failed to gain its freedom. It remained under Turkish rule and, for a period, autonomous before its union with the rest of the nation. During this period, the Christian spirit was intensified and contributed considerably to the Resistance of the Cretans, who suffered many sacrifices and bloodshed against Ottoman rule

Following many a battle and loss of lives, the great powers collaborated in appointing Prince George as High Commissioner of Crete in 1898. The Cretans, however, did not approve of his authoritarian regime and rebelled against him the famous Therisso Revolution of 1905. This is the moment that the star of the great Eleftherios Venizelos is born.

On December 1, 1913, Crete is announced unified with the motherland. In 1941 the Germans come to occupy the island, using parachute forces.

The Cretans with his partners (Britain’s, Australians and from New Zealand soldiers) responded with heroic resistance but were finally defeated. Yet, this was proven a Pyrrhic victory for the Germans.

Today, Crete is peacefully developing and prospering






Knossos is the first capital city of Crete and where was the palace of king Minos and his ascendants (Lycastus, Idomeneas etc), according to ancient writers Homer, Thucydides, Plato, Strabo etc.

The archaeological site of Knossos is at a distance of 5 km southeast of Herakleio, near the small village of the same name, on a hill and it is the most famous archaeological site on Crete. A local bus (No2) runs very regularly between Heraclion and Knossos.

The town Heracleio is built on the site of the small harbour which was the seaport of Knossos.

This small harbour much later became an important fortified town under the Arabs, who held it for a period of over one hundred years (824-961 AD). Thy build strong walls to protect it and surrounded it with a deep moat (from which it got its name "Chandax" from the Arabic word 'Khandak' meaning moat.

Knossos contains the ruins of the largest and most luxurious Minoan palace, built in the middle of a large town. The impressive Minoan palace of Knossos is famous throughout the world for its association with the myths of the Minotaur, the Labyrinth, Daedalus, Ikarus and of course of Theseus, and the most ancient civilisation in Europe. The palace overlooks a small valley through which a stream (called the Kairatos) runs for most of the year. The palace contains roughly one-half-million square feet of floor area, distributed over three to five floors (due to the sloping site), not counting basement storage rooms. It is home to perhaps a thousand people. It has courtyards, reception rooms, apartments for the king and queen, workshops, storerooms, shrines, a whole wing of private apartments. It is a self-contained city in itself.

The first palace of Knossos was built from King Minoas and with help of famous Athenian architect Daidalus in 1453 b.C., according Plutarch, Siceliotis. Pario Chronicle etc




The best-known period of Crete is the period of the Minoan Civilization. During that period, 1400 – 1200 b.c., Cretans put out from Aegean see (and from islands Cyclades )  the barbarians (= the Carians and Phoenicians) and so the Greeks stopped the emigration,  made  cities, made civilisation, house etc, according to Thucydides, Isocrates etc.

The king  Mino(a)s was the first from Greeks who made army navy and wise written legislations  in  ancient world, according to ancient writers Herodotus, Thucydides, Plato, Strabo etc

The king Minoas was King of Crete three generation before Trojan war (first king of Crete was Minoas, after Lycastus and after Idomeneas, who was king of Cretans in Trojan war), according to Homer,  Herodotus, Thucydides etc or exactly in 1210 before Diochnitus or in 1453 before Christ, according to Pario Chronicle.




Tourist Police: 2810- 283 190

Traffic Police: 2810- 282 031

Hellenic Organization of Tourism: 2810-228 225

Archaeological Museum of Iraklion: 2810-226 092

Archaeological Site of Knossos: 2810- 231 940

Archaeological Site of Festos: 28920-42315

History Museum of Crete: 2810-283 219

Archaeological museum of Agios Nikolaos: 28940-24943


Airport of Iraklion: 2810- 228 402

Olympic Airways: 2810- 229-191,244-802

Port Authorities: 2810- 244 912


Bus Station to Rethymno and Hania: 2810-221 765, to Hersonissos, Malia, Stalida, Agios Nikolaos, Siteia: 2810- 245 017(-9)


To Messara (Tympaki, Agia Galini, Moires, Lentas, Kaloi Limenes, Festos): 2810-255 965










IRAKLION- Venetian castle






Pallas of Knossos, 1700 – 1400 before Christ























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