Herete. Crete - The island home of beautifully tanned people. Such a great place to Holiday in. Period! More than one million Brits and Irish annually visit the Island, one of Greece's most popular travel destinations. Why? Because: It's hot, it's sunny, the sky is blue, the sea is clear and warm and apart from the odd mozzy there's nothing very much to spoil the fun. For these reasons so many visitors fall for the allure of Crete and the Cretans. May be you will be one of them and at some future time, set up home, be it a holiday home or a more permanent residence. You would be in good company with an the estimated 20,000 or so British and Irish Ex-Pats and other Europeans who have done so already in recent years.
Most Brits and Irish come to Crete from airports across the UK and Ireland, landing in Chania or Heraklion and now a lucky few in Sitia. The latest regional UK airports to join the list of direct flights include Exeter and Bournemouth. Also, you can fly to Athens first and then transfer to a ferry connection to Chania (Souda port), Rethymnon, Heraklion, Aghios Nikolaos and Sitia. All are connected to Piraeus (port for Athens) by fast, modern ferries. Another route connects Kissimos (western Crete) with Kavala in the southern Peloponese. In summer there are also ferries connecting Heraklion with Thessaloniki and Santorini. Another connects Heraklion with Aghios Nikolaos, Sitia, Karpathos and Rhodes. There are also local flights on many of the same routes. Air Athens, Aegean Airways, Olympic Airlines and Sky Express (based in Crete) all operate scheduled domestic flights to and from Crete.
Car Hire in Crete is highly competitive.
Several points to watch out for:
Quad bikes can be driven on the streets in Crete, they are a lot of fun but also they may not be maintained for roadworthiness or pass safety checks until something goes wrong which can and has had catastrophic results to a renter. Quads are also not permitted on motorways. Again if you really want to hire a quad bike look for a company with newer ones, be specific to ask about insurance cover and avoid the old crocks that have probably been up every mountain (and down the other side) in Crete. Road insurance and a motorcycle licence are also mandatory. More on Insurance, The local police are on the look out for those not wearing head protection. Quad bike riders require a full-face helmet (or non-full-face helmet plus goggles) under Greek law. More on Quads in Crete.
Scooters and Motorbikes are also available for hire and the same rules apply as for the Quad Bikes. Also don't be fooled by the fact that you see lots of local Cretan bikers without Helmets on. They may get away with it because they ARE local. If, as a Holiday Maker/Tourist you are caught without a Helmet on you WILL get fined. The minimum is around €85.00 which is a fair old whack out of your holiday pocket money. Not to mention that the chances of getting your head cracked open or worse in the case of an accident are much higher if you're not wearing biker's head gear. More useful information on motorbikes, mopeds and scooters in Crete.
Also, there is an excellent page with advice and guidance on to how to stay out of trouble while taking to Cretan roads at driving in Crete.
The big island of Crete and the Cretans (regarded as the cradle of European civilization) does consist of more than Bars, Restaurants and Beaches. Get out and explore; visit the south side of the island with its quaint villages, high mountains and deserted beaches. Crete is the biggest Greek island, more than 250kms long. Make the most of your holiday and explore its length and breadth - get out of the resort areas, go trekking biking; locating orchids, photograph butterflies or some bird spotting. Then there is horse riding, walk around mountain villages and witness a bygone era of donkeys and windmills, especially on the high plateaus such as in Lassithi. There is wine making, olive oil production - literally hundreds of possibilities for a rewarding, recreational vacation.
Some attractive touristy spots we recommend that are beyond the usual Knossos, or Spinalonga top tourist attractions are listed below. But do plan for day trips, for journeys can be longer than they look on the map:
Elafonissi (South Western Tip)
Vai (North Eastern Tip)
Makrigialos (South East)
Paleohora (South Central)
Krissi Island (off South Coast)
Gramvousa (North Western Tip)
Elounda (North Central)
Preveli (South Central)
Samaria Gorge (South West)
Perhaps you thought we had forgotten to include the beaches in sunny Crete? Sun and Sand that Crete is known for! The fact is Crete has many world class and highly rated Blue Flag Beaches. Many of Crete's beach managements make it easy on the fully abled and those with impaired mobility to enjoy their visit to the coast with excellent facilities and access.
Check out now the list of Blue Flag Beaches on Crete. Look out for those with good accessibility - . There is one near you if you are already on Crete.
If you want to visit any Monastery, Church, Synagogue or Mosque, etc please show respect to those communities' beliefs by dressing appropriately for such visits. Do Not Wear shorts and T shirts. They are not acceptable for either men or women. It is best to wear long trousers and sleeved short with collar for men, and for woman blouses, skirts or trouser type garb. If you (a woman) has a light head scarf even better. For shoes, no flip flops or similar. It should be sandles or shoes/boots.
Please remember to leave your watches off your wrists and wind down when you are on Crete for your holiday. Try not to hurry shop staff to serve you; shout, or become frustrated if you think staff do not understand. Crete people have a way of finding solutions to a problem or situation if everyone is calm, rational and smile a lot. We may be in the EU but we are still guests as visitors in Crete!
Good Telephone Stuff to Know
Below are some useful telephone numbers for you, if you are Holidaying in, Crete:
Heraklion Airport: 2810 397800
Heraklion Tourist Police: 2810 283190