Crete (Kρήτη / Kriti, sometimes spelled “Krete” in English) is the biggest of the Greek islands and the fifth largest in the Mediterranean Sea, behind Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus, and Corsica. It is situated south of the Peloponnese, between the Sea of Crete and the Libyan Sea. It is home to Ierapetra, Europe’s southernmost city, which is just approximately 400 miles (645 kilometers) from the coast of Libya. Crete is around 260 kilometers long and 60 kilometers broad. From west to east, the island is split into four prefectures: Chania, Rethymnon, Heraklion, and Lasithi. Crete has a population of around 650,000 people.
While each Greek island has its own unique charm and beauty, Crete is without a doubt one of the most diverse, endowed with a remarkable amount of truly spectacular natural beauty and a wide variety of varied architecture that pays tribute to its ancient Minoan past and chronicles its history of conquest from the Greek mainland, the Venetian era, and the Turkish/Ottoman period.
Certainly, the island has its share of magnificent beaches and ritzy beach resorts, but there is much more to discover, from rugged mountain peaks (some of which remain snow-capped for much of the year) and breathtaking gorges to metropolitan cities and sleepy traditional villages where donkeys carrying vegetables are not uncommonly led past cars and scooters. Miles of olive trees and vineyards, palm palms, and desert-like vistas may be found. There are several stunning Byzantine churches and monasteries in the area, many of which are available to the public. There are old ruins all throughout the place. In fact, almost anything that can be found in Greece can be found here.