Crete is the most mythical and prominent of the Greek islands. An island with indefinite variety, that will satisfy every visitor with its nature's beauty. Picturesque resorts to relax and enjoy the sea, wonderful unspoiled beaches with crystal-clear water, idyllic paths on the mountains, rural villages with traditional lifestyles, ancient ruins, old towns with Venetian and Turkish monuments, will make a traveller wishing to come back.
Crete is the largest Greek island and the fifth largest in the Mediterranean. 257km long and from 12 to 61km wide, Crete lies in the east basin of the Mediterranean Sea, between the southern Aegean Sea and the northern Libyan Sea. The island has always been of great importance because of its geographical position, lying between three continents, with Africa being 300km and Asia about 180 km away.
Crete is dominated by its mountain backbone. There are three main mountain ranges, the White Mountains in the west, Mountain Idi in the centre and Dikti Mountains in the east. In between these mountains, the land takes different shapes, with many gorges, plains, plateaus, and small valleys. The rivers in Crete are small and there is one natural lake and one artificial. The coastline varies, with many bays, peninsulas and capes. There are many smaller islands around Crete with the most famous being Gavdos, the most southern part of Europe, Gaidouronissi (Hrisi), Gramvousa, Elafonisi and Koufonisi.
The north coast of Crete is more developed and populated, first because of the transport links to the rest of Greece and second because of the mountains that end sharply to the south. The main tourist resorts are in the north, but the south is the same special for the wildness of the nature.
Crete is divided in four administrative prefectures: Rethymno and Hania in the west and Iraklion and Lassithi in the east, with the four capital towns, Rethymno, Hania, Iraklion and Ag. Nikolaos, being located on the north coast.
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Last updated: 30 May 2009