As the biggest island in Greece, it is only natural that Crete is an amalgam of traditions, incredible dances, amazing cuisine, remarkable history and breathtaking views.
Cretans are loud, patriotic and proud, but also unbelievable hospitable. In fact, there is a “giagia” (Greek: grandmother) at every corner just waiting to feed the tourists with her amazing food. You will often hear them say, that they are Cretans first and then Greek.
One of the first things you will notice, is that here in Crete, there is still a strong sense of community, where people know each other, help each other and most importantly welcome foreigners with open arms. They even have a word for it, “philoxenia” – literally translated as “friend to stranger”. Since ancient times this value was ranking high on the lists of virtues, where it was common for a friend of friend of a friend, to show up unannounced on the door step, and the host would gladly take care of the guest.
Travelling through Crete is an experience in itself, as you are surprised at every turn and corner by how lively this island is. Whether it’s their impassioned singing and dancing, the delicious cuisine or the ancient ruins overlooking breathtaking beaches, one thing is for sure, there is something for all types of travelers.
The island of Crete, is divided in 4 regional prefectures (from west to east) Chania, Rethymno, Heraklion, and Lasithi. The biggest cities on the island are Heraklion (also the capital of the island), Chania, Rethymno, Ierepetra, Agios Nikolaos and Sitia. As a reference, the picturesque Sissi village is located 26 km from Agios Nikolaos and 42 km from Heraklion. But we will get back to this in another article dedicated entirely to where “Calma Villas” are located and the attractions in the area.
Geographically, it is a mixture of mountains, gorges, lakes and incredible beaches. The highest point of the island is in the Psiloritis Mountains, where “Idi Range” stands tall at over 2400m. The locals believe that in these mountains was the birthplace of the ancient Greek God “Zeus”.
One of the most famous gorge on the island is Samaria Gorge, which is also considered a National Park, and quite the tourist attraction during the open season in the summer. A must for the visitors is to complete the 16 km walk, down the gorge from the Omalos Plateau to Agia Roumeli on the Libyan Sea.
All this walking and trekking is a nice pastime if you are the active type that does not mind to exercise while travelling. But what about those dreamy beaches with turquoise crystal clear waters?
Well Crete has and abundance of them! Some of them are famous and are easy to travel too, some might need a little searching and leg work (or even sailing in some cases), but all worth your time. Trust us on this!
For example, the palm beach of Vai is one of the largest attractions of the island. It features the largest natural palm forest in Europe, made up of Cretan date palm. The best part? Sissi village is only 2 hours away by car, from this gorgeous beach.
Exploring Crete, pretty much means that every day you can choose a different type of tourist experience. And if this does not convince you, we’re just going to leave here some weather facts: average daily max (°C) per year – 22.2 °C, average daily sunshine (hrs) per year – 9 hrs.
Exactly, it’s that sunny!