12 Facts About Crete You Need To Know Before You Go

12 Facts About Crete You Need To Know Before You Go

Published On: September 25, 2021Last Updated: April 23, 20247 min readBy

☞ Table of Contents:

From the capital Heraklion to the port of Chania, these are the facts about Crete you need to know before you visit this mesmerising Greek island destination. The secret locations you need to visit and the traditional food you need to try from the people who know it best!

☞ Related: 20+ Amazing Things You Can Do In Chania

1. Crete Is The Biggest Island In Greece

Crete is the biggest island in Greece. With an area of 8,336 km2 this is one of the most important facts about Crete you need to know because the sheer size of the island means that it takes a very long time to explore. A few days in Crete means you simply won’t be able to really indulge in everything this beautiful island has to offer. Make sure you give yourself enough time to explore as there are so many things to do and see in Crete.

☞ Related: 4 Small Greek Islands That Will Leave A Big Impression

Travelling by ferry?

Embark on a delightful water adventure by booking your ferry tickets effortlessly using the form below.

2.The Ferry Takes A Long Time

Crete is a fair distance from the mainland. This is an important fact about Crete you need to know because unless you’re prepared to spend an entire day on a ferry you may want to look at catching a flight. Crete is one of the many Greek islands with an airport (multiple in fact) so it is easily accessible.

Island hopping is another way to reduce your travel time but remember to plan carefully because even some of the islands are not as close together as you might think. Don’t be caught spending your precious holiday time on a ferry when you could be out enjoying the sun! You can always talk to us if you need help planning your Greek holiday.

3. Crete Has Great Weather

Because Crete sits further south it is generally warmer than its northern counterparts. This means that your window for great weather is larger than other places in Greece. You can visit later or earlier in the year and the climate is still beautiful. Even winter in Crete is much milder than the rest of the country.

☞ Related: 5 Winter Destinations In Northern Greece You Will Fall In Love With

4. Crete Is Home To A Famous Olive Tree

Cretans take olive oil very seriously. In fact, all Greeks do. The Greek diet is partly attributed to being so healthy because of olive oil! And one of the fun facts about Crete is that it is home to a very famous olive tree. This tree is estimated to be between 2,000 and 4,000 years old, the oldest on the planet. The trunk perimeter of the Monumental Olive Tree of Vouves is 12.5 meters and it continues to be productive to this day.

5. Raki

This traditional Greek alcohol is in a league of its own. One of the well-known facts about Crete is that this drink is not only strong (with a minimum concentration of 37%) it is also considered a rite of passage. To sit down amongst friends and family and share some raki (as well as good conversation) after a meal is special a way to connect and relax. You will have to try some for yourself when you visit the island. You will often be given some as an aperitif after a meal in a traditional taverna.

6. Crete Has A ”Secret” Waterfall Village

This is one of the best facts about Crete to know because not many other people know of its existence! In Rethymno lies the beautiful waterfall village of Argyroupoli. Have your lunch under the cool shade of the plane trees and listen to the peaceful trickling of the waterfalls that surround you. We will leave the rest for you to discover!

☞ Related: 20 Unknown Destinations In Greece That Are Not On Your Radar

7. Crete Is Home To World Famous Beaches

As well as secret destinations there are also some very famous destinations on the island. The following are some important facts to know about Crete if you love the beach. And if you are choosing to holiday in Greece then it’s likely you do! Elfonisi beach is famous for its gorgeous sand with pink hues. This phenomenon is caused by microorganisms in the water and there is no denying the natural beauty of the area.

The other spot is Balos Lagoon which is a place of unparalleled beauty with turquoise and shallow warm waters that receives thousands of visitors each summer. A fact to keep in mind though is that because of its shallow waters it can often appear muddy as the sediment is stirred up in strong wind. The area also offers little protection from the sun unless you come prepared with umbrellas. A similar and less populated option to consider is Gramvousa.

☞ Related: 2 Greek Beaches That Consistently Rank Among Best Beaches Worldwide

8. Crete Has Some Delicious Traditional Food

This fact is true for Crete and for every other island in Greece, wherever you go you will stumble upon an ‘island speciality’. While there may be similarities between the cuisine there will always be a special twist that makes this version unique. Some examples of some traditional Cretan food are antikristo. Antikristo is a traditional way of cooking seasoned lamb pieces by a fire, and it is only found in Crete. Another of the important food facts about Crete is that it is well known for its traditional cheeses, so be sure to try a few and find a favourite.

☞ Related: 10 Traditional Foods You Have To Try In Greece

9. Crete Is Home To Zeus

Zeus may be known as one of the ‘naughty’ Greek gods, but his father Kronos was worse. Worried that his children would overpower him Kronos had a horrible habit of swallowing his children whole as soon as they were born! So, in order to protect Zeus, his mother Rhea, sent him to Crete to hide.

On Crete, he was raised in a cave and cared for by nymphs and the goat Amalthea that provided him with milk and honey. The exact location of the cave is still disputed with two possible options being the Dicteon and Ideon caves on the island. Keep this fact about Crete in mind if you are interested in indulging in some Greek mythology.

☞ Related: 5 Olympian Gods And Their Greek Island

10. World War II

This one is a fact about Crete for the history buffs, while Crete was not the only island involved in World War II, it was the site of some intensely tragic battles during the German occupation. There are many ANZAC cemeteries dotted across the island. These soldiers from Australia and New Zealand who were joined by the Greek partisans, shed their blood on Greek soil to free Crete from the Nazis will forever be remembered and revered for their sacrifices.

☞ Related: What You Need to Know About The ANZAC in Greece

11. Knossos

The Palace of Knossos, you might recognise the name from Greek mythology. Knossos has been referred to as the oldest European civilization as well as the oldest European city. Knossos is also the place where two ancient scripts were found. Excavations brought to light, Linear B, the first form of written Greek (Mycenean Greek) ever discovered. It is descended from the older Linear A which unfortunately still remains undeciphered.

☞ Related: 10 Incredible Ancient Greek Sites To Add To Your Bucket List

12. Crete Is Home To Nikos Kazantzakis

Crete was home to the famous Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature a whopping 9 times! One of his most famous and well-known works is the novel “Zorba the Greek”. But his talents didn’t end there as Kazantzakis wasn’t just a novelist, he was a traveller, a poet, a playwright and a philosopher. In Zorba the Greek Kazantzakis often describes scenes from everyday Cretan life, such as wine-making, in the liveliest colours. If you fly into the airport in Heraklion you’ll see that it’s named after him!

☞ Related: 3 Famous Artists That Have Shaped Greece

If you need help planning your trip to Greece reach out by email or simply click the link below to schedule a free consultation.

*Disclaimer: This page includes affiliate links. If you decide to book something through one of them, I might get a little bonus, but it won't cost you anything extra.*

Related Articles