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Life in Crete
Why Crete

Crete has proven over the last years to be one of the more popular destinations for Europeans that seek either a holiday or a retirement home. With an average of 310 days of sunshine per year, spectacular sunrises and sunsets, and brilliant star and moonlit nights, its natural beauty, the history and the low crime rate are only some of the reasons that make the island of Crete so special.

Chania Harbour

Overview

  • Around the Year. Crete is the biggest Greek island and lively all year round. Apart from several tourist resorts, nothing closes in the winter. The island awaits you every time of the year, each of four seasons with a distinctive and separate character and because of it's size you will always discover new parts of the island, you never feel of knowing it all or getting the "island madness".
  • Population. According to the most recent census (2001) Crete has a population of approx. 602.000. Among the local people there are many coming from all areas of Greece as well as from whole Europe, who chose the island to be their home.
  • Lifestyle. The whole Island is spiced with the ever surprising friendliness and hospitality of the Cretans. The Cretans seem to have a nice relaxed living speed and in a natural way you will adapt into this life style. Moreover the Cretan lifestyle is one of the healthiest in the world.The longetivity of Cretans has attracted the world medical interest and in 1999 a world study about longetivity and heart health showed that Cretans were the healthiest inhabitants in the developed world. The main reasons leading to this are the Cretan Diet containing olive oil and the use of fresh natural local products and the climate and location of Crete with its long hours of sunshine and clean fresh air, far from the industrial pollution of the big cities.

Crete Traffic

Infrastructure

  • Airport. There are two international airports in Crete: Heraklion airport (or "Kazantzakis" airport - code: HER) and Chania airport (or "Daskalogiannis" - code: CHQ) and a public airport in Sitia (code: JSH). The airport of Heraklion (view location) is 2km east of the city centre and there are regular buses between the airport and the Eleftherias square in the centre of the town. The airport of Chania (view location) is 14km east of the city centre and there only a few busses to the town. The airport of Sitia (view location) is just 1,5km north of the town.
    Daily connections to Athens are available from each of the airports and additional to other national destinations. From April to October daily charter flights to and from various international destinations, as well as scheduled flights are available from the airports of Heraklion and Chania and even Sitia is starting with small charter flights from some European destinations.
  • Transport. Crete has a good road network and harbours in each of its prefectures. The telecommunications network of the region is 95 percent digitized. There is a direct and continuous supply of humid fuels. Industrial parks are located in Heraklion and Chania and the region has a science and technology park. There are major road works in progress throughout Crete, especially in the northern axis. Rethymno harbour has undergone a major upgrade. Water supply and sewage works are in progress in Sitia, as is waste treatment in Ierapetra. Dam works are designed for the Rethimnis River. The ports have sea links to Athens and/or Thessaloniki and the islands of the Aegean.
  • Healthcare. The region has excellent public and private hospitals, with all the up-to-date facilities and qualified staff, hospital clinics and health centres in direct proximity to every municipality of the island. British and other EU nationals are officially entitled to free medical care thanks to reciprocal agreements by using only the European Health Insurance card.
  • Education. Public and modern private schools provide a high quality education to children in the major towns. The University of Crete has faculties of medicine, social science, education, philosophy, engineering and the natural sciences. Technical institutes of higher education provide training in computer science, applied information and technology, multimedia, music technology and electronic engineering. Research centres include the Institutes of Marine Biology and the Foundation for Research & Technology.

Money

Costs & Safety

  • Low costs. With low cost of living in most areas, the friendly and hospitable locals are ready to teach you how to enjoy the simple things in life and a natural environment. In Crete your stress level will drop and your enjoyment of life will rise.
  • Low crime rates. As per 2002 official data, 3% of the UK, 2% of Spain and Portugal, 8% of Ireland - Crete is one of the safest places to live and enjoy a quality life.


Cete Gramvousa

Beauty, Culture & History

  • Scenery. A spectacular mountain chain runs east-west across the island, split into three ranges. Crete has some of the richest farmland in Greece in its broad alluvial plains and its valleys. The long, sandy beaches on its coastline include Europe's only palm forest. The region's agricultural sector produces crops of olive oil, wheat, tomatoes, potatoes and citrus fruits.
  • History. Crete is the place where the Minoan civilization, one of the most important civilizations of the world (2600-1150 BC), started and lasted until a tsunami, caused by the eruption of the volcano of Santorini, inundate Crete. Because of it's geographical location (The Nexus between Europe, Asia & Africa) the island of Crete was and is of high interest, and was occupied by Arabs, Romans, Venetians and Ottomans in the past and during WWII by the Germans. After a period of independence Crete was united in 1913 with Greece.


Crete Sport

Activities

  • Cuisine. It is well known that the Cretan Diet is not only aromatic and tasteful, but also extremely healthy. The most important product that gave so much credit to Cretan Diet is the virgin olive oil and the habit using fresh local products (More about the History of the Cretan Diet here http://cretanfood.blogspot.com). But Crete is offering more, international cuisine combined with fresh local products and ingredients, traditional recipes influenzed by international cuisine; from traditional village taverns to high-class sophisticated restaurants - Crete offers a choices for dining out.
  • Shopping. You will meet craftsmen at various locations producing colourful ceramics, hand-carved wood and weaving, knitting and hand-made jewellery. All kind of shops, that are usually found in big cities, are available in the big towns.
  • Nightlife. The island of Crete offers entertainment to suit all tastes and desires, from relaxing bars, lively nightclubs and discos with international music to cafe bars, typical Cretan hot spots with live bouzouki & Lyra music and Cretan dances.
  • Events. Traditional events and festivals can be experienced during the plethora of religious festivities celebrated on the island. One very important one and celebrated in almost every village for 1-2 days, takes places on the 15th August - The day of the Panagia (Virgin Mary). Also Carnival is celebrated in many places, the famoust one is taking place in the town of Rethymno. During the summer (July - September) there are also many concerts of modern & traditional artists and Cultural Events in the big towns.
  • Hobbies. In Crete are various activity clubs to join. From dance, swimming, biking & hiking and fine arts etc.
  • Cinema. In the big towns are various modern cinemas showing the newest movies mainly in the origin language with Greek subtitle. During the summer there are also open air cinemas available.
  • Sports. Sports enthusiasts will not be disappointed, with a variety of gymnasiums, horse riding clubs, tennis courts, squash, football and basketball courts, paragliding, jet-skiing, bowling and for the more adventurous, even scuba diving and flight schools. The 1st 18-hole golf course at Chersonissos (Heraklion) was openend in 2003 and new ones in several areas are in planning.

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