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Crete Facts

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Crete - Kríti - Κρήτη


Location map of Crete in Greece

Crete is the southernmost island of Greece in Europe.

This island is located in the Mediterranean Sea at 35◦N 24◦E, it is one of the largest Greek islands and the fifth largest island in the Mediterreanean.

Crete Location Map - with tips about travel to the island here.


  • The population of Crete is just over 636,000.
  • The island of Crete is 260 km long, 60 km at it's widest point and 12 km at its narrowest point.
  • The area of the island of Crete is 8,336 sq km.
  • The highest point on the island is Mt Ida, also known as Psiloritis, at 2,456m.
  • To the north of the island is the Sea of Crete, to the south the Libyan Sea.
  • The major ports on the island are at Souda Bay, Heraklion, Agios Nikolaos and Sitia.
  • The major airports are at Chania CHQ and Heraklion HER. There is a smaller airport at Sitia JSH.
  • The major mountain ranges include the White Mountains, Psiloriti Range and the Dikti Range.

Map of Crete


We have both hard-copy and digital maps of Crete for your information.

See loads of information on Crete maps here


The island of Crete experiences both Mediterranean and North African climates. An average of 300 days of sunshine a year.

Crete has mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers. More on Crete's climate

In the chart below you can see average daily temperatures across the months, click on the arrows to see other months. Click on 'get 7 day forecast' for that information and much more.

Crete Facts - Currency

Crete's currency is the Greek Euro.

The code is EUR.

The symbol is .

Weights and Measures

Metric measurements are used. For example, distances are in kilometres and weights in kilograms.

Crete Facts – Language

The official language of Crete is Greek. There is a Cretan dialect called Kritika with sounds, accents, words and phrases differing from modern Greek. Dictionaries and texts are available in this dialect, and it is spoken by Cretans in both Crete and the diaspora.The local people of Crete speak with a distinct accent, when speaking Greek or dialect.

One can hear some accents here in this video, showing an interview with well-loved Cretan musician Psarandonis of Anogeia, Ο Ψαραντώνης.


The capital of Crete is Heraklion, located in the centre north of the island, with a population of over 177,000 it is a bustling port city with an international airport.


Crete Prefectures or local regionsMap showing the Prefectures of Crete or local regions

Crete is one of the 13 Peripheries of Greece, and in turn has four prefectures. The prefectures, from west to east are:

  • Chania
  • Rethymnon
  • Heraklion
  • Lasithi

Crete Facts – Main Towns

Main towns apart from the capitals mentioned above, include

  • Kastelli Kissamos
  • Palaiochora
  • Moires
  • Chora Sfakion
  • Sitia
  • Ierapetra

More on our beautiful Cretan towns


Crete time is equal to GMT/UTC +2

Plane icon
Ferry icon

Crete Facts – Getting to and from Crete

Crete is accessible from many cities in Europe by direct flights. Both Chania and Heraklion airports are international and accept many flights per day in summer. Ferries travel to both these ports also, from all over Greece.

Details on travelling to Crete

Here is a map of Kriti with ports and airports marked.

Bus icon
Hire car icon

Crete Facts – Getting around in Crete

Crete is a large island with plenty of countryside, mountains and coastline to explore. A network of national roads makes travelling by car a practical way to expore the island. A wonderful local bus service can take you to even the tiniest village, if you are patient.

Details on travelling within Crete

Useful Telephone Numbers

Ambulance 166
Directory enquiries 131
Fire brigade 199
Police 100
Roadside assistance 10400
Ambulance 166


Aegean Airlines80111 20000
Athens Airport 21035
Bus Schedules 2810 245020
Ferry Schedules2810
Chania Airport 2821
Heraklion Airport2810
Olympic Airlines 801 801 0101
Roadside Assistance (ELPA)10400

Store opening hours

8am to 2.30 Monday to Thursday
8am to 2pm on Friday

8am to 2pm Mon Wed Sat
8am to 2pm and 5.30pm to 8.30pm Tues Thurs Fri

Supermarkets tend to keep longer hours.


Crete has excellent hospitals, mainly located on the northern coasts of the island near the four major town centres. See location map below and names and addresses of the hospitals also below.

Chania General Hospital

The Chania General Hospital Agios Giorgos "St. George" (above) is situated in the outskirts of the city of Chania, near Mournies village.

The word for hospital in Greek is nosokomeio νοσοκομείο.

List of Major Hospitals in Crete, Greece

Chania Agios Giorgos General HospitalMournies, Chania
RethymnonRethymnon General Hospital17 Trantalidou St, Rethymnon
HeraklionVenizelio Hospital Knossou Ave, Heraklion
Heraklion University General Hospital Voutes, Heraklion
Agios Nikolaos Agiou Nikolaou General Hospital Knossou St, Agios Nikolaos, Lassithi
NeapolisDialinakio General HospitalNeapolis, Lassithi
IerapetraIerapetra General HospitalKalimeraki, Ierapetra, Lassithi
SitiaSitias General Hospital Sitia, Lasithi


Many of our readers are interested in moving to Crete and Greece. See more information about moving to Crete here. See more about purchasing property in Crete

Crete Facts - Books

Before embarking on a trip to Crete for a holiday or to live here, many of our visitors like to do some reading, whether it is light holiday travel narratives, or more complex Greek history, there are endless topics to explore in relation to Crete.

On our books pages we suggest some good titles.

Crete Facts - Notable Cretans

El Greco was born in Crete

El Greco was a painter, sculptor and architect of the Renaissance who came to fame in Spain of the sixteenth century.

Domenikos Theotokopoulos was born in Crete in 1541, studied and became a master painter in Heraklion as part of the Cretan School of art, flourishing in Post Byzantine culture.


Nikos Kazantzakis Καζαντζάκη wrote many diverse works, including the novels for which he is commonly known.

Kazantzakis was born in 1883 during the Ottoman occupation in city of Heraklion, Crete and died in 1957 in Freiburg, Germany.

Customs - Moustakia, Sarikia & Stivania

White sarikia being worn by children at a wedding in Crete

Get to know a little about the customs of the island, including traditional mustaches, headscarves and boots.

Moustakia, Sarikia & Stivania

More about the people and life of Crete here.

The Cretan Diet

Table of Cretan Food
Quality Label of Cretan Cuisine

The Cretan Diet is a lyrical poem, punctuated by fresh produce; vegetables, fruits, oils, nuts and cheeses cultivated for centuries on Kriti. The cuisine includes fresh olive oil, and plenty of it.

The natural diet of the island of has been recognised as one of the healthiest in the world. It includes wild greens, fresh home-grown tomatoes, broad beans, lemons and fresh olive oil.

Look out for the Quality Label of Cretan Cuisine at tavernas, restaurants and similar labels for Open Wineries, Cretan Grocery Stores and on certified products. This classification by the Agronutritional Coop of the Region of Crete means the taverna, restaurant, winery or product has been authenticated as local; a true Cretan experience.


Jennifer Aniston

Who was Zorba the Greek? Where was the movie filmed? What is Jennifer Aniston's connection to Crete? All these trivia questions are answered on our special trivia page.

Getting Here

Take a 1 hour flight from Athens to Heraklion with Aegean Airlines or Olympic Air, with many flights available per day.

Or take a 9.5 hour overnight ferry from Pireaus port of Athens to Heraklion port.

More on flights and ferries below.

Car hire in Crete is a really good idea as it is a large island 60 km by 260 km. There is so much to explore.

When you book with our car rental partners - Rental Centre Crete - you are supporting a local company with excellent service and easy online booking. We are sure you will be well looked after by the team. Choose from hybrid, electric or regular vehicles.

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Book My Car


We trust you have enjoyed these tips from the We Love Crete team. Evíva!

The We Love Crete team - Anastasi, Katia & Apostoli

Anastasi, Apostoli & Katia are the We Love Crete team
We just love sharing our passion for Crete, Greece and travel
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We just love sharing our passion for Crete, Greece and travel
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