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Crete is the largest Greek island and according to many people also the most beautiful. It is a elongated island: from east to west it measures 260 kilometers and the longest distance between north and south is 60 kilometers. On the smallest point Crete is only 12 kilometers wide.
The popular beaches are all situated along the north coast; the south coast is mainly rocky. The mountainous Crete is known for its deep gaps. Here you can find the smallest gap in the world, the Samaria gap which is only 4 meters wide at some places.
Crete has 650,000 inhabitants. The largest city is the capital Heraklion, with approximately 150,000 inhabitants.
Crete is situated in the Mediterranean Sea, about 160 kilometers south-east of the Peloponnesos and about 300 kilometers north of Libya. Over the entire length there is a mountain ridge with Psiloritis (2,456 m) and the Pahnes (2,453 m) as its highest peaks. The capital Heraklion is situated on the north coast.
Just like in the rest of Greece, the economy of Crete was mainly based on agriculture. That is no longer the case: nowadays tourism in the main source of income. However, agriculture has not entirely disappeared; Crete produces olives and does a large part of the packaging and processing (into olive oil among others). Furthermore there is some small-scale citrus fruit cultivation.
The most important airport of Crete, Nikos Kazantzakis, lies five kilometers east of the capital Heraklion. Crete has another second, smaller, international airport near Chania in the west of the island, at approximately 140 kilometers from Heraklion. Anyway, there are plans to move the airport of Heraklion, since the current one lies too close to the city.
The bus transportation in Crete is very good. Buses run frequently and usually on time. Anyway, it is not unusual that the driver deviates from the official route if a passenger has to go to a nearby village. Taxis are also widely available, but if you really want to explore Crete, you should rent a car.
In general the roads in Crete are in condition, especially along the north-coast. In the inland roads are often curvy, narrow and sometimes unpaved. Take this into account, since the insurance usually does not cover the damage due to lose stones on the bottom of your rental car!
Furthermore it is good to know that most gas stations in the smaller towns close at 19.00 hrs. Many gas stations are closed on Sundays and holidays as well. So make sure that you have sufficient fuel!
As a tourist island Crete has a wide offer of hotels, apartments, guesthouses and other accommodations. Most of them can be found along the north-coast, but also in the inland and on the south-coast you will not have a problem finding a room.
For more information about Crete, we recommend Google and the following sources: