Crete is the largest island of Greece and the fifth biggest island of the Mediteranean Sea. It is located in the south east corner of Europe where the continents of Europe, Asia and Africa meet. The geomorphology of the island and its flora and fauna are both extremely varied and outstandingly beautiful. The climate is the mildest in Europe with 330 days of sunshine a year, short, mild winters and long hot summers. Crete is 260km long and 56km at its widest part. Its coastline is approximately 1,000km long and around 160km of it are sandy beaches. Crete has a size of approx. 8,300sq.km and a population of approx. 600,000.
The population is mostly consentrated on the north coast of the island where the cities are located. In Crete there are 4 Prefectures (or Nomi in Greek) and many towns and villages. The capital of Crete is Heraklion (Iraklio), a modern city with a population of around 200,000 situated on the centre of the northern coast. Chania with a population of 80,000 is the second largest town and is located on the west part of Crete. Other large towns are Rethymnon (population 30,000), Agios Nikolaos (pop. 10,000) and Sitia.
There are 3 airports in Crete: Heraklion (the busiest one), Chania and Sitia. Direct flights from various european airports for Heraklion and Chania are frequent during the tourist season, from April to October, while during winter months there are connection flights through Athens. Sitia airport is mainly used for domestic flights.
The main harbours of Crete are in Heraklion and Souda (next to Chania), while smaller ones in Rethymno, Agios Nikolaos and Sitia. There you can get ships to other Greek islands or catch various daily recreational cruises. All aroung the island you will also find many small fishing ports and marinas.
Crete has in general a good infrastructure with many hospitals (the largest ones are in Heraklion, Chania and Agios Nikolaos) and health centers, schools and universities. Banks and Post Offices are found in all towns and larger villages. The National Highway, which is the main road in Crete, covers nearly all the north coast of the island. The roads in general are good
Crete is also a place with rich history which dates back over 4000 years. The island is full of exhibits of this long history with many important archeological sites like the Knossos Palace or the Wall of Heraklion (a huge fortification around the old city, the largest in the Mediterranean basin).