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About Crete

About Crete


Crete is a “great island”, both because of its age-old history and because of its size and life today.

Five millennia of old and heterogeneous cultures, history and tradition, which compose a fascinatingly live cosmopolitan present, following a mysterious and distant mythical past will stimulate the traveler to explore and discover it.


Besides its rich history, one other dominating element is the island’s natural beauty. The flora (wild plants which cannot be found anywhere else on the planet) the fauna, the mountains, the gorges, the infinite blue of 350 kilometers of Blue flagged clean beaches will take your breath away at every step in Crete. The morphology, the geography and the climate with almost 300 days of sunshine each year compose a place idyllic, where reigns the balance of nature. Popular culture such as weaving, ceramics, musical tradition and dances, Cretan knife, local cultural events and celebrations, natural-healthy Cretan diet, Cretan vineyards,  which compose the cultural physiognomy of Crete’s folk tradition, is maintained and represents the link of the modern Cretan with the past and his tradition. Modern life on the island is expressed in many ways: the cosmopolitan northern coast, with some of the most famous youth entertainment locations, such as Heraklion, Chersonissos and Malia and Elounda, gathering all the international jet-set. Rethymnon and Chania offer enchanting walks in the old towns and Sitia at the other end of the island, keeps its character of quality tourism, calm and tranquility with high specifications. The southern coast has its own rhythm, defined by the amazing sandy beaches and a view of the Libyan sea.

Crete is definitely not a place that you can get to know in a few days-visitors who fall into that trap have only skimmed the surface and missed the essence of the island. The essence being the character and temperament of the Cretans which, combined with the natural environment and its countless beauties, keep millions of visitors coming back again and again…

Crete / Creta / Kreta / Kriti : The island of King Minos, the famous writer Nikos Kazantzakis, the poet Odyssey Elytis, the political leader Eleftherios Venizelos, the painter Dominicos Theotokopoulos ( El Greco ).

Crete has four counties/prefectures:


The central county in Crete, both form a geographic point of view and with regards to the economy and development of the island.With the renowned palaces of Knossos and the archaeological museum in the centre of Heraklion city, where reanimate the Minoan culture and the history of Crete from the Neolithic to Roman times –the second in size museum in Greece and of the greatest in the world –, the modern way of life, sports, cultural events and the beautiful beaches in the South, Matala, Kommos, Lentas; with world famous entertainment for young people in Chersonissos, Malia. It accumulates the greatest archaeological treasures of Crete due to the existence of the large Minoan centres (Knossos, Faistos, Gortyna) in the area.

Heraklion City is the capital of Heraklion County and of the island of Crete. It is the major commercial and financial centre and possesses all the characteristics of a big city which keeps up with the contemporary pace. Major Venetian monuments which remind a period of prosperity, like the Basilica of Agios(=Saint) Markos, Loggia(=Mayor’s House), the Fountain of Morozini (= Four Lions Square) and the Fortress (=Koules) at the harbour, lie dispersed in the old town.

CHANIA PREFECTURE/COUNTY: In the western end of Crete, with the White Mountains range, with more than fifty peaks with altitudes over 2.000 metres comprising an exceptional domain for climbing and hiking in regions rich in natural, historical and anthropologic interest, which take up nearly the entire central and south part of the prefecture. When they touch the Libyan Sea they create a rich geomorphologic natural environment that is defined by amazing gorges and beaches. Here lies the internationally famous Samaria Gorge, recognized as a National Park and the Habitat for the unique species of the Cretan Wild Goat (Kri-Kri), attracting travellers and nature lovers from all over the world. The historic Frangokastello fortress and its “Drosoulites”, the exotic Elafonissi, Gavdos -the southern-most border of the EU- and Gramvousa are also in Chania county. Chania city is the capital of Chania County and the second biggest city in Crete. It has maintained its medieval nature and has preserved all its Venetian features unchanged. The Venetian Port with the lighthouse, the dockyards and the fortress Firka is of  the most beautiful locations in Chania and it gathers of the most interesting and pleasant functions and activities the town can offer. The dreamy sensation of the old harbour and the life in the picturesque narrow alleys are unforgettable experiences for the visitor.

RETHYMNON PREFECTURE/COUNTY: The county of Rethymnon is considered mountainous with regards to its morphology, although it is surrounded to the North and South by the Cretan and Libyan Seas respectively. Somewhere ascetic and barren, somewhere forest, the nature of Rethymnon offers innumerable surprises to the visitor. The alternation of mountains with verdant scenery of unrivalled natural beauty will enchant the traveller. Small traditional villages, others built at the foot of Mountain Psiloritis and others in coastal areas, seemingly belonging to two different worlds, monasteries, dry stone walks, castles, country churches, and antiquities, natural landscapes such as gorges and caves make their imposing presence felt and they are all witnesses of a pure lifestyle. Preveli amazing beach with its palm trees forest along a river that connects to the beach, Plakias and historic Arkadi which makes visitors shiver at the thought of the holocaust are in Rethymnon county.

Rethymnon city is the capital of Rethymnon county, third in size and still preserves its Medieval and Renaissance touch in the old part of it which lies under the walls of its sleepless guard, the Venetian fortress Fortezza. Porta Guora, the fountain Rimondi, the church of Santa Maria which today serves as an Academy for Music, the Basilica of Agios Fragiskos are some of the most significant Venetian monuments of the old town. The coastal zone with the beautiful beach and the Venetian harbour with its picturesque narrow alleys and the open-hearted people, offer their generous hospitality, in the vast blue setting of the Cretan sea.

LASSITHI PREFECTURE/COUNTY: The easternmost county that resembles the peaceful, sweet aspect of Crete has to offer a lot to its visitors. The famous Lassithi Plateau with its windmills and Diktaion Andron with spectacular stalagmites and stalactites  – the cave where God Zeus was born according to mythology -, Neapoli with the lettered tradition, the world famous celebrity resort Elounda with luxurious hotels, the cosmopolitan Agios Nikolaos with the picturesque lake, the agriculturally rich Ierapetra in the south with the caress of the Libyan Sea, Sitia in the east with the fun-lover inhabitants and among all these small villages living in the past ramble on the slopes. Moreover, wild, impressive untrodden gorges, major archaeological sites (Kato Zakros), the unique Plateaus of Katharo and Lassithi, the exotically beautiful palm forest of Vai, gorgeous deserted beaches(Xerokambos) and impressive caves comprise only a few of the most characteristic images of the county.

Agios Nikolaos, the capital of Lassithi county, is built around the small lake Voulismeni and has a magnificent view on the bay of Mirabello and maintains vivid its scenic colour. It combines the island’s status with the Cretan identity, warmth and hospitality and offers a charm that fascinates the visitors. The second largest archaeological museum of the island with findings from the broader area of eastern Crete operates here. The heart of the town beats in the area around the lake and the beach road.



    Main Distances in Crete



Published in Traveller's Guide
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Kosmos Rent A Car in Crete was founded in 1979 in Heraklion. Since then our company’s course has been continuously expanding and of steady growth due to professional standards and high quality in our car rental services accompanied with competitive rates. A fact that places our company at the top of the list of car rental business in Crete...